Recovery Mode

If the picture above looks familiar, you’ve probably experienced the upper limit of a rope covers durability before!

This is an asymmetric spinnaker sheet made from New England Endura Braid Euro.  It’s a great line, very tough cover, but it still failed after just 2 seasons.  What gives?

Asymmetric sheets are very tough on covers.  They tend to have higher loads than a symmetrical spinnaker sheet, and are also trimmed more actively.  Things really get interesting in a gybe, when the line speed is MUCH higher.  In a gybe on a boat this size, you’re moving around 65′ of line every time you gybe, and the faster the better. On a boat like this with a pedestal grinder, you can pull the sheet around quite quickly, so it makes for snappy maneuvers.

What this means for the rope cover is lots of heat and abrasion.  Most assym  sheets start to feel a bit crispy in the middle, and that’s because the friction over the drums is generating enough heat to melt the cover.  The bigger the boat, the higher the loads and the more line to move, so the covers get abused more.

The solution is better covers,  specifically using heat and abrasion resistant fibers.  At the very top end we have PBO covers, which handle the highest head and load, but can retail for over $40/meter for the 10mm size. No, I’m serious, stop laughing! It gets better too, since they’ll break down in the sun and wear out quickly. Oh, and it leaves gold dust all over your boat and crew.  Anyway, the good news is there are lots of better-than-polyester covers that will cost less than a used car.  There are kevlar blends like Yaletail, and Runnertail (technically Twaron but who’s counting) but in the last couple years the default go-to special cover has been Technora blended with polyester. New England makes a rope called Poly Tec which is available as a cover or a built rope with Dyneema core.  I’ve been using this for the last 4 seasons and have been very happy with it, and have never heard a complaint about it from owners.  Marlow Ropes makes a full suite of specialty covers, but their version is Tech 50. The 2 covers are quite similar, so it usually comes down to which is available in what color first.  In addition to durability, you’re going to find that the grip on winches is more consistent, and they handle great!

So, let’s pretend your boat has taken your nice Dyneema double braid sheets and turned them into the mess you saw in the first picture. The cores are ok, but the cover looks like a shriveled churro.  We can take the cores out of the old line, and put a Technora blend cover over the top for less money than new sheets.  The cores still have a few years of life, so this is a great way to keep them going while get a nicer hand to the line and better grip on winches.

For the above sheet, the owner opted to swap both covers for Poly Tec, and gave them distinct colors while we were at it. The sheets were end-for-ended as well so the old loaded end of the sheet is now the tail and vice versa. The sheets look new, and should perform that way for many seasons.  Win!

It was a good idea in this case for a few reasons: the sheets were relatively new, the cores were in good shape and the core material was Dyneema.  If you have a damaged cover with similar parameters we can save it!  CYR also stocks regular polyester covers for a repair at considerably lower price point, although it’s worth considering why the cover failed in the first place (*usually T10 halyard with XAS clutch) It doesn’t make sense for every line though.  If the line is particularly short, the cost of labor doesn’t usually add up to less than a new line, and if the core is damaged, or Vectran/Poly/PBO it’s not usually a good idea to recover it.  If you’re in doubt, drop by the shop and we’ll look it over.  Plenty of samples to look at, and the odds are very good I’ll have rope in for the same repair to show you!


Tylaska 2015 Retail Pricing

Just received next years pricing from Tylaska

Looks like about a 3% increase for the best hardware around.  Don’t forget to stop by CYR’s booth at the Chicago Boat show to get great winter discounts on Tylaska and other hardware.  Can’t make the show?  But you’ll miss dock dogs! Oh well, email me and we’ll get you the discount anyway.


Tylaska Marine RETAIL Pricing 2015

800 Flanders Road Mystic, CT 06355 USA Machined Halyard Shackles Price (US $)
Phone (860) 572-8440 Fax (860) 572-0534 H5 Aluminum Halyard Shackle 118.95 H8 Aluminum Halyard Shackle 128.95
Retail Price H12 Aluminum Halyard Shackle 161.95
H20 Aluminum Halyard Shackle 249.95
H5 2:1 Aluminum Halyard Shackle (with Pulley) 165.95
Snap Shackles Price (US $) H8 2:1 Aluminum Halyard Shackle (with Pulley) 177.95
T5S standard bail snap shackle 179.95 H12 2:1 Aluminum Halyard Shackle (with Pulley) 214.95
T5C Clevis bail snap shackle 184.95 H20 2:1 Aluminum Halyard Shackle (with Pulley) 326.95
T5L Large bail snap shackle 189.95 H8 2:1 SP Split H8 with pulley 188.95
T8S standard bail snap shackle 189.95 H12 2:1 SP Split H12 with pulley 228.95
T8C Clevis bail snap shackle 195.95 MP-2 Pull pin shackle 52.95
T8L Large bail snap shackle 199.95 Linked Peel Shackles
T12S Standard bail snap shackle 211.95 T5LP with Std/Std linked bails 459.95
T12C Clevis bail snap shackle 224.95 T8LP with Std/Std linked bails 481.95
T12L Large bail snap shackle 221.95 T12LP with Std/Std linked bails 529.95
T16S Standard bail snap shackle 249.95 T20LP with Std/Std linked bails 678.95
T16L Large bail snap shackle 259.95 T30LP with Std/Std linked bails 1134.95
T20S Standard bails snap shackle 295.95
T20C Clevis bail snap shackle 312.95 Shackle Opening Fids Price (US $)
T20L Large bail snap shackle 306.95 T5-T12 Knurled Shackle Fid (Red) 28.95
T30S Standard bail snap shackle 529.95 T5-T12 Knurled Shackle Fid (Blue) 28.95
T30C Clevis bail snap shackle 551.95 T5-T12 Fid (Double Tapered) (Red) 28.95
T30L Large bail snap shackle 556.95 T5-T12 Fid (Double Tapered) (Blue) 28.95
T40S Standard bail snap shackle 784.95 T20-T30 Knurled Shackle Fid (Red) 60.95
T40C Clevis bail snap shackle 815.95 T20-T30 Knurled Shackle Fid (Blue) 60.95
T40L Large bail snap shackle 837.95 T40-T50 Knurled Shackle Fid (Red) 91.95
T50S Standard bail snap shackle 1145.95 T40-T50 Knurled Shackle Fid (Blue) 91.95
T50C Clevis bail snap shackle 1183.95 PF5 – T5 Plug Fid (Purple) 14.95
T50L Large bail snap shackle 1203.95 PF8 – T8 Plug Fid (Purple) 14.95
X8A Sew-in Tack Shackle 141.95 PF12 – T12 Plug Fid (Purple) 15.95
PF20 – T20 Plug Fid (Purple) 16.95
Shackleheads Price (US$) P20SS – T20 stainless steel plug fid 29.95
T5 Shacklehead (no bail, nut, or washer) 157.95 CF8 – T8 Cone Fid (Green) 14.95
T8 Shacklehead (no bail, nut, or washer) 168.95 CF12 – T12 Cone Fid (Green) 14.95
T12 Shacklehead (no bail, nut, or washer) 189.95 CF20 – T20 Cone Fid (Green) 15.95
T20 Shacklehead (no bail, nut, or washer) 263.95 HCF8 – T8 Half Cone Fid (Blue) 14.95
T30 Shacklehead (no bail, nut, or washer) 471.95 HCF12 – T12 Half Cone Fid (Blue) 15.95
HCF20 – T20 Half Cone Fid (Blue) 16.95
J-Lock Style Shackles Price (US $)
J8 J-Lock Shackle 142.95 SP Trigger Style Snap Shackles & Presslocks Price (US $)
J12 J-Lock Shackle 152.95 SP6 Trigger Style Snap Shackle 197.95
J20 J-Lock Shackle 194.95 SP10 Trigger Style Snap Shackle 252.95
J30 J-Lock Shackle 328.95 SP15 Trigger Style Snap Shackle 441.95
PressLock Junior 161.95
Tylaska Spool Shackles Price (US $) PressLock Senior 190.95
S2 Spool Shackle 36.95
S3 Spool Shackle 39.95 SS Plunger Style Shackles and Pole Ends Price (US $)
S5 Spool Shackle 42.95 SS10 Plunger Style Shackle 369.95
S8 Spool Shackle 45.95 SS20 Plunger Style Shackle 791.95
S12 Spool Shackle 54.95 SS40 Plunger Style Shackle 1793.95
S20 Spool Shackle 69.95 Intrepid II 4.0″ 1124.95
S30 Spool Shackle 99.95 Stubbie – Inboard pole end 4.0″ 516.95
P4 Polycarbonate Spool Shackle 16.95 Stubbie – turned to Hall size 621.95
Tylaska Canvas Tools Price (US $) Gran Prix machines to 3″ 730.95
Sailmaker’s Punch 49.95 Gran Prix machines to 4″ 793.95
Sailmaker’s Installation Die (DOT Die) 34.95 Gran Prix Hall size 3.74″ 907.95
Tylaska Swivels Price (US $) Reaching Strut Outboard end 3″ 359.95
T5 Std/Std bail Swivel 99.95 Reaching Strut Inboard end 518.95
T5 Std/Large bail Swivel 107.95 Stainless Steel Stud Pin 156.95
T5 Large/Large bail Swivel 115.95 Stainless Toggle bushed to 1/2″ 151.95
T5 Std/Clevis bail Swivel 116.95 Stainless Toggle bushed to 5/8″ 151.95
T5 Clevis/Clevis bail Swivel 130.95 Bayonet Toggle Assembly w/Clevis (1/2″) 339.95
T5 Large/Clevis bail Swivel 123.95 Bayonet Toggle Assembly w/Clevis (5/8″) 339.95
T8 Std/Std bail Swivel 110.95
T8 Std/Large bail Swivel 118.95 Ball-Lock Clevis Pins Price (US $)
T8 Large/Large bail Swivel 125.95 B L 313-563 5/16″ x 9/16″ 34.95
T8 Std/Clevis bail Swivel 127.95 BL313-688 5/16″ x 11/16″ 35.95
T8 Clevis/Clevis bail Swivel 144.95 BL313-750 5/16″ x 3/4″ 36.95
T8 Large/Clevis bail Swivel 133.95 BL313-1000 5/16″ x 1″ 38.95
T12 Std/Std bail Swivel 125.95 BL313-1250 5/16″ x 1-1/4″ 42.95
T12 Std/Large bail Swivel 136.95 BL375-625 3/8″ x 5/8″ 34.95
T12 Large/Large bail Swivel 150.95 BL375-813 3/8″ x 13/16″ 37.95
T12 Std/Clevis bail Swivel 147.95 BL375-1000 3/8″ x 1″ 38.95
T12 Clevis/Clevis bail Swivel 164.95 BL375-1250 3/8″ x 1-1/4″ 40.95
T12 Large/Clevis bail Swivel 157.95 BL375-1500 3/8″ x 1-1/2″ 45.95
T20 Std/Std bail Swivel 156.95 BL500-750 1/2″ x 3/4 39.95
T20 Std/Large bail Swivel 167.95 BL500-1000 1/2″ x 1″ 41.95
T20 Large/Large bail Swivel 186.95 BL500-1250 1/2″ x 1-1/4″ 44.95
T20 Std/Clevis bail Swivel 183.95 BL500-1500 1/2″ x 1-1/2″ 49.95
T20 Clevis/Clevis bail Swivel 213.95 BL625-1000 5/8″ x 1″ 45.95
T20 Large/Clevis bail Swivel 198.95 BL625-1250 5/8″ x 1-1/4″ 48.95
T30 Std/Std bail Swivel 213.95 BL625-1500 5/8″ x 1-1/2″ 53.95
T30 Std/Large bail Swivel 242.95 BL625-1750 5/8″ x 1-3/4″ 57.95
T30 Large/Large bail Swivel 273.95
T30 Std/Clevis bail Swivel 255.95 Please contact us if other sizes are desired.
T30 Clevis/Clevis bail Swivel 295.95
T30 Large/Clevis bail Swivel 283.95
T40 Std/Std bail Swivel 398.95 Ferrules Price (US $)
T40 Std/Large bail Swivel 412.95 FR3 9.95
T40 Large/Large bail Swivel 425.95 FR4 10.95
T40 Std/Clevis bail Swivel 407.95 FR5 11.95
T40 Clevis/Clevis bail Swivel 443.95 FR6 13.95
T40 Large/Clevis bail Swivel 421.95 FR7 16.95
T50 Std/Std bail Swivel 475.95 FR8 19.95
T50 Std/Large bail Swivel 544.95 FR10 27.95
T50 Large/Large bail Swivel 611.95 FR14 39.95
T50 Std/Clevis bail Swivel 566.95 FR18 55.95
T50 Clevis/Clevis bail Swivel 657.95 FR22 69.95
T50 Large/Clevis bail Swivel 634.95 FR26 109.95
Dogbones (Aluminum) Price (US $) Dogbones (Stainless steel) Price (US $)
DB6 (light blue) 12.95 DB6 SS 16.95
DB8 (light blue) 14.95 DB8 SS 18.95
DB10 (light blue) 15.95 DB10 SS 20.95
DB12 (light blue) 16.95 DB12 SS 22.95
DB14 (light blue) 17.95 DB14 SS 25.95
DB16 (light blue) 19.95 DB16 SS 29.95
DB18 (light blue) 22.95 DB18 SS 34.95
Basic Clevis Pins Price (US $) 2 Hole Clevis Pins Price (US $)
CP2-375 (1/8 x 3/8) $ 2.39 2CP2-375 (1/8 x 3/8) $ 3.59
CP2-500 (1/8 x 1/2) $ 2.49 2CP2-500 (1/8 x 1/2) $ 3.79
CP2.5-375 (5/32 x 3/8) $ 2.49 2CP2.5-375 (5/32 x 3/8) $ 3.69
CP2.5-625 (5/32 x 5/8) $ 2.59 2CP2.5-625 (5/32 x 5/8) $ 3.89
CP3-281 (3/16 x 9/32) $ 2.59 2CP3-281 (3/16 x 9/32) $ 3.69
CP3-406 (3/16 x 13/32) $ 2.69 2CP3-406 (3/16 x 13/32) $ 3.89
CP3-531 (3/16 x 17/32) $ 2.79 2CP3-531 (3/16 x 17/32) $ 4.09
Basic Clevis Pins Price (US $) 2 Hole Clevis Pins Price (US $)
CP3-750 (3/16 x 3/4) $ 2.89 2CP3-750 (3/16 x 3/4) $ 4.29
CP3-1000 (3/16 x 1) $ 3.19 2CP3-1000 (3/16 x 1) $ 4.49
CP4- 406 (1/4 x 13/32) $ 2.89 2CP4-406 (1/4 x 13/32) $ 4.29
CP4-500 (1/4 x 1/2) $ 2.99 2CP4-500 (1/4 x 1/2) $ 4.39
CP4-750 (1/4 x 3/4) $ 3.19 2CP4-750 (1/4 x 3/4) $ 4.69
CP4-875 (1/4 x 7/8) $ 3.39 2CP4-875 (1/4 x 7/8) $ 4.89
CP4- 1000 (1/4 x 1) $ 3.49 2CP4-1000 (1/4 x 1) $ 4.99
CP4- 1250 (1/4 x 1 1/4) $ 3.69 2CP4-1250 (1/4 x 1 1/4) $ 5.29
CP4- 1500 (1/4 x 1 1/2) $ 3.99 2CP4-1500 (1/4 x 1 1/2) $ 5.49
CP5-500 (5/16 x 1/2) $ 3.99 2CP5-500 (5/16 x 1/2) $ 5.99
CP5-562 (5/16 x 9/16) $ 4.09 2CP5-562 (5/16 x 9/16) $ 6.19
CP5-687 (5/16 x 11/16) $ 4.29 2CP5-687 (5/16 x 11/16) $ 6.39
CP5-1000 (5/16 x 1) $ 4.59 2CP5-1000 (5/16 x 1) $ 6.79
CP5-1250 (5/16 x 1 1/4) $ 4.99 2CP5-1250 (5/16 x 1 1/4) $ 7.19
CP6-687 (3/8 x 11/16) $ 5.39 2CP6-687 (3/8 x 11/16) $ 7.89
CP6-812 (3/8 x 13/16) $ 5.59 2CP6-812 (3/8 x 13/16) $ 8.09
CP6-1000 (3/8 x 1) $ 5.89 2CP6-1000 (3/8 x 1) $ 8.49
CP6-1250 (3/8 x 1 1/4) $ 6.39 2CP6-1250 (3/8 x 1 1/4) $ 8.99
CP6-1500 (3/8 x 1 1/2) $ 6.79 2CP6-1500 (3/8 x 1 1/2) $ 9.59
CP8-750 (1/2 x 3/4) $ 6.99 2CP8-750 (1/2 x 3/4) $ 10.59
CP8-875 (1/2 x 7/8) $ 7.39 2CP8-875 (1/2 x 7/8) $ 10.99
CP8-1000 (1/2 x 1) $ 7.69 2CP8-1000 (1/2 x 1) $ 11.29
CP8-1500 (1/2 x 1 1/2) $ 8.99 2CP8-1500 (1/2 x 1 1/2) $ 12.79
CP10-1000 (5/8 x 1) $ 10.19 2CP10-1000 (5/8 x 1) $ 15.09
CP10-1125 (5/8 x 1 1/8) $ 10.59 2CP10-1125 (5/8 x 1 1/8) $ 15.59
CP10-1250 (5/8 x 1 1/4) $ 10.99 2CP10-1250 (5/8 x 1 1/4) $ 16.09
CP12-1312 (3/4 x 1 5/16) $ 14.69 2CP12-1312 (3/4 x 1 5/16) $ 20.99
CP12-1562 (3/4 x 1 9/16) $ 15.89 2CP12-1562 (3/4 x 1 9/16) $ 22.49
CP12-1875 (3/4 x 1 7/8) $ 17.29 2CP12-1875 (3/4 x 1 7/8) $ 24.09
Rigging Pins Price (US $) Price (US $)
RP4-1500 (1/4 x 1 1/2) $ 4.99 RP8-1500 (1/2 x 1 1/2) $ 10.09
RP4-2000 (1/4 x 2) $ 5.39 RP8-2000 (1/2 x 2) $ 11.09
RP4-2500 (1/4 x 2 1/2) $ 5.89 RP8-2500 (1/2 x 2 1/2) $ 12.09
RP4-3000 (1/4 x 3) $ 6.39 RP8-3000 (1/2 x 3) $ 12.99
RP4-3500 (1/4 x 3 1/2) $ 6.99 RP8-3500 (1/2 x 3 1/2) $ 13.99
RP5-1500 (5/16 x 1 1/2) $ 6.49 RP10-1500 (5/8 x 1 1/2) $ 12.59
RP5-2000 (5/16 x 2) $ 7.09 RP10-2000 (5/8 x 2) $ 13.89
RP5-2500 (5/16 x 2 1/2) $ 7.69 RP10-2500 (5/8 x 2 1/2) $ 15.19
RP5-3000 (5/16 x 3) $ 8.19 RP10-3000 (5/8 x 3) $ 16.59
RP5-3500 (5/16 x 3 1/2) $ 8.79 RP10-3500 (5/8 x 3 1/2) $ 17.99
RP6-1500 (3/8 x 1 1/2) $ 7.89 RP12-1500 (3/4 x 1 1/2) $ 15.49
RP6-2000 (3/8 x 2) $ 8.59 RP12-2000 (3/4 x 2) $ 17.29
RP6-2500 (3/8 x 2 1/2) $ 9.29 RP12-2500 (3/4 x 2 1/2) $ 19.09
RP6-3000 (3/8 x 3) $ 10.09 RP12-3000 (3/4 x 3) $ 20.99
RP6-3500 (3/8 x 3 1/2) $ 10.79 RP12-3500 (3/4 x 3 1/2) $ 22.79
RP7-1500 (7/16 x 1 1/2) $ 9.09
RP7-2000 (7/16 x 2) $ 9.99
RP7-2500 (7/16 x 2 1/2) $ 10.79
RP7-3000 (7/16 x 3) $ 11.69
RP7-3500 (7/16 x 3 1/2) $ 12.59


Tylaska RETAIL Pricing 2015


Beneteau 36.7 Running Rigging 2015 pricing Fall discounts available

We’ve finally got our act together and have 2015 pricing drawn up for the 36.7

If you’re using 3di sails we strongly recommend matching it with an appropriate halyard.  Vectran lines move a bit too much for 3di, so we recommend Heat Set Dyneema (New England HSR) or if you absolutely insist we can PBO 

MAIN HALYARD (Best) HSR 9mm W polyester Cover+Wichard 5/16″ Shackle+bulk 510.66
MAIN HALYARD (Std.) Vectran 10mm w Wichard Shackle+clutch bulk 393.75
GENOA HALYARD (best) HSR JH No Shackle, 9mm  W/ Bulk 458.26
GENOA HALYARD (std) Vectran core 10mm Tylaska Shackle 490
GENOA HALYARD (std) Vectran core 10mm  No Shackle 345
SPINNAKER HALYARD 10mm Dyn Spin Hal W Tylaska and Ball 556.25
HSR Backstay with Dyneema overbraid 361.96
Genoa Sheets 10mm Endura Braid with Equiplite EACH 310.8
Genoa Sheets 10mm Poly Tech with Equiplite EACH 450.2
Spin Sheets 8mm SSC 192.88
Spin Sheets 8mm Euro 203.8
Afterguy Euro W Custom Donut and T8 400.1
Topping Lift Tapered SSC Empty eye for shackle 255.6
Backstay Control line 6mm SSC 111.5
Traveler Control Euro Cover Whip 100.16
Spin Pole Butt Lift 6mm Euro 73.84

Discounts in place:  through 11/19/14 take 10% off for fall savings

If you’ve purchased a 3Di sail from North Midwest, take an additional 5% off matching heat set Dyneema halyards!

Spinnaker Sheet Y Bridle

Took these for a mail order customer who need a pigtail to add to their assym spin sheets, so figured it wouldn’t hurt to have quickie instructions for one method of setting up a Y Bridle.  This is applicable to assymetric boats only,  that have a metal clew ring or similar eye at the clew.


To start with, youll need a pair of sheets with eyes spliced into the ends (yellow), a short strop (silver) with eyes at both ends (for shackle to sail attachment) or a single eye (for tie on attachment) 

First,  attach the shackle to the strop via larks head/ring hitch/luggage tag/whatever you want to call it.  Start by passing one eye of the strop through the bail on the shackle.

Then pull the eye over the shackle

Once you’ve got the eye over the shackle, pull the line tight so that it hitches tight to the bail of the shackle and looks like the below pic

Now, put the other end of the strop through BOTH eyes on the sheets themselves

Pull the shackle through the empty loop and pull tight, should look just like this

There are several other ways to configure this setup;  you can splice the y permanently, which works the same but is marginally lighter/cleaner, or you can have 2 shackles attached to the pigtail strop, which means you can disconnect individual sheets but lose the benefit of a really smooth “y” where it gets dragged over the forestay in gybes.  Either way the basics are the same, and the goal of having the clew off the spinnaker away from the headstay is achieved.

LMSA On The Water Colloquium Optimist Dinghies

CYR recently had the opportunity to donate some time and gear for really neat project that’s introducing a whole new group of high school kids to sailing, DIY boatbuilding and local water issues.


The program in question is at Lindblom Math and Science Academy located in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.  A selective enrollment high school, Lindblom is highly regarded academically, and in particular for some of their innovative programming.  Several years ago they started colloquium classes, in which one day a week students take part in non traditional learning.  Niki Anderson from LMSA and Joey Harris from the park district started the On the Water program in 2012,  in which students learned about environmental issues on the great lakes, worked with Chicago Park District and organizations like Rozalia Project on harbor cleanup, and learned to sail on CPD’s 420 boats. Several of the students are seeking out colleges with sailing programs, and they’ve all been introduced to the sport and will hopefully keep it with them for life.  They also take on a hands on project every year; last year was building underwater robots-the amusingly named Sea Perch ROV-and this year they did something a little bigger and built Opti class dinghies.

The boats have been donated to Chicago Park District as of this week, and are hopefully on the water already teaching another generation how to trim steer and collide their way into sailing.  It was really impressive to see the results, especially considering two years ago none of them had ever been on a sailboat, and now they’ve turned out a pair of solid boats of their own.

CYR, along with North Sails and Oyster Bay Boat Shop, donated gear to get the boats rigged and canvassed.  The kids did great work with the parts and I can’t wait to see what they do next!

Harken Bolt Down Fairleads

Using the same simple concept behind low friction rings (aka ferrules, thimbles, ring blocks, etc) Antal and Harken offer a bolt down version, with Harken now offering a very wide range of configurations in 2 sizes.  New this year to the market, the applications are wide and the product solid.

Harken’s bolt down leads are available in 12 and 16mm sizes, and in single, double or triple configuration. The 12mm can handle 3/8″ line and has a 2000lb swl, and the 16 takes 9/16″ and 4000lbs.  

So far we’ve used this as a fairlead for a downhaul, but it’s easy to imagine many great places for this new gear, such as padeyes for soft attachments, replacing deck organizers, using 2 to make a 3d genoa lead system etc etc. 

One neat feature that the fairleads share with Harkens new line of winches is that they allow for easy single handed installation.  This is because if you use a hex head bolt to hold the hardware down, it will actually socket into slots on the hardware, meaning install is as easy as template, drill, install, and go below deck to tighten the nuts.  At least it if you’re in one of the few countries that uses something called the “metric” system.  The 12mm fairlead shown here works great if you use 6mm hex head bolts, but we only had 1/4″ fasteners, which were too large. The non metric solution is luckily pretty easy, and all you need is a grinder.  SImply grind 2 sides of the head down until the width measures 10.4mm ( .410″) and the head will fit fine.

                               The left bolt is an unmodified 1/4″ hex, on the right is the same, but after 30 seconds with a grinder

Once that’s done you will get the full benefit of this product, as the easy install is a huge plus.



J40 Solent Stay

Solent stay made using Dynex Dux, custom thimble Tball top, OBB Multipass thimbles bottom, 4:1 purchase, held to the deck with custom loop and fastpin. When in use a 4:1 winch driven purchase will tension the stay, which will support a jib on bronze hanks. When not deployed, the fastpin makes removing the stay quick, and the integrated leash lets the crew lash the stay tight to the mastbase.

Harken Furling Tips and Tricks

Harken furling has been my defacto choice for furling genoas and jibs, and generally they’re super easy to install.  There are a few tips and tricks I’ve accumulated over the years that make it a bit easier to be efficient during the build, and there’s recently been a run on fixing DIY furlers that highlighted a few steps in the process that people seem to neglect.  See below for some pics to help you through assembling your Harken furling unit.

Before you’ve cut foils or made a headstay,  first look around the rig and see if the ends of the headstay are appropriate for the furler.  In the above picture, there is no toggle at the bottom of the stay, and instead there is a highly alarming twisted single plate with an offset pin to raise the height of the furling drum.  Link plates in general are a bad idea for furling, as they tend to twist, but this is a single plate which has somehow managed not to tear apart. Toggles are far, far cheaper than rigs!Above you can see a link plate which has started to twist due to torsion from furling and sailing with reefed sails. Eventually one plate will break, followed by the other.

When looking at existing gear, it’s important to not only check for things like toggles, but make sure they’re working properly. The above mast had a jaw/jaw toggle installed overlapped (not inside) the masthead toggle, which had led to cracks in the toggle.  Replaced with a eye to jaw toggle, which seats properly between the plates on the masthead toggle.

When making the connections between foils, I like to use the box that came with the furler to hold the adhesive, tools and all the small parts (some of which are very small indeed!) This lets you work quickly, as you can just slide all the necessary bits along the headstay as you go.  The box catches any small parts you might drop, and can be used to elevate the foils when assembling stubborn connections.  The single biggest mistake I’ve seen in Harken furlers gone wrong is not using enough sealant in the joints.  In the photo above you can see that I’ve used the syringe to apply enough 5200 until it comes out the fastener port.  Harkens joints are designed to have 3 levels of connection; first the mechanical joint formed by the shape of the connector inside the foil, second the fastener holding the foil to the connector, and lastly the bond between all the parts formed by the sealant.  It’s far, far better to have too much sealant, and to hit the furler with an acetone rag, than to have too little and have the below picture in your sailing season!

The furler in the above image was a DIY unit 1, which had 2 foils come apart while sailing reefed.  Luckily the owner was able to get the sail down without much damage.  When I went to trouble shoot, I found that the connector barely had any adhesive on it, and the fasteners had none.  Apparently the install was done on a cold day, so the adhesive wasn’t making it very far into the joint.  I’ve also watched a DIY install use only a tiny amount of adhesive in each screw hole, as the owner “wanted to save the tube of loctite for something else”  I’m guessing that  the “something else” turned out to be fixing the furler later in the season!


Harken MkIV’s are stupid-easy to put together, but one slightly tricky area is in getting the connector wedges seated properly.  In the above photo you can see the wedge, which is slid into place along with the connector.  To make sure it stays in it’s proper place, hold it down with your thumb until the connector slides into place.  You can also see the giant glob of 5200 which is coming out of the foil. This is a good thing!  I like to finish off the install by wiping down the foils after the furler is stowed on the mast.  There is some variation in tolerances on Harken furling, so if you’re facing a stiff connector, I usually chill the connectors in a cooler, or heat the foils, to gain a little extra play in assembly.



Naturally, you’ve chosen an incredibly cold day to assemble the furler.  The adhesive that seals the connector in place is an incredibly important part of the joints between furler foils.  In cold weather, both 5200 and Loctite cure slowly, so to ensure the bond kicks off and that the adhesive flows properly around the joint, I always heat up the joint after assembly with a propane torch. It doesn’t take much heat, so just move the torch over the joint until the foil is barely hot to the touch. Too much torch and you can melt the plastic bushings or spacers inside the connector.  If you’re using Loctite as in the above picture,  I like to line up the connector in place, then hit it with the torch BEFORE installing the screw for the first connection. That way you can tug on the connector to see how much heat it takes to set the Loctite.  Also in the above image; always keep the Loctite bottle upside down when it’s cold, as this makes it easier to apply. Alternatively you can keep it warm in a pocket, but the obvious risks apply!

When putting the foils together, I like to leave the plastic wrapping in place,  pulling it away from each end. This protects the foils from damage to the anodizing caused by dragging the foils. When the furler is fully assembled and attached to the mast, now it’s time to remove the plastic packing.  All you need is a knife, held upside down in the furler track. Instead of moving the knife and possibly scratching the anodizing, just pull the plastic to the knife instead, so the plastic unzips around the blade.  If you”re tantalizing the furler mast up, I’ll actually leave the plastic on until the headstay is installed, then while aloft I’ll slide the plastic off onto a knife.  This leaves the plastic in place until the last moment, protecting the foils while you’re hauling the furler aloft, and lets you feel a bit like Errol Flynn, which is a nice way to end a project.


Harken Traveler Fixes

There are few worse things to see while racing than something like the above image: seeing the traveler car floating above the track (or more likely flailing around the cockpit trying to reduce the crews number of teeth) is low on the list of good ways to end a day.

Flying Traveler Syndrome (FTS) is caused by the bearings departing the car, which means there is nothing holding the car to the track.  This will be made abundantly clear by the bearings, which are now bouncing and rolling around in the cockpit,  getting stuck in drains and tripping the crew.  The bearings usually escape due to the failure of a plastic end cap on the traveler car. 


These caps are original equipment to your Harken traveler car, and actually hold up pretty well considering the loads and use they experience. The plastic gets brittle in the sun over years, and more importantly gets beat up every time you sail.  You can think of the bearings not littering your cockpit as a “thank-you” from the traveler for all those times it’s slammed across the track in a heavy air gybe.

Well, now what? Usually this means day over, call the rigger.  However, theres a great trick I learned years ago from a smart friend.  A piece of wooden dowel rod in the same diameter as the ball bearings can act as an emergency bearing to hold the car to the track, at least until you can replace the bearings and end caps properly.  If you want something a little nicer, CYR can provide a pair of Delrin or Torlon emergency slider bearings that you can install on the water to get you through the day. Held in place with cotter pins, you can install these in minutes on the water after pulling the end caps off, and will let you keep racing until you can complete the repair.

More details to come as we make a few batches of these, but it’s cheap and light insurance against losing a day on the water.

For the complete fix of the traveler car, the easiest way to get the bearings back in place is to replace the end caps, and install the bearings (how many? Check using a bearing loader, and then sliding the car off the loader onto the track.  However,  in many situations this requires taking the track off the boat to give enough clearance to install the car.  Depending on access and time, it’s often easier to slid the end caps onto the track from the end, then attach one to the car, and fit the bearings in from the side.  If you’ve ever attempted this, you’ll know it’s far easier to describe than to do, as the bearings are quite slippery and the more bearings you load into the car, the more bearings there are to escape.  The labor saving trick here is to use shaving cream to hold the bearings in place while loading.

The shave cream has just the right density to keep everything in place until you can get the end caps on, and gives the back of the boat a wonderful lime smell to relax the afterguard after the trying ordeal with the traveler car.

At this point in the repair, you’re probably cursing boats, both Harken brothers, and the “sphere” shape, so what can you do to ensure you’re never seeing this part of the boat again?  To save this hassle in the future, replace the plastic caps with metal ones. Harken has a great parts replacement program, and for between $90 and $105 (from small boat to big boat) you can get a pair of caps that will never break, and you can go back to ignoring the moving bits in the traveler forever. 

Epoxy plugs for mounting hardware in cored decks

Yacht decks are typically composed of layers, with the top and bottom layers being paint or gelcoat over a fiberglass skin, and the thicker inner layer being core. The core thickens the deck to increase stiffness, generally using a low density material to keep the resulting sandwich lightweight.  These core materials are typically not designed to be wet, so any water intrusion is bad news.  A wet core in a fiberglass structure gets softer and can delaminate from the fiberglass skins. The result is a soft feeling deck, which can make the boat slower as it flexes and lead to further structural issues like fiberglass cracking and failure.

The culprit behind wet decks is often improperly installed hardware.  If the deck feels soft, it’s usually near a piece of gear that was installed in a hurry.  If non through bolted fasteners like self tapping screws are used,  the hardware will loosen over time. Similarly, inappropriate backing plates and or washers under the deck mean the deck will crush over time, loosening the hardware as well. Once the hardware is loose, water finds it’s way in and softens to core.  Poor or no sealant is another issue, as hardware needs a sealant beeding to keep water out.  Something flexible like a polysulfide or rubber is best, as it keeps a tight seal even if the hardware isn’t installed perfectly tight.

So.  Assuming the hardware is installed correctly, and the proper sealant used, what else can one do to keep a deck intact?  The goal being to first keep water up on deck where it belongs, you can also ensure that if water does make it’s way under deck gear, it won’t reach the core.  I like to surround each fastener with epoxy where it goes through the deck, so that any water around the screw isn’t allowed to get to the core.

Here is a quick walk through on how the core was sealed on a 1970 Shields deck, while installing a 2:1 jib sheet system.

 The hardware in this case is a Harken cam cleat with an angled riser to get the sheet led to the trimmer at a comfortable angle.  You can see I’ve done a quick mask around the area,  as there will be several glues and sealants used, which we want to avoid having to clean out of gelcoat.  The holes are drilled, in this case at an angle to match the cleat riser.The next step is to drill a much larger hole partially through the deck.  This larger hole is going to determine the size of the epoxy plugs that surround the screws. In this case I used a 3/8″ bit to surroud #10 (or 3/16″) screws.  When drilling the oversize hole, go through the top skin of fiberglass and the core only; don’t drill through the bottom skin.  This lets us have a solid layer of skin on the bottom, to better support the backing plate.  

The epoxy plugs work best if they’re larger than the top hole in the deck. This means that the cured epoxy will make a small flange under the top layer of the deck, holding it in place. To make this work I use a small bit in a drill, held at an angle, to “till” the core out of the deck around the hole. When complete, the void under the deck will be around 3/4″ around. This ensures both plenty of epoxy surrounding the screw, and that the plug won’t pull out of otherwise move from the hole. I’ve also heard of people using a angled allen key to scrape the hole out, but I find the drill faster. Caveat: you must be extremely steady with the drill, to avoid going through the bottom skin of the deck, or carving up the top skin. After I’ve done the routing out of the hole, I like to wash the hole and surrounding area with acetone. Give it plenty of time to dry.

Here is the underside of the deck.  I’ve taped over the bottom of each hole with two layers of masking tape, after washing the area with acetone to ensure a good tape bond.  You really, REALLY, want the tape to hold here. If it doesn’t, you’ll be happily injecting epoxy through deck, right into the cockpit or cabin, probably on top of the owners bunk or a brand new sail or something. 

All that work, and the actual epoxy part of the job takes about 5 seconds!  I think West 610 is the best for this purpose, but for smaller jobs will often use the Loctite 5 minute self mixing epoxy. Both are far easier than mixing epoxy and loading a syringe.  It’s best to fill the bottom of each hole, move on to the next one and then come back and top it off, as there is typically some soaking of epoxy into the core, which shows up as the epoxy settling.  Once this is done, double check the seals on the bottom of the deck and walk away.  Really, go tune the rig or something, as this will take time to set.
Is it set? Really? Are you sure? Tune the rig again if not 100% convinced.  Once it’s set, I will drill the holes for the hardware again.  Once the holes are in place, test the fit again. Once happy with fit, I like to use a countersink bit on the holes, to make a small depression in the surface of the deck. This void will fill up with sealant, giving a better seal than simply a micron thick layer between the hardware and deck.  Depending on the part I’ll sometimes use the countersink bit on the bottom of the hardware as well, to make a raised dome of sealant to similarly keep water up and out of the hole.

Once the holes are drilled, and the tape removed from the bottom of the deck, add your

sealant. I really like butyl rubber best, but for some fittings-like this angled cleat riser-it’s not the best fit. In this case, it’s because the bottom of the riser has open voids to make it lighter, which means there isn’t a lot of surface area for butyl to spread. For this I used Sika 291, which is pretty good as an all around bedding compound.  When installed bedded hardware, tighten the screws only just enough to get the part touching the deck, and then let it cure.  Have you tuned the rig yet? Why not do it again?  Once the sealant is cured, you can tighten the machine screws down all the way. This gives you a thicker patch of sealant. If you go to full tightness right away, the sealant can be thin, or squeezed out entirely.  I never use sealant on the bottom of the deck;  if water does find it’s way in, I woudl rather have it dripping out of a screw hole (alerting someone to the leak) than trapped inside the deck

.And we’re done.  The cleats installed, and this boat can make it through another 40 years with the same deck!