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Halyards perform the specific task of hoisting sails aloft on Dinghies, Dayboats and Yachts

Halyards can be all rope, all wire or a combination of wire spliced to rope. Historically, these lines were worked and secured at the mast base. However, it is becoming increasingly popular to lead the line aft via a mast base block back to a rope clutch fitted on the coaming in the relative safety of the cockpit. Whichever system is used, the line usually travels up inside the mast to a turning point (sheave) 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 this set-up: Luggers, catboats and yawls attach halyards externally to a gaff or spar which in turn holds the sail aloft. Racing yachts may create a 2:1 purchase on the halyard by adding a turning block to the head of the sail. The halyard exits the mast, passes through the block before finally terminating at the masthead. The benefits are greater tension in the halyard and a reduced distance that the sail can come down under load (sag).

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 choice of diameter and material required to keep the sail in place satisfactorily will be dictated by the intended type of sailing and the sail size.

Racing yachts will tend to opt for a polyester line with a high performance Dyneema core, cruisers may find a 100% polyester line perfectly adequate. Guidance on selecting the best rope for a new or replacement Halyard

Halyards are categorised into:

Cruising Halyards

100% Polyester Lines with approximately 4%– 5% stretch

LIROS Braid on Braid EVO is the new generation, lower stretch, high-load version of LIROS Braid on Braid and by far the most popular rope for all running rigging applications.

LIROS Herkules is the next upgrade featuring extra durability for extended cruising.

Marlowbraid is the Marlow equivalent and sits broadly in the same category.

Cruising Dyneema is constructed from a Dyneema Core inside a Polyester Outer Jacket with approximately 2%-3% stretch

LIROS Dynamic Plus is by far the most popular line in this category with an SK78 core, extra inner plait construction for maintaining a stable form under load and 32plait close weave abrasion resistant polyester cover with several colour coded and full colour options.

Marlow D2 Competition was the nearest equivalent to Dynamic Plus but it has been discontinued and replaced by Marlow D2 Club which has a lower specification SK35 Dyneema core.

Performance Halyards

Racing Dyneema - = Dyneema Core with Polyester Outer Jacket with approximately 1%-1.5% stretch

LIROS Regatta 2000 is the premium racing performance solution recommended for halyards by the manufacturers, LIROS Yacht Ropes – Dyneema SK78 core, the enhanced abrasion resistance delivered by the Steel Blue coloured yarn is a significant advantage in tough sailing conditions.

LIROS Racer 2001 is more widely known in the UK and delivers a similar performance.

Marlow D2 Racing is the comparable Marlow alternative to LIROS Racer 2001

Extreme Performance Dyneema - = Dyneema Core with Polyester Outer Jacket with approximately 1%

LIROS Control XTR is the ultimate line for extreme (XTR) conditions where the rigging will be pushed to the limit – SK99 Dyneema core for the lowest possible stretch and highest break load, Technora blended cover for the optimum heat and abrasion resistance

Marlow D2 Grand Prix is athe upgraded version of D2 Racing with a super prestretched Dyneema 78 core and Technora blended cover

Dinghy Halyards

Dinghy Halyards can be selected by using a similar approach based on desired performance in terms of stretch, anti twist handling and wear resistance

Marlow Excel Pro and LIROS 8 plait Prestretched are 100% Polyester lines LIROS Magic Pro and Marlow Excel Racing have a Dyneema SK78 core and polyester jacket Marlow Excel GP78 has a similar core with an upgraded blended Technora/Polyester jacket LIROS Magic XTR is the ultimate dinghy halyard combining an SK78 Dyneema core with a blended Technora/Dyneema SK78 jacket

The Running Rigging Resource in the Jimmy Green Knowledge Centre provides more in-depth information on making the best choice for your sailing requirements e.g.

Running Rigging Rope Selection Guide

Cruising and Racing Dyneema Comparison 

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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