SPRING PROJECTS: Masthead Halyard Leads

Lunacy's masthead

I went to visit Lunacy yesterday, ostensibly to witness the unveiling of the completed aluminum prod that hopefully will be welded on to her bow later this week. The welder who created the prod was unfortunately running late, and pressing magazine and tax deadlines prevented me from waiting too long for him to appear, so in the end I did not get to meet the new appendage. Still, I did enjoy mucking about on the boat, pondering the advent of spring.

Another thing I pondered are the halyards running off the top of Lunacy‘s mast, a subject I’ve been fretting about for some time. Having gone to the trouble to create an Almighty Sprit strong enough to support the tack of a powerful Code-0 sail, I also need a masthead halyard up to the job of holding the sail aloft. Lunacy‘s existing masthead arrangement, as you can see up top, is fairly conventional: two headsail halyards with exits on centerline below the tang that supports the headstay, and two spinnaker halyards running through blocks hanging from offset cranes.

None of these halyards, unfortunately, is really suitable for hoisting a Code-0 sail. If the sail is hoisted on one of the headsail halyards, the top of its luff will chafe on the top of the headstay when sailing on one tack or the other. If hoisted on one of the spinnaker halyards, the tremendous load on the luff, roughly equivalent to the headstay’s working load when the sail is pulling hard to windward, will be bearing on one of those offset cranes, which I reckon cannot be a good thing.

The ideal masthead arrangement for flying a Code-0 sail is to have the top of the headstay land just below the masthead, so there’s room above the headstay for a Code-0 halyard exit. That way the halyard load can bear on the mast’s centerline and the halyard itself and the sail’s luff can fly clear of the headstay. Achieving this ideal on Lunacy, however, would mean buying a whole new mast, just to run one new halyard, which is definitely out of the question.

Yesterday, coincidentally, they finally pulled the winter cover off the spar rack at Maine Yacht Center, so I was at last able to fret about this while actually examining the masthead. A solution at once popped into my head: weld a plate across the top of the two spinnaker halyard cranes, thus bridging them, and hang one big halyard block from the middle of that plate. This halyard can be used for both a spinnaker and a Code-0-type sail.

Lunacy's masthead
Lunacy’s masthead, another view

I went and pestered Brian Harris, general manger at MYC, and asked him to gaze on my masthead with this problem in mind. I was gratified when, with no prompting from me, he came up with the exact same idea.

So… hopefully… the final orgy of welding on Lunacy (attach bowsprit and bobplate, modify bow pulpit) will now include this little job.

In other news: the cabinhouse has been painted and new windows have been installed:

New windows on Lunacy

The deck has been prepped and primed and awaits finish coats of non-skid paint, post welding:

Lunacy's deck

And our hero is looking forward to splashing the old girl and getting afloat again sometime next month.


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