Most modern sailboats are using low stretch braided materials for halyards rather than wire. Modern halyards have a terrific strength to weight ratio, and they don�t chew up your hands like wire. However, these materials are less resilient to "UV" damage than wire. One way to extend the life of halyards is to keep them out of the sun when they are not in use. One way to do this is to fasten a sacrificial line to the end of the halyard and hoist it to full hoist. Secure the remaining portion of the line to the base or to a lifeline or toe rail. The tail end of the line that you now have exposed may then be placed into a bag made of UV resistant material such as "Sunbrella" or "acrylon". Your local sail maker should have this material in stock, and I am sure that they will be happy to make you a halyard bag. Good luck!
When first buying the line, calculate the amount you need, and add 30 inches or so.
At the start of each season, cut 3-5 inches off the line before tying it onto your sail.
This will keep a fresh portion running over the sheeve (wheel) after you have raised the sail.
Not doing this allows the same stressed out few inches of line to be positioned over the most stressed points, including ther winch, deck hardware, etc.
If you have a sailboat that has a wire halyard line (which is NOT uncommon as 1 says), you can prevent sea corrosion by hoisting yourself in a bosun's chair up the mast with a can of WD40 spraying it all the way up and down the line. WD40 blocks corrosion as well as lubricates.
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