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 Post subject: Halyard "Fork" On Mast
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 11:25 am 
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Can someone tell me the purpose of the "Fork" at the top of the mast that captures the halyard when the sail is up? I have never seen it on any other sailboat. What would be wrong with simply hoisting the main sail and cleating it off without hooking the halyard in the fork? It sure would make lowering the sail in an emergency a lot quicker. What is its purpose and what are the risks of not using it?

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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 1:07 pm 
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The Fork captures the wire segment of the halyard to hold the sail at the fully hoisted position. It also holds the head of the sail into the luff track. Without the wire the sail can pull out of the track and the sail would slip down under downhaul and main sheet tensions. This would lower the boom.

Not using the hook = bad.

Review the rigging video for proper technique. Its not difficult to do.

H16 FAQ page: http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=12697

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 12:04 pm 
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Not to disagree with Mr Miller, but I was unable to use the top fork for about five years due to an incident affecting the top of the mast. I cut off the wire halyard segment and cleated it at the base of the mast with no problems, except that it sometimes would drop just a bit at the top. No question that top locking is far superior though. Holland.


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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 12:10 pm 
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Thanks for the input Holland. Being an engineer I would like to understand this situation better. I'm still not understanding what exactly is different between the Getaway and other sailboats. Does the Hobie 16, 17, 18, or Tiger use this "fork" setup?

What is different about the Getaway mast that would allow the sail to pull out of the track?

There have been several times in high winds and high waves that I needed to get the main down quickly, and the last thing I wanted to do was run out on the front tramp and try to unhook the halyard while the boat was pitching all over the place. It would sure be nice to be able to simply uncleat the halyard and drop the sail.

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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 7:53 pm 
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Looking at the parts guide, it looks like the Wave, H14, & H16 all use a fork similar to the Getaway. The H17 & H18 have a hook at the top that a metal ring attached to the head of the sail goes on. I don't see the tiger setup in the parts guide, but I assume it's similar to one of these designs.

All these designs "ground" the sail tension at the top of the mast. As you describe your setup the sail tension is carried by the halyard around the pulley at the top of the mast and back down to be "grounded" at the mast base. Grounding at the base basically sets up a 2:1 purchase, so that for the same luff tension you double the compression force in the mast. I don't know how this loading compares to the side loading from the wind or the tension in the shrouds and sheets, but it's just one more thing working to buckle / bend the mast.

Other sailboats I've seen that ground at the mast base are keelboats. These tend to have thicker masts relative to sail area and have more elaborate shroud/stay designs to help resist bending. Beach cats are meant to be simple to set up and take down for easy transportation and quick launching. I assume that grounding the tension at the top of the mast helped the designers to lighten up the mast and simplify the rigging.

Also being an engineer myself I would tend to want to use the design as intended.

-Rowdy


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 9:07 am 
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14, Wave,16 and Getaway all use the fork. Other models except Sport Cruiser use a hook and ring.

The Sport Cruiser is a perfect example of why the fork or hook are best. The halyard on the Sport cruiser must me hoisted with 3:1 purchase and even with that the down haul overcomes the halyard tension... the main slips down the track causing you to lose luff tension and... the head of the sail pulls out and jams in the track if not held in the fully hoisted position.

At the Bitter End Yacht club and some other heavy user resorts... they sometimes use rope halyards. The wire part of the halyards wears and causes them to replace halyards, so they use what they can get. The sails look like poop (wrinkled) and perform poorly, but hoisting is easier for staff.

Look guys... I'm not an "engineer", but I've been sailing Hobie Cats since 1976 and know a thing or two about this issue.

Use the stock system. They are easy to use. They work.

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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 11:16 am 
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Use the fork!

If you just tie off the halyard, you're not going to be able to pull in the mainsheet or downhaul to flatten the mainsail, you'll just be stretching the halyard and sliding the sail down the mast.

This is probably why you feel like you need to take the sail down when it gets windy - you're getting overpowered because you can't tighten the downhaul and flatten the sail out. Instead of worrying about getting your sail down in a hurry when the wind comes up, work on tuning the rig by tightening the downhaul, tightening the mainsheet, and travelling out. But none of this will be effective unless your sail is fully hoisted and locked in at the top.

Bottom line - use the halyard the way it was designed.

sm


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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 10:44 am 
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If you ask me the fork is much easier to use then the hook ring. There are folks who add zippers their main sails to create smaller heavy weather sails. I assume they don't use the fork?


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 6:02 pm 
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Kevin, I agree. I had a 17 with the hook and ring. What a pain!
Yes, if you have a zipper reefed sail, you just cleat the sail off, unless you make up a special halyard with 2 stops.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:06 pm 
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The hook is a great system. I am actually surprised it is not used in more boats. Not only it reduces the compression forces on the mast, but also the halyard line only has to be strong enough to raise the sail, reducing weight and windage aloft.

For the record, we were using this swage and hook system in Penguin class dinghies in the early '60s.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:43 am 
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Yes, the fork makes it possible to control the compressive force to just the back of the mast and therefore help keep the mast in column more predictably. BUT, it makes it impossible to reef the mainsail quickly or effectively. That's OK if you live in an area that has predictable winds or if you never take your boat out in conditions that could turn unsafe. For those of us who want to push the envelope or go sailing no matter what the windspeed forecast is... It is a different philosophy between beach cat sailors and the "other" sailors that want to survive and sail through force 5 squalls. Note that boats with cabins pretty much all have reef'able sailplans. I prefer to be able to reduce sail and still get where I want to go while keeping the boat on her feet--but that's probably because that's what I'm used to. It is probably possible to add reef points to the Getaway mainsail and roll the bottom of the sail around the battens to get it out of the way...haven't tried it yet, though. R/Thom


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 5:22 pm 
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Well, if you want to have the ability to reef the main, there's no reason why you can't have the cable part of the halyard with more than one "swage" corresponding to the reef points. You still have all the advantages (no compression, no stretch) of the hook system.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:34 am 
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A second slug on the halyard would be OK if you leave the beach with the sail already reefed. But trying to reef once you are on the water on a pitching deck with big wind AND having to put the slug into the fork slot is a little too much to ask, I think--this was the complaint of the original poster...to reduce sail in a dangerous situation, one has to perform a dangerous act because of the fork. For the few times that reefing may be needed, it will be "OK" to have the 2:1 on the halyard since with the sail lower, the compressive forces from the halyard and mainsheet/downhaul will be acting further down on the mast and will be less likely to put the mast at risk. Someone mentioned that part of the reason you want this fork is to keep the mainsail in the groove at the top...a simple slug sewn into the headboard of the mainsail will do this just as well.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:06 am 
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The fork is a halyard lock.

The tension in the main halyard is equal to the luff tension. If you cleat the halyard at the mast base the tension in the halyard will act to bend the mast. Using the halyard lock reduces mast compression 50%

To cleat the halyard at the base base while maintaining the sail shape and trim adjustments would require a redesign of the rig. Either a stiffer section to handle the loads or extra rigging like the diamonds used on the 18's.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:16 am 
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tpdavis473 wrote:
A second slug on the halyard would be OK if you leave the beach with the sail already reefed. But trying to reef once you are on the water on a pitching deck with big wind AND having to put the slug into the fork slot is a little too much to ask, I think--this was the complaint of the original poster...to reduce sail in a dangerous situation, one has to perform a dangerous act because of the fork. For the few times that reefing may be needed, it will be "OK" to have the 2:1 on the halyard since with the sail lower, the compressive forces from the halyard and mainsheet/downhaul will be acting further down on the mast and will be less likely to put the mast at risk. Someone mentioned that part of the reason you want this fork is to keep the mainsail in the groove at the top...a simple slug sewn into the headboard of the mainsail will do this just as well.


A halyard with a second stopper would be too long. NA Hobies try to insulate the masthead with the comptip. A halyard long enough to cleat at a reef point could conduct electricity to the metal mast and to a person stepping it and defeat the safety purpose of the comptip.

A headboard slug will not work on a Hobie Comptip mast. The sail track in the comptip is too soft to take the leech loads. The headboard slug would pull out of the comptip and probably jam at the end of the comptip if you tried to lower the sail. The standard halyard lock system keeps the head of the sail high enough and close enough so the leech loads are taken by the halyard not the track.

In areas of the world that still allow an all aluminum mast reefing is possible and a dual stopper halyard is used. Look at old Hobie pictures to see reefed H16's and note that the new sails used in European championships have reef points.


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