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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Out for a daysail on Lake Erie on Saturday with my wonderful wife/best friend, and found ourselves locked into a beautiful close reach with the boat nearly perfectly balanced and practically sailing herself, making good way, listening to music and talking about everything under the sun. I'm getting better at getting Pinniped into the groove. We are still rank amateurs, but improving! A sail like this one was exactly what I needed to recharge after a busy week heading into another busy week.
Automotive tire Sky Wood Rope Gas


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(Yes, I better secured the main sheet on that winch above, unfortunately right after I took this photo!)
 

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Beginners. We are all (99% of us) amateurs. The level of expereince and skill increases with time, but we will always be amateurs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The astute observer might notice the main and stays'l sheets in the winch photos are looking a little fuzzy. They're also somewhat stiff and chalky. They are exposed all season. All of the running rigging on the boat is this same line. There are some unused lengths that came with the boat that are nice and supple. I haven't measured yet to see what I can reasonably replace with the unused lengths I have on board. They're all the same age and might be as old as the boat (launched 1991). I'm wondering if a washing might restore these exposed lines and we could get a few more years out of them, or if the above conditions are warnings to replace them as their structure is beginning to suffer in an unrecoverable way. I also believe that the unused line I can consider like-new in terms of performance, but if there are reasons for me to doubt that, I'm all ears.
 

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I made the mistake of tossing all of my running rigging together in the HE clothes washer a few years ago with light soap and warm water. It cleaned it all quite fine, but I think I spent a good 45 min untangling it all to set it to air dry…. I’ve since rerigged with new lines given the aforementioned were rather old. But if I ever wash it all again in a washing machine, I’ll put each line in its own washing net bag….
 

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I made the mistake of tossing all of my running rigging together in the HE clothes washer a few years ago with light soap and warm water. It cleaned it all quite fine, but I think I spent a good 45 min untangling it all to set it to air dry…. I've since rerigged with new lines given the aforementioned were rather old. But if I ever wash it all again in a washing machine, I'll put each line in its own washing net bag….
Yes, I've done that.
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Washing them (by hand) will soften them a little, but not a lot. It will of course make them look better which will make you feel better.
A little fuzziness in the outer braid is not a big deal, but any broken strands, or nearly broken, indicate it's time to replace them. From the pics, it looks like yours are iffy. There are a couple spots that look nearly worn through.
 

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So... the lines I use for sheets are 1/2" or larger... and very old fizzy braid and look pretty worn. However these lines have a 1600# working load which is higher than the sheet loads which I computed as max 1.200#. I simply don't see them parting. I do plan to replace.

Has anyone had a sheet part?
 

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If you give them a good inspection once in a while they are probably fine. Just try to avoid hurricanes. On lake Erie, this should not be difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you give them a good inspection once in a while they are probably fine. Just try to avoid hurricanes. On lake Erie, this should not be difficult.
Thanks for the thoughts on these. I can't speak for where SanderO sails, but I can confirm that we are no strangers to 60+kts on Lake Erie. Certainly not hurricane strength, but not exactly benign, either! :)

Next time I'm up to our boat, I'm going to see if the spare lines I have on board are a length match for either of these two sheets. If so, I'll probably swap them in, then bring these home for a gentle wash (in a chain sinnet, so I don't end up with the bird's nest in that photo someone posted above!). They'll then get relegated to the spares locker if they still appear to be in decent shape after the wash. I'm thinking I'll replace the halyards next season. They are in better shape overall.
 

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Has anyone had a sheet part?
Yup. Sheet was probably 5 years old. J35 was sailing close hauled or close reach in under 20 knots of wind. I don't remember how much but the #1 or #2 was up. The sheet parted at the clew. The bowline was still tied. The cover looked fine at the start of the day, but the core inside must have been damaged from the frequent tying needed on a race boat. If the explosive bang from the sheet parting didn't get the crews attention, the flogging jib sure did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just an update for anyone who comes across this discussion later:
It turns out that the previous owner had spare lines made up for most of the running rigging. The lines had obviously been swapped in the past, cleaned, and properly stored in a locker down below. The only notable exceptions were the line for the vang (though there is a new-looking coil of the same line in the spares locker, so with a simple close eye splice and cut to length, I can easily make one), and there was only one line of the correct length for the traveler. I swapped the sheets and removed everything to bring home to inspect and clean.

I chained the lines and put them in our front loading washer on delicate, low spin, with regular detergent. After the wash was finished, I loaded the machine with Nikwax wash-in formula, set the machine for a hot water quick wash, also low spin. The lines came out looking and feeling great. I’m figuring I’ll be good with the swapped lines through next season at least before I swap the sheets again. After another season or two, I’ll evaluate again to see if the next swap should be with new line. This at least extends the comfortable life of these lines by a bit! Thanks all for the recommendations, and thanks to the search feature for providing even more good information.
 

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... We are still rank amateurs, but improving! A sail like this one was exactly what I needed to recharge after a busy week heading into another busy week.

View attachment 139984

(Yes, I better secured the main sheet on that winch above, unfortunately right after I took this photo!)
FYI, you want to put at least three or more turns of a sheet on a winch or the sheet will not develop enough friction for the winch to hold it and will tend to slip. If you are using smaller line, you want enough turns to fully cover the center of the winch drum. So using a 5/16" spinnaker sheet, you may need eight turns or so for the winch to hold the line. See 8:40 in
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Nice. How do you think the nikwax affected the feel of your lines?
I was curious about this myself and handled the lines after both the wash cycle and the Nikwax cycle. I did not dry them in between, so my dry handling comments are only after both cycles and air drying was complete.

After the straight wash cycle, the lines felt less stiff, looked a lot cleaner, and felt quite damp. They held their chaining well.

After the Nikwax cycle, my main takeaways were that they felt a lot less damp and seemed lighter, and they seemed even less stiff. I also noticed that one of the four lines (of course, the longest one, the mainsheet) had mostly un-chained itself. It wasn't tangled, so maybe it was just the last set of agitation that caused it to pull itself free.

After drying, the lines felt good and ran through my hands much more smoothly than they did before. I didn't dunk them to test water repellency. They coiled nicely with a smooth lay and the few twists that were imparted on the mainsheet came out with an easy flip.

The line for the vang has a close eye splice at the end that attaches to a becket on the tackle at the vang. This splice was not whip locked, and some core had worked itself loose. The end of the standing part had a whip lock, though, so I worked the cover back from there and the eye splice set itself well again. I'll whip lock that before I reinstall it.

It will be a bit before we are back on board, but I'm looking forward to seeing how these lines behave over the rest of the season.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
FYI, you want to put at least three or more turns of a sheet on a winch or the sheet will not develop enough friction for the winch to hold it and will tend to slip. If you are using smaller line, you want enough turns to fully cover the center of the winch drum. So using a 5/16" spinnaker sheet, you may need eight turns or so for the winch to hold the line. See 8:40 in
Excellent point. I get lazy with the stays'l sheet because there's so little load on that--most of the time.
 
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