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Changing halyard to rope on Ericson 30+ '86

Discussion in 'Ericson' started by michaelapk, Jan 21, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. michaelapk


    Joined Jan 21, 2018
    1 posts, 0 likes
    Ericson 30+
    Lama Lo US Milford
    I have an Ericson 30+ from 1986 that still is using the original wire/rope halyards which are led back to the cockpit. I want to replace with rope and am thinking about replacing with dyneema D-cup or similar. My thinking is to buy a polyester covered halyard (? 8 mm) and have the covering stripped from the part that would go over the sheave at the masthead.
    I'd like to not replace the sheaves this season as the mast is still up but may inspect and replace at the end of next season.
    Anyone have any experience with this? Will the existing sheaves work?

  2. FastOlson


    Joined Apr 8, 2010
    947 posts, 89 likes
    Ericson Yachts Olson 34
    US Portland OR
    My Kenyon spar is probably very similar to yours. When I changed out the ancient wire-to-rope halyards quite a few years ago I went with 5/16 T-900 (ultra low stretch). This is easy to handle and holds in my OEM clutches and on the ST housetop winches .
    You can get a lot of help from fellow owners if you register and post your question in the Maintenance Forum over at

    Existing sheaves will likely be fine for a while, but you need to check on how much abrasion there is on the original aluminum sheaves at the top of the mast... something to do when you can coax someone into winching you up there!

    I did have to remove those sheaves and true them up on a lathe.

  3. LeslieTroyer


    Joined May 20, 2016
    1,609 posts, 533 likes
    Catalina 36 MK1
    US Everett, WA
    Those original sieves can developer som sharp edges as the wire halyard cuts into it. I would at least check it out and maybe take a file with you to knock down the edges before putting new nonwire halyards on


  4. jssailem


    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    5,579 posts, 1,883 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    @michaelapk Yes you can convert the halyards from wire to rope. I did my mast in 2016. Did all the halyards, even add additional lines. This required new sheaves that we had made. The exiting ones were in decent condition. The rigger fashioned a jig to spin the sheave then sand the wire grove open to form a U for the line. It works well. Since I had no interest in going back to wire/rope it was the simplest steps to get there.

    Rick D likes this.
  5. Joe


    Joined Jun 1, 2004
    6,435 posts, 317 likes
    Catalina 27
    US Mission Bay, San Diego
    I have posted about building and installing "tapered" halyards in this forum a number of times over the past few years. For some reason, I get very few responses... oh well. That said, I have been a huge proponent of them for the exact reason you mention... to avoid a larger diameter polyester double braid from jamming in the sheaves. (jamming in the sheaves, we will come rejoicing, jamming in the sheaves). Tapered halyards, sheets and control lines are very common in the racing world, btw.

    There are two approaches... the less expensive is to purchase the dyneema core and cover it with a polyester sheath.... You can buy a less expensive double braid, use the poly core to fish the dyneema core through, lock stitch the cover at both ends.. then "bury splice" the cover into the core to complete the taper. On my 27 footer, I used 3/16" Samson Amsteel as the core... earlier builds I used the cover from 5/16" Samson LS to complete the halyard. Just recently I purchased a dedicate 5/16" "cover only" in solid colors, one red, one green...for the task. I thought it was supposed to have a built in messenger line... it didn't, so I fashioned a tool from a wire coat hanger to get the core inserted... like putting in a drawstring. For each of my jib halyards I purchase 80 ft 3/16" amsteel and 40ft 5/16" cover.... like I said you can de core the double braid, or purchase dedicated cover only line.
    The other very common approach is to buy dyneema cored double braid, such as Samson Warpspeed, and strip the cover to the desired length... then use the same "bury" splice to create the tapered halyard.
    The difference in size between core and cover is 2/16 (or 1/8). Look at your strength requirements to determine what core size will work for your boat... but it shouldn't be any larger than 1/4" ...
    Then figure your costs with both methods. The first is cheaper, but requires fishing the core.. not that big a deal IMHO. Them start searching for the best rope deals.... check every where. Here's a link to the tuck/bury splice for creating the taper... and I've also included a link for eyesplicing the dyneema.... I recommend the "luggage tag" style pictured in the APS link below.

    If you want to see an example of this topic... check here. They're having a sale on rigging and splicing services now, in case you're not interested in DIY. They're currently selling 3/16 Amsteel for .70/ft. APS is good source and the staff knows exactly what you're talking about when you order. Like I said, it's a common technique.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
    jssailem likes this.

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