Catalina 400 MKII
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Santa Cruz, California
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Re: How bad is my main sail?
I'd slow done a bit and figure out what the picture shows - and what it dosen't.
I notice that the jib tack (at the bottom, front) has a furling drum - but the jib also appears to have hanks. That dosen't make sense to me. TSchmidy, can you have someone in your area take a look at it and figure out the system you have? (It looks to me like someone just put a traditional hanked jib onto the top of a drum. If so, then just hank it on!!)
In terms of main sail shape, let's try to do one thing at a time. Once you figure out your jib, then figure out the main. Yes, there are ways to get mechanical advantage to get the sail tight, but you also need to look at things like the boat-rope (the rope that is sewn into the luff of the mainsail), and some other factors. Boat ropes on older sails shrink a bit. A quick trip to the sailmaker and they can just re-sew it!
There's nothing like inviting your local sailmaker out to the dock. Often there are also riggers working around harbors who can also give you advice about your rig. Lot's of times they are very resonable in price for an initial consultation because they are looking to the future of a customer relationship with you. Also there are really knowledgable sailors who would be happy to lend a hand to figure out some of these basic set-up kind of issues. Asking around may lead you to these people.
One way or another, you will figure this out. Please let me (us) know what you find out. Perhaps you can send close up pictures of this jib set up? Godd luck, and keep sailing that boat!!