WetaForum Home Forums Mods and Improvements Dyneema leader to replace wire leader on mainsail

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    • #9979
      Paul WhitePaul White

        The mainsheet halyard has a 25cm wire leader which has a loop on both ends each held by a brass swage. The swage on the pulled end is designed to catch in the V-cleat on the mast so that the strain of the sail is taken at the top of the mast and not transferred directly to the cleat at the bottom. This has a number of issues:

        1. The swage can come undone where it is clamped onto the wire causing the sail to fall down – especially in strong winds or if you pull the Cunningham on hard.
        2. The swage can catch on the side of the V-cleat so that you think it is fixed in position but it then comes loose as soon as you start sailing
        3. The wire leader introduces weight at the top of the mast where you want it least since it adds to the pendulum effect

        The solution is to replace the wire leader with a Dyneema leader which is attached to the mainsail shackle at one end and then spliced to a regular rope which leads down to the cleat at the foot of the mast.

        A knot in the Dyneema is used to catch in the V-cleat.


        1. Dyneema is lighter and stronger than wire and also cannot come undone
        2. The Dyneema leader can easily be replaced if it becomes worn.
        3. The rest of the halyard can be made from any rope that can be spliced to Dyneema but Dyneema core is recommended.


        Peter Martin’s spliced system above uses a 1.75mm Dyneema leader spliced to a 4mm halyard line with a Dyneema core.

        Instructions for making the splice on the Animated Knots website here.


      • #9981

          Is there any reason not to use a single length of Dyneema, instead of two lines spliced together?

          • #9982
            Paul WhitePaul White

              There’s no reason for not using Dyneema  – except for the cost and if it gets worn out you’d have to cut off the end of the rope and possibly replace the entire length if it got too short.

              By having a leader you can have a sacrificial length of rope and then use cheap and thin line (reducing wind resistance) for the section to the mast cleat since that’s not under strain.


          • #10045
            AvatarMartin Langhoff

              Interesting. I’d worry that the dyneema will chafe against the metal V cleat. Dyneema, for all it’s strength, easily chafes itself away. And if you use a dyneema line with an outer layer that handles abrasion better, then you can’t splice it (or is a dog to splice).

              Perhaps you can protect it with a couple turns of rigging tape.

              My other boat — a foiling cat — has dyneema everywhere, many lines are just naked dyneema and I have to stay on top of it wrt chafe.


            • #10137
              Paul WhitePaul White

                I’ve been using the Dyneema leader for about 3 months in mostly strong winds over 20 knots and haven’t noticed any wear. The stop knot has become a bit compressed so I just tied another over it.

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