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Old 10-03-2014, 08:37   #1
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Mast/Boom hardware

Hi there,

I have been postphoning tackling the mast/boom hardware for a while now since the interior was nowhere near sail-ready. But as the day of the maiden voyage is nearing, I'm forced to dig into this issue.


Mast

The winches on the mast were of the steel cable type with an integrated brake. This means that only 2 normal cleats are present on the mast. Since the old winches were shot, I replaced them with "normal" ones, but obviously they don't have a means to hold the new rope halyards in place once put under tension.

The main question is: how do I store the halyards on the mast and how do I secure them once tightened? Leading everything to the cockpit is obviously the most interesting option, but that's a big project to tackle in a year or two.


Boom

The hardware on the boom is pretty much non existent apart from the reefing hookat the mast end and the two blocks attached to the end of the boom for the reefing lines to run back to the mast through.

I can tension the reefing lines on the winchest at the mast, but again, how do I secure the reefing lines once under tension? Also, I would like to get a third reef put into the sail, but there's just one block on each side of the boom, so only 2 reefing lines can be mounted on the boom...

Any insights? What are my options on both issues?

Many thanks!
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:44   #2
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Re: Mast/Boom hardware

You need more cleats on the mast.

I for one would think carefully about leading lines to the cockpit. If you have reefing hooks on the gooseneck, running your halyard and leech reefing lines to the cockpit turns reefing into a two-person operation, or a more difficult solo one. Leaving it all at the mast means you can perform the entire operation in one place.

As far as two reefing lines go, that's pretty standard. To use the third reef you untie the first reef line (which is now slack as you're using your second one) and use it as the third.
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:46   #3
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Re: Mast/Boom hardware

Simple answer.... Cleats on the mast... inline with the tensioned side of the winch...
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:50   #4
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Re: Mast/Boom hardware

Just drill holes in the mast and use self-tapping screws? Will that be strong enough for the forces in play?

Also, should I be worrying about weakening the mast at thet particular spot? 4 cleats in a row with 2 holes each would make a nice dotted line for a crack to form, no?
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Old 10-03-2014, 09:20   #5
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Re: Mast/Boom hardware

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Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
Just drill holes in the mast and use self-tapping screws? Will that be strong enough for the forces in play?

Also, should I be worrying about weakening the mast at thet particular spot? 4 cleats in a row with 2 holes each would make a nice dotted line for a crack to form, no?
Drill and tap holes for the new cleats. Be sure to use the proper (special size) drill bit specified for the tap size and use a tap wrench to turn the tap. Be careful not to drill into the in-mast wiring, halyards, etc. The mast should have plenty of section to accommodate the additional holes.
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Old 10-03-2014, 09:26   #6
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Re: Mast/Boom hardware

You can use self tapping screws (#10 or 12) but theaded holes for machine screws (sized for the cleats) is better. The winch should carry almost all the load, so there are not high loads on the cleats.
You should generrally worry about putting holes in the mast BUT the small holes for cleats should not be a problem. I don't understand you comment about 4 sets of holes. How many winches will you have? 2? What is the use of the 2 "normal" cleats alread on the mast?
You asked about storing the halyard (tails) at the mast: one can make a loop out of some of the halyard (look in a sailing instruction book-too complicated for me to explain exactly) and use it to hang the coiled halyard on its cleat. (The technique I like works by reaching thru the coiled up halyard, grabbing the line and making a few twists in it, and hanging the loop you created on the cleat. The twisted part traps the coils against the cleat/mast. On our boat we do this sometime, but also have some dedicated "line hangers" installed.
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Old 10-03-2014, 09:27   #7
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Re: Mast/Boom hardware

It can accomodate the holes, just wondering about the reduction of strength .

Storing the tail-ends I know how to do once I have the extra cleats installed.

If I install the cleats under the winch that would indeed mean that the highest load is taken by the winch. It would also mean that the halyard stays on the winch the entire time.

This in turn would cause a problem when reefing, no? As only one line can be on the winch and tensioned at the same time. Say the starbord winch is constantly in use for the genoa halyard (a furling sail), that leaves the port winch for the mainsail halyard and reefing. Loosen the mainsail halyard, take it off the winch. Hook the luff side in the reefing hook, tighten the halyard. Now how are you going to tighten the reefing line? The winch is occupied by the halyard...
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Old 10-03-2014, 09:35   #8
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Re: Mast/Boom hardware

The additional holes will not reduce the strength of the mast in any meaningful way.
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Old 10-03-2014, 13:45   #9
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Re: Mast/Boom hardware

Any input on the cleat placement? Looks like a though nut to crack...
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Old 10-03-2014, 13:51   #10
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Re: Mast/Boom hardware

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Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
Any input on the cleat placement? Looks like a though nut to crack...
It's hard to really comment on that without seeing some pictures of your set up. In your position I would probably put clutches above your winch for each line which would make for the most manageable solution.

If your mast is aluminum, do some research on isolating stainless screws from the aluminum or you'll get corrosion where they meet. Tef-gel is one product you can use, or Lanacote or lanolin. I've heard CorrosionX (available at Grainger and a product that should be on every boat) works as well.
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Old 10-03-2014, 14:13   #11
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Re: Mast/Boom hardware

Not sure I'm understanding the problem. If you have rings at the luff cringles and a reefing hook at the gooseneck, you'll hoist the sail until you can engage a ring on the hook, haul in the aft (leech) reef line and tie it off on a cleat on the boom, then harden up the halyard with the mast winch and you're reefed!
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Old 10-03-2014, 14:30   #12
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Re: Mast/Boom hardware

The reefing winch will normally be on the boom. You could only use the main halyard winch as a reefing winch if you install a rope clutch. To get a fair leaf to the winch, that would probably mean leading the clew reefing down to the deck and back up to the winch. Might as well go the rest of the way and lead the halyard and reefing lines back to the cockpit.

Cleats should be at a small angle so the tensioned part of the line doesn't foul the cleat horns. For a cleat on the mast lead from a winch, that will mean the upper horn of the cleat will be slightly inboard of the lower horn because of a lack of flat surface. Don't worry about weakening the mast with the drilled and tapped holes. Self tapping screws are a MAJOR NO NO. Any tension on the fasteners will cause them to work enlarging the holes and eventually pulling out. Use TefGel, Locktite, etc. to insulate the fastener from the aluminum.

A double line reefing system led back to the cockpit greatly simplifies reefing and you do it in the comfort of the dodger all buy your lonesome. Probably the best sail handling mod. I've done to the boat. Now I reef at the first serious indication that it's time and shake it out just as fast. Sometimes reef just to see how fast I can do it, still trying to break a minute.
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Old 10-03-2014, 15:51   #13
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Re: Mast/Boom hardware

A winch on the boom is not really an option either. A clutch on the boom is another matter. That could be done. So I hook the reef at the gooseneck, then tighten the reefing line, clutch it, then winch the halyard and tie it to a cleat with the line still on the winch.

Lines to the cockpit is really not an option. This would be a major project involving disassembling the entire cabin roof. One day, but no day soon... Also, I don't have a dodger or the possibility to install one...
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