Leading Lines Aft\ pilothouse
I've avidly been reading the thread on leading lines aft/mast winches. I'm currently building a steel yacht with a pilothouse and planning my rigging setup. I will to single hand a lot and running lines aft will suit me. There is no room on the sides of the pilothouse to mount a deck organizer or turning blocks. The pilothouse roof is about 15" higher that the cabin top. Generally, the pilothouse is in the way of lines running aft. Can a turning block be mounted on the mast? If this is so, I can lead halyards aft from the mast at the height of my pilothouse (ie 15" above the cabin top) and mount winch(es) on the pilothouse roof near the companionway hatch.
I guess lines from the jib furler can run along the deck to winch on the aft cockpit coaming?
It all seems a bit messy; are there any other options?
I would investigate a through deck option, where the lines are led through the pilothouse rather than above. it.
While you can add blocks to a mast, IMHO adding blocks to a mast is a bad idea as they will weaken the mast, and add a horizontal force to mast spar, in a direction it really isn't engineered to resist stress.
Generally, turning blocks are either mounted on the cabin top or to the mast foot collar, as these two locations won't weaken the spar or add any directional stresses to the spar. If your main halyard has 400 lbs of load against it under full sail, that same 400 lbs of force is going to be pulling the mast aft when under sail—probably not a very good idea. YMMV.
Lines that are 15" above the cabin top are also a huge tripping hazard, much more so than ones that are 1/2"-1" above the cabin top.
If you don't want to mount through the pilothouse, then you can mount blocks just in front of the pilothouse to turn the lines upwards, and run them to blocks on top of the pilothouse, specifically designed to bring lines over a cabin top edge, and back to line clutches and winches mounted on the pilothouse top. Be aware that this will add significant friction to the system, as you'll have the turning blocks at the mast base, the deck organizers, the turning blocks at the pilothouse base and the blocks at the top of the pilothouse in the system, rather than just the first two. Leading the lines absolutely fair is a necessity in a system this complicated.
The pilot house roof sounds a bit low to me...but that's just me... Generally, on many pilot house boats, the lines are led through the front of the pilot house and the winches and line clutches are located on a horizontal surface inside the pilothouse that is essentially an extension of the cabin top that is along the outer edges of the pilothouse area.
This sounds like pretty poorly thought out boat design IMHO, no offense, but it does for the reasons I mention above. Is there no flat surface inside the pilothouse to mount the winches and line clutches. This would simplify leading the lines aft and reduce the overall friction in the system, but would allow for a small amount of spray to enter via the opening the lines enter through.
My other question is if the pilot house roof is 15" above the cabin top, is it low enough to allow you sufficient leverage to work the winches properly?? Food for thought...have you tried to see if you could grind a winch that was located on the pilothouse roof from the cockpit??
Thank you for the information, Sailingdog. I designed the pilothouse without considering the possibility of leading lines aft. Other than that, its a good design with space for a nav station, galley and engine room with headroom and good vision from inside and from the cockpit.
I have a place I could mount a winch inside, but I'm reluctant to create an opening for the lines. There is room to grind on the pilothouse roof just inside the companionway (on top of the engine room), but as you said the system would have lots of friction.
The other possiblity is to lead all of the lines aft to the cockpit by placing turning blocks on (reinforced) stanchions close to side deck, and perhaps using a Murray winch on the side of the cockpit coaming.
Ahh, that explains it. I would lead them aft and use the coaming mounted winch. If you place the blocks low enough on the stanchions, and they are properly reinforced, the loads shouldn't be too problematic. The only caveat I have is what do you do if something damages the stanchions, like a breaking wave. Leading the lines further in-board is probably safer and less likely to damage them. Without seeing photos of the setup, I can't give you more specific advice. Just food for thought.
Any questions, feel free to contact me.
My pilothouse has the lines led aft. They are not well done though. The lines leave the mast at pilothouse height and run across the top of the house on the port side. The problem is they get in the way of the vang. They are not a tripping hazard at all because I never cross from one side of the boat to the other ahead of the house but aft of the mast.
I saw a better arrangement where the owner had rigged a stainless crane affair on top of the house with hanging blocks. The lines ran down to the bottom of the mast, through blocks and then up at an angle to the crane which then directed the lines across the top of the pilothouse. That got the lines out of the way of the vang. I have a photo if anyone is interested. I hope to set mine up like that one day.
I've seen various arrangements, the most common shown in the upper part of the sketch below.. the dotted line would be less friction, but does create a possible tripping/interference hazard unless traffic there is unlikely.
Since you're working in steel, easily modified, maybe the bottom option could work... incorporating tubes just beneath the overhead, and running them to recesses in aft sections of the pilothouse roof for the winches/stoppers. You don't say how far along you are, so maybe it's too late for this sort of thing.
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