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Old 13-03-2016, 20:34   #46
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Re: Trouble dropping regular mainsail

So I have watched this thread with interest, as my L400 definitely has problems dropping the main, and I always have to go to the mast to pull most of it down.

Based upon suggestions here and elsewhere, I jury-rigged a test downhaul, and I have to tell you it is fantastic! Standing at the helm I could just work the one line and drop the sail directly with no fuss at all.

I had also worked to lubricate the mast cars, but I really think the problem was just the friction in the main halyard -- it is 2:1, and goes through a number of sheaves before ending up at the helm. It really does required a good tug, whether that be on the luff of the mainsail or, now, on the downhaul.

So I will be rigging the downhaul permanently, it seems like a no-brainer now. And it can be used in an emergency situation if I need to reef and wish to do it without turning upwind and without leaving the helm.

My plan is to rig 8mm dyneema line from the top car (which already has an unused shackle attached -- the halyard attaches to the sail due to the square top design), down the side of the cars, through the reefing metal loop, then down to the bottom of the mast and through the sheaves and turning blocks like all the other lines. I think I'll attach a simple rope cam cleat to keep it reasonably taught when the sail is up to avoid it flopping around. I planning on routing it to the starboard side, where there are free slots in the turning blocks, and to avoid it messing with the halyard on the port side, as the two lines will be used at the same time.

I welcome any comments.

Finally, does anyone know where to source the bent metal brackets and bolt/nuts to attach a new sheave to the bottom of the mast? Everything else, including the new sheave and cam cleat, seem straightforward to obtain.
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Old 14-03-2016, 04:13   #47
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Re: Trouble dropping regular mainsail

Maybe you need to rethink the 2:1 for the halyard and change to a powered hoisting system like a Milwaukee right angle lithium ion drill w/ a winch bit.

Shiva has a heavy 440 SF main with 4 full battens and uses the in mast track. Getting the sail hoisted from a cockpit winch with the Milwaukee is easy peasy and safe as well.

Reducing all the sources of friction will greatly help hoisting and dropping the sail. Clean and non sticky lubricants and proper sail slugs which don't twist and bind is mission critical.

I suppose you can attach a small line to the head of the sail and to a small cheek block at the forward end of the boom lead the line to the aft end of the boom to the cockpit if you need more help and gravity won't do the job.
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Old 18-03-2016, 14:56   #48
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Re: Trouble dropping regular mainsail

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandero View Post
Maybe you need to rethink the 2:1 for the halyard and change to a powered hoisting system like a Milwaukee right angle lithium ion drill w/ a winch bit.

Shiva has a heavy 440 SF main with 4 full battens and uses the in mast track. Getting the sail hoisted from a cockpit winch with the Milwaukee is easy peasy and safe as well.

Reducing all the sources of friction will greatly help hoisting and dropping the sail. Clean and non sticky lubricants and proper sail slugs which don't twist and bind is mission critical.

I suppose you can attach a small line to the head of the sail and to a small cheek block at the forward end of the boom lead the line to the aft end of the boom to the cockpit if you need more help and gravity won't do the job.
You know, we own a V28 Milwaukee right angle drill -- purchased and used during our boat rebuild. Love the thing for that purpose. We bought a winch bit to use it with our mainsail halyard winch (on mast not in the cockpit!) because we thought we'd need it.

However we've decided it's not worth the bother of getting it out to use it when raising our big heavy 630 sf mainsail. We just crank on it manually and it's all good. We have a heavy sail, bronze track and bronze cars both of which corrode if we're not sailing enough to keep them clean. We have a 56 ft luff and yes it can take a while to hand crank it up there since you start cranking when the headboard is about 20 feet before the top. Even so, it gets done and we're none the worse off having done it with regular muscle power. We don't have a 2:1 purchase up top, that might make it a bit easier. We do have a downhaul at the top of the sail that we do use to bring it down the last bit.
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Old 18-03-2016, 15:27   #49
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Re: Trouble dropping regular mainsail

"Finally, does anyone know where to source the bent metal brackets and bolt/nuts to attach a new sheave to the bottom of the mast?"

I used a stainless steel eye bolt with same size thread as other hardware and nut slipped into bottom slot to bring my Lazy jack lines back to cockpit. cheap, easy and works well.

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Old 18-03-2016, 16:02   #50
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Re: Trouble dropping regular mainsail

Some cruisers here are talking about Mc Lube and other stuff in mainsails battcars and this is one of the reasons I got hundreds of torlon balls as replacement in the shop, never ever use any kind of lube in a battcar system, just regular soap and fresh water.... my 2 cents.
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Old 18-03-2016, 16:35   #51
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Re: Trouble dropping regular mainsail

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Originally Posted by neilpride View Post
Some cruisers here are talking about Mc Lube and other stuff in mainsails battcars and this is one of the reasons I got hundreds of torlon balls as replacement in the shop, never ever use any kind of lube in a battcar system, just regular soap and fresh water.... my 2 cents.
That explains why some of them (the torlon balls) I've seen look like hell.

As an aside--we don't lubricate our bronze sail track (with bronze cars or stainless cars depending on which sail we've bent on). We find that keeping it clean (soap and freshwater) and at most using a very very (very!) fine sanding sponge or 3M scrubber to take salt-induced corrosion off of it really is all it needs. It's still green, don't get me wrong, it's not polished--but it isn't thickened up with corrosion and the sail cars slide up and down nicely.
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Old 18-03-2016, 18:55   #52
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Re: Trouble dropping regular mainsail

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Originally Posted by Schooner Chandlery View Post
You know, we own a V28 Milwaukee right angle drill -- purchased and used during our boat rebuild. Love the thing for that purpose. We bought a winch bit to use it with our mainsail halyard winch (on mast not in the cockpit!) because we thought we'd need it.

However we've decided it's not worth the bother of getting it out to use it when raising our big heavy 630 sf mainsail. We just crank on it manually and it's all good. We have a heavy sail, bronze track and bronze cars both of which corrode if we're not sailing enough to keep them clean. We have a 56 ft luff and yes it can take a while to hand crank it up there since you start cranking when the headboard is about 20 feet before the top. Even so, it gets done and we're none the worse off having done it with regular muscle power. We don't have a 2:1 purchase up top, that might make it a bit easier. We do have a downhaul at the top of the sail that we do use to bring it down the last bit.
I suppose some grinding exercise is not a bad thing. I'll do it occasionally. But Millie is no hassle at all and takes less than a minute to get her up and into her winch... Frankly I think Millie is fabulous. And who wants to be sweating just hoisting a sail on a hot summer's day? Not me!

As for getting the sail down.... it comes down with a few tugs if head to the wind and the wife pulls down the final bits at the mast. It would just drop down by itself.
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