Frozen Out

Roy Labonte of San Bernardino, California, asks:

“The main and jib halyard sheaves on my Islander Freeport 36 are corroded and frozen at the masthead. I freed the pins on the sheaves by knocking them back and forth with a rubber mallet. But I have had no luck freeing the sheaves themselves. Is there any way to get them away from the mast?”

Don Casey replies:

Maybe not, but if you are patient and have time, a penetrating lubricant such as PB Blaster ( can work wonders. The trick is to keep the edges of the corroded area wet with lubricant. If the mast is in the boat, this means making a weekly ascent to the masthead. If you can drive the pins all the way out, replace them with a piece of line that goes through the center of the sheave. Once the line is secured, smack the edge of a sheave with a rubber mallet. If possible, also try inserting a putty knife between the sheave block and whatever it is stuck to. If you can’t remove the sheave pins, putting a small, low-stretch line around the sheave at least once will also let you apply considerable torque to the sheave.

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