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Old 11-03-2009, 11:23   #1
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Leech line problems

G'Day All

On Insatiable II, a fractionally rigged sloop, we have a 650 sq ft, somewhat roachy mains'l, set on a 19' long boom. The sailmaker supplied an "over-the-top" leech-line, which begins near the clew outhaul, goes round a small block at the head, and then descends along the luff' It emerges from the tabling just above each of three reef points with a handy clam-cleat , and finally terminates at the tack.

This system is great in that one has access to make adjustments at the mast rather than at the end of the boom which can be hard to reach at times! However, once you put in a reef, it stops working. What happens is that as you pull on the LL it simply "accordions" the leech in the flaked parts of the sail and never develops any significant tension. The result is leech flutter, which becomes incrementally more annoying and then damaging as the wind increases, and as you reef further to the 2nd and then 3rd reefs.

So, I wonder if any of you have had this problem, and if there is a solution that some clever sailmaker has found?

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:45   #2
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I can't think of any way around this other than installing a Gransegel jam cleat on the trailing edge at each reef like the one pictured here: http://www.sailrite.com/Gransegel-Cl...&category=7486
Bainbridge part number A059
But you could only use the overhead leech line when the sail is not reefed.
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Old 11-03-2009, 14:32   #3
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above each of three reef points with a handy clam-cleat , Jim
Hi Jim,

Why doesnt the clam cleate work? is it up the wrong way?
Maybe a small loop in the LL so you can grab it with the boat hook and get it into the clam cleats teeth.
Its still going to be a pain getting the line into the clam clete and not have it flog out in heavy weather..

If no one had invented Leach Lines sailmakers would have to produce sails that don't flap!!!!!!!!!


All the best


Mark
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Old 11-03-2009, 21:34   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
The sailmaker supplied an "over-the-top" leech-line, which begins near the clew outhaul, goes round a small block at the head, and then descends along the luff' It emerges from the tabling just above each of three reef points with a handy clam-cleat , and finally terminates at the tack.

Jim
So, if I read you right the LL goes all the way to the top first, around a block, then back down to the cleats and onto the clew????

If so, this is the problem. The LL should be attached to the head-board or just below it and then run down the leach (one line) passing thru openings for each cleat at each reef and end up at the clew opening with a tie-off cleat.
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Old 11-03-2009, 21:45   #5
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I have the same system on my main. I'll go down and look at mine next chance I get to see if there is something interesting at the leech cringles. So far I haven't had a problem, but I haven't had to apply much tension.

John
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Old 11-03-2009, 21:50   #6
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the problem is the roach

I'm guessing you've already talked to your sailmaker, and that you've been told there's no real solution to the problem. Indeed, a big-roach main is always going to have a leech tension problem when reefed, a problem too big to be controlled with a leech line, whether conventional or not. Your only safe bet is going to be to control leach tension with a combination of boom angle and outhaul. The bigger the roach, the more leech line tension is going to work against you once you've reefed.
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Old 11-03-2009, 22:36   #7
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Bash, with all respect due, I am a sail maker. To reiterate and hopefully clarify Jim's issue, an overhead leech line is fixed at the clew. In contrast to a normal leech line Jim does not have jam cleats at each reef on the trailing edge and cannot adjust it when the sail is reefed. It is a continuous line that goes all the way up the leech to the headboard, around at block and then back down through a pocket on the luff. That way it can be adjusted at the mast, BUT only when the sail is not reefed (correct me if I misunderstood Jim)

The roach is really not the problem. Outhaul and mainsheet tension will not control the leech flutter. The problem is there is no good way to keep tension on the leech line when reefed because as Jim pointed out it just slips unrestricted through about 40 feet of flaked tabling. The only solution (that I know of) is to put jam cleats on the leech at the reefs. This is not difficult to do if you use Gransegel cleats because they can be hand stitched with a sail needle and do not require a commercial sewing machine.

I hope that helps.
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Old 12-03-2009, 01:38   #8
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I understand all this info but... we have huge roached main and mizzen (so big that we can't have backstays) but I never had leech flutter when reefed! How can that be?

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:16   #9
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I understand all this info but... we have huge roached main and mizzen (so big that we can't have backstays) but I never had leech flutter when reefed! How can that be?

cheers,
Nick.
Badly stretched or poorly made sails.

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Old 12-03-2009, 10:26   #10
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Thanks to all the respondants.

For delmarray, no, the LL starts at the clew, goes up the leech, around the block at the headboard and then down the LUFF, with access to it at each tack cringle which allows tightening and a small clam cleat to secure it.

For markj: Nope, the cleats work fine... the problem is at the other end of the string!

It has been suggested that there be similar access and cleats along the leech. These would indeed solve the problem, but the boom is just too high (especially when in the 2nd and 3rd reef position) for me to reach! This is one of those places where the small boat advocates are correct! But, I'm not gonna change boats on that account...

For cal40john: Thanks, I'd appreciate hearing how your system works.

For Jedi: Well, I know that Dashew is a very clever chap, and I'd appreciate knowing how your leech lines are run. Your sails likely support even bigger roaches than mine, but despite the suggestion above, I don't think that roach, supported by full battens, can be the source of leech flutter. Does put lots of loading on the battens and their attachments at the mast, tho'.

Anyway, thanks to you all for your thoughts.

Cheers,
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Old 12-03-2009, 12:27   #11
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Cal40John: how can you say that? They are new Elvstrom-Sobstad sails made out of tri-radial cut spectra reinforced hydranet material and they have perfect shape and drive the boat better than ever.

Jim: Our leach lines are run the same as yours. I only ever felt the need for adjusting with full sail broad reaching. When we reef, the leech is tight like a blade with the reefing lines obviously providing that tightness. I think the reason is that our sails are very heavy/thick and maybe the tri-radial cut. At the headboard the sails are 3/8" thick.
I will check the leech line at the reef positions again next time, to see if there's some secret in there ;-)

cheers,
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Old 12-03-2009, 12:31   #12
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Remove your mainsail from the boat and lay it out flat on a clean surface.

Attach a messenger line to the tack end of the leach line. Withdraw the entire leach line from the clew pulling the messenger line with it.

Sew a second--1st Reef--leach line of a different color to the first at a distance equal to the distance between the clew and a point above the first reef cringle with a few stiches of very light thread and attach the other end to the messenger with the original leach line.

Sew a third--2nd reef-leech line of a third color--say red--to the original leach line at a distance equal to the distance between the clew and a point just above the 2nd reef cringle with a few stiches of very light thread and attach the other end to the messenger along with the original and 1st reef leach lines.

Thoroughly soak all three leach lines with sailKote and then draw them back through the flap at the clew to the head and thence down through the luff flap to the tack. Do not disconnect the messenger.

If you squeeze the flap along the leach of the sail just above the 1st reef cringle you will be able to feel the end of the 1st reef leach line. Squeeze the 1st reef leach line away from the original leach line and lock it in place to the sail by passing stitches through the flap and the 1st reef leach line itself. Do the same above the second reef point with the 2nd Reef leach line, locking it in place also.

Once the new leach lines are sewn in place, pull sharply on the original leach line at the clew while having someone support the leach of the sail near the head which will break the threads holding the 1st and 2nd reef leach lines to the original so each will work independently.

Then use a hot knife to make a small horizontal slit in the face of the flap along the luff just above the 1st reef tack cringle and extract the 1st reef leach line--blue--and sew a jamb cleat or simply two bottons to the sail at the point and trim the line to length. Likewise just above the second reef point tack cringle and extract the 2nd reef leach line--red--where you will also add a jamb cleat or a couple more bottons and trim that line to length. Done

The foregoing will give you individual leach lines for the entire sail and for the 1st and 2nd reef points. I wouldn't concern myself with the 3rd reef point as, if you ever need it, you'll have more to worry about that leach flutter.

FWIW...
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Old 12-03-2009, 15:27   #13
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Jim,

We have a similar system on our Insatiable. But without the same problem.The leech line runs up to the head, around a block and back down, inside a pocket, but there are breaks in the pocket just above each reefing point, where the leech cord is exposed and where there is a small jammer that the leech cord runs through. When the leech cord is straight it runs freely through the jammer, but when it you reef down you can grab the leech cord, pull it to the desired tension and jam it off in the jammer.

I would suggest that any decent sail loft would be able to create a similar system for you, for a fairly small price.

Patrick
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Old 12-03-2009, 16:00   #14
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Well, thanks again for the ideas.

Patrick: Yep, The REAL Insatiable has the access and cleats along the luff. My problem is that when reefed the CLEW end of the LL creeps by slowly gathering up the flakes in the part of the sail below the reef outhaul cringle, thus losing its tension. Hope all is well with y'all and that you kicked ass at the Cygnet Regatta!

HyLight: Thanks for the detailed suggestion. I had considered this option, but was worried about getting it all to work. The Sailkote idea is a good one. One other compilcation is the requirement for additional little blocks at the headboard to accomodate the new LL's. I have not checked to see if they could be located where they would lead fairly; I'll have a look when we get back to Oz. And by the way -- we frequently use the third reef, and would probably want to rig a LL for it as well!

Cheers and thanks to all'

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Gladstone Qld Oz
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Old 12-03-2009, 16:15   #15
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Can't you use a single line along the luff and over the block at the headboard and only after that, coming down on the leech, attach additional lines for the reef points? I think that was what HyLyte described?

cheers,
Nick.
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