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Old 22-09-2016, 04:08   #31
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

Ive delivered and skippered boats with both setups, some very bad, some excellant.

Done well (and it is very rare that they are) everything led aft can be handy, its always going to be much harder to shake out a reef with more line and friction but it can be nice not to have to leave the cockpit to put in a reef when things are wet.

But it is also very nice to with the reduced friction and simplicity of having most of the main reefing at the mast and boom. While forward I like to look around and just enjoy being out of the cockpit. And I can quickly fix any tangles or small issues. One problem is working on the lee side. Life is good when the main and reefing winches are on the windward side...

I find if everything is aft I spend less time on deck and then get less comfortable when I have to go fwd to fix/untangle something or deal with the pole. And don't kid yourself, you will still need to go forward, prehaps just to overhaul the reef lines, or to take up on a leechline.

I actually pulled the aft led stuff off my second boat and I was happy with the all at the mast system. On my new boat I am still not sure what way I will jump, she has all the turning bkocks at the mast, and it will be pretty easy to lead aft, but I like the idea of being able to reduce friction by raising the main from the mast.

For me if you have a half decent wind vane or autopilot then it doesn't make a huge difference either way. And some boats just don't suit leading many lines aft, it can be impossible to route lines around some cabin structures without excessive friction.

Just a note on friction, fancy blocks don't eliminate all the friction, a fair bit is caused just by the ropes being bent around the sheave under load. Big sheaves, minimal bends and fair leads are at least as important as fancy bearings and probably much more so.
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Old 22-09-2016, 05:53   #32
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
I'm unclear on how you might damage a block when reefing the main? The only way which comes to mind is if you're using a powered winch, & locking the line into the winch's self tailing jaws. Which is a big no no anyway, as lines should be tailed by hand when using them.
Also, prior to damaging a block, wouldn't you damage the sail first?
Or are there other things that else I'm missing? Clarification on this would be helpful please.


PS: Unless the main halyard is black, you can always mark it with a magic marker, & also draw a grided scale onto the deck or mast. This makes it easy to tell when the halyard is at the correct location for each sail setting. Specifically, it's full hoist, & each of it's reefs.
And if it is black or dark colored, 5min. with a needle & some dental floss, or sliver thread will let you add a witness mark to it pretty easily.
It was a manual winch - single line reefing setup. As you ease the mainsail and wind on the reef line, there's a block on the sail at the luff, if you aren't paying attention you can basically wind it into the boom.

Aye it is easy to get the lines marked once you're familiar - but tis was another person's boat.
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Old 22-09-2016, 06:10   #33
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pirate Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by Davidhoy View Post
Gotta love this forum! Great points of view, on both sides of the debate

Anyone have an opinion on mast pulpits? You know, the butt-height railings on either side of the mast against which you can brace yourself when you have to work at the mast?

-David
Have them on my current boat.. first boat I've owned with them.. I like them.. great in a lumpy sea..
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Old 22-09-2016, 06:52   #34
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by seaskip View Post
Maybe I missed it, but did you say whether you're single handing or short handing David?
I had not stated either :-). I anticipate cruising short-handed with just my wife and me on the boat, with the possible addition of one or two others on long passages. And I'm also not going to rush into this, I need to get to know the boat better first.

I understand the comments made on both sides of the debate, and really appreciate them all. Not sure I agree with some of them, but that's another matter entirely! Keeping things simple is important, safety is important, reliability is important, and situational awareness is important. Find the right solution for all of these things is the tricky part and, clearly, opinions vary widely.

If I do proceed with such a modification, I was thinking of leading the main halyard, topping lift, and two or three reefs line into the cockpit. This would also mean using a single-line reefing system that does not require manually hooking of the tack to the gooseneck. I already have the genoa and staysail furler control lines led after to the cockpit, we're only talking reefing the main in regards any potential changes.

I should point out that my boat is ketch rigged, and I was not thinking of any changes to the mizzen. Is that wise?

This thread is refreshing. Lots of opinions expressed and no one is bashing anyone - way to go, people :-).

Regards,
David
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Old 22-09-2016, 06:54   #35
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Have them on my current boat.. first boat I've owned with them.. I like them.. great in a lumpy sea..
AKA "granny rails" (but as I just found out - be careful googling that phrase )

Had them on a couple of boats I've delivered and they are very handy.
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Old 22-09-2016, 09:10   #36
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by Davidhoy View Post
. . . If I do proceed with such a modification, I was thinking of leading the main halyard, topping lift, and two or three reefs line into the cockpit. This would also mean using a single-line reefing system that does not require manually hooking of the tack to the gooseneck. . . .



I should point out that my boat is ketch rigged, and I was not thinking of any changes to the mizzen. Is that wise? . . .

Leading mainsail lines to the cockpit would NOT require the use of single line reefing.

When I raced on a Cal40 we had tack reef lines the tied off at or below the goose neck, each line went up to the appropriate tack grommet, back down the other side of the sail to a deck level block the thru a levered cam cleat in line with a winch. The lines were color coded and shared to same cam cleat which worked because they were all the same diameter line. I don't remember if they shared the deck block.

The clew end lines ran forward to the gooseneck, down and back and I think they went thru a clutch pack so they were individually controlled.

Where the mizzen lines go would depend on where the mizzen is in the boat, the potential for clutter in the cockpit depending on where they lead to in the cockpit and how many reefs are in the mizzen.


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Old 22-09-2016, 09:38   #37
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

Lots of opinions,
To me, (and I have reefed thousands of times on many many boats) it breaks down to this:

At the base of the mast:

Pros:
1. You can see what you are doing,
2. The winch is usually in an efficient position
3. You are there to tie in or loose reef lines
4. It is a stable position
5. If something catches you can free it easily.
6. It also give you a chance to check around on deck
7. You can keep an eye out for traffic while hoisting or reefing.
8. You can keep all your lines neat and orderly.


Cons:
1. If you fear going on deck you will hesitate to reef or shake our a reef
2. If you are overweight it may be a struggle

Led to the cockpit

Pros:
1. Actually none that I can think of

Cons:
1. Extra friction
2. Mess of lines in the cockpit
3. Winch location is not efficient
4. Can't see what you are doing
5. Have to stand in the companionway to grind a winch
6. If something hangs or catches you may tear it
7. You have to go out on deck to tie in the reef or shake it out anyway.
8. You can not keep an eye on things as the sail goes up
9. Extra gear (blocks fairleads etc.

Seems to me the choice is simple... however, I have met a lot of people who fear going on deck, especially if there is any weather. it is something you need to do, and the more you do it, the better you are at it.

Michael
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Old 22-09-2016, 10:00   #38
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

Haven't had a lot of experience with single line reefing but what I've had hasn't been pleasant. The friction in the system made pulling in the reef very difficult. On one had to have someone at the mast to shake hang ups loose. These were under 30' boats so wasn't a matter of a large sail. On my boat, would require pulling in 70' of line for the 3rd reef.

Double line reefing works and is a lot quicker.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidhoy View Post
I had not stated either :-).
If I do proceed with such a modification, I was thinking of leading the main halyard, topping lift, and two or three reefs line into the cockpit. This would also mean using a single-line reefing system that does not require manually hooking of the tack to the gooseneck. I already have the genoa and staysail furler control lines led after to the cockpit, we're only talking reefing the main in regards any potential changes.

Regards,
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Old 22-09-2016, 10:19   #39
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
...some boats just don't suit leading many lines aft, it can be impossible to route lines around some cabin structures without excessive friction...
This is a huge deciding factor. On a completely flush deck, or one of the popular wedge-shaped houses, it can be very straightforward to run lines aft. Otherwise friction can overwhelm the system.

Regarding mast pulpits, here is what I did on one of my refits.
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Old 22-09-2016, 10:43   #40
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by StuM View Post
AKA "granny rails" (but as I just found out - be careful googling that phrase )

Had them on a couple of boats I've delivered and they are very handy.

I added a set of vertical jacklines. Initially they were added to keep the geona sheets off the mast-mounted winches, but I built them strong (Spectra line) and often clip to them when it's really nasty.

The pics are flat water , but you get the idea. I often clip with the short tether around the line, which holds me quite snug. the long tether line is still on the jackline. Easier movement that granny bars and less to install.



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Old 22-09-2016, 12:35   #41
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
*snip* All systems have trade-offs and there is no obvious choice as to cockpit vs mast reefing. There really are just pros and cons.
Astute observation Paul, but there are some contributing factors to consider. After reading and considering all of the observations, opinions and preferences offered to this point, I think I see a pattern start to emerge. Of course there are going to be exceptions. I haven't completely forgotten where I am. But as a general guide, I think the following holds some truth. From what I have read, choices seem to be influenced mostly by these factors:
  1. Size of boat;
  2. Hull design;
  3. Deck design;
  4. Size of crew;
  5. Age of crew;
  6. Complexity of sail plan;
  7. Normal sailing choices;

My reasons are as follows:
  1. Larger boats generally handle heavy weather better;
  2. So too do some hull designs;
  3. Flush decks are usually on larger boats, but even so there are times when difficult to use lines are still better than leaving the cockpit;
  4. Larger crews means less fatigue per individual;
  5. Younger crews, ditto;
  6. Complex sail plans require either 1) more crew or 2) more complex solutions;
  7. High latitudes vs. lower latitudes, coastal cruising vs. passage-making, etc. - some choices are more demanding on the crew than others;

This is definitely not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Forget the 'reefed too late' or the 'you aught to be surveying your rigging' critique for a moment. Every seasoned sailor knows that no matter how you got there, when you are in it - you are IN IT!

If it's blowin' stink, it's too late to worry about woulda, shoulda, coulda and if you're dodging breaking seas in a gale, it's no time to be checking your stainless shrouds for tension or crevice corrosion. It's already way too late for all that. Heavy weather is the exception, but when it arrives suddenly, it's no time for recriminations. It's time to reduce, reduce, reduce.

However, this might be the perfect time to celebrate the 4th set of reef points you had the sail maker add - instead of trying to hank on a storm sail with your elderly wife.

An older couple on a moderate-sized, fin keel cutter/ketch, caught all night in an early Spring Nor'easter, might see the problem a little differently than six young twenty-somethings, dodging afternoon thunder-boomers in a 50' center-cockpit sloop off the coast of the Dominican Republic. I'm just saying, it seems like it's a very personal and subjective decision.
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Old 22-09-2016, 12:36   #42
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

I have a 30foot boat and there are never more than two of us. I am 70 years old and my admiral, 62. Al the mains'l lines are back in the cockpit. That's halyard, topping lift, outhaul and three reefs ( separate lines for clew, I've never been able to get single line reefing to work)I have a downhaul to get the sail down, it's only 1/4 inch line, works mighty fine. Copy of a Doyle stack pack and lazy jacks. Main is loose footed and I ever have to tie in reef points. Two jibs, one 120J, another about 180, downwind, radial head, both on roller furling. I can reef in just over a minute, maybe 20 seconds to shake it out. The big jib in and out in less than 20 seconds. Taken me 30 years to get it right but I'd never go backto going up to the mast now.
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Old 22-09-2016, 12:38   #43
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by captmikem View Post
Lots of opinions, To me, (and I have reefed thousands of times on many many boats) it breaks down to this:
(...)

Led to the cockpit

Pros:
1. Actually none that I can think of

(...)

Seems to me the choice is simple... however, I have met a lot of people who fear going on deck, especially if there is any weather. it is something you need to do, and the more you do it, the better you are at it.

Michael
Michael,

Yes, to you this choice was simple. But others will have their experiences, targets and priorities.

FEAR has to be seen as something different from avoiding going to the deck unless there is a good reason to abandon the relative safety of the cockpit. The phrase 'risk management' may be something you will hear from more experienced skippers.

You can sleep well tonight imagining all those VG skippers, full of their irrational fears and refusing to accept your long list of why doing everything from the cockpit is a bad idea.

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Old 22-09-2016, 12:38   #44
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

Lots of good feedback above (was afraid this might devolve into mono vs multihull / solder vs crimp kind of thing!)

Will add just my experience (worth every penny you're paying for it)... we have a 20' trailer sailor (albeit a burly one) and a 32' full keel pilothouse sloop. I ran all the lines to the cockpit on the 20 footer and would do so again (with some modifications in details), lines are not led aft on 32 footer nor do I plan on doing it.

A few reasons I think it's appropriate on smaller boat:
1) Smaller loads on lines, therefore smaller hardware.
2) When things get dicey, the foredeck of a 20' trailer sailor gets REALLY dicey, so best to stay in the cockpit if you can.
3) Runs are relatively short even with lines to cockpit.
4) No winches on the small boat anyway so no need to install new / move existing winches.
5) I can stand in companionway and pull the main sail down by hand, so no need for a downhaul.
6) I did, however, rig a downhaul for the hank on jib.
7) If I had this one to do again I would have gone with double line reefing, not single... even hanging blocks from the reef cringles on the luff I have a pretty large amount of friction in this system, hard to get the foot of the sail to ride right when a reef is in.

Why I won't do it on the bigger boat:
1) Larger loads, longer lines, more expensive hardware, would have to move winches or install new (probably).
2) Foredeck is much more stable in sketchy conditions, so I feel better about going up there.
3) Jib is roller furling so that's taken care of anyway (the furling line is led to cockpit)
4) Even with main halyard led to cockpit, I doubt I could get the main to come down when I loosed the halyard in anything but totally benign conditions, so I would have to rig a downhaul on the main.

My final thought on the whole thing is agreement that when you really really want the lines to the cockpit to work because it's getting really really sketchy is when something snags / binds / fails and you have to go forward anyway, but it is nice when it works and has definitely prevented me from not reefing soon enough by making it so easy.

Think I will be adding a nice secure point at the mast to clip to when working the main, would be nice.
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Old 22-09-2016, 13:10   #45
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
FEAR has to be seen as something different from avoiding going to the deck unless there is a good reason to abandon the relative safety of the cockpit. The phrase 'risk management' may be something you will hear from more experienced skippers.
Best quote of the day! Fear is not the issue, it's all about reducing risk. That will be different for everyone, and also every circumstance. A one-solution-fits-all is not realistic.

In my case, I personally have no concerns about going forward, but I also have to consider my wife and any other possible crew. And none of us are getting any younger and have to consider the future too.

Regards,
David.
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