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  #1  
Old 11-18-2008
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Many Questions

Hi, In this paragraph I would like to give a little history on my boat, If you're not interested, I put my actual questions on the next paragraph. I have a little sailboat that I got off of the side of the road, it's a Venture 20' Sloop. It was tottaly guted when I got it, only the empty hull, and deck (I 'll post some pictures) but I have come quite a way with it, I redid the interior with marine grade plywood bulkheads, floors, and dropboards and with redwood along the legths. I built in a kitchenette, bed, and seat. I happen to run a machine shop with my brothers, so I fabricated my own chainplates, gooseneck, spreaders+mount, tabernackel for the deck steped mast, and mast head (of which I've only posted pictures of some, I'll get the rest soon). I really know very little about sailing (I live in the desert) and have fabricated everything with only the knowledege of my research. As I have installed things I sometimes realized how I could have designed things better, or I come across somrthing I have to tottaly redo. For example: I realized that probabbly want to install a boom vang on my boom, in order to do that the gooseneck must at leat 1/4 of the distance of my boom above the deck (to give it a 45 degree angle. This won't work (between the mast/boom and sail I got on e-bay) unless I raise the mast, so I will have to buy some aluminum tubing and add on the to it. So I thus have a few questions for you, just answer the one(s) you like, thanks.
To begin with, whats your take on boom vangs. And more importantly (since this is one thing I'm still tottaly in the dark on) What mainshhet system would you recomend for a 20' boat. The only things already mounted on deck for the mainsheet system are a swiveling cam clutch + cleat on Steerboard side, and only a cleat on the Port side?..
The jib/genny's got tracks for a fore/aft adjustable block which leads to a winch on either side, then to a cleat. Another thing- I'm planning on leading all of my lines to the cockpit via deck mount blocks, then to deck organizers (like side-ways blocks) then to cam clutchs mounted right on deck, is that O.K. Do I wan't different types of line for halyards and sheets? I know I have more questions, but it's getting late and I suppose that enough for you to chew on for the moment. Thanks for looking, I'll check answers and post pictures tommrow.
Good Night - Gorlog
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Old 11-18-2008
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Gorlog-

Just curious as to why you think you need to modify the boom or mast to install a boom vang. A boom vang doesn't have to be at a 45˚.

Boom vangs are very useful for helping maintain good mainsail shape, and for depowering the main, especially in heavier winds on a reach.

I'm assuming this is a tiller-steered boat, being only 20' LOA.. The mainsheet on a boat like this is usually a three-to-one or four-to-one purchase using a block with becket or double block on the boom and a block on each side of the cockpit. One of the blocks will lead the mainsheet to a cam cleat.

If you're leading all the halyards aft, then you will probably want line clutches, not cam cleats, since line clutches work much more securely. I'd recommend going with Lewmar line clutches, since they work very well and are relatively inexpensive, and put the least wear and abrasion on the line. You can use basically any polyester double-braid for your halyards, though I do recommend color-coding them according to FUNCTION.
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Old 11-18-2008
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Doesn't Giu have an excellent video on using a vang? It's here somewhere. Dunno how to find it though.
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Old 11-19-2008
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Hi Gorlog,

It sounds like you have a Venture 21, made by Macgregor Yachts from 1967 to 1985. Up to 1980 they were called Ventures, after that Macgregors. Roger Macgregor built Ventures in 17, 21, 22, 23, 24. and 25 foot sizes; no 20'. Current Macgregor "Powersailers" are a far cry from the sweet lines of the older Ventures. The V21 has a reputation for being wickedly fast.

I have copies of the original sales brochures for Venture sailboats in pdf format. Sailnet won't let me attach them, so PM me if you would like a copy.

IMHO rope clutches are way overkill for this size boat. Most sailors just use regular horn cleats for the halyards on a boat this small. A nice alternative is the Spinlock PXR; it is sort of a cross between a clutch and a cam cleat. Use Harken or similar cam cleats for the sheets; you want to be able to release them quickly. I recommend Harken's Extreme Angle fairleads for their 150 cam cleats to use with the jib sheets. These allow you to trim or ease the sheets from anywhere in the cockpit (windward sheeting!) with just a flick of the wrist.

The mainsheet system on Ventures is a simple triangular affair. The mainsheet starts at an eyestrap next to the swivel cleat, goes up thru a double block on the end of the boom, down and around a block on the opposite side of the boat, back up thru the double block on the boom, down to a turning block attached to the swivel base, and through the cam cleat.

You can use this system along with a powerful boom vang to control the the main but incorporating a traveller will give you greater control of its shape. The traveller could be mounted across the seats on the "bridge deck" -- the board that supports the keel winch. Then you would have to switch to mid-boom sheeting. Check the Harken catalog or web site for some ideas.
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Chiquita - 1974 Macgregor Venture of Newport 23

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Old 11-24-2008
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Hi Gorlog,

I sent the brochures to your email. I'm answering some of the questions in your private post here on the forum in the hopes they will benefit other Venture sailors. Just keep in mind that these thoughts are my opinions only; every sailor has his own way of doing things. There's an old saying, "different ships, different long-splices." I have owned Chiquita for over 30 years, however, and have tried many different ways of doing things. The setup I have now is what works best for me. I mostly singlehand with a couple of young kids aboard.


First, your question about the mainsheet block: It doesn't matter if you use a double (side by side) or a fiddle (tandem) block. I've used both. I prefer the side by side type for this application just because it does not hang down quite as far.

As for cleats, all sheets need to be adjusted frequently and need to be able to be released instantly. I use Harken 150 cam cleats with Xtreme fairleads on all my sheets. They are pricey but IMHO are the best for this job. Halyards are usually not adjusted once the sails are up. Horn cleats are fine for the halyards. If you look at the pictures of Chiquita ( CHIQUITA pictures from sailing photos on webshots ) you will see a row of horn cleats on the bulkheads on either side of the companion way. I used these for my halyards for many years. Last winter I installed a couple of PXR cam cleats on the cabin top for the halyards just for convenience sake -- they make it a bit easier to get the last few inches of tension cleated without giving up any when trying to wrap the line around the cleat. (I don't have halyard winches.) I now use those horn cleats as hooks to hang the halyard tails. The PXRs are mounted between the pair of Harken cam cleats on the edge of the cabin top on either side of the companion way. (On my cutter rig I have two sets of headsail sheets to contend with: the jib and the staysail.)

The vang is an important sail control and should have a cam cleat or a clam cleat for quick adjustability. Do not use the plastic Clam cleats -- they slip under load and they wear rapidly. The composite ones made by Ronstan are probably ok, as are the aluminum ones.

The outhaul is a control whose frequency of adjustment depends on how serious you are about performance. Many sailors just set it once and forget it -- for years. Others have a multi-part tackle and adjust it every time the conditions change. I use an aluminum clam cleat here.

If you are buying new running rigging, it is a good idea to use different colors for different functions. There is no standard. On Chiquita I use green for the mainsail controls, blue for the staysail, and red for the jib. Sheets are solid color, halyards and other controls are white with colored stripes. I use 5/16" line for the halyards, 3/8" for the sheets, 1/4" for various control lines, and 3/16" for the jib and staysail dousing lines. You can use smaller diameters for the sheets and halyards but they will be hard on your hands. Note: if you use the PXRs for halyards, make sure the lines you use go through them smoothly. Not all 3/8" lines run smoothly through a 3/8" PXR. Ask me how I know.

From my experience with Ventures (I had a 21 before I bought my 23) here are a few changes I consider very important:
1. The stock mainsail has no slugs or slides to attach it to the mast; you are supposed to feed the bolt rope into the mast groove. While this is aerodynamically efficient, it is a real PITA. It takes 2 people and cannot be done from the cockpit. Have your sailmaker add slugs to the main if it doesn't have them. Also put some sort of stop at the bottom of the slot just above the opening to keep the slugs from falling out when the sail is dropped. This can be the knurled nut kind, a bolt or Faspin inserted into a hole in the groove, or even a shock cord tied around the mast.
2. The standard roller reefing is useless. Install a good reefing system.
3. A powerful boom vang is essential to control the twist of the main.
4. Run a downhaul (jib dousing line) from the top of the jib, through a block at the tack, and back to the cockpit. This will let you pull the jib down without going up on deck -- assuming the halyard is cleated within easy reach.

These, I think, are the essentials. Everything else is extra.

Oh yeah, one more thing -- the keel winch. If your winch is like a standard trailer winch where you flick a little lever to reverse the direction, get rid of it immediately. These are dangerous. My wife did serious damage to her arm and I almost broke mine several times when the handle got away from us. If you let go of it for even a second when the winch is in the reverse mode the weight of the keel will cause the handle to spin uncontrollably, destroying anything that gets in the way. Get the kind of winch that has an internal brake -- a brake winch -- that will stay in place when you let go of it.

By the way, if you look at the pictures of Chiquita in my Webshots album, the pictures showing her with a yellow deck are old and may show rigging I have since changed; the pictures with a tan/light brown deck are newer. I painted her two years ago.
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Last edited by heinzir; 11-24-2008 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 11-25-2008
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Thanks for the info., I'm glad I asked before I went out and got stuff I didin't need, and it's nice to hear from someone with my same who boat rigged his own, particullary because of my lack of expirence with sail boats what-so-ever. I will also be single-handed much of the time so easy controll is important to me as well. Now I know exactly what to get, line size and all.
When I got my boat it had no mast or rigging at all, I got all of that on ebay. Thus the first essential on your list is taken care of, the mast has an internal track, and the sails have slugs. I actually just kind of guestimated that the mast would be proportionally correct for my boat (the only part that wasn't a guess was what someone told me on a forum in this website - and was that as a rule of thumb, that the mast should be slightly longer than the boat). The mast is about 23', the boats a 21'. Latter on I got the sails, which were made for a 20' boat. Well, guess what, the luff is about 23'. This gets into sailingdogs question about why I think I should modify my mast for a boom vang. With a 23' luff on a 23' mast, well, that leaves a the vang perpendicualar to the mast. From reading I understand that a 45 degree angle on the Vang is fortuanate indeed, but onece you drop below 30 degrees, the vector force is pushing the boom into the mast too much, and is not pulling the boom down enough. I could have my sailed shortend, but that would be sacrificing valuable sail area. So I have prompted instead to raise the mast enough to get a good angle on the boom vang. This will also give me a more high aspect sail plan, which I also might imagine to be harmful - for the wind will then have greater leverage in heeling the boat? What do think?
As far as reefing goes, I was planing no reefing on the jib at all, just clip the clew right onto the fitting on the bow. Right now I have a jib, and a genoa, and was thinking that with a stormsail as well, I got it covered...?
Well Good Night, or Morning, or Day, or Evening, or whatever it is for you right now - Gorlog
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Old 11-25-2008
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Oh yeah, you can find pictures of my project boat if you go to "gallerys" and then type Gorlog.
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Old 11-25-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorlog View Post
Thanks for the info., I'm glad I asked before I went out and got stuff I didin't need, and it's nice to hear from someone with my same who boat rigged his own, particullary because of my lack of expirence with sail boats what-so-ever. I will also be single-handed much of the time so easy controll is important to me as well. Now I know exactly what to get, line size and all.
When I got my boat it had no mast or rigging at all, I got all of that on ebay. Thus the first essential on your list is taken care of, the mast has an internal track, and the sails have slugs. I actually just kind of guestimated that the mast would be proportionally correct for my boat (the only part that wasn't a guess was what someone told me on a forum in this website - and was that as a rule of thumb, that the mast should be slightly longer than the boat). The mast is about 23', the boats a 21'. Latter on I got the sails, which were made for a 20' boat. Well, guess what, the luff is about 23'.
A 23' mast on a 21' boat may in fact be too short. You probably should have checked with the specifications of the boat's original design at a minimum. Also, how do you know this spar has the right cross section for what you're trying to do with it??

Quote:
This gets into sailingdogs question about why I think I should modify my mast for a boom vang. With a 23' luff on a 23' mast, well, that leaves a the vang perpendicualar to the mast. From reading I understand that a 45 degree angle on the Vang is fortuanate indeed, but onece you drop below 30 degrees, the vector force is pushing the boom into the mast too much, and is not pulling the boom down enough. I could have my sailed shortend, but that would be sacrificing valuable sail area. So I have prompted instead to raise the mast enough to get a good angle on the boom vang. This will also give me a more high aspect sail plan, which I also might imagine to be harmful - for the wind will then have greater leverage in heeling the boat? What do think?
As far as reefing goes, I was planing no reefing on the jib at all, just clip the clew right onto the fitting on the bow. Right now I have a jib, and a genoa, and was thinking that with a stormsail as well, I got it covered...?
Well Good Night, or Morning, or Day, or Evening, or whatever it is for you right now - Gorlog
You should never have a luff on a main sail that is the length of the mast. If you check the specifications of almost any boat made, the mainsail is usually a few feet shorter, so that the boom will be off the deck. Your sail is too big for the mast you've got.

As for not reefing... if you're only planning on sailing in very settled conditions, that might be fine...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 11-25-2008
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I don't think your plan to increase the length of the mast is viable. It is not just a matter of slapping on some additional aluminum.

Ventures were not exactly overbuilt, so I think the mast you have is probably strong enough. Most early Ventures used the same mast section, 3" X 4", similar to the Dwyer DM-6 (http://www.dwyermast.com/). Compare what you have to this.

Have you raised the mast on the boat yet? Since it was made for another boat you will probably have to adjust/change the standing rigging. Earlier Venture 21s were very simple. They had no spreaders, just 2 shrouds and a forestay. Later models used a more conventional rig with spreaders and upper and lower shrouds.

According to this site Sails by Boat the luff of your main should be 21'10" and the foot should be 9'9" long. You need either to have your sail recut or look for a different one.

I see that you have a sliding gooseneck. A tackle attached to this can be used to tension the luff of the main. But you need room for it to slide.

Very few sailors reef their jibs nowadays. Most have roller furling, and those that don't just change down to a smaller jib. (I have reef points on my staysail and use them only once or twice a year.)

An efficient reefing system for the main is essential. Don't venture out for anything but a short day sail without one. I recommend two reefs. Your boat is small enough that a single line reefing system could be used for each reef. Check the Harken web site for how this works. (You can cobble together your own system for about 1/3 of what Harken wants for theirs.)

As you progress in getting your boat ready to sail you will discover that what seems good on paper does not always work out so well in the real world. You may have to change the location of a fitting or discard an idea completely. It's all part of the learning curve. There is no substitute for experience. Get out there and do it!
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