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


Member II
Weather helm: efforts to keep the boat flat......1-2 wheel spokes worth of weather helm

Last time out, I was able to keep the boat flatter (and with less weather helm) with the cunningham/halyard/outhaul/vang/traveler combinations. The day after, in sighting the mast alongside the halyard (main down) I thought I was imagining it looked bowed forward after mid-mast. I didn't think much about it at the time. The mast is currently un-stepped for new standing rigging. In talking with the rigger, the forestay was described as being too short and the backstay turnbuckle at max compression. He also said it looked like there was not enough rake. (Hand waving conjecture here) the opposite of mast bend from backstay tension would produce a more powerful sail?

So, to continue the sailing narration: eventually, after rolling up more of the genoa twice, we just put it away (as it was starting to resemble a partially rolled croissant prior to being placed on a cookie sheet). I was surprised when the pointing immediately became noticeably higher. Boat speed was within half a knot.

The sails are now at a loft. The slugs for the main are being sewn on (I had a lack of trust with the little plastic shackles). They also have the genoa and the gennaker. I asked for advice on the genoa being cut down and possibly replacing the gennaker sock with a furler.

This week, the various parts are supposed to be done and will be reassembled. I'm really looking forward to it.


Member II
Mast back in boat. It now has RAKE! Seeing it sitting next to the 2 Santa Cruz 50s I could... make myself see ... that while the 34-2 is tiny in comparison the mast now looks like that!


Member II
Sails back on boat.

Night and day difference - tuning the rig matters. I was confusing rake with prebend. The mast used to bend forward slightly (the forestry was too short / backstay too long).

Mast now clearly bends aft.

Much lighter weather helm. Much easier to get the mainsail telltales streaming.

Also, the wind quit around noon. So, I decided to fly the gennaker.
I felt like a kid in a candy store. Big, red and white sail dwarfed the main and we went from 2 knots to 4+

Still not sure I like the 135 genoa. It is the only sail without numbers. The other two act like what I’m expecting. The other thing about the 135 is that it is noticeably heaivier compared to the main or the gennaker. I would really like to know what the previous headsail was that it replaced.

Mostly everything is working fine. The last thing I’m preoccupied with is the topping lift. It is aggravating with it’s needs, so a rigid vang is probably coming soon.
Last edited:

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Regarding the topping lift: On many boats, its length is set so that when the mainsail is trimmed hard close-hauled it has a little slack in it. No other adjustment necessary, if when the sail is lowered the boom is at an acceptable height above the cockpit.

True, interference by a dodger, or issues with a droopy mainsail, can make further adjustments necessary in the slip.

If the aggravation is the operation of the TL, it may be that the internal components, including blocks and pennant, or the topping lift line itself, need upgrading.