E34-2 Mainsheet Woes (and other assorted rigging jobs to do)

Phr3d

Member II
Well, the source of the main halyard drag was a wire/nylon slug that had worn and the wire pulled out of the nylon. Of course, matching that one was a needle-in-a-haystack. In my search, I found a slightly larger slug that would fit in the mast. Changed all of them. Sail goes up and down like butter. Now.

The main still has quite a bit of weather helm in a puff. Dropping the traveler, vanging, outhauling, extra halyard tension didn't seem to make a difference. I plan to rig a cunningham, but I'm wondering could the rig be leaning backward? Would that affect the headsail shape? How does one measure such a thing? Or is the main just at the stretched out age of replacement?

Also, do I really want a 135 genoa? It is really baggy and seems to overpower the boat. I put the cars pretty far back and spilled air in the resulting twist. The boat has a gennaker in a sock. I'm thinking maybe to pull out the genoa and get a jib and use the gennaker for lighter air. Is all of this related to the main sail weather helm issue?
 
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bgary

Advanced Beginner
Blogs Author
The downhauls are attached to dogbones on the main. The lines lie quietly against the mast with full main hoisted.

I do similar but, in typical lazy-bruce (tm) fashion they are not permanently affixed. I have two 2:1 tackles made up - each is a block with a reefing-hook at the top, a block with a snap-shackle and cam-cleat at the lower end. If the weather forecast indicates reefing might be in order, I snap the shap-shackle onto an open hole in the mast collar, and the hook on a dogbone, before raising the main (**), with the tail of the line laid aft over the cabintop.

I have the clew reeflines led aft to a cabintop winch through a clutch on each side - 1st reef to the starboard (main halyard) side, 2nd reef to the port side.

If/when I do reef, I ease the halyard, throw the tack reefline around a winch on the lazy side (*) and then I can crank away as needed on the two winches without leaving the cockpit. When done, the camcleat on the tackle holds tension on the tack line and the clutch holds the clew line, so both cabintop winches are free for the next task.

(*) Compared to the clew lines, the tack line doesn't generally carry much load, and so in practice I find that I can generally pull the tack down by hand, securing it in the cam-cleat, and then crank down the clew line with the winch. Shaking out the reef is as simple as flicking that tack-line out of the cam-cleat, easing the clew line and cranking the halyard. easy-peasy... at least in the relatively small number of Force-5+ days I've enjoyed on the Sound. I've only needed the second reef a few times, in a whistling westerly while reaching across the Strait to/from the San Juans, but... I each time knew it was coming and had planned for it.

(**) and, yes, if an unexpected squall hits and I haven't pre-rigged those tack-lines, I'd have to either go to the mast to rig them, or go old-school and go to the mast to pull the luff down and secure the reefpoint at the gooseneck. So I tend to rig at least the first reef tack-line any time I'm headed for open water. Just in case. If I were going offshore, I'd have them always rigged.

$.02
Bruce
 
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bgary

Advanced Beginner
Blogs Author
*** A big issue I have run into is that when downsizing running rigging, the smaller lines do not always (e.g. my jib sheets) hold properly in the winch self-tailers.

This is true, but most older winches have some mechanism for adjusting the self-tailer groove. It may involve adjusting compression screws on the top plate (my Barient primaries), or it may involve removing a spacer from between the jaws of the self-tailer. Many (most) modern winches have a v-shaped groove which automagically accommodates a wide variety of line sizes - my Lewmar 30ST cabintop winches are designed to accommodate 8mm-12mm (5/16"-1/2")

Note, too, that extra wraps around the winch drum greatly reduce the load that the self-tailer has to deal with, and an extra loop of the line tail around the winch after the self-tailer helps ensure the line won't accidentally be dislodged out of the groove.

$.02
 

bgary

Advanced Beginner
Blogs Author
The main still has quite a bit of weather helm in a puff. ... I'm wondering could the rig be leaning backward?

Maybe. I actually have my rig pretty straight-up-and-down, because I prefer the feel of a more neutral helm

But frankly, the biggest single contributor to weather helm in windy conditions is heel angle. So if you're fighting the helm, and you've already done what you can with outhaul and cunningham to flatten the sail, you might try easing the main and vang a little bit to let the top of the leech open up and "spill" some of the pressure. Should let the boat straighten up a bit and I suspect you'll feel the difference in the helm.
 

Pete the Cat

Sustaining Member
Well, the source of the main halyard drag was a wire/nylon slug that had worn and the wire pulled out of the nylon. Of course, matching that one was a needle-in-a-haystack. In my search, I found a slightly larger slug that would fit in the mast. Changed all of them. Sail goes up and down like butter. Now.

The main still has quite a bit of weather helm in a puff. Dropping the traveler, vanging, outhauling, extra halyard tension didn't seem to make a difference. I plan to rig a cunningham, but I'm wondering could the rig be leaning backward? Would that affect the headsail shape? How does one measure such a thing? Or is the main just at the stretched out age of replacement?

Also, do I really want a 135 genoa? It is really baggy and seems to overpower the boat. I put the cars pretty far back and spilled air in the resulting twist. The boat has a gennaker in a sock. I'm thinking maybe to pull out the genoa and get a jib and use the gennaker for lighter air. Is all of this related to the main sail weather helm issue?
I am a big advocate for smaller genoas. Some of that comes from my decades on SF Bay, but in years of cruising elsewhere I have come to believe that many folks fall victim to the "more is better" when sizing sails. Most of the lift in a sail is in the first third of the chord so, to windward, a larger sail probably does not help much and, if it puts your heeling angle beyond the ideal for the boat, you actually can lose speed and proper trim would require "twingers" and barber haulers we used to use back in my ocean racing days. IMHO I have never found a satisfactory shape in a reefed head sail--it always feels like a desperate and imperfect attempt to reduce sail area that screws up any sailmakers' calculation of original performance. I have a 95% jib on my Ericson which is sailed primarily on SF Bay. I have a 125% on my Tartan 37 which is sailed primarily in Maine. Next time I get a sail in Maine it will be smaller-- maybe a 105 or so. The added size of a genoa seems to be of minimal effect compared to having a sail you can properly set. The large genoas seem to be inordinately hard to handle when the wind comes up compared to the added value of the increased sail area. I have sailed for 50 years, but am no sailmaker nor physics expert. I think if you only sail mostly downwind in light wind areas, a larger genoa might be OK, but, in general, I think folks seem to buy genoas that are bigger than warranted for the sailing they do. Just an opinion.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
The trend here is certainly toward smaller genoas, I'd say. IN the hanked-on days, boats used to carry drifters of 160 percent, so they could sail in 5 knots of wind in August, but I think diesel engines changed that. It was never much fun.

Opinions vary, but my headsails furl beautifully around their padded luff, and I would notice if the shape weren't excellent at all percentages. A lot has to do with sailcloth weight or sail construction, and the compromise for furlers is that the cloth has to perform in light air and heavy.

Also, you get what you pay for. But listen carefully to the tradeoffs, esp. in longevity, which a good sailmaker's rep will explain to anybody who cares.

 

N.A.

E34 / SF Bay
Weather helm: @Phr3d : I agree with bgary's comment, but will add: I had a lot of weather helm in my 34-2, even when fetahering/making other efforts to keep the boat flat. The thing that made the biggest difference was... new sails. In fact, on this forum someone asked the age of my sails, and when I replied (23 years) they basically laughed and told me to post again when I had new sails. I don't know how old your sails are, and maybe they're new-ish, but total cost for me was $12k-ish, using a reputable local sailmaker (who game me more excellent advice in the process than any difference in price online would have compensated for, BTW). Now, even in 25 kts, properly reefed (and with fully open 90% jib), and feathering a bit, I have only 1-2 wheel spokes worth of weather helm. Less would be nice, but that is a lot of wind and no furling yet on the foresail. If you have old sails, you might look there first.

bgary's suggestion to ease the vang and mainsheet, letting the boom rise and thus the mainsail leech curve more and spill air out, is excellent. It also doesn't work quite the same when close-hauled, since the mainsheet is holding the boom down (so the vang isn't doing much) and if you ease the main too far then it luffs violently/flogs ($$ of sail wear). The trick is to bring the traveler to weather, and then ease the main until it has a "bubble" int he luff, reaching maybe 1/3 of the way back. The bubble doesn't flog if it's small enough, but helps depower, and having the traveler up allows the mainsheet to be out fuartehr for the same boom angle to the centerline fo the boat. More mainsheet out = more boom rise and leech curve = lower power int he main = flatter boat = less weather helm. This is a well-known technique, sometimes called the "fisherman's reef", presumably since it was easier to do for people working a boat than putting in an actual reef.

PS: Some people will argue (can get very strident, actually) that the traveler always goes _down_ in heavier wind, but that is appropriate only until you need to start spilling air out of the leech by letting the boom rise. Good sailing schools on SFBay (a high wind area) teach the fisherman's reef, and it definitely works.

Popping the vang works best off the wind (especially as one is on a deeper reach / downwind) -- then the boom will rise immediately and take a lot of pressure off the main and boat. Works like a charm, almost like shifting into a more relaxed gear.

Sail size: Pete the Cat suggests a smaller genoa; FWIW, I have a 90% jib which I use in the summer (high wind, 15-30 kts) months, and a 130% genoa I use in the (low wind, ususally 5-15 kts up here) winter months. I like the 130% because I can furl it (some or entirely) and still have a nice time in up to 20 kts, and yet with the full main and 130 up even 5 kts true wind is enough for me to enjoy being out. Below 5 kts steady I just don't go out, since I find it no fun... but the 130% extends my reach to lower windspeeds, which lets me sail more in the winter. For the summer, regularly 20-25 kts (and gusting higher) around here, I would prefer the 90% to anything bigger.

Self-tailing: Lastly, @bgary , thanks -- I will try the extra wrap after tailing. Does that work when grinding, or only after grinding is done? I worry about overides/tangling.
PS: My experience is not that the line tension pulls the line out of the tailer, but just that the line doesn't stick in there well enough and slips out on its own as I grind. The boatyard assures me there are no spacers to adjust -- it's a v-groove and is what it is.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
slips out on its own as I grind

Barients have springs on the ST jaws, but mine are bottomed out. Has anybody changed the springs?

1717885690869.jpeg
 

bgary

Advanced Beginner
Blogs Author
Has anybody changed the springs?

I haven't. But some barient 2-speed self-tailers have spacers in them - see part #16, below. One can adjust the gap (and presumably the tension required on the springs) by moving spacer-plates. .not sure if that would address your need or not.

barient 27 2speed.jpg
 

bgary

Advanced Beginner
Blogs Author
I will try the extra wrap after tailing. Does that work when grinding, or only after grinding is done? I worry about overides/tangling.
Hmmm, it could. I have my cabintop winches oriented so that when the line is stripped off the self-tailer it drains into the cockpit, so it keeps itself pretty well sorted. Not sure if that approach would work for jibsheets.
it's a v-groove and is what it is.
What make/model are your winches?
 

N.A.

E34 / SF Bay
Hmmm, it could. I have my cabintop winches oriented so that when the line is stripped off the self-tailer it drains into the cockpit, so it keeps itself pretty well sorted. Not sure if that approach would work for jibsheets.
I have no problem on the cabintop; it's the primary (jib sheet) winches that are the issue. They are both two-speed Harken #46 ST winches.
PS: These are old winches -- chromed barrel, with black plastic top and silver (chrome?) v-teeth inside tailer groove. Not like the all-black Harkens I see online when I search right now.

Like you, I have the line come off draining into the cockpit, but it is not enough and the line just sort of unwinds off the self-tailer while grinding unless I keep wrapping it around. Did not do that with the bigger line (was 5/8"), but I went to smaller line (7/16" I think, the original Ericson spec) and now it unwraps.

PS: For reference, the cabintop winches I have are Harken #32 (two-speed, main halyard, sheet, jib halyard) and #16 (one-speed, for the reefing clew lines).
What make/model are your winches?
 

bgary

Advanced Beginner
Blogs Author
They are both two-speed Harken #46 ST winches.

I dug around a bit and found a manual for an older model (manufactured between 1992 and 1998) of Harken 46ST winches. May not be your winches, but could be worth a look.

Manuals here: https://www.harken.com/en/support/manuals/?category=132&subcategory=135

...and drawing here: https://gallery.harken.com/gallery/d1728926-46cd-48a6-8331-55c644adf28b.pdf

From page 2, it seems to indicate that the selftailer can be adjusted by pressing down on the upper jaw (part #33602 in the diagram) and rotating it counterclockwise. If I'm reading the picture correctly that rotates the notches in the "drum crown" (33604) so it sits lower on the ledges in the inside of the upper jaw. Might be worth a try.

The instructions also say that there's a shimming washer (33666) that has to be removed to use smaller line.

B
 

N.A.

E34 / SF Bay
Thanks @bgary ; I just checked them and cannot move the top ring (and in trying, had a vague memory I tried this once before a few years back). I couldn;t rotate it forward OR backward, actually, or even push it down, though it did seem to have some springiness.

I'll ask the boatyard -- maybe there is that washer that can be removed, or maybe it needs new springs, though there is a plastic fitting (part of the tailer) that goes in the V-groove and makes it look like it cannot get much smaller. Still, the winch is supposed to handle line smaller than what I have (5/16; mine is 7/16).

Thanks for looking up/at the manual!
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Based on Bruce's diagram (Post #30) I took apart my Barient 23 main halyard winch today. The self-tailer fails to hold the line, which is something like 7/16 Dyneema with cover. It requires, unless lucky, two hands--no ST feature.

Voila!, a stainless spacer, as predicted. I removed it. It's 2 mm thick, maybe more given the dried bedding underneath it. The elements of the ST jaws go back together nicely without the spacer, suggesting it is indeed removable. And with the spacer removed, the jaws are closer together, and the springs on the four bolts have more room to compress and allow the jaws to expand. .

In initial tests in the slip, the winch seemed to hold the line much more securely than before, which if it proves true in the real world is a marvelous solution to a long-time annoyance. Bravo, Bruce!

Short video, here:


Barient 23.JPG
 
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