mast twists half inch and main halyard gets super tough to raise last six inches

Just bought a 40 year old FS. My first one and two things I noticed.
Mast can twist by hand half inch either direction and its in a sleeve? Is that bad. what is the cause and how do I fix it
Main is very hard to raise the last 6 inches. So tight i leave it three inches short from the top. Haylard not twisted. Lots of tension the last 6 inches. Why and how to fix
Thanks for any suggestions

I had the same problem with main on my 40 year old boat. I replaced the masthead sheeves and it did the trick. As far as the mast twist I'm not sure about that one, I sounds like the bottom of the mast might have been pushed out of shape over the years. You might be able to very carefully tap it back into shape, but hammering on teh aluminum will tend to thin the metal at the same time so I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not. Maybe someone else can chime in with an answer. Good Luck. Mark

I assume you have an older boat and have the current mast raising hinge.  First I would replace the mast step.  It is cheap enough and fairly simple.  If there is still any play, this is because the inside of your mast is worn,  What I found works, I had FS337 and this worked for me.  I lowered the mast, wrapped the step in tin foil leaving enough foil around the base of the mast.  Than I mixed a batch of thickened epoxy, about the consistancy of peanut butter.  I spread this mixture into the base of the mast.  Than I stepped the mast.  The idea here is to get the mast base to fit snuggly on the step.  When the epoxy cures, you can lower the mast, remove the tin foil and the excess epoxy.  Your mast should now have a nice fit to the step.

The problem for me was exactly like yours, really the last few inches.. 
Is your halyard digging into the mast track, inside at the top ?  Look for a groove being made by the main halyard returning back down the mast. 
If so, that's the problem creating a lot of friction on the halyard the last few inches.
I had found that after replacing my working but old, worn sheaves, the problem of getting the last few inches 'home' began.  I really looked hard at it and realized that the newer replacement sheaves had too deep a groove and were not allowing the halyard to properly clear the mast groove.  Once I compared this inner groove to the older sheaves groove - I was sure of the problem.  
The problem sheave is actually the inner sheave - the one that acts like a tensioning sheave - not the top- most one that has all the pressure of the mainsail.  This problem sheave doesn't 'push' the retuning halyard far enough away from the mast and starts to grind into it...  If you see the halyard making a groove in the top of the mast - this is your problem.   
I brought this to Harry at FS attention last year - they agreed and made sheaves with a less deep groove thus allowing the halyard to push clear of the mast track and not scrape.  Therefore - no more friction...
Problem solved.
Hope this helps...

BASMITH's picture

I had a problem with not being able to raise the mainsail to the top of the mast as well.  I know that you should not raise it to the very top because there is too much tension on the halyard at the top but I couldn't get it closer than 6-7".  I had old sails and I discovered that the leech rope has strunk over the years and would not allow the sail to go all the way up.  I carefully released the rope from the bottom and retacked it.  That's all it needed.  Happy sailing.