Simple to make, mast loops keep halyard ends tidy and secure.

I’ve been looking around at all the improvements you’ve made on Sahula during the past five years,” David said as he climbed back into the cockpit after hoisting the mainsail. “The simplest one is the one I really like best.”

I had enjoyed being bosun on Seraffyn and Taleisin as my husband, Larry, and I voyaged through the years. Five years ago, after Larry was no longer with me, I was invited to help David complete the last leg of his 10-year circumnavigation by sailing from New Zealand to Australia. Before we left, we decided to take a few jaunts to let me get to know Sahula, his 40-foot, steel Van de Stadt cutter. On our very first mini-voyage, my itch to tidy up rigging details leapt to the fore.

The day was perfect, the wind lively. David had hoisted the mainsail, unfurled both headsails, and Sahula was sailing enjoyably on a beam

The base of the mast can be a busy place when multiple halyard tails need tending. Simple mast loops help keep things orderly and out of mischief.

reach in the lee of the island where I live. I left the cockpit and walked forward.

When I got to the mast, I came across a quandary. Like many boats with a double headsail rig, Sahula has several halyards that lead down to cleats near the lower part of the mast. Though David had secured the coiled ends of the halyards, to my eyes they not only looked untidy but also tenuous. I could see a potential for the coils to be washed free in a rough seaway.

The quandary was, do I say something and risk stepping on the emotional toes of someone who had already sailed this boat for more than 12 years, or do I keep my mouth shut?

I am not good at holding my tongue.

Fortunately, David’s reaction was, “If you have a better idea, go for it.”

After leading the loop through the coiled halyard tail, just drop the top of the loop over the top of the cleat to keep the tail secure and clean.

I seized the ends of a half- dozen short pieces of 1/4-inch (6mm) Dacron line. Then I threaded one through the base of each cleat and made it into a loop.

Presto, tidy halyard coil loops. Simply pull the loop through the coiled halyard and loop it over the cleat: instant, secure, and easy for visitors.

to use. There is one caveat—never secure two coils of line using the same loop. I did it once on Seraffyn and ended up with an embarrassing tangle.

Since I made the loops for Sahula, these halyard coils have stayed in place through some major blows along the coast of Tasmania and in the Bass Strait. And my rigging detail itch has remained satisfactorily scratched.