Join Date: Aug 2006
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My name is a common name in Norway its derived from the Norwegian word for a knot (knute)
To your question SF;
Here in Europe at least, there is and has been a tough price competition in the lower price segment for cruising boats. The boat builders are saving costs by reducing the number of winches and other equipment. To make this work you need clutches to lock the ropes.
I recently sailed a 47 footer (Hanse 470) equipped with only 4 winches. Two primary winches one on starboard and one on port side of the cockpit used for everything except the spinnaker sheets. This boat has a self tacking foresail so the two sheets are set on each side.
I agree that having the main sheet set on a clutch can be a bad solution, but there is a simple way to overcome this. Only use the clutch on the main sheet when the winch are being used for other purposes (reefing, tensioning Cunningham ++) then put the main sheet back on the winch (given that you have a self tailing winch) and open the clutch.
The reason I mentioned the “German sheet” is that most boats with the setup Scuppers described has the main sheet on the coach roof, giving a long distance between the helmsman and the mainsheet.
I feel this to be a greater problem than sharing winches for multiple purposes, especially when sailing short- or single- handed.
On a regatta boat you would probably not use mid boom sheeting and winch for main sheet at all, but on a cruising boat it can make sense.
Just my thoughts.