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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-12-2010
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Help with the mainsheet on my Contessa

My Contessa 26 is new to me and also my first boat. To put it simply, the mainsheet system is crap right now. The cleat can only be released from the port side and usually there is enough friction so the sheet needs to be manually pulled through the first block. Also the line can bind underneath the cleats when it's released.

A picture of the current system is attached.

I'm looking for suggestions for a better system and hardware here - especially the first block/cleat. I don't have much experience with boats this size to draw upon. Pictures of boats with better systems/hardware would be great.

Thanks!

Update: I corrected my use of the word traveler. I thought it applied to any mainsheet system.
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Help with Traveler-img_0787.jpg  

Last edited by asdf38; 09-14-2010 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 09-12-2010
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Some of these Harken gear setups might give you some ideas:

Traveler Systems

Harken Mainsheet Systems

And here's a link to a Yachtworld listing with a picture of a Contessa that's been setup with a proper traveler and mainsheet system.. a bit innovative but it may well work - certainly better than what you've got now.

View Boat Photos - YachtWorld.com

(Picture #9)
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Old 09-13-2010
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That's not a traveler...that's a mainsheet. The issue you'll have is getting the traveler high enough to clear the tiller. If you don't need a full traveler setup, then what I'd suggest for a new mainsheet setup is the following.

On the starboard side, you'd need a single block as the current setup.

On the boom you'd need a double block

On the port side, you'd need a single block with a becket.

And a cam cleat centrally mounted that leads fair to the starboard block.

Start the line at the becket, and go up through the one side of the double block, through the single block to starboard, and then back through the other side of the double block at the boom and back down to the single block with becket. The line could then be led to the centrally mounted cam cleat. This allows you to sheet the main from either side fairly easily, and gives you a 4:1 purchase, rather than the 3:1 you currently have.

You still wouldn't have a traveller.
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Old 09-13-2010
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A good site for ideas and pictures of travelers on Contessa 26s can be found at co26.com: The Contessa Corner. There are also pictures in the gallery.

A lot of Contessa 26 owners have added travelers. I have not, but my mainsheet set up looks a lot more manageable than yours.

Congrats on your new boat. They are fun and challenging!
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Old 09-14-2010
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Thanks for the responses. As I corrected above I didn't mean a traveler - I'd like to avoid installing a traveler and keep it simple.

Sailingdog, I follow what you say. If I have a center mounted cam cleat the angle on entry into it would be 90 degrees (coming from the port block). Is that acceptable for a cam cleat with a fairlead or would I need a swivel mount. Also I'd have to chose where exactly it could mount given the way the stern cleat, tiller and cockpit block things.

I'll keep looking but i'm having a hard time finding pictures with enough detail for me to make out exactly how the mainsheet is run. Dulcitea, do you have any pictures of yours?
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Old 09-14-2010
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Go with ball bearing blocks from Harken or another maker. They make a huge difference. You might want a ratcheting block for the final one before the sheet goes to your hand.
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