I am new to sailing, and am looking to replace the sheets on the boat I just bought I have been reading the forums, and am wondering...Should I use one or two separate sheets to the jib? I plan on using a soft shackle to attach the sheet(s), which brings up another question...It looks like the soft shackle is made from a single braid line, is that right? I am not looking to race (yet), and hopefully won't have to change sails in a hurry, so it seems like a single line looped in the middle would be better than 2 separate.
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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
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Normal set up is two seperate lines. Tie a bowline in each, easily undone if necessary and no additional piece of metal to smack you when, not if, the sail gets away at some stage. Raceing not for me.
Use two lines attached with bowlines to the jib. if you just have one line it is difficult to detach the line from the sail when the sheet gets jammed or tangled, as Tommays said. Also, if you use one line you can't switch it end for end to change the wear pattern to extend its life. Except on a small dinghy I can see no advantage to using one line over two.
Personally I've used a single line for lots of years. Didn't really like the bulkiness of two bowlines, plus you could sheet almost to the clew of the sail, plus if you aren't good at knots, there isn't much to worry about. Since smaller sails usually need thicker lines for sheets I had a set on each sail. The attachment "knot" when using a single line is called a luggage tag.
Lark's head / cow hitch (aka cow hitch) have a problem on bigger sails - they will slip. Also if one side ever breaks, the jib could slip right out of the sheet. If you have a big boat and want to go with a single line, use an Alpine Butterfly - you will have to tie it "off the bite" or whatever that term is. I put a cow hitch followed by an Alpine Butterfly on mine. The first helps prevent chafe on the Alpine Butterfly.
This configuration make it easier for me to tack the Jib through the slot on a cutter rig.
I've got a pretty desent size head sail on our tayana and I use a single sheet w/ larks head, did the same on our last boat also, never had a issue, has never slipped but then, I haven't had to deal with a break either