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Discussion Starter #1
I searched and all refferences were to continuous sheets wherein the center point is cow hitched to the genoa clew. I am reffering to contiuous sheets where the ends are attached to the clew and the starboard and port sheets are contiuous with each other, as is done on beach cats and dingies.

My genoa sheets were due for replacement today; the clew end had been destroyed by years of flogging (Kevlar core blown--of course, this was the wrong line choise) and the PO left nothing to trim off. Since the rope I had was long enough for both with a good bit left over (free line), I decide to rig it as continuous and see how that felt. I have always been annoyed when the lazy end is pulled over to the turning block, which is out of reach of the cockpit on my boat; I can go get it easily enough, but why? Of course, longer sheets would minimize this... but that is more line in the cockpit.

Yes, there is a bit more rope in the cockpit with a contiuous sheet--no, actually considerably less since the working sheet feed to the lazy sheet, but one strand does cross from one side to the other. Tacking seemed simpler, easier to find the rope to haul in on the other side when short handed; it's the same line you are releasing from the old working winch. Fewer tangles; one of the advantages of a continous line is there is no end to form a knot. Of course, anchoring the end of any line does that.

My traveler (long on a cat) was continuous stock from the maker. Works well and simplifies line managment.

So why not contiuous genoa sheets, which are universal on small boats? I can see separate lines for the chute (nice to coil them away as they are not used most days). Perhaps it is one of those things that works with some layouts and not others. In my case the sheets run behind the deep cockpit (center cockpit), which helps; it feels like a beach cat layout now. I can see if they had to run across the center it would be a drag.
 

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We've been using a continuous sheet as you describe for our A sail... it is a lot of line in the cockpit and I'm reconsidering it.

But we have used that system in the past on a 28 footer, it worked well enough. It is odd that more people don't use it, if only for the 'reachability'... I'd think it also minimizes the risk of a sheet tail going overboard and getting wrapped up in the prop...
 

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continuous sheets are great if your alone on the boat, that is what I'm going to do on mine next year, I tried it this year by tying both sheets together and it was a really nice setup to use and if you have a continuous sheet you can have it shorter, so less line in the cockpit
 

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I use a continuous sheet on my 36' giant beach cat, and it really does make life easier. As you suggest, how practical it is depends on the layout of the boat.
 

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One thing you need to consider before going with such a setup, is whether it will impair your ability to maintain proper sheet leads when using a whisker pole, or when broad reaching... Certainly wouldn't work on my boat...

My jib cars are inboard of my lifelines, so if I'm rigging for sailing DDW/wing on wing, I need to re-route the sheet underneath the lifelines via a snatch block clipped to the toerail... Same thing when broad reaching, and I want to open the slot by moving the lead outboard to the rail... Or, when deep reaching and the genoa starts getting blanketed by the main, and you might want to lead the sheet to the end of the boom to inhibit it from collapsing. On my boat, I couldn't do any of that with a continuous sheet - or at least it would be problematic to do so, and likely require a lot of extra sheet length, anyway...

Another downside I see, is that you're always stuck with some sheet in the cockpit... Many times, when I know I'm not going anywhere for a while either at dock or at anchor, I'll coil my sheets and stow them forward, clearing the cockpit and side decks a bit...
 

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Only way to larkshead a continuous sheet is to splice in place Or have a lot of snatch blocks. Either way I'm not a huge fan. For travelers I love a continuous sheet.
 

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Only way to larkshead a continuous sheet is to splice in place Or have a lot of snatch blocks. Either way I'm not a huge fan.
Yes, and am I missing something here?

If one actually did that, how would you ever remove the sail and sheets from the boat, without cutting it? Sure, you could use a shackle to attach the sheet to the clew, but you'd still be left with a continuous loop around the mast and shrouds, no?
 

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Another possible downside is that during a tack the 'freed' end is not really free until you sheet the new side in, so there may be more drag or it may simply be slower unless enough extra length is provided..
 

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Yes, and am I missing something here?

If one actually did that, how would you ever remove the sail and sheets from the boat, without cutting it? Sure, you could use a shackle to attach the sheet to the clew, but you'd still be left with a continuous loop around the mast and shrouds, no?
One way to solve it would be to use Dyneema rope with cover for the sheet and make a naked eye splice in both ends.

These splices will be small enough to pass through blocks, attach the ends to the sail with soft shackles.

That way you could easily take it completely off when not in use.
 

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One way to solve it would be to use Dyneema rope with cover for the sheet and make a naked eye splice in both ends.

These splices will be small enough to pass through blocks, attach the ends to the sail with soft shackles.

That way you could easily take it completely off when not in use.
Of course, good idea, that would definitely work, why didn't I think of that?

But, still, not for me... :)
 

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This book talks about techniques for using continuous sheeting:
Singlehanded Tips Book

I found it to be a really interesting book in general, even though I have no plans to do long distance single handed racing.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
One thing you need to consider before going with such a setup, is whether it will impair your ability to maintain proper sheet leads when using a whisker pole, or when broad reaching... Certainly wouldn't work on my boat...

My jib cars are inboard of my lifelines, so if I'm rigging for sailing DDW/wing on wing, I need to re-route the sheet underneath the lifelines via a snatch block clipped to the toerail... Same thing when broad reaching, and I want to open the slot by moving the lead outboard to the rail... Or, when deep reaching and the genoa starts getting blanketed by the main, and you might want to lead the sheet to the end of the boom to inhibit it from collapsing. On my boat, I couldn't do any of that with a continuous sheet - or at least it would be problematic to do so, and likely require a lot of extra sheet length, anyway...

Another downside I see, is that you're always stuck with some sheet in the cockpit... Many times, when I know I'm not going anywhere for a while either at dock or at anchor, I'll coil my sheets and stow them forward, clearing the cockpit and side decks a bit...

Lots of good points. I sailed with the continuous set-up again yesterday and I think I like it. However a lot of my reasons are boat-specific, so all of the feed back was, for your boats, correct also.

1. Enough line for broad reaching. If there is enough to furl the sail, then there is plenty once the sail is out.

2. Because the furler absorbs most of the sheet, when furled there is very little in the cockpit. Because you don't need to maintain tails when the sail is furled (the ends are connected) the line can be tight when the sail is furled (zero extra) and simply lies out of the way on the aft deck.

3. Cat cockpits tend to be wide; easy to stash line out of the way.

4. Moving the lead. Because of the wide shroud stance on this boat (23 degree sheeting angle), at the same time I add an inner track (14 degrees). Thus, one sheet pair leads outside the safety line used when beam to broad reaching) the other inside (close reaching to beating). I can use the inside system broad reaching but sail shape is not optimim. Awkward, yeah a little, but the shroud is in the way and this seems to work well. I detach which ever pair of sheets is out of use (soft shackles).

5. Not spliced in place. The ends are joined at the clew with a soft shackle.

6. Not removed when out of use. I simply soft shackle the sheet pair that is not in use to tramp and tension, if conditions are strong enough that washing away seems like a risk (over 20knots true).

I've been using these modified soft shackles, which are a little easier to remove. I made them in 1/4" Amsteel even though the smaller size would work, to make them easier for me to handle with gloves.

Better Soft Shackle

In several ways it makes line management easier:

1. When tacking or jibing (I single hand most of the time) if you are ready on windward and have the windward sheet ready to release, you also have the new windward ready to haul.

2. Can't knot lines together by accident; with no free ends, no knots.

3. Extra line is only coiled one side, generally the windward side.

4. There is never any question as to which line tail is which or if you are grabbing through a loop.

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It seems there are good reasons why this practice is universal on some classes, and never on others.
 
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