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Halyard wrap

4 March, 2018

Halyard wrap occurs when the foresail halyard runs at too close an angle to the forestay on furler reefing systems. Unfortunately its quite common and can lead to the failure of the forestay itself.

On the mast shown above the halyard has already wrapped itself around the forestay foil. As you try to unfurl the sail, the twisting load is transferred to the stay and you start to unwind the wire strands of the forestay. Eventually this can lead to the failure of the wire and a dismasting. The damaged wire looks like the second image.

I have seen this on boats less than 10 years old with the furling system fitted from new so don’t assume your boat is alright just because it is newer.

To prevent halyard wrap from happening a defector is required. This effectively pulls the halyard exit down the mast a little and increases the angle between the halyard and the stay preventing it from being able to wrap around. A halyard deflector costs around £20-£40 and can be fitted without unstepping the mast.

Check your halyard angle by using binoculars ora camera with a zoom lens. If you have any doubt contact your local rigger to get it sorted.