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Old 02-05-2016, 09:52   #31
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Re: Lines Led Aft - Is It Really An Improvement?

I think there's another aspect to this. We see sailboats all the time with insufficient luff tension, too much twist, jib fairleads in the wrong location, and so forth. In short, terrible sail trim. Frequently this is generalized as "he's just a cruiser", but I think it's frequently due to the difficulty of making the adjustment. If I had to go to the mast every time I wanted to adjust the cunningham, guess what? It wouldn't get adjusted very often. Or if my cunningham was a 3:1 purchase when a 6:1 purchase was necessary, the same problem arises.

I think lines should be led back to the cockpit if they are adjusted frequently, as an inducement to keep the sails trimmed correctly.

With Surprise, just about the only frequently adjusted line that doesn't come aft is the outhaul on the main. But when it comes time to reef, I have to go forward to put the reefing tack pennant over the hook on the gooseneck. It doesn't happen very often, and the reef looks great since the tack is held in exactly the right location.

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Old 02-05-2016, 10:01   #32
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Re: Lines Led Aft - Is It Really An Improvement?

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Originally Posted by Chuck Hawley View Post
I think there's another aspect to this. We see sailboats all the time with insufficient luff tension, too much twist, jib fairleads in the wrong location, and so forth. In short, terrible sail trim. Frequently this is generalized as "he's just a cruiser", but I think it's frequently due to the difficulty of making the adjustment. If I had to go to the mast every time I wanted to adjust the cunningham, guess what? It wouldn't get adjusted very often. Or if my cunningham was a 3:1 purchase when a 6:1 purchase was necessary, the same problem arises.

I think lines should be led back to the cockpit if they are adjusted frequently, as an inducement to keep the sails trimmed correctly.

With Surprise, just about the only frequently adjusted line that doesn't come aft is the outhaul on the main. But when it comes time to reef, I have to go forward to put the reefing tack pennant over the hook on the gooseneck. It doesn't happen very often, and the reef looks great since the tack is held in exactly the right location.

Chuck Hawley
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I simply put my cunningham through the reef tack. It is an 8' piece of Dyneema tied to the gooseneck; I thread it through the cunningham cringle or reef tack then around the mast winch on the other side, couple of cranks and done.

I love going forward to adjust the cunningham. This gives me an opportunity to look up along the luff to check for shroud and intermediate tension, inspect everything, talk to the dolphins at the bow etc. If we are too lazy to walk up the deck of our sailboats while cruising paradise then there is little hope left for the human kind.
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:15   #33
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Re: Lines Led Aft - Is It Really An Improvement?

An interesting discussion, we have all lines led aft, except the Cunningham/forward reef hook and the outhaul. So, reefing requires a trip to the mast. When singlehanding having the halyard in the cockpit is a bit a pain. But, with crew on board, having the halyard separated from the mast work means one person can be in the cockpit, out of the way, handling the halyard and keeping a hand on the helm or an eye on the AP while the other person at the mast only has to deal with the downhaul.

Overall, I probably prefer having my halyards in the cockpit and have not found any problems with friction, but when singlehanding I sometimes wish they were at the mast.
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:15   #34
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Re: Lines Led Aft - Is It Really An Improvement?

Chuck,
No argument from me on having the frequently adjusted lines in the cockpit. That's how my boat is set up. I call those lines sheets.

I suspect that many cruisers don't even have a Cunnigham cringle on their mainsail. For each of the mainsails that I've ordered over the years I've had to specify a Cunningham as it was never part of the initial quote. I use my Cunningham every time I'm close hauled for more than a short time. I think that last occurred in 2009.

That said, I can be very lazy about sail trim on a passage, and reef very early (many times unnecessarily) because I'd rather spend most of my time comfortably in the cockpit. So I could be one of those sailors you have noticed.

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Old 02-05-2016, 10:30   #35
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Re: Lines Led Aft - Is It Really An Improvement?

Lots of opinions but it breaks down to this:
If you fear going on deck, or you have a lot of crew and are racing and want to keep the weight aft, then lead them into the cockpit.

Normally lines led aft are under the dodger, you can not see what you are doing, you have to pause and look out to see what is going on, usually it is not a good position to crank a winch, there is more resistance in the leads and you have a mess of lines in the cockpit. If anything goes awry you have to get up on deck anyway, there is just no good reason to run things aft unless you are a very small boat and can stand with the tiller between your legs and hoist a sail hand over hand.

Standing at the base of the mast, you are out of harms way, you can see everything that is going on, the winches are in a good position to crank, and it is tidy. You can keep an eye out for traffic, keep an eye on the sail as it goes up or down, see if anything is catching or hanging up, and clear it easily.

But many coastal sailors fear the deck, that is why it is a popular option on production boats.

Simple is usually best,

Michael
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:38   #36
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Re: Lines Led Aft - Is It Really An Improvement?

Kind of a silly question. You can get leverage with blocks, winches, and stops so that raising and adjusting sails from the cockpit should not be an issue. Of course that assumes your sail slides roll easily or your furling/reefing system has good bearings. Some folks just use electric winches on their masts to raise and lower their sails(leads to the cockpit/steering area).
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Old 02-05-2016, 10:47   #37
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Re: Lines Led Aft - Is It Really An Improvement?

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Kind of a silly question. You can get leverage with blocks, winches, and stops so that raising and adjusting sails from the cockpit should not be an issue. Of course that assumes your sail slides roll easily or your furling/reefing system has good bearings. Some folks just use electric winches on their masts to raise and lower their sails(leads to the cockpit/steering area).
Yes, and you can create a big complicated mess doing so too! I did this on my 47 footer. All under the dodger on the cabin top:
Two staysail winches and sheets, 6 stoppers, two other winches for the lines led aft, many coils of line etc.
I guess I'd have to disagree with Chuck Hawley on what's a dis-incentive to adjusting. Working in that mess of stoppers, clearing coils of line etc was much more of an issue than simply going to the mast base!
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:15   #38
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Re: Lines Led Aft - Is It Really An Improvement?

All aft please, Head sail reefing, In Mast reefing, and go ahead and enjoy safe sailing.
If there is too much friction, then add an electric winch.
If you are concerned about the 1/4 knot you will be slower, pleaswe don't unless you are racing.
Cruising, for me, is to enjoy the voyage, and be safe.
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:38   #39
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Re: Lines Led Aft - Is It Really An Improvement?

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Leading lines aft is a common practice these days, especially recommended for singlehanders. The rationale behind this seems sound: going up on deck involves more time and risk than handling the sails from the cockpit.

Then I found this article, which takes the opposite view. The argument is largely based on the additional friction involved when leading lines aft. As a future singlehanding sailor, this is of great interest to me, but I don't know enough to have a strong opinion at this point.

What do you think?

Continue Reading
If I had to go on deck, I would have to put down my martini. Seems like somewhat of a dumb question.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:16   #40
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Re: Lines Led Aft - Is It Really An Improvement?

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If I had to go on deck, I would have to put down my martini. Seems like somewhat of a dumb question.
Or you have to put on the weather gear">foul weather gear. I could typically reef from the cockpit wearing just a tee shirt. If I had to go forward, it then required putting on the foul gear and dealing with the wet gear afterwards. Emergency on deck we would just shower and change clothes after, but we can only do that so many times while on a 30 day crossing.

We wear harnesses 24/7, but only put on foul gear if cold or going forward.


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Old 02-05-2016, 12:50   #41
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Re: Lines Led Aft - Is It Really An Improvement?

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Or you have to put on the foul weather gear. I could typically reef from the cockpit wearing just a tee shirt. If I had to go forward, it then required putting on the foul gear and dealing with the wet gear afterwards. Emergency on deck we would just shower and change clothes after, but we can only do that so many times while on a 30 day crossing.

We wear harnesses 24/7, but only put on foul gear if cold or going forward.


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Just yanking your chain. They are hard to sleep in. Life jackets and harnesses are fine when called for but not for paranoia. If worn all the time, I would live on the hill.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:55   #42
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Re: Lines Led Aft - Is It Really An Improvement?

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If I had to go on deck, I would have to put down my martini. Seems like somewhat of a dumb question.

Doncha just hate having to swap the carpet slippers for wellies too!
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Old 02-05-2016, 13:13   #43
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Re: Lines Led Aft - Is It Really An Improvement?

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If I had to go on deck, I would have to put down my martini. Seems like somewhat of a dumb question.
You, Sir, lack imagination..

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Old 02-05-2016, 13:31   #44
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Re: Lines Led Aft - Is It Really An Improvement?

Here's another article in the same vein as the OP, a good read:

COCKPIT CONTROL LINES: Fight the Spaghetti Madness
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Old 02-05-2016, 13:42   #45
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Re: Lines Led Aft - Is It Really An Improvement?

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What a load of old cobblers! (Translation for Trump subjects: What a crock!)
Unlike your country we are citizens not subjects.

We like it that way.

Now, how about you take your BS to the proper forum? There are plenty of your kind there.
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