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Old 30-08-2015, 01:37   #1
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Xmainsheet system for 28 foot boat with a 200 square foot main?

What is typical?

I have a 4:1 that I don't think is anywhere near the original design. I don't think the original design had a traveller either and mine does although it is a piece of ****. I can't figure out what size car fits it and mine looks weak. I tried to get a small harken car but it was too big for the traveller track but close. I'm going to have to redo the track. In the meantime I am done with projects, even though I always say that and just want to start going out and sailing sometimes!

My last sail had low but decent wind and that 4:1 was pretty hard to pull. I don't think I would win a fight with it in a real blow. Maybe I'm wrong, I've never tried. What do you guys use?

The manual has a weird system, but it looked pretty cool, double blocks on each side of the transom and one at the boom and it sheets to a cleat on the middle of the transom. That sounds like it would get old though, cleating it off eveytime.

I was looking at hardens website and like the 6 :1 system best, but is that enough or do I need to go full on 8:1? Imdont want to buy the 6:2 only to find out the first heavy weather I'm in its inadequate. At that point it would probably be to late to return.

What do you guys use? I just want to go sailing and stop all this w
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Old 30-08-2015, 02:40   #2
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Re: Xmainsheet system for 28 foot boat with a 200 square foot main?

I had a 4:1 on my 34 footer, End boom sheeting. Was a bit hard (two hands) to get the final bit of tension on in heavy windward stuff, it but I was happy to trade this for a shorter more responsive mainsheet for the rest of the time.

My 26 foot folkboat type also had a 4:1, It worked well.

Another option would be to add a 3:1 fine tune to the mainsheet, This would give you 12:1 for that last bit in strong winds, and to play the main with during gusts.

Or else lead the 4:1 to a winch to get the last few inches in. You could do some tests with spare blocks to see what you like. 6:1 might be OK for you. I suspect 8:1 would be totally overkill.
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Old 30-08-2015, 02:42   #3
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Re: Xmainsheet system for 28 foot boat with a 200 square foot main?

Also check all your leads and blocks are running smoothly, a bit of friction really hurts when you are pulling by hand. Roller blocks and good well aligned Cam cleats to lock it really can make a huge difference.
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Old 30-08-2015, 13:08   #4
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Re: Xmainsheet system for 28 foot boat with a 200 square foot main?

Had a 4-1 on my Westsail 32, Morgan 35 and current Pearson 35 using plain axle fiddle blocks. The 4-1 on those big mainsail boats worked okay with end boom sheeting though does take a bit of muscle hard on the wind when it's blowing. Would think a 4-1 on your size boat would provide more than adequate mechanical advantage. Might want to check out your blocks to see if the sheaves are moving freely. One hanging up would add a lot of force necessary to pull in the sheet.

The more parts in the tackle, the more line you have to pull. Going to a 6-1 will mean 1/3rd more line, if my calculations are correct, for a given adjustment. If you do decide to go with more parts to the system think about a double tail/2 speed set up. On a 6-1, you pull on both ends of the sheet for a 3-1 advantage for speed then go to using just one sheet when you need the power or fine tuning. They are pricey from Harken and the like but Garhauer makes a set up that is affordable though not cheap. You can find it in their online catalogue listed as a vang.
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I'm officially in to my 7th decade and getting lazy so went with 6-1 two speed set up. Gives me all the power I need for the much larger sail than yours. Really like the ability to go with 3-1 when need to haul in lots of line quickly like before a jibe and then go to the 6-1 for power.

Traveller track is the cheap part of a traveller setup. If you've got the Harken car or were willing to spend the bucks for it, then why not just change out the existing track for the Harken set up. Harken makes a track with sliding fasteners that can be moved to fit any old holes drilled for the previous fastener. One of those and you wouldn't even have to do any drilling. On your size boat, a pin stop positioner for the car would be way cheaper than the line setups. Have 2-1 line positioner for the car on the P35 and it has more than enough power to position the car, even in strong winds.

With the growing use of permanent vangs, travelers are kind of useless. The vangs do most of the work keeping a flat sail and the main sheet just controls position of the boom. Might think about spending money on a permanent vang rather than on a new traveller. You could use standup fiddle blocks with cam cleats on either side of the cockpit or even a single in the middle to position the boom. The Harken Catalogue used to have illustrations of different block set ups. There may be some ideas in their if you have their catalogue or can find one of the older one.
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Old 30-08-2015, 13:35   #5
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Re: Xmainsheet system for 28 foot boat with a 200 square foot main?

Google "Cape Dory 28 mainsheet" and you will find a link to the original Cape Dory owners manual. On pg 112 there is a diagram of the mainsheet used on the smaller CD's without a traveler that should work well for you. The system uses fiddle blocks with cam cleats on each corner of the cockpit and a triple block on the boom. The beauty of this system is that you can sheet the main from either side of the cockpit, no more 'I can't reach the sheet from where I'm sitting'. Use good quality ball bearing blocks and you shouldn't have a problem trimming the main. If you do it's time to reef or more likely past the time to reef. If you want a traveler then a complete new system is in order, doubt you could find a new car that will fit a track of that vintage. Bottom line is I don't think you need a traveler.

The CD is a fine boat, good luck.
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Old 30-08-2015, 13:51   #6
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Re: Xmainsheet system for 28 foot boat with a 200 square foot main?

What is a permanent vang? Do you mean instead of my block and tackle set up a hard vang?

I was just looking at a gaurhauer traveller my friend put up. Looks great. I don't care much for travelers. If it was up to me I would eliminate it completely.

I'm just also not convinced my 4:1 system isn't undersized. It looks wimpy, like it will break apart. But it is harken and the loads they can take are in the 1000's. It's where it attaches. That little u shackle. It looks weak. But it's the same size stuff the boat originally came with and I think it looks the same size as all of the other boats in its size range.

It would probably look pretty out of place to have huge oversized blocks.
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Old 31-08-2015, 15:41   #7
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Re: Xmainsheet system for 28 foot boat with a 200 square foot main?

I was referring to a rigid vang from the base of the mast to the boom. Can do almost as good with four part tackle to the same location but will have no boom support. A single point located block set up will work well with a rigid vang. You'll mostly need the downward force of the mainsheet when hard on the wind and a single point location will provide that. The original system as detailed above will work but will have an extra block to deal with. Able to sheet in/release from both sides is an advantage. Would want a cam cleat in any case to be able to dump the main in a sudden strong gust.

The Harken blocks have a pretty wimpy stamped shackle but they seem to hold up. Other Mfg like Schaeffer also use stamped shackles and have sailed thousands of miles with them.
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Old 01-09-2015, 17:21   #8
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Re: Xmainsheet system for 28 foot boat with a 200 square foot main?

So it's not just me that thinks that stamped shackle looks weak? Lol, I've heard they hold up too, so I guess Harken knows what they are doing!
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Old 01-09-2015, 17:39   #9
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Re: Xmainsheet system for 28 foot boat with a 200 square foot main?

Just as a comparison, my A-Cat has a 150sqft sail, and a 12:1 main sheet. My old Olson 30 with 170sqft main had a 8:1 with a 16:1 fine tune.

Seriously guys take a lesson from racers, more purchase is your friend. A 4:1 on a 200sqft main is going to peri ally leave you under trimmed or working too hard.
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Old 01-09-2015, 19:34   #10
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Re: Xmainsheet system for 28 foot boat with a 200 square foot main?

It will almost certainly be cheaper and more effective to add a small winch to the system than upgrade to a good 8:1 system with all he extra line and friction that it introduces. I'd not want an 8:1 on a 28 footer. Unless it was mid boom sheeting.

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Old 01-09-2015, 20:40   #11
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Re: Xmainsheet system for 28 foot boat with a 200 square foot main?

Before you spend big bucks on a 6 or 8 to 1 takle, try to use one somewhere. Yes, you do have immense power when sailing close hauled in a breeze, but then go around the weather mark... the apparent wind drops dramatically, and the frictional losses in all those sheaves and all that line that has to be ease out will mean the boom doesn't want to go out for proper downwind trim. Having to push it out manually is a PITA... been there and done that! And it is awfully slow when trying to trim effectively in puffy conditions.

As Mr Petrel says above, a small winch to put the last bits of trim on the 4:1 tackle will give excellent control, relatively little friction, and much quicker trimming when required. The smallest single speed (#8 in many marques) will give the same mechanical advantage as a 32:1 tackle (in theory), and those little winches can often be found second hand for small bucks.

That's certainly what I would do in your case, OP, whether or not you chose to keep the traveller (and I would both keep and upgrade it for myself).

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Old 01-09-2015, 21:00   #12
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Re: Xmainsheet system for 28 foot boat with a 200 square foot main?

I am glad I read this. I think I will try the idea of reducing our purchase and incorporating one of the small winches in the cockpit. Like Jim mentioned, we have to push our boom out a lot and most of the time the 5:1 purchase seems way over powered.


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Old 01-09-2015, 22:16   #13
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Re: Xmainsheet system for 28 foot boat with a 200 square foot main?

There are numerous ways to get more purchase. The standard answer is to just add more blocks, which yes requires huge amounts of line and a very expensive block system. But there are other options.

1) use a winch. This is really just adding more blocks on a different scale.

2) adding a fine tune. This uses a single new block to double whatever the purchase already is. So a single block and about 10' of line allows you to switch from a 4:1 to a 8:1. But you only have a limited amount of distance the 8:1 works over. Typically for a mainsheet however this is plenty. You max the normal purchase, then use the fine tune to crank it on.

3) using a cascade. This is the trickiest option to do well, but if you get it set right you can have a completely variable purchase system that ranges from 2:1 up to wherever you want it to end. By intentionally allowing the blocks to max out, they stop working as moving blocks and become fixed blocks instead. This allows a lot of purchase with very little amount of line necessary. It's just the last bit that has the full possible purchase available.

With a properly set cascade you can get huge amount of purchase with very little line, and cheap blocks. This is how you set up a backstay to get 64:1 purchase system with just six blocks.
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Old 01-09-2015, 22:35   #14
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Re: Xmainsheet system for 28 foot boat with a 200 square foot main?

I don't really have any winches! Me cause of the self tacking jib, it only has one on the cabin top and two on the mast for the halyards.

I like the fine tuning idea best. I see that on harken' website, I would like to set that up.
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Old 01-09-2015, 22:57   #15
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Re: Xmainsheet system for 28 foot boat with a 200 square foot main?

I must be missing something important here. We have what I would call 5:1 end boom sheeting on a 380 square foot main and I am finding it a bit overpowered, as in too much purchase and too much sheet to pull through.

I'm not exactly the incredible hulk, but I have never needed two hands to sheet in except for the extra speed that can be obtained by hand over hand hauling. I usually adjust the main with one hand on the wheel.

Is this something that is influenced by sail aspect ratio? We are probably relatively low aspect ratio at about 3:1.

I see figures like 12:1 purchase and wonder what the heck I am missing?


Here is a picture of our mainsheet, I am calling this 5:1, but have I got it wrong?
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