Monday, December 28, 2015

Leading Lines Aft - Part 1

--Blogpost written by Bob

There are many different viewpoints on leading lines aft to the cockpit.  Some very traditional sailors oppose this concept.  I favor leading lines aft to the cockpit because it keeps me and my crew safe in the cockpit, as opposed to going on a pitching deck in heavy seas during the night.

The main halyard, mainsheet, mainsheet traveler controls, and one reefing line have always been led aft to the cockpit on s/v Rainy Days. 


Now that we are preparing to go cruising, I thought it was time to re-evaluate which lines are led aft to the cockpit.  My goal in this review is to try to get most mainsail control lines led aft to the cockpit, as well as all mainsail reefing lines.  In addition to the mainsheet traveler control lines, the list of lines that I think should be led aft are as follows:
(1) main halyard
(2) main sheet 
(3) topping lift
(4) boom vang
(5) first mainsail reef
(6) second mainsail reef

On the C&C Landfall 38 the companionway is offset to starboard from the boat's
centerline--this makes a lot of space for winches and rope clutches on the port cabin top.

Line Colors

To easily distinguish the lines coming aft, we will be using distinctly different colors for the lines:
main sheet -  gray with white tracer (7/16" diameter)
main halyard - white with red tracer (7/16" diameter)
main sheet traveler lines - solid green (5/16" or 3/8" diameter)
topping lift - green with white tracer (5/16" or 3/8" diameter)
boom vang - navy with white tracer (7/16" diameter)
first mainsail reef - red with white tracer (3/8" diameter)
second mainsail reef - solid red (3/8" diameter)

Rope Clutches

Rope clutches allow the lines to move in only one direction when engaged.  When the handle is lifted (allowing disengagement) the line is allowed to move in both directions.  The lines using rope clutches come thru the rope clutch and then to a winch.  One at a time, the lines are tightened with the winch then removed from the winch, coiled, and hung on a cleat.  The rope clutches allow multiple lines to be handled with one winch.

Since the main sheet uses a dedicated self-tailing winch and the main sheet traveller lines use cam cleats, rope clutches are not required for these lines.  We currently have 3 rope clutches but we need 5.

The existing 3-gang rope clutches, though a couple decades old, work
fine.  I will have to add two more rope clutches.

Deck Organizer

The purpose of a deck organizer is to keep the lines coming aft from the mast collar to the cockpit in a nice orderly manner.  

Our old deck organizer can only accommodate 3 lines.  The existing deck organizer
is approximately 2-1/2" x 9-1/2" in size.  We will need a deck
organizer with double the capacity.

Deck organizers intended to accommodate 6 lines are typically arranged on two levels, one level of 3 located directly above the other level of 3.  Of course it is also possible to simply add another deck organizer but this would expand the area on the cabin top covered with lines.

Because we don't yet know the routing for the mainsail reefing lines, we are going to install the deck organizer last.


This blogpost covered the plans for leading mainsail control lines aft to the cockpit.  Subsequent blogposts will cover specific sets of line changes.  The next related blogpost will cover the main sheet, boom vang, and topping lift.  A separate blogpost will cover the mainsail reefing.

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