Not sure how much you've read or how experienced you are.
I grew up on Albergs and Hughes', but that was 15 or so years ago and I was too young to notice the technical things. But I'm back and starting to learn.
Have you seen this - a lot of useful ideas to get you started.
Harken Tech Corner
^^^ I had not seen that yet - that's a great start!
[...]do you know how to splice?
Not yet, but I'd like to learn. Is there a set of fids and other tools that will work with all types of line, or do I need a different set for each type?
Yes, you can use a cheek block.
I had a setup like this (without the blocks - just from an eye strap, through the clew and tied to a cleat):
It held the clew pretty well in the center, but the eye strap that was holding the outhaul line ripped off the end of the boom in the first big gust we hadÖ It was riveted on, should it have been through bolted?
Why not run the topping lift from the end of the boom, where it attaches to the boom using a shackle, up to a block near the top of the mast, and then down to the mast baseóand possibly back to the cockpit. This would give you a proper topping lift and also allow you to use the topping lift as a backup main halyard in a pinch.
I actually have a block mounted at the top of the mast with a messenger line through it (completely forgot about that)! Itís not a heavy duty unit, it will only support ľ inch line, but it should work just fine for the topping lift, no?
As to running the lines back, that is a nice feature, but IMHO over-rated, you might sort out what you have, get it working and re-assess after a season the value to you of the lines aft.
That makes a lot of sense. I'm now thinking that getting these systems functioning correctly should happen before I worry about running anything aft. Baby-steps
Thanks everyone! There are lots of great answers here. Iím going to take another look at the boat this weekend and think about the options suggested here.