Clanging Halyards … Don’t Bug Your Neighbors!

A norther came through Punta Gorda, FL today — winds piped up significantly from the northwest.  Clanging halyards are a major annoyance … in a marina or in an anchorage.  Once we had an Italian boat anchored upwind of us in Nargana, San Blas Island Panama.  Their clanging halyards kept us both awake all night long and made us wonder how on earth anyone could sleep through the noise.  In the morning, we dinghied over and very politely asked if the halyards bothered them.  The captain said yes, the halyards made some noise, but apparently unlike us, didn’t keep them from sleeping.  He didn’t indicate any interest in making any changes to make the noise any less.  We thought sure we’d have to reanchor to get rid of the noise.  But when we came back from town in our dinghy, sure enough he and his crew were up on deck working on the offending halyards.  Being nice can have unexpected results!

Take a Look -- Can ANYTHING Clang Against the Mast if the WInd Pipes Up?

Take a Look -- Can ANYTHING Clang Against the Mast if the Wind Pipes Up?

Here’s how David deals with our halyards ….   first he looks at each line and makes sure he can either attach it somewhere where it cannot possibly clang against the mast or bungee it to keep it away from the mast, or both.  Usually our main halyard, extra halyard that we use the raise and lower the dinghy and the jib halyard are attached to either the lean bars around the mast or the outside lifelines.  The extra halyard for the dinghy often is led all the way forward and connected to the bow pulpit and the main halyard is attached on an outside lifeline just forward for the cockpit.





Potential Offenders?  Shock Cords Work!

Potential Offenders? Shock Cords Work!

Any potential offenders can be quickly and easily dealt with with an inexpensive shock cord.  David shock cords off all our potential offenders and we never have clanging halyards.  He’s also been known to board unoccupied neighbor boats at the dock and “donate” a shock cord to help our sleep.  No one has ever complained when we call it to their attention the next time we see them — I don’t think most people want clanging halyards and lines, they just don’t realize what happens all night every night if they’re not live aboards!

Anyone have any other ideas to deal with offending mast bangers?  Please leave a comment and let us know!  THX!  Jan


  1. And if you have external halyards, remember you have to get BOTH halves of them away from the mast . . . and anything else they can bang on!

  2. Amber Amodei via Facebook says:

    Hear hear!

  3. Candy Ann Williams via Facebook says:

    Banging halyards and barking dogs are so irritating…especially living aboard!

  4. This is a great article for first time sail boat owners. I actually just purchased my 30ft Pearson last year and my first day in my slip, I had the neighbor of the previous owner walk aboard and say, “Nice purchase young lady, hope you don’t just let your halyard lines keep everyone up the way *** did.”

    I really didn’t realize it was an issue since I haven’t done an overnight aboard since I was like 11 years old. So it’s a great point that, those who don’t stay over don’t really have a clue.

    Well, long story short, I tried a few options and also let my neighbors. We tried the bungee, but not in the format shown in the article, so may have to give that a go again. I tried tying a line to my jib & main halyard lines and actually tying that down to my spring line…only worked for 1 night, the line slid up and gave enough room for the clanging to commence (P.S. I live in Chicago….let’s just say the wind does what it wants).

    I’ll try these tips and hopefully a few other tricks and let you know if they work!


  5. When not in use, we foul our halyards around the spreaders. Just a quick flip around the stays to get them in and out of position. Works like a charm with no additional parts to buy, replace, or adjust.

    s/v The Dude Abides

  6. 5:18am~ just changed bungee cord to your way. . working so far!!! Thank you!!!

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