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Old 23-09-2016, 18:23   #76
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

Anyone set them up so that you can reef and hoist from either location? Seem simple enough in many cases.
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Old 23-09-2016, 18:30   #77
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

Well said Don! Fortune favors the prepared, but then there is Murphy's Law; a nautical axiom if ever there was one. However, you said, "No one would endorse going forward in rough weather needlessly, I hope, would they?"

If you include those who stated that they "walk or crawl" the deck once an hour in all conditions, the answer is yes, they would.

I know, right? Strange, isn't it?
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Old 23-09-2016, 18:41   #78
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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
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.

-David
I brought up the "fear" word and I did not intend my words to be condescending. Just like the stock markets where two things -- fear and greed -- are known to drive behavior, fear drives a lot of behavior on boats.

I'm also not very macho--I'm a middle aged woman in not the best of health or condition--and I happen to be afraid of a lot of things alot of the time so I have no intentions of ever leaving the cockpit needlessly in rough weather. I don't do it and neither do other experienced sailors. Even one step further, I have an enclosed steering station (a low pilothouse) in addition to the open aft cockpit. I consider the crew being warm and comfortable inside it to be a genuine safety feature of this boat. We sail shorthanded, just my husband and I, so everything we do tends to be towards minimizing risk and not over-tiring the crew.

About inspecting things on deck and just getting out on deck:

Practice, practice, practice and things become easier -- what is "unsafe" for someone who hardly ever leaves the perceived safety of the cockpit is very safe for someone who is familiar with moving around on their boat.

For me, using the boat, practicing the maneuvers needed on deck to safely use the boat is super important to my feeling safe and being safe, both. I do sometimes think that people think they must do "all or nothing" and what I mean by this is that if they're not comfortable walking on deck they don't want to leave the cockpit. I guess their perception of what you're supposed to do is walk not crawl because crawling isn't macho but sitting in the cockpit with all the strings leading to you is?

Well, I'm often not comfortable walking on deck--I have horrible balance problems and a gimpy leg--that means my version of practice and being on deck is often crawling on deck rather than walking. It's really hard to fall down and hurt yourself if you're crawling and if you've got your harness and proper length of tether all attached it's also difficult to go overboard too. It doesn't sound "cool" and certainly isn't macho but, yes, it is safe.

For every 100 hours sailing, there might be an hour or two of real risk on the deck. Sure those occasional hours of risk might be lined up with many in a row--even days--but that's not the norm. Knowing that, just getting oneself onto the deck frequently enough to be safe IS the safest thing you can do.
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Old 23-09-2016, 18:47   #79
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by CareKnot View Post
Well said Don! Fortune favors the prepared, but then there is Murphy's Law; a nautical axiom if ever there was one. However, you said, "No one would endorse going forward in rough weather needlessly, I hope, would they?"

If you include those who stated that they "walk or crawl" the deck once an hour in all conditions, the answer is yes, they would.

I know, right? Strange, isn't it?
I don't think anyone does the hourly inspection in ALL conditions. I said we do the once about the deck hourly -- but we have our own boat criteria for when we don't do it. For example, if winds are over 20 kts at night the watch stander isn't allowed to leave the cockpit without the offwatch person being up and ready to deal with emergency. So--for the off watch person to get some sleep, the night time walk about the deck every hour gets put off to a walk around the deck every 3 or 4 hours with watch changes.

I don't know how you guys do it -- but the "needlessly" part -- there's always something happening on our boat that requires a bit of attention, from a snatchblock with a sheet causing problems against a turnbuckle to a thimble on the staysail jackline deciding to come un-seized and needing a quick repair or shackle in it's place. Always something. During one heavy weather period that we decided, wisely to stay inside the low pilothouse as waves washed over the deck--and the pilothouse--I watched the gaff vang which had given itself a funny wrap on the shroud start sawing into the pin rack. I was mesmerized for hours watching the damage take place right outside my window but with no intention of going out to deal with it. It was dealt with about 8 hours later.
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Old 23-09-2016, 18:56   #80
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by CareKnot View Post
...If you include those who stated that they "walk or crawl" the deck once an hour in all conditions...
Must have missed that. Patently ridiculous to leave the cockpit, especially under dangerous conditions, just to do something you should have taken care of at anchor or at the dock. Or during calm conditions and during daylight hours.
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Old 23-09-2016, 19:57   #81
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

Quote:
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.
The problem is something like what happened to us last year, when we were 75 & 77 yrs. old. The stay for the staysail --which was at the time fastened by a hyfield lever, and that has been rectified-- the inner forestay came agley, while we were sailing in lumpy seas and about 20-25 on the staysail alone. At this point, we tried to roll it up. Bad idea. But then we had a partly rolled up sail, furler and stay flailing about on the foredeck.

Had we allowed it to continue, it could well have taken everything down. The sail was flogging, as well. Eventually, with both of us on the foredeck, we managed to get it lashed down, tied off the tails of the sheets, changed course, and went into the closest place of refuge, where we arrived after about 4 hours. We were VERY careful while we were doing it. It was raining, and the handrails, slippery. And a blow on the head from the furler might have killed one of us. My point is that sometimes, one has to go one deck, even if afraid, even when conditions are not optimum. And also, imho, getting out there and practicing moving around outside the perceived safety of the cockpit really does help keep you fit for doing it. ....and it is up to you to decide when to give it away, and limit your goals. It seems as if Care Knot is limiting goals based on his consideration of he and his wife's fitness. Good on him, it isn't all that easy to do. For us, we did not want to lose [another] rig. For us, we decided to try and deal with it. And, we succeeded in limiting the damage.

Also, I think we have to leave it to the individual skippers to determine "needlessly" going forward. The 80 yr old who takes a turn around his deck once an hour is still out there sailing at his age, and I'll bet he wouldn't consider a bunch of folks from a forum, who have unknown experience telling him he shouldn't do it. He's done his risk/benefits analysis, he knows he's doing the best thing for him. You want to or don't want to do the same, okay, but please go easy on the "needless" assumption. Something about first walking in his moccasins before judging.

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Old 23-09-2016, 20:27   #82
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
-One con is the tangle of lines at the companionway.
-Another is you crack off the halyard stopper, go forward as the sail doesn't want to come down, you pull the sail part way and it stops, you go aft to see that the halyard has twisted or knotted at the stopper, you release it and go forward again. etc.
Sound safer?
How do you prevent this? Well you can add luff and clew reefing lines both led aft. Now you really have a tangle of lines, stoppers etc. And a reefed main that may be all bunched up on the boom rather than neatly reefed. Or you can go to one line slab reefing, which on a boat of any size is terrible due to the resistance in all the line turns.
- Another is wet deck core from the holes you drilled to install blocks. So do it right and make epoxy plugs if you must do this.
-Another is all the resistance in the lines.
This! On my boat there would be a huge mess in the cockpit. I can just see it now, halyard get's sucked in to a winch jambing the sheet. Meanwhile I am tacking to avoid a fast moving freighter. I hook up the fowled sheet to the other winch to pull out the jamb... it also pulls the main halyard out of the jamb cleat partially lowering the main which drops on the hot stack of my furnace ruining the sail. Now the boat steadies out on the new heading with jib flogging and ruined main smoking. Way is lost and she falls into irons moments prior to being run down by the freighter....see? Just sayin
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Old 23-09-2016, 20:32   #83
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Originally Posted by IdoraKeeper View Post
This! On my boat there would be a huge mess in the cockpit. I can just see it now, halyard get's sucked in to a winch jambing the sheet. Meanwhile I am tacking to avoid a fast moving freighter. I hook up the fowled sheet to the other winch to pull out the jamb... it also pulls the main halyard out of the jamb cleat partially lowering the main which drops on the hot stack of my furnace ruining the sail. Now the boat steadies out on the new heading with jib flogging and ruined main smoking. Way is lost and she falls into irons moments prior to being run down by the freighter....see? Just sayin
Hmmm... you describe this in such clear detail.. it almost seems it may have happened???
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Old 24-09-2016, 04:41   #84
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

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Hmmm... you describe this in such clear detail.. it almost seems it may have happened???
Nah, but Idora is a ketch. There are already four sheets, mizzen halyard and yankee furling line lead back to the cockpit. Adding more? Its already a color coded zoo. Murphy is always lurking.:facepalm
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Old 24-09-2016, 05:24   #85
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

Lots of good input from everyone.

Sue and I wrote an article about leading control lines aft 16 years ago for SailNet.

Leading Sail Control Lines Aft - SailNet Community

We are still using that configuration only now with a furling mast. We don't lead seldom adjusted lines aft. As a cruiser, we don't on a daily basis adjust halyard tensions for Genoa Staysail and Main, so they stay coiled at the mast. I know it's a good idea to release tensions on halyards when not in use, but it just doesn't seem to happen in real life when cruising.

We still believe today that the benefit of being able to reef and furl from the safety of the cockpit far outweighs the disadvantages - particularly when you consider that there is only one person on watch at night.


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Old 24-09-2016, 05:59   #86
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

That sounds like a horrible experiance Ann!

For me the worst and most dangerous times on deck are not in strong winds, usually then I have the enough sail up steady the boat, and even if overpressed the boom is under control and with the wind forward of the beam the boat isnt rolling to much. And the motion, if brisk is predictable. In these occasions everybody is hypervigilant, and aware of the dangers. This is certanly the case when reefing the main, so I am very comfortable going forward to do this in any conditions that the main is still set. Of course I dont much like the spray soaking my (usually leaky) wet weather gear, but this is just a comfort issue, not really a safety one.

For me I generally dislike unreefing more, the boat is underpowered, there is usually a leftover chop or sea that is now irregular, and without the enough steadying sail the boats motion is more unpredictable. Added to this the boom is now less constrained by the wind and is jerking about against the preventers. As soon as you ease the reef pendant the sail loses power and the boat wallows even more, creating a viscous slatting of the main and boom, and sometimes slowing/unbalancing the boat to the point that steering becomes difficult, so the headsail can also collapse across the foredeck. Of course its not always like this, but offshore when the wind drops suddenly this is often the scenario. Much more dangerous than the predictability of an overpowered boat. And because the wind is light it seems safer, luring the unwary into a rushed mistake.

In my experience a twin line mainsail reefing system system led aft is pretty reliable for reefing, more friction, but you can usually put a reef in ok from the cockpit if its been well set up. But on bigger boats you normally need to go forward to overhaul the reefing lines to reduce the friction in the system so you can hoist the main. This is where you do the sidedeck dance, running fwd to pull some slack into the reefing lines, then jumping aft to hoist the main a little bit. Then the luff of the main gets hooked around a clutch on the mast or one of your overhauled reeflines get flicked around something and caught, so you do the sidedeck dance again, this time frustrated and in a rush... and thats when mistakes happen.

In this instance being securely based at the mast where you can overhaul the reefing lines and clear any tangles right away can be much safer than doing the sidedeck dance. Of course with lots of crew many of these issues go away, as you can station a crew forward to overhaul the lines and bounce the main halyard, and others aft to tail, and clear tangles aft. But singlehanded or alone on deck it is a different thing altogether.

Overall I am not really set on one or the other. There are pros and cons to both. Id love to work out a way to reef from the cockpit and unreef or set the main from the mast.

What I can say for sure is that to get good (and safe) at doing something you need to do it often and regularly. Same applies to working on deck in rough weather. It takes practice to do it well and safely.

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Old 24-09-2016, 06:17   #87
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

Hi Everyone,

Agley... I love that word. Coincidentally, it seems to adequately describes the direction of this discussion. So in an effort to set things right, I offer an apology.

Please allow me to start off by asking the forgiveness of anyone I have offended. Text can be a difficult medium to express complex and nuanced ideas. Some folks here evidently feel I am either judging them (or others) or trying to tell them what to do. Nothing could be further from my intentions. So again, I humbly apologize and beg your forgiveness.

This will probably be my last post on this topic. It seems that feelings are running a little high and I don't wish to incite or contribute to any ill will.

First, I'll offer the following as context, for as the saying goes; text without context is but a pretext.
  • I presume in my ruminations, that we are in general terms, speaking of bluewater monohull cruising sailboats.
  • I presume everyone knows the difference between a one-design ocean racer and a typical family cruising sailboat (family being used in its' loosest application).
  • I concede that 'cruising yachts and crews' is an extremely diverse group of boats and people. But as a general rule, my points offered here are not intended to extend to cutting edge racing boats with all the latest gadgetry; boats that are manned by team crews of 8 to 11 people and regularly train in extreme conditions.
  • We should also agree that "heavy weather and rough seas" is somewhat subjective and likely something entirely different for the crew on the deck of a 58' Beneteau than it is for the crew on the deck of a 28' Watkins. (The takeaway being that the deck of the larger yacht is probably a safer and more stable platform in 40+ knots of wind and 8+ meter seas than the deck of the smaller yacht.)
  • And finally, when feces occurs and subsequentially collides with the proverbial fan, this is the exception that we are then discussing, not a hard and fast rule, OK?

My position on tailing "everything" to the cockpit: Not a good idea on a cruising yacht unless your cruising yacht has 11 or more winches and a crew to match. Then again, we are talking "everything".

Some things are already tailed to the cockpit on every cruising yacht, like sheets and traveler lines. So this comparison of what tails to the cockpit becomes analogous to the individual that agrees to sell sexual favors for a billion dollars. The agreement establishes the nature of the beast. What follows in the analogy and here - is simply a negotiation.
  • I favor safety concerns over convenience.
  • I favor thoughtful compromise based on yacht and crew.
  • I believe, the smaller the yacht, the less room in the cockpit for lines.
  • I believe, the smaller the yacht, the more need for more control from the cockpit.
  • I believe, the watch should remain in the cockpit in heavy weather, for the good of the crew and the yacht.
  • I believe, there are exceptional times and events when the crew MUST leave the immediate safety of the cockpit (or cabin) for the greater good of the crew and the yacht.
  • I believe however, that another crew member be present when they do leave the cockpit and that those decisions fall to the skipper and can only be decided at that moment and on a case-by-case basis.

It is for these reasons that I personally favor a very careful process to select only the most essential control lines that tails to the cockpit. This is very personal and subjective set of choices that must be tailored to the characteristics of the yacht and the preferences of the skipper. So I say again, this is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. What I propose is a process and the conclusions I draw are really just my preferences.

There are those that would rather take a beating than trust a roller furling system on their yachts. For the record, I'm fine with that. It's just not me.

There are those that would rather eat dirt than tail anything but sheets to the cockpit. No problem. Each to their own. But again, it's not me.

On the topic of general safety and exceptional circumstances - like things that break in heavy weather...

Davidhoy - “...thoughtfully implementing systems that allow reeling [reefing?] from the cockpit.”
Don C L - “No one would endorse going forward in rough weather needlessly, I hope..."
Schooner Chandlery - “I have no intentions of ever leaving the cockpit needlessly in rough weather.”
Terra Nova - “Patently ridiculous to leave the cockpit, especially under dangerous conditions…”
Ann T. Cate - “Had we allowed it to continue, it could well have taken everything down.”

I could go on, but I think there is more agreement on this topic than anything else. Most of us DON’T want to go and dance with the devil on a pitching deck in a dark howling gale. We prepare as best we are able, but things happen and often at the worst possible time. I get that. We plan for the best but prepare for the worst. We do what we have to do and when we have to do it. I just don’t think that there is a pat answer to this topic, just a series of trade-offs when dealing with questions like this.

By the way, for those of you that don’t think that there has been some posturing as a substitute for rational analysis of this topic, I would disagree. But I am here to learn and share, not to tell anyone what to do, how to think or force-feed anyone my preferences. They are after all, *my* preferences.

One final note to Ann T. Cate. You are correct. I was setting limitations for us, based on experience. I read that post again and it did sound as you described. Sorry for not being clear.

Surely if I hear something flailing in the wind, I too would go and lash it down. Safety first. I didn't mean that I wouldn't.

Experience has taught me to expect a very loud *BANG* followed by some grinding and popping noises. You may be familiar. This is generally followed by nausea. Then one person surveying the damage and formulates an emergency plan while another moves survival gear into the cockpit. It also usually happens in the dark, but I don't know why.

I guess that is about all I have to say on the subject. Peace out.

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Old 24-09-2016, 06:31   #88
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Re: Pros and cons of leading halyard and reef lines to cockpit?

We have just moved the main Halyard from the cockpit to the mast. Easier to raise and lower main, due to less friction. In addition, the throw on our cockpit winch does not allow a full turn with the handle due to the supporting frame of the dodger. This makes it difficult to raise the main the last few feet. In any event, we also believe in the keep it simple. PARDEY method, and fewer lines in the cockpit. That said, we can change it back at will, as everything is still in place.
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Old 24-09-2016, 07:04   #89
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Originally Posted by CareKnot View Post
Well said David. "...needlessly leaving the cockpit in rough weather is irresponsible and dangerous..." You should have to explain that?
Wandering up to the lee shrouds to lean out for a pee..??
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Old 24-09-2016, 07:16   #90
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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
Must have missed that. Patently ridiculous to leave the cockpit, especially under dangerous conditions, just to do something you should have taken care of at anchor or at the dock. Or during calm conditions and during daylight hours.
Sadly boats are rarely so co-operative as to wait.. I've had cotter pins fail to leave boom vangs bouncing around.. transom hung rudder pintel's fail which involved hanging over the stern.. shrouds pop which involved climbing the mast to the first spreader to rig a jury shroud with block and tackle.. that was when solo.. Murphey Rools..
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