Halyards perform the specific task of hoisting sails aloft. Historcially, these lines were worked and secured at the mast base. However, it is becoming increasingly popular to lead the line aft via a mastbase block back to the cockpit. Whichever system is used, the line usually travels up inside the mast to a turning point above the desired hoist height of the sail. Here the halyard will exit the mast and come back to deck level outside the mast ready for attachment to the sail. 

There are some notable deviations from from this set-up. Luggers, catboats and yawls each attach halyards to a gaff which in turn holds the sail aloft. Some modern racing yachts create a 2:1 purchase on the halyard by adding a turning block to the head of the sail. The halyard exits the mast before passing through the block before finally terminating at the masthead. This not only allows racing yachts to create greater tension in the halyard but also reduces the amount the sail comes down under increased downhaul tension.

Hoisting a sail aboard a yacht usually requires assistance from a winch and the addition of a clutch to secure it aloft. Most modern lines have a double braid construction designed to withstand the abrasion created by these clutches and winches. The type of sailing and sail size will affect the choice of diameter and material required to keep the sail in place satisfactorily. Racing yachts will tend to opt for a high performing Dyneema core, cruisers may find a 100% polyester line perfectly adequate.

The Jimmy Green Marine Rigging Team can help specify your new halyard. The filters on the left should help guide you towards a suitable diameter line. alternatively, you can send us a few inches of the old one for us to check. There is a rule of thumb for specifying the length required as shown below. If you are going to remove the old halyard, ensure that you attach a mousing line to the end ready to reeve the new halyard.

Main Halyard - 2.2 x length of mast
Genoa Halyard - 2.3 x length of mast
Spinnaker or Gennaker Halyard - 2.3 x length of mast
Fractional Genoa Halyard - 2 x length of mast
Fractional Spinnaker Halyard - 2 x length of mast
N.B. add on the distance between the mast and the cockpit clutches for any halyard that is led aft

Jimmy Green Marine have a wide choice of ropes for cruising and racing, but it doesn't take long to get a quote.
You can simply buy the rope cut to length or choose the splicing, whipping and shackle for Team Jimmy Green to complete the halyard.
Some lines can be cover stripped for Ultimate Tapered Halyard Performance.
You are welcome to send us your existing shackles to splice on for you. 

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