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baDumbumbum
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is the state of the art in combining small diameter, low-stretch running rigging with clutches, jammers, and cleats?

We'll be running most of our control lines to the cockpit. We want minimal stretch in our halyards (tho are not overly worried about diameter/weight, so covered is sorta okay). Reefing lines we want to be skinny and low-chafe, like Amsteel, but they have to hold well in clutches, preferably w/out stitched intermittent covers which can snag. We're leaning toward single line reefing with low-friction rings at the sail cringles and normal halyard lifts/sheave organizers on deck.

We are thinking of 1/4" Control DPX for the reefing lines & perhaps something like 1/4" Warpspeed or 5/16" XLS Extra T for halyards. I know from climbing that a 200' 8.8mm rope is much lighter, easier to handle, and takes up less space than a 165' 10.2mm rope, so that's the major reason we want skinny lines. But what brands of clutches will hold these small, slick, generally hollow-cored lines? Anyone with field experience for or against certain sizes or brands of clutches? Better to go with cam-type clutches like Spinlock or Antal, or with domino-type like the Lewmars?

I have zero experience with clutches, so your advice is much appreciated.:)
 

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I tried one XLS Extra T halyard. Too much stretch. The Dyneema blends are far stretchier than solid Dyneema cores. However, if you are leading everything to the cockpit (to each his own) then tightening periodically may not be a big deal.

On clutches, get the proper size. Don't fudge it. I like the Spinlocks. I never use the supposed limited slip ease features that tend to remove the cover. The line is always upon the winch on release. Your boats are small enough to use simpler cam cleats and jammers.

Consider using sacrificial Dyneema chafe covers (or strops) where the reef lines go thru the cringes or whatever.

Small line like you are considering is a good way to go. Wear gloves to compensate.
 

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Full disclosure: I'm a NER dealer and a rigger.
Bob, what boat? Is it the Albin Ballad 30 in your sig? If so I'd be happy to help you choose a material and clutch set up.

For upwind halyards vectran core, like V-100, is really hard to beat. It has almost no stretch or creep. For spin halyards or backup jib halyards, you can usually get away with dyneema. You can't strip vectran, it's less chafe resistant and really doesn't like sunlight.

For reef lines, I'd go with VPC and add cover to them where they will contact the sail when it is reefed. It does cost more, but the average sailor won't wear through them in 10 years. I've don't this on race boats and a crusing catamaran that wants to sail around the world. Chafe is a very big issue offshore.

Clutches - don't skimp out. Go one size up on whatever you choose. I'm using the Lewmar D1s on my 25 footer and they're great. little to no wear on the halyards and they hold great. Some people try and get away with can cleats but they just don't work. I can go into more detail, but lets save some typing and just buy the right equipment the first time. When picking out a clutch, pick the one that will barely fit your halyard diameter. You want the largest size line in your clutch for holding power, this will help against slippage. Sometimes on older boats with existing clutches, we can do a bulk splice to help smaller lines hold better.

Feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected] if you'd like to get a quote or just talk more about it.
 

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baDumbumbum
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks, Aloof. We won't be easing any clutches -- they'll be open or closed -- tho being able to tighten w/out opening would be a plus. Do the Spinlocks permit this, and do they release easily under load? The smallest Spinlocks claim to hold down to 5/32".

Our reefs will feature webbed low-friction rings (dogbones) thru the cringles to keep the reef lines entirely on one side of the sail. We may end up with three reefs, which we would like to keep rigged at all times (hence the skinny, low-chafe requirement). All three reefs will be equally spaced, so the idea is we can eas the halyard & pull in all three reefing lines in one handful, to prevent excess slack from whipping around. I think the stbd side will go: cunningham (metal cam cleat); then main halyard outboard of that thru a bigger clutch; then reefs 1-2-3 thru a triple clutch. Shaking out a reef would involve flipping open the relevant clutch & winching away on the halyard.

Port side we haven't figured out quite yet. Probably 8:1 vang thru a metal cam cleat; then a bank of 3-4 halyards or pole topping lifts thru clutches. These lines & clutches may be larger (5/16"?), because the Ballad sets all its auxilliary sails flying -- the halyard is the stay. Fairly high tensions (~1200#) may be required, and creep is bad. May have to go with Vectran core/polyester cover for those, which at least makes clutches happy.:)
 

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baDumbumbum
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks much, ZZ -- & pls note I wasn't dissing NER by using Samson products as examples. ;) We loved NER climbing ropes & choose them whenever possible, & I need to look deeper into their marine offerings.

Does worming the cores of single braid where clutches grip them help much with grip? Does it substantially weaken the line? I'd prefer that to intermittent covers, where possible.

There's that tradeoff on clutches between ultimate strength and preferred rope size. The Spinlock XAS-408 has just about the SWL we need, but at least 1/4" lines are in the high-middle of its range. The XAS-612 is stronger physically but I suspect will not grip 1/4" line as well. Which somewhat defeats the purpose. Lewmar products seem optimized for thicker line & have a reputation for being really fussy about diameter. It would help (rant alert) if stated diameter of cordage bore some slight resemblance to actual, real-world, measured diameter. Grrr. I've bought some 1/4" line that measures at a full 5/16", and some that measures a scant 6mm. (Same thing with climbing rope, BTW: I own a 10.2mm that calipered at a full 1/2" right out of the bag. It's how they get better fall ratings.)
 

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Sounds good, Bob. Spinlocks don't need to be opened to trim in. Reef line all on one side is where I have ended up after trying everything else. I don't do single line, but if it gets rigged right it might work okay. I've seen the where the tension gets odd as the luff may not need anywhere near the tension the outhaul does. Having the forward single line reef cringle of block bottom out at the gooseneck might help. Reef lines really benefit from low stretch, especially so if super long as yours will be, as they tend to work in the cringles while underway. Noisy and chafe-y.

Zz4gta: Which hi-tech cores dislike sharp turns thru cringles?
 

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I had WARPSPEED line on my last boat and liked it, so when re-rigging the new one, I installed all Warpspeed running rigging.

New boat had Antal clutches and the Warpspeed slipped in them. Whether it was a size or a textile type issue, I don't know. I tried bulk-splicing the lines, still slipped.

What I do know is that I absolutely solved the slippage problems by installing Ronstan CONSTRICTOR clutches, which grab the Warpspeed line with alacrity, and also work well generally. I would expect that the Constrictor clutches will work with any of the new lower friction lines.
 

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baDumbumbum
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good info, MHG. Alas, we haven't space on our coach for textile clutches. They are loooong out front, & the Ballad has a raised coaming that would interfere. It all gets rather bijou under that spray hood. :D Truly, the entire coachroof is cramped (being a Swan-like wedge) and the coamings are v. tall, which is a major reason we are bringing the lines aft to begin with. Imagine this thing with dodger, handrails, and two dorades on it:

deck2013

What were the clutches on your old boat that worked well w/ Warpspeed?

Digging around a bit today, it seems Spinlock offers replacement bases for several of their clutches which allow them to grip smaller lines. Tho I think that's just turning a XAS-612 into a 408, which share the same body anyhow, so may as well buy the smaller ones new. Would allow existing XA owners to upgrade to smaller cord, tho.
 

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Thanks much, ZZ -- & pls note I wasn't dissing NER by using Samson products as examples. ;) We loved NER climbing ropes & choose them whenever possible, & I need to look deeper into their marine offerings.
No problem, I have a mix on my own boat and have put other types of line on other boats as well. It's about finding the right product for the purpose.

Does worming the cores of single braid where clutches grip them help much with grip? Does it substantially weaken the line? I'd prefer that to intermittent covers, where possible.
Adding material in the line makes it thicker, therefore giving the cam or dominoes of a clutch more surface area to grip. If it's tapered properly at both ends, then there is no loss of strength in the line.

There's that tradeoff on clutches between ultimate strength and preferred rope size. The Spinlock XAS-408 has just about the SWL we need, but at least 1/4" lines are in the high-middle of its range. The XAS-612 is stronger physically but I suspect will not grip 1/4" line as well. Which somewhat defeats the purpose.
It comes down to what you're comfortable with and what your self tailers will accept. I'm using the D1s from lewmar with 1/4" line that I bulked up at the clutch point. Previously, the main halyard was slipping through the clutch or the dyneema core was slipping throught the cover. Bulking the line and cross stitching the cover to the core fixed this problem. The jib halyard was a little older and didn't require this treatment.

Lewmar products seem optimized for thicker line & have a reputation for being really fussy about diameter. It would help (rant alert) if stated diameter of cordage bore some slight resemblance to actual, real-world, measured diameter. Grrr. I've bought some 1/4" line that measures at a full 5/16", and some that measures a scant 6mm. (Same thing with climbing rope, BTW: I own a 10.2mm that calipered at a full 1/2" right out of the bag. It's how they get better fall ratings.)
I agree with you. However I think the diameter varies more due to construction methods and materials, rather than working the system for higher working loads/fall ratings.

Lots of lines measure in differently, apex, salsa, and swiftcord to name a few. Also more of a PITA to splice.
 

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Zz4gta: Which hi-tech cores dislike sharp turns thru cringles?
All of them :D same goes with any rope. Vectran doesn't like sharp turns and PBO doesn't. Dyneema or technora does better. I recommended VPC for reef lines which does have Vectran in it, but the filler material helps with the sharp bends, along with the cover, it works well. I would not do bare vectran for a reef line.
 

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What is the state of the art in combining small diameter, low-stretch running rigging with clutches, jammers, and cleats?

We'll be running most of our control lines to the cockpit. We want minimal stretch in our halyards (tho are not overly worried about diameter/weight, so covered is sorta okay). Reefing lines we want to be skinny and low-chafe, like Amsteel, but they have to hold well in clutches, preferably w/out stitched intermittent covers which can snag. We're leaning toward single line reefing with low-friction rings at the sail cringles and normal halyard lifts/sheave organizers on deck.

We are thinking of 1/4" Control DPX for the reefing lines & perhaps something like 1/4" Warpspeed or 5/16" XLS Extra T for halyards. I know from climbing that a 200' 8.8mm rope is much lighter, easier to handle, and takes up less space than a 165' 10.2mm rope, so that's the major reason we want skinny lines. But what brands of clutches will hold these small, slick, generally hollow-cored lines? Anyone with field experience for or against certain sizes or brands of clutches? Better to go with cam-type clutches like Spinlock or Antal, or with domino-type like the Lewmars?

I have zero experience with clutches, so your advice is much appreciated.:)
Well, I'm not the one to ask about the current "state of the art", but I'll share the little bit I know from my experience :)

I've been using the older Spinlock XA clutches for a variety of applications - halyards, reefing lines on the boom, boom vang, boom brake, asym tack line, foreguys/afterguys, and windvane control lines... They've been fine for pretty much everything, but the smallest line I'm using is 5/16"...

I've been using Warpspeed for my reefing lines run thru ordinary cringles, 3/8 for the first reef, and 5/16 for the second... It has held up very well for several years - I keep expecting to see some wear show up at the cringles, so far it's yet to happen. But my reefing lines are shorter than yours will be, as they only run to a clutch on the boom near the gooseneck...

The only issue I've had with small diameter rope in my XAs, have been with my windvane control lines... I tried using a 1/4" rope from Paraloc, which supposedly runs very smoothly thru blocks, and holds well in clutches with minimal tendency to creep... However, it didn't work so great, I was getting some slippage, and constantly having to re-tension them... I should note that the Paraloc has a rather 'slippery' cover, so that might have contributed to the problem. But after switching back to a different rope in 5/16" - Coppa 3000 from FSE Robline, a very 'grippy' rope - all is good again...

You also mention Antal clutches... I'm sure the latest generation models are fine, but I'd suggest avoiding the earlier models of the vintage that Valiant was using for years... Lots of things to like about Valiants, but those Antal clutches are not one of them... :)
 

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What were the clutches on your old boat that worked well w/ Warpspeed?
My last boat didn't have any clutches, only cam cleats. The higher loads were taken by a double-set of rather large cam cleats. The boat was a modified F-27 trimaran

The mainsheet was 12:1:


Look behind the glass (l to r): daggerboard, mast rotator, main halyard (the real fastener for the main halyard was a lock at masthead, this was a secondary)


Look upward along the mast, kind of toward the top of the picture, you'll see the double-cleats which were the lock for the spinnaker halyard:


Downhauls for screacher and jib:


Jib downhaul, with its hook into the 'working end' eye of the jib halyard:
 

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baDumbumbum
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks to all -- this is really useful information!

Jon: yeah, I've pretty much crossed Antal off the list. The basic design appeals, but too many stories about blowups, broken handles, difficulty obtaining parts.... I just bought a used XA triple on eBay & will use it as a testbed for various lines. It will probably end up serving the port side halyards, and at least Spinlock kept the hole patterns the same in the newer models.:) It may be worth buying 15' lengths of a number of candidate hi-tech lines & pull-testing them, see how the XA performs. The failures can go to our SJ21, where loads are smaller.:laugher

zz4gta: Our coach top winches won't be self-tailing. Clutches should remove the need, correct? Our boat came with #20 Enkes for spinnaker winches, which frankly look undersized for a 750sqft kite. But they'll be great for halyards.:cool: The Lewmar 40s can move back as the spi winches, and new 40ish STs will replace them as our primaries. Our sheets may be pretty conventional double braid.

What line do you use to bulk your cores where clutches grip them? I need to learn to taper properly; Evans Starzinger has been pull-testing stuff & consistently breaking single braids where the bury ends. Seems like you need an insanely long taper to avoid stress concentration.

Multihullgirl: What was the name of your F27 -- Bosun's Dream? :laugher That's an awesome complexity of purchases. Did you ever run out of strings to pull? My GF accuses me of just wanting more strings. She may be right. We could add a horn cleat or two behind the clutches, or a cam cleat behind the winch as backup where clutch slippage could be really bad (since our winches aren't ST). Like the (flying) storm jib halyard -- don't want that sucker streaming off to leeward in 70kts.:eek:
 

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Seems like you need an insanely long taper to avoid stress concentration.

Did you ever run out of strings to pull?
70x diameter taper for Amsteel, if I recall

Strings? Not so many. Forward to back: Spinnaker tack, continuous furler for screacher. Chute, screacher and jib halyards. Mast rotator lines. Daggerboard up/down lines. Main halyard. Sheets for jib, chute, screacher, main. Windward sheeting traveller for the main. That's it. Only two winches ran everything, and no clutches at all. I miss her simplicity, actually.
 

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We got some good deals on Warpspeed some years ago, and have used it for several lines: main halyard, jib furling line, topping lift/spare main halyard, and spinnaker halyard (IIRC). I really like the reduced diameter, but if it's to be locked in a clutch, and it's really loaded, the cover does need to be stitched to the core.

I never got around to doing this for the main halyard at the first reef, and the cover stripped off during a poorly executed jibe in high wind.

With one exception, we have Spinlocks, and normally I have, and take, time to tension with the winch before releasing the clutch.
 

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baDumbumbum
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We got some good deals on Warpspeed some years ago, and have used it for several lines: main halyard, jib furling line, topping lift/spare main halyard, and spinnaker halyard (IIRC). I really like the reduced diameter, but if it's to be locked in a clutch, and it's really loaded, the cover does need to be stitched to the core.

I never got around to doing this for the main halyard at the first reef, and the cover stripped off during a poorly executed jibe in high wind.

With one exception, we have Spinlocks, and normally I have, and take, time to tension with the winch before releasing the clutch.
Do you happen to recall which size Spinlocks & what diameter Warpspeed?

I had imagined just flipping the handle up on clutches, but it's starting to look like that can be hard on lines (& also potentially cause injury). But that's fine: as you say, when shaking out a reef, we could snug up the main halyard, ease the clutch to remove luff tension, & then pop open the now-unloaded reef clutch(es). Halyard is then already on the winch & ready to crank. If you're increasing sail, you have time to fuss.

Will have to think about the headsail side; spinnaker halyard would be the only one that really needs emergency blowing, but I guess if your kite is giving you that much trouble, you just take your chances on line damage, eh?:D
 

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zz4gta: Our coach top winches won't be self-tailing. Clutches should remove the need, correct?
clutches won't help you grind the sail in or up, just hold it once you get it there. Self tailers allow you use both hands to grind.

What line do you use to bulk your cores where clutches grip them? I need to learn to taper properly; Evans Starzinger has been pull-testing stuff & consistently breaking single braids where the bury ends. Seems like you need an insanely long taper to avoid stress concentration.
I usually use a shorter piece of dyneema 7/64" or 1/8" line depending on the size of the halyard. You can use clothes line if you have that around as well, but the dyneema has similar stetch properties and doesn't compress as much under load, it's also easy to taper.

The bury on a high tech splice should be 72x the diameter of the line. However the taper is not well defined. Usually 1/2 that for the tapered section. And yes, there is a stress riser at the end of the bury where the splice will almost always break. Most importantly, you should size your running rigging at a minimum of 2:1 and usually closer to 4 or 5:1 safety factor. So if the splice isn't perfect, you don't need to worry about it failing.
 

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baDumbumbum
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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
clutches won't help you grind the sail in or up, just hold it once you get it there. Self tailers allow you use both hands to grind.
They're a nice upgrade for sure, but probably out of budget at this point. I'm hoping we won't see any load on these coachtop winches we can't grind with one hand & an 8" handle. The #20 Enkes are two speed and in really nice condition -- just serviced one the other day (bored silly) and the insides look immaculate.

The new primaries will definitely be self-tailing. Not sure how previous owners got along w/out it: hanked 150% genoa on a monsterously stiff boat. There was quite a collection of bent & busted sail-control hardware in a bin downstairs.:eek:



(It might help to note here we will be stepping down to a 138% on a furler for our working jib, roughly 295sqft. A nylon 145% pinned to the anchor platform will take over light air duties. Genoa halyard might (?) live at the mast, but the Code/drifter sail will hoist on the spinnaker halyard, so both line & clutch need to be burly. I'd guess close to 700# luff tension upwind.)
 

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This season I'm going to experiment with building my own textile constrictor clutches using the 'whoopie sling' as the basis.



Paradise Cafe uses Amsteel Blue for lifelines, mainsheet, and halyards. It handles differently than yacht braid, but it is practically weightless and slides easily.

Guy
 
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