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Old 09-02-2014, 22:29   #1
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How long to leave the free end for running rigging.

OK, I really struggled to phrase this title, because I am sure there is some proper terminology I am missing....

But my question is, how much free rope/wire should I leave at the end of various bits of running rigging? I have been sailing our boat for over a year now and there are a few bits of running rigging that just seem too long.

For instance, the topping lift has nearly 6 feet of spare rope after the cleat, which has to be coiled up and tucked out of the way, which is a pain and gets in the way of the main halyard winch.

Various halyards are all too long by two or three feet, particular the all wire halyards, which is a bit of a pain when raising the sail in question. You have to carefully wind the first few feet of wire onto the drum, keeping tension with your hand, so that it does not do that SPROING! thing, till you get some tension from the sail. (Yes, I know, some people hate all wire halyards, but they are what I have and I am rather fond of them aside from this issue.)

The sheets for the MPS are insanely long, so long that I wondered if they had been inadvertantly doubled in length when ordered. I know you need lots of extra on the MPS so it can be tacked around the front of the forestay, but yikes.

So what do people suggest is a sensible amount of "extra" for these various bits of rigging? Will I be cursing myself if I trim a few down to a more managable length?

Matt
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Old 10-02-2014, 01:29   #2
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Re: How long to leave the free end for running rigging.

Use common sense. Try out your halyard tails from the places on your boat you use them. Cut off the extra beyond two or three feet. If you have to pull someone out of the water with a halyard, don't you want to be able to count on a few turns on the winch, and that extra length to the water? Take that into account, too.
Get over your fondness for wire halyards
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Old 10-02-2014, 02:24   #3
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Re: How long to leave the free end for running rigging.

There have been several occasions where I have trimmed too-long sheets, halyards, reefing lines, etc only to regret it when some situation arose that I hadn't been able to foresee. You would think that after owning this boat for 18 years and covering tens of thousands of miles I would be able to anticipate the the circumstances in which I would like to have a very long halyard but I'm still often surprised.

As far as wire halyards go, my main and genoa halyards are both wire-to-rope and I wouldn't have them any other way. I have read far too many accounts of rope halyards parting due to chafe. That won't happen with wire.

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Old 10-02-2014, 03:51   #4
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Re: How long to leave the free end for running rigging.

Sometimes that extra length is handy.. As the ends get sun damaged or chafed you can simply trim them off rather than replace entire halyards etc.
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Old 11-02-2014, 14:24   #5
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Re: How long to leave the free end for running rigging.

Hmm. Good point about hoisting people aboard. I think I will trim down the all wire halyards on the main and staysail then find two other options for hoisting, one on the front of the mast one on the rear to use as hoisting lines and trim everything else to a more rational length. Point taken about frayed ends etc but I think I will take that risk in the interest of tidying up the mess.

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Old 12-02-2014, 07:08   #6
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Re: How long to leave the free end for running rigging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nhschneider View Post
There have been several occasions where I have trimmed too-long sheets, halyards, reefing lines, etc only to regret it when some situation arose that I hadn't been able to foresee.
Same here. I have a sailing dinghy that came with a jib halyard that was nearly twice as long as it needed to be. I trimmed it down so that I had an extra 3-4 feet when the jib was all the way down. Now I wish I had left more like 6-8 feet extra.

The 20+ feet of extra line at first was definitely too much. That needed to be trimmed. But from now on, when shortening a line like this, I will always leave a little more than I really think I need.
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Old 12-02-2014, 07:26   #7
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Re: How long to leave the free end for running rigging.

A short length of Bungy cord with an open hook, over the excess wire, tacked down to the step was how I dealt with Blue's wire h/yard.
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