I use 3/16" braided nylon. Tie the forward end to the ring at the head of the jib or the the first hank. You may need to experiment with this part. Sometimes tying it to the halyard shackle or the ring at the head will cause the top hank to bind as you haul it down. In that case, move it down one hank. I've seen instructions to weave the downhaul in and out of the hanks as you rig it. This doesn't work- too much friction both up and down. After tying it at the head of the sail, I leave it on the same side for about a third of the hanks, then cross it to the other side for a third, then back again. I don't run it inside the hanks- again it's likely to get bound up. Just let it ride alongside the luff of the sail.
Now run it through a block at the base of the forestay, then back along inside the stanchions to the cockpit. I have one block that I attach to the toerail just forward of the mast to keep the lead fair. The aft end is tied to a stanchion base beside the cockpit and I have a small nylon cleat that I attached to the same stanchion with wire ties. This gives me a place to cleat the downhaul when the sail is down.
1977 C&C 30 Mk 1 hailing from Port Clinton, Ohio
Last edited by msmith10; 04-22-2011 at 11:35 AM.