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Old 12-08-2016, 10:53   #16
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Re: Assist line for lowering the mainsail

I have the same problem. My boom is six feet above the deck. I added a line to pull the sail down into the bag.
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Old 12-08-2016, 15:23   #17
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Re: Assist line for lowering the mainsail

I used downhauls a lot, especially on foresails like jibs on bowsprits which will not fall well because the stays are not vertical. If down, you can tie the downhaul, so it wont blow up again, the sail that is...
On sails nearer the mast, inner foresail and mains, I used the halyards as downhaul. Just tied the end to the head of. The sail. Less mess on deck too.
On my Hylas 44, the full batten main flalls pretty well, but I dquirt some silicon on therail etc. Before it goes up.
It is possible that lifting the boom a bit before taking down makes things easier esp. if your sail is hauled out on the boom very hard. And make sure there is no windpressure in the sail.....of course.
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Old 12-08-2016, 15:34   #18
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Re: Assist line for lowering the mainsail

All of my sails on my ketch are controlled in the pilothouse. The downhaul for the main is the only one that I go out on the deck to manage.
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Old 12-08-2016, 15:49   #19
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Re: Assist line for lowering the mainsail

If you were on one side and pulled the little runners in the track might twist. The track needs lube.
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Old 12-08-2016, 16:21   #20
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Re: Assist line for lowering the mainsail

Our main comes down easily enough until we are running - as Uncivilised says, its the pressure - also in our case. We use a downhaul from reef 3 as well; also run through the cars. We just use braided line and hanging on it has always brought it down - not needed to resort to winching.....yet. Guess being heavy, 120kg's, helps in this situation.
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Old 12-08-2016, 17:35   #21
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Re: Assist line for lowering the mainsail

Hi I single hand my Cat 36 all the time and have rigged a down-haul looped thru the Head so that it applies equal pressure to the head to keep it from binding when I down haul. I then run the two lines thru a block at the base of the mast and run it back to the aft end of the boom. I also make sure the cars are lubricated. This has been absolutely invaluable as sometimes in our small harbor there are stand up paddle boarders everywhere and not a lot of room to maneuver.
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Old 12-08-2016, 22:50   #22
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Re: Assist line for lowering the mainsail

Hmmm, doesn't the Dutchman system for this problem ?
Or not ?
Anyone using the Dutchman system ?
Are there drawbacks to the system ?
Thanks
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Old 12-08-2016, 23:05   #23
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Re: Assist line for lowering the mainsail

The Dutchman works exceedingly well. It uses Harkin bat-car slides (or similar) on a t-track and the main drops fast and easy without the need for a down haul. It's main function is to contain and flake the sail as it is lowered (better than lazy jacks). The down side is the expense and the need to modify the mainsail cover.


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Old 13-08-2016, 05:05   #24
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Re: Assist line for lowering the mainsail

A word of caution. We have a Lagoon 450 and it is rigged with the down haul line you are referring to. Like PaulinaOz states if you free fall the main sail that "light weighted" line will get fouled around a spreader or radar dish etc. as it did to us once when dropping the main in a storm.

Once that happened we could no longer raise or lower the main and now the main was permenently stuck flapping halfway down. We had to heave to and ride out the storm for about 6 hours until the seas calmed enough to go up the mast and cut it free.

I personally do not like that line. We always do a controlled drop and make sure someone has a hand on that line keeping it taut when dropping the main.
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Old 13-08-2016, 06:24   #25
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Re: Assist line for lowering the mainsail

I would agree that free dropping the main should be a last ditch attempt and not regularly practiced. We too have had our downline caught but in between the mast and the cars - a royal pain as it jammed the car preventing the complete main from dropping. What I did after this event was replace the 6mm downhaul line for a 8mm, slightly larger diameter, harder to lodge in this area. But ultimately, when lowering the main, you pull down, removing any slack from the downhaul line. Dont let it slacken up and cause issues. But the downhaul is most useful for aiding in the full lowering of the main, without a doubt
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Old 13-08-2016, 06:58   #26
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Re: Assist line for lowering the mainsail

Run a hose on the bearings and track to flush out grime first, then a day later after it dries -- lube the cars. I use McLube OneDrop Ball Bearing Conditioner. My equipment is 15 years old and I give it that treatment when things start to bind a bit, and after that it drops like a rock.

If it's a charter you might not have the luxury of doing the wash down, just use the bearing conditioner. It's a very small tube easy to travel with, so bring it along and put a few drops on the track before you raise the main so it can work its way in when you raise it. It will come down easy unless the bearings have been flattened bad enough to jam.

IMHO down hauls are a risky proposition. As noted in some prior posts they can leave you in a bind if they snag with the sail up and you're in 20k trade winds that never stop blowing. A 5mm Dyneema line has a breaking strength of many thousands of pounds and you do not want to snag or jam that in your running rigging.
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Old 13-08-2016, 07:28   #27
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Re: Assist line for lowering the mainsail

We have a large full battened heavy dacron main, 2 reefs and a Duchtman. The main will rarely if ever drop once the halyard is released. As you describe we can get probably 50% or more of the hoist down by just releasing the halyard.

However.... what we do is flake the sail so that needs a bit of help at the mast and the aft end... and many times the halyard hockles and won't pass the stopper.

Definitely, keep the bow dead on to the wind.. motor slowly into it wind it is light. Wind DOES assist in jostling the slides so they are less likely to bind. A little silicone and a clean mast track helps.

Single handed, I set the AP to keep the boat into the wind.... put the halyard in a mast jam cleat and return to cockpit to release the halyard... then back at the mast I pul the halyard from the jam cleat and let it come down... setting the flakes... I have a few sail ties and move aft to secure the sail and straighten out the flakes.

Why do you think you need the sail to drop down lickity split? You want little friction.. but control is the name of the game.
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Old 13-08-2016, 08:46   #28
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Re: Assist line for lowering the mainsail

Wish I could reach up to flake the sail. My main boom is six feet over the deck so it misses the pilot house
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Old 14-08-2016, 19:19   #29
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Re: Assist line for lowering the mainsail

I found what Uncivil says ... battens binding. Lube as the first step.
Keep a spraycan in the spare winch pocket at the base of the mast and give the sliders a whoosh before hauling it up (or in the pre-departure check). But the fumes.

And what Sandero says too. More in light air than heavy. Motoring fast to windward while dropping reduced the issue.

As some others have said, tried the downhaul, didn't like the extra line to handle and coil, and the tangle risk.

But even with lube and wind, sometimes the battens still bind and sometimes the leech end of the battens would drop first, before the luff end, and get wedged on the boom, leaving batten on a say 40 - 60 degree angle forming a triangle between the boom and the mast, and most of the main 5 meters up.

A meter or two of very light ribbon permanently tied to and flying from the leech end of the battens was a cheap fix to enable the batten to be pulled back when this happened. The light ribbon flies by itself, and doesn't get tangled (often).

Permanently installed reefing lines on the leech soon replaced the ribbons. A tug on these always always prevented or fixed the problem, and they served two purposes.

There ya, that my nickel.
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