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post #1 of 6 Old 05-15-2010 Thread Starter
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Beginner questions

Please bear in mind that my sailing experience boils down to a one week school (A-B-Sea Sailing in Port Richey, FL) and a lifetime of dreaming.

Let's start with how much room should be between the gooseneck and that little slot you slip the plastic slides into on the mast? My first thought was that the gooseneck should fit in there and actually go up the mast. But then if your sails get slack you could actually down haul the gooseneck part way back into that slot. Even I know that would not be good. Hmm, but can your sail pull the gooseneck back up into the slot? You see how little I know!?

Let's go to the other end of the main now. Is 6 inches enough space to tighten the clew? Or should it be more like 9 or 12 inches?

And there is one more side to a mainsail, right? How long should this side be? I understand that longer means more sail area, but too long lets the boom hand dangerously low.

I'm 6'2" and over 50 (not real flexible) so how high do you suggest my boom should be?

As for the jib, I'm guessing that as long as the halyard draws tight it doesn't matter how little room there is between the top of jib and the block. And the sail they sent me seems like it would sweep the deck at every tack. With that cleat sitting right there in the middle of the foredeck that can not be good for the foot of the jib.

More DNG questions to follow, I'm sure.

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post #2 of 6 Old 05-15-2010
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Mike, all questions are good questions when you're starting out. Hard to answer the gooseneck/mast slot ones without knowing the boat or the overall dimensions, but that never stopped me ;-).

You don't want the slide on your boom (seems you're describing a sliding one, not a fixed one) to end up wholly or partially in the wide ("bullet" or sail-slide) part of the mast groove. If it is, then the vertical forward edge of your sail (translation=the "luff", the trailing edge is the "leech") is either too long or too short (the latter assumes there's more mast groove below the bullet opening?). So if you haul the head of the main up all the way, and tighten the luff hand-tight, and your boom slide is in the opening, you could slack you halyard a few inches to move it down, and into the groove. Or, shorten the luff a few inches by finding a strong-looking cringle (ring) just above the gooseneck corner of your sail (the "tack"), and lashing them a couple of inches closer together with a piece of line, then raise halyard and adjust so your slide is just above that opening, the wrinkle this makes shouldn't be a big deal on most boats.

Or if you have jiffy-reef lines, try pulling in a reef fore and aft, this may put the slide where you want it.

But these are jury-rig solutions, the "right" fix may be with your sailmaker.

Boom height? That's sorta designed in already, but should be high enough that you dont need gymnastics 404 to get under it (especially on a jibe, when it's moving with force). It should certainly clear your head when you're sitting normally. Again, don't know your boat, some small ones may not have this luxury, most big ones do. If it remains a problem, have your sailmaker shorten the leech a little til your head likes it.

Jib: You're right about the halyard. some jibs do sweep the deck, usually on the racier designs. You don't want it to catch in mid-tack, but if it's just chafing, have your sailmaker reinforce it in that spot. Or, if you don't care about ultimate speed and want better vis forward, you might have him cut the foot and clew (trailing corner) higher.

Some of this is guessing without enough info, your mileage may vary etc, but enjoy the drive..
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-15-2010
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Mike, 6ft tall people will almost always have to duck under the boom until boats are around 30ft long when I had my hunter 23 I just learned to sail her while sitting down.
A deck sweeping jib is not a terrible thing but if you may get chafe when it's over the life lines.
6" for the main to stretch may be enough, loose in lighter winds tighter in higher.
The boom in the slot is actually a good thing and can help you get a flatter sail in higher winds and maybe help bring the end of the boom up a little. Sounds like the sails they sent you are a bit oversize.
Just trying to help, I'm by no means an expert on all this.

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Last edited by deniseO30; 05-15-2010 at 12:44 PM.
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-15-2010 Thread Starter
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I suppose my next step is to set up the mast and sails, climb into her in the driveway and see if I can clear the boom. As it stands right now I'm pretty certain I'm going to have to send the sails to be re-cut.

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post #5 of 6 Old 05-17-2010
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Depends on your boat, how it's set up, what you want to do... I'm 6'2" and have to duck the boom if I'm at the wheel of the 43' centre cockpit I race on - I've been on 28' boats where as long as you're in the cockpit you can stand up all day if you really want. Wheel or tiller? Tiller boats seem to generally have lower booms. Actually, come to think of it the 73' full-out carbon race boat I did a crossing on a few years ago had a boom low enough I'd probably have to duck it a bit - so umm, it depends, on lots

Funny is being on a 60' sailing catamaran with a bunch of J/24 racers out for a race week social... the boom must be at least 10' off the deck and is actually on the *other* side of a hard roof... pretty much everyone instictively ducked every time we tacked.
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-26-2010
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I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with these questions. I should have known better to think one could buy a sailboat, learn to sail, and then sail. I'm quickly learning that's like thinking you can bring a guitar home and just play it, without disassembling it, shimming the neck, smoothing the frets, renutting the neck, intonating the bridge.......and realizing that every adjustment you make, necessitates going back and readjusting all the other things you've just unsettled! Maybe some folks do??

Damn I love tinkering and tweaking.
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