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Old 30-07-2020, 06:19   #1
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Lines to Cockpit / Mast

Sailing more with family (10-15yo) and looking at buying something.

Everything I have sailed (Mono / Cat) has had all lines to cockpit (reefing varies)
But I see a lot of boats with Halyards and Reefing points on mast.

Any comments / suggestions from ladies / less strong guys / older guys on how you go with lines up at the mast?

Thanks
Paul
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Old 30-07-2020, 07:18   #2
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by nfbr View Post
Sailing more with family (10-15yo) and looking at buying something.



Everything I have sailed (Mono / Cat) has had all lines to cockpit (reefing varies)

But I see a lot of boats with Halyards and Reefing points on mast.



Any comments / suggestions from ladies / less strong guys / older guys on how you go with lines up at the mast?



Thanks

Paul


Don’t know about that “old guys” remark- at 65 I am still going forward in hefty seas tending to issues. And have no issues delivering about that requires me to go forward to reef. I just run jack lines.

BUT, some folks don’t care to go forward. Moving the lines is a compromise- rig reefing lines back to the cockpit and deal with storing the lines.

I am not a fan of single line reefing and prefer to see boats with separate clew and tack reefing lines. While that is more lines coming in, I feel they get fouled less often.

If you are boat shopping don’t make that a deciding point. Rigging the lines back to the cockpit is a few “boat bucks”. But buying a boat you don’t like as much just because the lines are lead aft is foolish.

On my personal boat the halyard and vang are lead back. To reef, one needs to go forward. Sort of a hybrid solution.
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Old 30-07-2020, 08:09   #3
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by nfbr View Post
Sailing more with family (10-15yo) and looking at buying something.

Everything I have sailed (Mono / Cat) has had all lines to cockpit (reefing varies)
But I see a lot of boats with Halyards and Reefing points on mast.

Any comments / suggestions from ladies / less strong guys / older guys on how you go with lines up at the mast?

Thanks
Paul
It's a safety/convenience thing. If you mostly sail in fair weather, it's not much of an issue.

Even with lines lead aft, many times someone will be at the mast when hoisting the main. Crew at the mast can use their weight to pull down the halyard, crew in cockpit takes up slack and runs the winch for the last couple feet if needed.

But being able to drop sails/reef from the cockpit when it gets blowing is nice.
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Old 30-07-2020, 13:03   #4
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

Have lead all the main sail strings to the cockpit. Double line reefing, vang, outhaul and topping lift with clutches and winches. Faster, safer, and way dryer to handle the main under the cover of the dodger.

The headsail strings except for sheet and furling are at the mast. Something always seems to be needed to be tended to raising headsails. Running from cockpit to bow and back, often several times, is just too much of a hassle.

As snore says don't let location overly effect your boat buying decisions. If they are already run aft, you've saved more than a boat unit if you want to stay with that location. If you decide after use that you'd rather work the sails at the mast, you'll have hardware to sell on Craigs List or eBay. If controls are only at the mast, be aware that it will take a boat unit or more to bring the strings aft.
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Old 31-07-2020, 08:32   #5
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

We have to go forward to reef; one unexpected plus is that it focuses the mind on reefing early, while conditions are amenable. This is a Good Thing!
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Old 31-07-2020, 08:58   #6
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

The older I get the more I appreciate granny bars/ mast pulpits.
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Old 31-07-2020, 09:02   #7
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

I have sailed boats rigged both ways. I prefer the halyards at the mast and love my continuous wire 'reel' type winch. Much less friction and much easier to raise the main every time you put it up. I also found that the single reefing line led aft often get fouled requiring a trip forward anyway, and in the event they do work, you can't usually get proper tension on them due to excessive friction. So you end up with a full shape in your reefed sail. not ideal.
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Old 31-07-2020, 09:04   #8
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

Here's another piece of information for your consideration of lines on the mast or in the cockpit.
Two years ago I moved all lines to the cockpit. I see it as a safety move as I get older. I like it. Main halyard, two line reefing, vang, cunningham, out haul, lazy jacks and down haul. One of the results is I now have to use a hand crank on my winch to get the main up nice and snug. I used to be able to pull it all the way by hand. (28 ft. boat) It's simply that I'm pulling a lot of extra line up with the sail. It's still worth it, but it did change things a bit. All these lines run through nice high quality turning blocks so it's the combination of some added friction and 10 to 15 ft. of added lines along with the sail. On a bigger boat it would be even more effort. For what it's worth...
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Old 31-07-2020, 09:06   #9
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

I've had both setups. Spent a ton of money to lead things aft. Dedicated winches, high end stoppers even. What a mess. I'm a small guy. I far prefer the simplicity of lines on the mast. Far prefer. I can go to the mast and reef in less time than it takes to untangle , recleat etc the mess in the cockpit.
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Old 31-07-2020, 09:06   #10
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by nfbr View Post
Sailing more with family (10-15yo) and looking at buying something.

Everything I have sailed (Mono / Cat) has had all lines to cockpit (reefing varies)
But I see a lot of boats with Halyards and Reefing points on mast.

Any comments / suggestions from ladies / less strong guys / older guys on how you go with lines up at the mast?

Thanks
Paul
Even if you have the main halyard going to the cockpit, after you reef you still need to go forward to wrap/clean up the main with it's tie downs (reefing pennants).

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Old 31-07-2020, 09:15   #11
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

For me, if I could run all the lines back to the cockpit, I probably would! But my little cockpit just doesn't have much room for that mass of lines and pockets. If I were planning a long trip solo though, I'd work it out so that I could do it. I had single line reefing rigged for a while and it worked ok, but it required long lengths of line to attend to, and the second reef required I go to the mast anyway when shaking it out to put a slide back on. This summer I went back to reefing at the mast (I still have the winches on the mast.) For the headsails I find it more convenient to run that halyard back (I have hank-on headsails which most don't.) Like others said, no need to consider this in deciding which boat to buy.
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Old 31-07-2020, 09:31   #12
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by zstine View Post
I have sailed boats rigged both ways. I prefer the halyards at the mast and love my continuous wire 'reel' type winch. Much less friction and much easier to raise the main every time you put it up. I also found that the single reefing line led aft often get fouled requiring a trip forward anyway, and in the event they do work, you can't usually get proper tension on them due to excessive friction. So you end up with a full shape in your reefed sail. not ideal.
We also have all-wire halyards and very nice wire winches on the mast that are not finger-mashers like the older types. They even use regular einch handles. I wouldn't think of downgrading to fiber halyards. When it is time to drop the sail I don't have to clean the halyard first and lay it out to get it ready on deck, just hit that clutch on the winch and the sail just drops as the winch pays out the cable -no friction.

We recently bought a new mainsail that has a Cunningham. We never even had a Cunningham line or winch rigged before as we could always add more luff tension with the wire halyard and winch. But after adding one we still never use it as a Cunningham -but it does come in handy for reefing instead for holding the new tack right where I want it.
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Old 31-07-2020, 09:34   #13
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

Couple of comments. I like lines lead aft and sailing solo I find it worth it because I can adjust things like halyard tension and trim without leaving the wheel for long. However there are down sides. The more complex the setup is the more likely it is to snag, then you have to go forward any to undo the jam! The more blocks the rope goes round the more friction you get, so the bigger the winch needed, which takes longer to grind...! On a 35ft boat I can haul the main almost to the top by hand without a winch much faster than doing it with the cockpit winches. Often I will go forward hoist most of the way and just adjust the tension from the cockpit.

A major point is that you SHOULD always be comfortable moving around the deck and that takes practice. Lines to the cockpit are a convenience but it is important that the deck setup enables you to work on deck safely in any weather short of survival conditions.
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Old 31-07-2020, 09:38   #14
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

One more vote for working your rig from the base of the mast rather than from the cockpit. Complexity in a cruising boat is unnecessary and expensive. And a maintenance nightmare. Friction in the running rigging is your enemy and the harder the conditions are, the greater the enmity! Taking lines to the cockpit increases friction enormously.

Ladies and "less strong guys" are particularly appreciative of boats that are rigged to minimize friction and complexity. And as for "older guys"...I'm 80.

TrentePieds has everything led to the cockpit and she has mast roller furling of the main. An absolute PITA. If I could be guaranteed another forty years of sailing - which I hope for - I'd get rid of all the rubbish and revert to "hank-ons" handled from the mast. Handling a 400 square foot mainsail on track and slides and fitted with a proper topping lift is child's play in comparison! Reefing a 400 sqft main from the mast, when it is properly rigged with a running topping lift and slab reefing, is absolute duck soup compared with all the modern "improvements".

As someone said: Rig a jackline! Know how to use it and make sure your safety harness is in good condition. Rather than spend money on leading lines aft, spend what is required to have a sufficient number of sufficiently strong anchor points for your jack line and for your harness.

As someone else said: Nothing quite so much conduces to good seamanship as knowing that you have to go forward to reef :-)!

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Old 31-07-2020, 09:43   #15
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Re: Lines to Cockpit / Mast

It's all preference, I'm now 74 not as steady on my feet, 26' boat. My boat has 8 (4) on each side going from mast to cockpit. If I had to go forward for all sail handling I would have to have a big med kit and a fast dry swimsuit. I can go sailing in a lot of weather I could not go out in if I had to go forward for sail handling. It definitely clears clutter around the mast.
A couple things I really miss from not going forward for rigging/sail set. Cannot look up the mast for mast bend, cannot feel standing rigging, cannot see shape of sails as well, those are my main issues. Also, you have more line to maintain, you have expensive deck hardware to maintain. When you do go forward, your rolling or tripping on lines or deck hardware. Weigh the prose and cons for your own vessel, some work well either way, it's definitely Captains choice, no real what's better. Like I said, in my situation, being 74 and not so nimble, I sail two to three times as much as I could if I had traditional rigging set up. Your talking to a guy that had a 65' schooner with 6 working sails, it is to me now very relaxing sitting in my cockpit handling the boat. Happy sailing all,
Capt. Vince Rakstis, Ret. MS
PS: It is a pain in the ass to wash down decks with all the lines and deck hardware ran back to the cockpit, right where you need to scrub and rinse........ Look at all those periods, I could be president.......
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