Make a low cost fid for splicing - from a ballpoint pen

I wanted to change my main halyard with the mast up. The halyard is inside the mast, exiting at the base and then enclosed under the hatch garage before leading back to the cockpit – a bit fiddly.
I decided to connect the new braid-on-braid halyard to the old one with an end splice, but didn’t have the correct size fid to hand – so I improvised with a ballpoint pen.

The halyard is 10mm, so a pen with an outside diameter of 8mm is about right. You’ll need to use a flexible pen, though, not one with a brittle plastic case.


There is plenty of instruction online on how to do an end-to-end splice. The replacement is a simple, trouble-free pull through, then you cut off the old with a hot knife to seal the new end. I used a short piece of PVC insulation tape around the fid and rope to hold the loose strands, and
as added security sewed the joint with thread so there is no chance of the join slipping.
James Brooking


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