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Old 23-09-2016, 09:36   #61
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Have led all the mainsail lines aft. Can reef in a minute from the protection of the dodger. No more having to go forward in big seas and high winds to wrestle with a flogging sail and bucking boom reefing the main. Don't know where any complications come from. Just longer lines and a block or two to get it back to the cockpit. Never a problem as long as it's rigged properly. Having the mainsail control lines aft has made reefing so easy, do it sometimes just for fun. No longer hold off reefing or shaking one out. It's the best change I've made to the boat and would never go back to at the mast reefing.

All headsail halyards are at the mast. Changing headsails, etc seems to always involve a lot of back and forth from the headstay to the mast. Sailing single handed wouldn't want to have to add the hike back to the cockpit to raise or lower a sail. If you always sail with a crew and trust them not let a halyard fly at the wrong time, might be an argument for running the halyards back. Tried having the foresail halyards at the cockpit but soon abandoned as way way too much of a hassle.

Yup, no need to have the jib halyard(s) led aft.

We have a BattCar system on our main, which obviates a lot of the "it's hard to get the main down" concerns.

Last week we shook a reef out going downwind.
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Old 23-09-2016, 09:48   #62
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by xslim View Post
Hey, can you please explain more on your arrangement and why this is better than leading it to the mast?
In my case, I need to put it on a winch in order to lift the boom...
I was wondering the same. We have a boom-mounted winch --just aft of the gooseneck--for the topping lift. It matches the boom-mounted winch on the other side of the boom which is used for the outhaul. To adjust either, you go forward to the mast.

On related thoughts of getting out of the cockpit, a friend of mine, in his 80's at the time, told me that he can't sit for more than 15 minutes without getting stiff due to arthritis. If he sits more than 30 minutes he says he's well on his way to being like the tin-man in the Wizard of Oz after a rain. An hour seated--well that's just a truly sorry situation for my friend. He's a solo sailor--he stands up and moves about in the cockpit as much as possible and does a turn around the deck (walking or crawling depending on conditions) every hour.

I feel like my friend sometimes, stiff and needing to just move about and do something before I become incapable of it. Getting out of the cockpit is a very good thing for this. You have to go forward to take a look around for chafe or things going awry during your watches anyway...it's never all evident from the cockpit.

We sail a schooner and that means loads of strings to pull. I laugh when people start conjecturing on how and why they want to lead "all" strings to the cockpit.

Sure, we do have the sheets led back to the cockpit, and the gaff vang for the foresail as well. The jib, staysail, and mainsail halyards, no. The foresail throat and peak halyards are tailed to the cockpit but that's not really needed as it turns out. The peak halyard can be fiddled around with a lot so in theory it's nice to have it near the helmsman but in practice we don't touch it because it sometime takes a lot of strength swigging it at the foremast or a winch to adjust it--similar to the topping lift. So if I'm going to adjust it, that's going to happen at the base of the foremast and now because we have the line led aft to the cockpit it becomes a two person thing--one to swig the other to cleat it off. it'd be a one person thing if it were secured at the fife rail at the base of the foremast or on the shroud pinrack.

Like some other folks here, we have hanked-on headsails. with an 11 ft bowsprit, I thought (in error) that would be replaced by a furling jib quickly. But as it turns out, the hanked on jib works just fine. From the foredeck (not out on the 'sprit) it's easy to get down in a blow (using a downhaul at the top of the sail--an extra string...) and it can be secured in the netting alongside the 'sprit easily, but sure, that does mean going to the foredeck.

Our boat is 54' on deck and it a flush raised deck design that's easy to walk around on and the 17' length of foredeck is recessed with about an 18" bulwark that probably gives a nice false sense of security. One feels pretty exposed in the wide-open midships but safe where all fiddling around with the strings happens: on foredeck or back near the main mast.

I'm pretty sure I'd feel less inclined to go forward in rough conditions on a small boat--you're just so much closer to the water and surely the foredeck is a lot wetter even in milder conditions.

The fear factor creates a need--in people's minds--to do all sorts of "just in case" things like leading all the lines aft within reach of the helmsman. Once you're actually using your boat in a range of conditions you do figure out what you personally need vs which things just provide some illusion of safety or utility.

Like my elderly sailing friend, I believe I "need" to get out there on deck and move around aboard my boat underway so I'm more nimble as well as simply mentally comfortable working on deck.

The bars at the mast to lean against? If we thought we needed them, we'd have them, for sure. Dousing the jib, or reefing the foresail involve being outboard near the shrouds and pinrack or working where you can kneel or sit at that mast's base. When reefing the main, we can sit down--atop the deckhouse roof--and still reach both the mast-mounted halyard winch and the boom -mounted reefing winch. I do a lot more kneeling and sitting than my husband does -- he is stronger -- when I really need to put everything into handling the (non-self-tailing) winches, I just kneel. If the winches are mounted so high on the mast that they cannot be reached by someone kneeling, I think that's a design problem with the boat which could be fixed before considering bars around the mast. JMO.

Fair winds,
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Old 23-09-2016, 12:38   #63
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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
Now you guys have me thinking about in-mast furling. I, and my wallet, damn you ;-)

-David
Boats with in-mast mains do not seem to carry any extra ticket.

Converting is only worth considering when replacing the stick. Which is never for most boats.

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Old 23-09-2016, 12:40   #64
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Hi Rod,

May we presume you've had some problems?

I've dealt with closed and open drum furling on various headsails and in-mast and boom furling systems on mains and mizzens over protracted periods and under all conditions.

The only trouble I've ever had was when a block key cracked and bent, jamming the pulley on the furling line to the staysail. It was the only part of the system I couldn't visually inspect without taking it apart. It's also the strongest part of a block, so I really didn't see that coming. The sail was half furled when it jammed, so I just tied it off and kept sailing till the storm passed.

The only downside I've found is sacrificing some roach, because battens don't furl so good. But that's ok too. The have a sail for that.
Not me personally.

As I say, I won't have one (due to all of the problems I encounter on customer boats).

Now, I'm also aware of your jamming incident which could have been a catastrophe in other circumstances.

They're good for business though! ;-)

(Just kidding, I would far sooner spend all my days performing vessel improvements over vessel repairs.)
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Old 23-09-2016, 12:54   #65
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

Last few post have made mention of the need to get up and around on a regular basis. At my age, I can certainly identify with that. But as my age rises, the latitudes I consider navigating decline. I consider age appropriate weather windows too. I also don't leave the cockpit in nasty conditions unless absolutely necessary. I get my exercise in cockpit or cabin.

On a boat under 35-40' (where we will end up), everything will be tweaked, stowed, furled or lashed properly before the weather turns. There is no alternative for folks like us. When bad conditions arrive, I'll heave to and pray for good conditions. Between peeks, bites, sips and winks, one of us will always stand a watch, just not on the foredeck.

There is plenty of time for things to get inspected and squared away in good weather. You normally have a little warning and there are some things you can do before things get hairy. For instance, I carry a number of short pieces of line and a roll of tape. The tape I use to seal latches on safety lines and stuff. The line, I use to tie as backup for critical blocks and the like.

It wouldn't do for the boom to part ways with the main sheet in a blow, just because a shackle fails. That would put me on the deck of a boat no longer hove to, but lying abeam to the waves. Even under power and bow to the waves, wrestling a boom in high wind on a pitching deck can be intimidating.

But after all precautions are done, if things start going that wrong in bad weather, there is really little to be done on deck, at least for me and my wife. Well, except cutting away rigging that's no longer standing or patching holes. Job one is keep the water out, right?
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Old 23-09-2016, 13:03   #66
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

I know you didn't mean that. No offence taken. What can you say? Things break.

I'm curious, were these failures on customer boats due to poor equipment, poor maintenance, poor execution or some combination of the above? Roller furling gear doesn't usually fail without giving some warnings first. That is my experience.

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Not me personally.

As I say, I won't have one (due to all of the problems I encounter on customer boats).

Now, I'm also aware of your jamming incident which could have been a catastrophe in other circumstances.

They're good for business though! ;-)

(Just kidding, I would far sooner spend all my days performing vessel improvements over vessel repairs.)
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Old 23-09-2016, 14:36   #67
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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I know you didn't mean that. No offence taken. What can you say? Things break.

I'm curious, were these failures on customer boats due to poor equipment, poor maintenance, poor execution or some combination of the above? Roller furling gear doesn't usually fail without giving some warnings first. That is my experience.
Yeah, but when things break too frequently, it is an unnecessary hazard.

Most failures I see are a winding issue; either the line or sail jamming inside the mast, where a repair isn't really practical while out in any kind of sea. It always seems to be with the sail about half way out or in.
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Old 23-09-2016, 16:53   #68
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by Schooner Chandlery View Post
(snip) The fear factor creates a need--in people's minds--to do all sorts of "just in case" things like leading all the lines aft within reach of the helmsman. Once you're actually using your boat in a range of conditions you do figure out what you personally need vs which things just provide some illusion of safety or utility.

Like my elderly sailing friend, I believe I "need" to get out there on deck and move around aboard my boat underway so I'm more nimble as well as simply mentally comfortable working on deck. (Snip)
Great post SC, you are absolutely right about the fear factor driving many people, and many decisions, and many heated debates. One only needs to mention some percieved saftey issue.

I remember a while back a (supposedly experienced) guy was complaining about how his roller furling staysail leech was flapping, after many pages of comment about adjusting sheet leads someone askes the obvious, what about your leechline? The chap didn't have a clue what it was and how to adjust it. But when he found out you needed to leave the "safey" of the cockpit to adjust it, it was decided that it was far too dangerous. And no prudent seamn would go to the mast in 40 knots, even for something as essential as a leechline.

In my opinion this attitude is dangerous, if the deck isnt safe, make it safe. If you have all limes aft you still need to be comfortable working on deck if need be.
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Old 23-09-2016, 17:27   #69
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

I find this repeat talk about "fear" to be very condescending. Of course you should periodically walk the deck to check your gear, of course you should be ready and able to handle go forward to deal with issues regardless of the conditions, we all know that. But needlessly leaving the cockpit in rough weather is irresponsible and dangerous, far more dangerous than any perceived lack of seamanship, as implied by so many posts. This macho attitude is far more likely to get you killed or injured than thoughtfully implementing systems that allow reeling from the cockpit. As someone put it so well earlier, it's about risk management, not fear.

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Old 23-09-2016, 17:30   #70
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

Sorry R'Rod. Not trying to be a pain, but that didn't really answer my question. Perhaps if I present it differently.

Were these (generally speaking) low quality systems?
Were they poorly installed?
Were they poorly maintained?

You mentioned jams inside the mast.
Were the sails or lines in bad shape or do you think that they were just poorly managed? What do you think caused the jam in most cases?

What do you think was the cause of so many jams, on what is generally regarded as a proven and reliable system?

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Yeah, but when things break too frequently, it is an unnecessary hazard.

Most failures I see are a winding issue; either the line or sail jamming inside the mast, where a repair isn't really practical while out in any kind of sea. It always seems to be with the sail about half way out or in.
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Old 23-09-2016, 17:57   #71
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

Well said David. "...needlessly leaving the cockpit in rough weather is irresponsible and dangerous..." You should have to explain that?


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I find this repeat talk about "fear" to be very condescending. Of course you should periodically walk the deck to check your gear, of course you should be ready and able to handle go forward to deal with issues regardless of the conditions, we all know that. But needlessly leaving the cockpit in rough weather is irresponsible and dangerous, far more dangerous than any perceived lack of seamanship, as implied by so many posts. This macho attitude is far more likely to get you killed or injured than thoughtfully implementing systems that allow reeling from the cockpit. As someone put it so well earlier, it's about risk management, not fear.

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Old 23-09-2016, 18:01   #72
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

CareKnot, I'm glad you are now participating in this forum. Your reasoned and experienced voice is a good addition among so many "varied" opinions.


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Old 23-09-2016, 18:12   #73
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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AKA "granny rails" (but as I just found out - be careful googling that phrase )
Ha! Ok, I had to try it! Never had! Boy you learn the darndest things on CF!
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Old 23-09-2016, 18:47   #74
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

Your gracious manners are a balm to my soul. And wearing a Tayana too. I love your fashion sense.

Thank you. It is a pleasure to be here.

In the interest of full disclosure, I've been away from sailing for well over a decade. So my experience that you have complimented, might have a patina and some crevices to it. Mainly because it hasn't been taken out and played with as often as it should. My nautical memory, especially my vocabulary suffers from disuse. So I would characterize your assessment there as generous.

I'm very partial to old school methods, simple solutions and plastic classics. I think education is the most neglected aspect of sailing and I am no exception to that criticism. I'm barely a deckhand compared to many here. Feel free to correct me at any time.

So again, thank you.


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CareKnot, I'm glad you are now participating in this forum. Your reasoned and experienced voice is a good addition among so many "varied" opinions.


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Old 23-09-2016, 18:56   #75
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

I'm kind of surprised this has generated so much heat. Is it not safe to say, if you are out sailing in rough weather, or any kind of weather, eventually you will need to go forward for SOME problem SOMEDAY on any boat, and so of course you and the boat better be ready for that? And as with ANY system on a boat one should look at it and ask where, how and when is this going to fail? because it will, and it's smart to be ready for it. (Does that sound like I am a pessimist? Or maybe it sounds like I am always sailing crappy boats!) When I had lines led aft I knew I had to keep an eye on the fairlead on the cleat, the cheek block on the house and the block at the mast base for possible fouling. Yes, that is 3 more places for a problem to occur on that one line, so that can be considered added complication. I just found that lines led aft often meant less time forward (but not 0), a little more comfort and the chance of fouling was low enough to make it all worth it. It's a trade-off. If the chance for a problem is high, then don't do it, of course! Now how we measure probabilities on a sailboat in rough weather, that is the rub. Single-handing, for me anyway, was made considerably easier, less compicated, by raising the main and jib from the cockpit while I could still steer and quickly adjust the sheets. No one would endorse going forward in rough weather needlessly, I hope, would they? I mean, yeah, it's fun to play on deck in the rain, but not that fun.
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