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post #11 of 33 Old 08-19-2013
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

Oh Thanks Tom those were a few years back now. cockpit needs a scrub again since splash day.

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post #12 of 33 Old 08-19-2013
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

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Originally Posted by sailordave View Post
UH, NO!
Plus remember, you want twist at the top of the sail when it's LIGHT b/c that's when the difference in AWA is greater from top to bottom due to frictional resistance across the water. When it's blowing hard, this difference is minimal and you want the sail flat as possible top to bottom. Another reason to use the traveler.
I was talking about using the twist to dump wind from the top of the sail while keeping the bottom section of the sail properly trimmed. I've found this to be useful when the boat is heeling more than I want, but I'm not in a good position to reef.

The one thing in your post that made me think is having the draft move back as the boom lifts. I'm going to have to play with that next time I'm out (tomorrow) to see the effect.

I agree with you on using the traveler to adjust the angle of the sail with respect to the wind, and wrote that in my initial post.

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post #13 of 33 Old 08-20-2013
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

I agree with those who say ease the traveller with gusts, although I understand that there is a temptation to just use the main sheet. To some extent what one learns depends on the type of boat one learned on - some don't have travellers, or the mainsheet seems easier.
True easing the mainsheet gives greater curvature in the leech,specifically letting the wind out of the top of the sail, however as I understand it, (although it seemed counter intuitive) it also gives greater fullness to the sail and the wind is actually flowing not horizontally but diagonally up the sail, so it could increase the force. On the other hand letting the main go completely decreases it. I guess it is trim versus OMG.
Releasing the main from the cleat - the angle is easily adjustable. You do have to pull the sheet first but it should be quick to free or latch.
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post #14 of 33 Old 08-20-2013
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

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Originally Posted by FirstCandC View Post
Our traveler is mounted forward in the cockpit. The mainsheet comes down to a cleat, which is hard to pop open from behind the wheel. I am going to fabricate a Y-shaped tool to help with this.
I am curious what you have in mind when you say a "y-shaped tool"! You shouldn't need to make a tool to release your mainsheet! In fact I would say that is a very bad idea! (I have visions of you poking at your mainsheet cleat with a forked stick! ) Most blocks with cleats attached have adjustable beckets so that you can change the angle of the cleat. It could be as simple as playing with the angle so you can get a bit more downward pull. There is definitely a technique to releasing a sheet from a cam cleat from a distance. You have to give the rope a sharp downward snap that pulls the sheet back and down simultaneously. This will unload the cams enough to release the line. It is only really an issue when you are sheeted on hard sailing upwind. It is a technique you must learn; there will come a time when you have no time for tools!

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Also, there are lines leading to port and starboard and then back, which moves the pulley on the traveler left and right. There are gybe preventers in the cockpit.

My question is, what combination of these lines do you use when easing the main out? It seems easier to just use the main line that comes down from the boom. I am having a hard time describing this, I hope this comes across as a valid question.
When you are sailing close hauled you set your sail shape using the outhaul, sheet and cunningham/halyard, and then you adjust the angle of attack using the traveler. Close hauled and close reaching the traveler is what you should be using to adjust the position of the mainsail, either for course alteration or depowering. That is the whole point and primary purpose of the traveler. Once your point of sail becomes so broad that the boom needs to go beyond the range of your traveler, you pull on the boom vang to take over the job of leech tension from the mainsheet. Then you can use the sheet to control sail angle.
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post #15 of 33 Old 08-20-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

Denise, great pictures of a pretty boat indeed! SchockT, The current angle of the cam cleat will only allow a sharp, almost straight downward release. This is impossible from a distance. I will try adjusting the angle.

Also, thanks again to all. I have heard many conversations about sail shape, which were all over my head. A lot of this info is also over my head. Looking forward to using this thread as reference before the next sail.
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post #16 of 33 Old 08-20-2013
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

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Originally Posted by SchockT View Post

When you are sailing close hauled you set your sail shape using the outhaul, sheet and cunningham/halyard, and then you adjust the angle of attack using the traveler. Close hauled and close reaching the traveler is what you should be using to adjust the position of the mainsail, either for course alteration or depowering. That is the whole point and primary purpose of the traveler. Once your point of sail becomes so broad that the boom needs to go beyond the range of your traveler, you pull on the boom vang to take over the job of leech tension from the mainsheet. Then you can use the sheet to control sail angle.


EXACTLY! And if you don't have a traveler, or as in my case a very short traveler, keep the vang on and ease the main. The big thing to remember is you have SIX control lines to shape the main. Halyard, cunningham, outhaul, vang, sheet and trav. Too often folks forget the cunny and the trav.

All of these should be used before you reef. Reefing before you've gone to full outhaul and cunny is often a waste of effort and may even be slower.

CS 36M DIANTHUS
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post #17 of 33 Old 08-20-2013
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

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Originally Posted by sailordave View Post
EXACTLY! And if you don't have a traveler, or as in my case a very short traveler, keep the vang on and ease the main. The big thing to remember is you have SIX control lines to shape the main. Halyard, cunningham, outhaul, vang, sheet and trav. Too often folks forget the cunny and the trav.

All of these should be used before you reef. Reefing before you've gone to full outhaul and cunny is often a waste of effort and may even be slower.
The traveler does not affect sail shape. That is the whole point! The traveler allows you to adjust the angle of the sail without affecting the shape of the sail. Even a short traveler is better than no traveler. Use it when you can!

First CandC,

Don't worry, it all seems daunting at first, but as your knowledge increases it all makes perfect sense. You should read up on sail shape, because it is the key to understanding all of the controls your boat has.
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Last edited by SchockT; 08-20-2013 at 11:08 AM.
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet


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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

Whew, took me a while to figure out how to get that pic posted! Since we are on the subject, Is it possible to rate just how poorly shaped my sail was on Sunday, just based on the pic? We were on a beam reach with light winds (5-12 mph).
The boom vang was loose, outhaul pretty tight, main halyard winched up pretty tight (and then backed off a few inches). The mainsheet was tight, and set in the middle of the traveler.

Also, what is the rope that runs laterally towards the gooseneck from the leech of the sail?

WOW MY SAIL NEEDS CLEANING!

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Last edited by FirstCandC; 08-20-2013 at 01:57 PM.
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post #20 of 33 Old 08-20-2013
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

Cleaning doesn't matter.

It doesn't look that bad, the deepest draft is just forward of the middle so that's pretty good. Hard to tell if you are over-trimmed for a beam reach since I can't see the hull, nor any shroud or luff or leech telltales for reference. And twist is hard to tell unless you're looking more up from underneath, but twist isn't particularly related to whether your sail is okay or worn out.

And I'm not a sailmaker. But speaking as an English major (ahem ahem), is your topping lift a bit tight? the leech looks a little scalloped is why I ask. But within the limits of photography, seems to be on okay and not blown-out serviceable sail from Robbie and Janet Doyle, both of whom used to crush me and many others too in the 110 class back in the day in M'head... ;-)


Oh, and that lateral line is goofus. The two cringles in the leech and the luff are for your first and second reefing lines, there should be hardware (padeye and turning block one each) at boom end and some cleats to serve both lines. So the line you see should start at boom end, up through first cringle, back thru a turning block at boom end, then forward to a cleat of some kind, giving you a 2:1 advantage, which you'll need, trust me, since it has to tension both the luff and the foot. And the luff cringle should have either a similar line along the mast, or a gooseneck-area hook, to bring that cringle down to the tack. And then, voila, you're reefed!!

Then, you could use those three reefing lines to tie up the extra cloth, or just ignore it as many of us do for just an afternoon sail.

You should have at least this lower "jiffy-reef" line rigged, very useful when the wind picks up. And do the second one while you're at it?? you never know how much it's going to pick up ;-)

Last edited by nolatom; 08-20-2013 at 02:53 PM.
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