Re: Main Halyards - Back to cockpit or keep at mast?
On my boat, the following lines are led aft: main halyard, cunningham, boom vang, spinnaker halyard, first jiffy reef, foreguy, spinnaker topping lift, jib halyard. Of those, really only the boom vang and foreguy are regularly adjusted while the sail is in use.
I have a boom lift on the boom near the mast, which, while it can be set to a fairly "neutral" position in reality needs to be adjusted once in a while as the wind strengthens and as part of any hoist, reef, and douse process. The outhaul is also near the mast, as are the lines for the second reef. The jib is hank-on and often starts the trip lashed down along the foredeck. Even with all those lines aft I'm going up on deck pretty frequently.
I too mostly sail the boat by myself with family or other guests. Somebody who isn't doing a crew job is always in the way during any operation involve the led-aft lines. Or they're on top of the line itself when I need it, probably asleep, or at least really comfy and not very happy that Captain Bligh is asking them to move so he can access the lines.
You really feel unsafe going to the mast? On my trips to the mast or foredeck, all those lines create a trip hazard. Besides, being on deck is perfectly safe unless you are in the dark or bad weather without a harness and PFD. The shrouds and the mast itself provide great handholds in addition to the teak ones.
I'm thinking of moving most of my lines back to the mast, leaving just the boom vang and foreguy. The deck will be a lot tidier and I can fill all the leaking holes in the deck where the winch and cleats were mounted. I expect I'll go to the mast just as often, but I know that when I go, everything I need will be there.
s/v Laelia - 1978 Pearson 365 ketch
s/v Essorant - 1972 Catalina 27