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Old 31-07-2020, 13:12   #16
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

The layout of the boat makes a difference. And, will you be sailing with crew or alone? A friend had a 28' with narrow side decks and a dodger- it was a task to get to the mast. I have a 33' C&C with wide enough side decks and no dodger. Most lines that are adjusted while sailing are led to the cockpit, but I have to go forward to set the lazy jacks and to adjust the out-haul. I can see the advantage of running the tack end of the reefing line to the cockpit though. If its that rough, better to not have to go forward.
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Old 31-07-2020, 15:50   #17
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

I see lines running to the cockpit as a convenience thing, but not necessarily a safety thing. I'm 79 years old, have been cruising most of the last 18 years and I go forward to handle halyards, reefing and to generally inspect the blocks and lines for security and soundness. I've met sailors who treat the foredeck as a no-mans land. The truth is, that eventually you will need to to foreword for one reason or another, and it should feel comfortable to do so. If the foredeck is not familiar to you and you need to take care of a problem on a dark and stormy night, then it will be a much more dangerous undertaking (no pun intended) tha
n if you feel at home there.
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Old 31-07-2020, 18:12   #18
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Bryden View Post
I see lines running to the cockpit as a convenience thing, but not necessarily a safety thing. I'm 79 years old, have been cruising most of the last 18 years and I go forward to handle halyards, reefing and to generally inspect the blocks and lines for security and soundness. I've met sailors who treat the foredeck as a no-mans land. The truth is, that eventually you will need to to foreword for one reason or another, and it should feel comfortable to do so. If the foredeck is not familiar to you and you need to take care of a problem on a dark and stormy night, then it will be a much more dangerous undertaking (no pun intended) tha
n if you feel at home there.
Gees Don, your on a Brewer 45, of course you fell comfortable going forward. Put your but on an under 30' with no side deck and see how comfortable you feel going forward in a sea way. If I still had my 65 schooner, I would feel comfortable going forward. On a 26, not so much. So yes, it is a safety issue as much as convenience. I'm 74... Capt. Vince Rakstis, Ret MS
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Old 02-08-2020, 10:33   #19
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

My limited experience is that it depends entirely on the boat. I chose a boat that had good seakindly charicteristics and with reefing at the mast but with high toerails and guardrails, wide sidedecks and granny bars at the mast. I brought the jackstays towards the centreline and had tethers made ip that meant we couldn't fall outside the guardrails except right up in the bows. And then I had waist high grab bars fitted over the cabin so that there isn't an inch where I don't have something strong to hold onto on my journey to the mast. Reefing at the mast is subsequently easy and safe.
I've sailed on a few other boats where going to the mast would be a much less comfortable and safe experience and have been glad of cockpit based reefing. Except two such boats where badly arranged single line reefing means someone frequently has to go to the mast to sweat lines anyway. Usually in a hurry on boats that are not so safe for on deck work. I enjoy those sails but they make me appreciate my own boat all the more.
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Old 09-08-2020, 13:25   #20
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

I have a boat that was really designed to have all the sail handling at the mast excepting the sheets and Genoa reefing line. She is even designed to have here main rolled in at the mast!

I love working at the mast ( and would actually have preferred a proper slab reefing mainsail just to have more of an excuse to do it more), however my Dad, whoís pushing 70, and SWIMBO felt that they wanted to be able to reef the main from the comfort and safety of the cockpit. Particularly my dad felt no longer comfortable going forward in a blow.

I tried to fix this for them by running lines back but it just proved impossible. Indeed, we bent the push pit trying to do this. Eventually, we landed up electrifying the reefing drum on the in mast. So now we can reef and sheet the Genoa and main from the cockpit even on a boat that was specifically designed to be reefed from the mast (there are granny bars and everything).

Basically, with modern technology any boat can be made into one that can be sailed mostly from the cockpit, itís just a question of how much you are willing to spend to get it done.
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Old 09-08-2020, 14:04   #21
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

Either way there are pro's and con's. If you are sailing mostly solo, you want all the lines led aft. In heavy seas, it is much easier to go forward and hook the reef point, then go back and work out the lines from the safety of the cockpit. For the headsail, you will end up going back and forth to change the sails but it is manageable. The downside is that most boats have a dodger and working the top winches under the dodger is a pain. Also, you need to store the lines somewhere out of the sun and this means you need bags. if you have experienced crew, you can have one person on the foredeck managing the sails and the other working the lines from the cockpit which is more efficient and faster.

If you have the halyards at the mast, it does look easier, especially for the headsail but again in heavy seas, it is not easy to work the mast winch (there is less support to lean against vs. the cockpit) and you still have to go from the bow to the mast and back.

Regarding friction, it really depends on how the boat is setup. A pulley adds 4-9% to the total effort. If you have in mast halyards, you will still have the bottom pulley, that will be only 1/4 and the deck pulley, that will be 1/8, so you actually have less friction if you lead the halyards back vs. if you wrap it around and up the mast to a clutch. It is similar with reefing. You do not add more than a few percentage points to the total effort. A bigger issues is old/broken blocks that should just be replaced.

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Old 09-08-2020, 14:17   #22
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

My halyards exit the mast above the winches. There is one pulley at the mast head for each halyard and thatís it. Itís a lot less friction than on my previous boat with everything led back. Indeed the lines on the new boat require less grunt to haul them than those on the former boat despite the new boat being twice the displacement.

Friction in the lines can be substantial if they are led back. I had to 2:1 my halyard on the last boat to get the main up against all the friction in the single line system and even then it was heavy.

Also my platform at the mast is great. Two winches at hip height that I can work standing erect with the support of the mast and granny bars near the center of motion. Give me that any day over being hunched under the dogger in a half kneeled position unable to see the sails grinding at what is effectively shoulder height.
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Old 09-08-2020, 14:35   #23
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

Quote "Also my platform at the mast is great. Two winches at hip height..."

Well, yes. Given your "handle" you would obviously think so - as do I. But let's graciously remember that not everyone here came from the womb rowing a coracle or a skiff. I was once made fun of in this forum for expressing a fondness for Galway hookers, but I see that they are becoming more numerous again. "Oh, to think of it..."

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Old 09-08-2020, 15:02   #24
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

Ha, totally missed that one.

Wish Iíd done it deliberately now.
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Old 09-08-2020, 15:43   #25
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

Boats and sailors are different, what works for one may not work for the other. Our boat is 43', a sloop, and powerful, meaning big sails and lots of power, at times, but it is set up for maximum efficiency and ease of operation.

It can be a lot of work. There are two of us, in our 70's, but because of the way it is laid out, it is easy for us.

Wings was set up as a racing boat so everything is ultra low friction and very direct for efficiency and boat handling speed. That helps us deal with this big boat.

The halyards and reefing lines are led to the cockpit, as, of course, are the sheets and guys. Most lines have only one block on deck, otherwise the lead is straight. Any line can be led to any of several winches, including the very large three-speed wide-drum primary winches which make easy work of the heaviest loads or the secondary winches.

But even though we have all this in the cockpit we still have to go forward.

To raise a sail one person goes to the mast and "jumps" the halyard. The other person tails it in the cockpit and finishes it off with the winch. Our sails, even the heavy ones, fly up the mast. Raising sails is fast and easy. (headsails, see below).

To reef a mainsail (or unreef), again, one person goes forward. In reefing the main must be pulled down and hooked over the horn at the mast while the halyard is eased from the cockpit. Then the halyard and reefing line are taken up in the cockpit on the primary winch. This is a very speedy process, seconds, but it does involve going forward.

It helps that our decks are wide and usually clear so going forward is not difficult; one can literally run forward.

Shaking out a reef is like hoisting the sail, the halyard is eased from the cockpit, the tack is freed, and then the sail is hoisted at the mast, with it being tailed in the cockpit. Again, easy and fast. Again, one person goes forward.

Headsails are a special case. We don't have roller furling. The headsails must be hooked up at the bow. They can be hoisted at the mast (and tailed in the cockpit) but to take a sail down it must be pulled down from the foredeck while the halyard is eased, aft. We are used to this and we have no problem going forward. Usually our decks are clear and with jack lines led one of us runs forward to do the necessary, with tethers if night time or in rough weather.

You can see our cockpit: Not great for lounging or entertaining, but great for working the boat. Every thing is fast and easy and convenient.
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