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Old 23-05-2015, 10:21   #1
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How to use a traditional main?

Okay, so call me a new breed. Like it or not. I have fractionally owned 3 boats for the past four years - Hunter 33, Hunter 36, and now a new Oceanis 38. Aside from taking out an albacore a half dozen times, I have never hoisted/reefed or put away a traditional main. Even my Hobie AI is a furler. My 3 windsurfers never need hoisting either Oh and to add: the Catalina 309 I took my cruising course on was furling as well.

I am looking at Jeanneau 349 with traditional main with lazy bag and lazy jacks - whatever the hell those are. I may be partnering up with a senior who does not the idea of not having a furling main. I'm fine with adding an electric winch to accomodate if you think that would help.

How does reefing work - do you need to walk up on top of the cabin to tie it off - I have no idea - he's not gonna want to do that.

I did hoist a main on and old C & C 33, it took a man at the mast and me on a winch, both hauling as hard as we could to get it up. Took about ten minutes, and we were exhausted. I can't believe that's the way it's supposed to work.
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Old 23-05-2015, 10:42   #2
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Re: How to use a traditional main?

Yes you do need to be on the cabin to reef.

Hoisting the main should never be that hard. Guaranteed something was wrong with their rig. It takes effort but easy one man job.

Lazy jacks are a rigging of canvas or lines at the boom that catch the main when you lower it. Otherwise like on my boat when you drop the main it falls all over the deck and you have to flake it onto the boom by hand then tie it down.

Practice reefing in light or no wind so you have your process down pat. Most importantly if the thought of should I reef even crosses your mind DO IT. Otherwise by the time you realize you should have the wind will be too high and it becomes very difficult. Reef early!
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Old 23-05-2015, 11:03   #3
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Re: How to use a traditional main?

You need to be at the mast to reef, unless you have single line feeding. Then it can be done from the cockpit.


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Old 23-05-2015, 11:08   #4
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Re: How to use a traditional main?

Is single line feeding a good solution to not going to the mast, or does it come with it's own issues?
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Old 23-05-2015, 11:10   #5
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Re: How to use a traditional main?

Double line reefing is far superior to single line reefing.

You could go onto a sailmaker's website and find out all about it and how to raise and reef a main. Many block manufacturer's websites include that information. Also find a website with lazy jacks and "lazy bags" also called Doyle Stack Paks.

Difficult mainsail raising usually has to do with failed sheaves at the masthead.

Any good sailing book, like Sailing for Dummies (really!) will explain how to raise and reef a mainsail. Any good online website will do that, too. Beats us having to type what's in a book or on a detailed website.

Good luck. Most of us have been doing it for decades!
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Old 23-05-2015, 11:10   #6
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Re: How to use a traditional main?

A 33 footer shouldn't be that hard. Sounds like you had resistance somewhere. However, a bigger boat can take some energy just for hoisting.
It depends on how the boat is rigged. Most you go to the mast but all the lines can be led aft if you want. It does become a mess of lines, stoppers and winches. And... the resistance on the lines goes up a lot. so it's harder to pull them to accomplish each part of the reefing task.
You need to:
Release the halyard,
Release the sheet some.
Release the Boom Vang
Pull the down haul for the "tack" end of the reef.
Pull the reef line for "Clew" end of the reef.
Tighten the halyard
Set the sheet.
etc
Additionally... things don't always go as planned... sooner or later you have to go up to the mast. it sounds to me like you need in mast furling for your partner. But realistically, can either or both of you deal with things that go wrong?
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Old 23-05-2015, 11:56   #7
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Re: How to use a traditional main?

Difficulty raising or (especially) lowering a main often has to do with corrosion in the mast track causing sail slugs to hang up. Try spraying sailcote into the track as the main goes up to lubricate everything.

You can setup running rigging so that you slab-reef from the cockpit. Just talk to a professional rigger in your area and they'll design a system of sheaves, blocks, and clutches that will allow you to raise and lower the main from the cockpit.
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Old 23-05-2015, 13:03   #8
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Re: How to use a traditional main?

In my rather limited experience problems hoisting the main come back to the track although problems with the crown of the mast are a real possibility.

I'm not that familiar with your boat but if you have internal halyards it's possible that you are overcoming friction where two or more halyards are crossing each other. Also, some boats with full battens will generate friction in the sail track.

Lubing the track can't hurt and if you do have full battens you might consider adding the Tide Marine strong track or the Harken system.

My boat has full battens and raising and lowering the main was a pita. My wife could not do it. We added the strong track and now she can hoist the main for all but the last few feet.

I have Dutchman furling and when I go forward to prep the anchor all I do is slap the line clutch. The main is down on the boom by the time I've taken 3 steps. There are now 4 boats including my own at the marina that have installed the same, usually at the insistence of their wives. 😋

Regardless it seems you have a friction problem that you are going to have to track down. Be patient, you will find it. Perhaps you can enlist the help of some fellow sailors?

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Old 23-05-2015, 15:41   #9
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Re: How to use a traditional main?

I've sailed Boats from the 1930s for more than 20 years. If maintained properly, there is minimal risk for problems as the roller in the top is the only moving part except for the main. Works in absolutely every kind of weather and allows the sail to be profiled properly. The only sail that we need a second hand to hoist is more than 20 metres high, 80 square meters. I personally would not buy a furling Main, too many parts that can fail.
Just my 2 cents.

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Old 23-05-2015, 15:54   #10
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Re: How to use a traditional main?

I'm thinking you are pulling our leg !
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Old 23-05-2015, 16:09   #11
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Re: How to use a traditional main?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Stocking View Post
I'm thinking you are pulling our leg !
Sorry, I'm not a native english speaker. Can you please explain?

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Old 24-05-2015, 09:40   #12
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Re: How to use a traditional main?

You might consider buying a "Chapman Piloting & Seamanship" explains most stuff.

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Old 24-05-2015, 10:43   #13
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Re: How to use a traditional main?

Likely causes for that much resistance hoisting the main are; a reefing line is hung up. Or, maybe a slug is jammed diagonally in the track of the mast track and needs to be hammered back in place because you pulled so hard it won't slide back down to where I will enter at the wide part of the track. Could also be that the halyard has gotten wrapped around the backstay or boom lift if you have one, on its way down to the head of the sail, assuming it isn't just caught on the port spreader. Just a matter of elimination, so go for the easiest fix first and save a climb to the mast head to check the sheev for when necessary. (I speak from personal experience, have I missed one?) Easing the main sheet is also advisable; head into the wind at a very low speed when raising the sail. Don't force it!
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Old 24-05-2015, 20:56   #14
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Re: How to use a traditional main?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisgo View Post
Is single line feeding a good solution to not going to the mast, or does it come with it's own issues?
well, all things have a down side. life is a collection of compromises. you just can't have it all.
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Old 24-05-2015, 22:26   #15
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Re: How to use a traditional main?

When hoisting/reefing you are pointing to windward with the mainsheet eased, right? From your general lack of experience rather sounds to me like it may be the case you had the sail under pressure. Even slight pressure will make hoising very hard. Apart from that all the suggestions above are good.

One thing though: NEVER use electric winch power to hoist a sail! Unless, that is, you have a 70 footer or above and are shorthanding. You will be unable to feel if there is a problem with the gear, will likely fail adequately to shake out previously made reefs, and will destroy your sail, or worse!
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