Ask the Rigger Masthead Sheaves 1

Published on October 26th, 2020 | by Rigworks

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Do Your Masthead Sheaves Need Replacing?

Question: My halyard is binding. What’s up?

From the Rigger: Most boat owners do not climb their masts regularly, but our riggers spend a lot of time up there. And they often find badly damaged or worn sheaves.

Your halyards pass though sheaves mounted in the top of your mast. These sheaves are often plastic and, due to marine exposure, they are subject to fatigue, abrasion, and corrosion. Damaged sheaves can result in friction and resistance, making your sails increasingly difficult (and eventually impossible) to hoist and/or lower.

The sheaves in the photo are from a boat we repaired last week. The owner was trying to lower the genoa, and the sail stuck half way down. We were able to remove the damaged sheaves and have a new set fabricated from Delrin, an acetal polymer that is very resistant to wear. We also cleaned the furler foil which was dirty and showing signs of surface corrosion. Now the sail goes up and down smoothly, and our customer is enjoying some great sailing.

If your sails appear to be binding, give us a call. We would be happy to take a look and recommend the appropriate maintenance.

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