Ask Sail: Silencing A Rattling Headsail

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Headsail

Q: Our Pearson 26 has a 110-percent jib that tends to rattle very noisily at the top hank. We only bought the old boat recently, but it must have been happening for a long time, since there’s a deep groove worn inside that bronze hank. The jib has an unusually large and wide grommet at the head, with a wire pennant through the grommet. We removed the pennant, but that makes no difference. The hank is also a loose fit on the forestay, perhaps a wider diameter than necessary. What do you think would cause this rattling? The oversize grommet? The loose-fitting hank? My inclination is to replace the grommet with a much-smaller ring. I suppose the oversize grommet was selected to avoid a stress concentration on the wire pennant. However, we no longer need a wire pennant since we installed a Vectran halyard of ample length.

— Harold Jones, University Heights, OH

BRIAN HANCOCK REPLIES

This is a challenging question. However, I think that the issue is the over-sized grommet at the head. Specifically, the large diameter of the grommet means that the luff of the sail is being pushed forward, since the halyard will naturally seat itself around the middle of the grommet. This, in turn, will cause the luff to be closer to the headstay than normal, and because the load is now likely going directly onto the second hank down, this is causing the top hank to just flop around doing nothing but make a racket. Replacing the grommet with a smaller one or a webbed-on ring will solve the issue, and yes, you are correct, using Vectran will make a difference and you will not need the over-sized grommet. In terms of placement, the top hank should be right at the head of the sail.

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