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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

I am working on a way to better handle my hank on jib in heavy weather. A recent experience trying to take it down in heavy winds which found me spread eagle on the foredeck and repeatedly almost bounced off the boat (despite the harness!) is the impetus for this project. My plan is:

1. Put a block next to the jib tack
2. Put stancion blocks on the port stancions
3. Run a light line from the head of the jib through the blocks, back to the cockpit

Thus, to take down the jib I could just release the halyard and pull on the downhaul which would bring the jib down to the foredeck, the cleat the line to keep the sail down until I get back to port.

Any problems with this idea? It seems good to me, but I have never seen this configuration in use anywhere (although most boats I have been on the same size as mine had roller furling). Could someone more salty than I am give me any advice?

Regards,

Joe
 

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I've never had problems with getting a hank on down, in fact usually too fast! The problem is keeping it all aboard, if you not there to pull it down you will have to go head to wind to make sure it all stays inboard of the stanchions.
And then you'll still have to go on deck to lash it down, i think there are some jobs that you just have to do the hard way.
 

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Your idea should work, and some traditionalists use the same method. I've used this when sailing on a traditional boat with a long bowsprit, however the downhaul was still on the foredeck, but saved us from going out on the sprit with the foresail flopping around.
Another thing worth trying is blanketing the headsail with the main, that is dousing the headsail when running downwind.
Btw what type of boat do you have?
 

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Yep

Yea it'll work. It helps to have a jib net. Haul the downhaul then pull the sheet tight and the sail will be controlled. Brandon
 

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Discussion Starter #5
To downhaul or not to downhaul

To take the sails down I usually head into the wind, drop the jib, tie-off the jib, drop the main, then flake and tie off the main.

In extremely windy conditions (~30 kts) the jib tends to 'fly up' on its own and fill (or flog) even without halyard tension. I used to just tie the sail closed, but when its very windy even just a bit of the head can catch wind and start to run up the forestay. It turns out that if I tie the jib head to the bow rail with a sail tie, the jib stays well behaved even without other sail ties on the body. This observation formed the basis of the idea I described above.

Incidentally, even if I didn't mind doing it the 'hard way' during the worst jib takedown it took my so long the flogging main ripped a batten pocket -- which is something I would like to avoid in the future.

Its encouraging that traditionalists use the same idea -- I was very skeptical of the idea being a good one if truly no one else used it. :)

To answer the previous poster's question, the boat is a 32' Discovery sloop. You can see a picture here:
http://www.sailnet.com/forums/introduce-yourself/50893-ahoy-sf-bay.html

Regards,

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Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yea it'll work. It helps to have a jib net. Haul the downhaul then pull the sheet tight and the sail will be controlled. Brandon
I am not familiar with a 'jib net'. Could you explain?

(reflecting today's economy, when I searched for the term google thought I wanted a 'job net'...)

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JOe
 

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Downhauls were once pretty common; I agree with Rich P that you will still need to figure out a way to keep the sail aboard. Netting between the lifeline and toe rail will do the trick. You will need a standup block for the headstay, a way to run the line past the stantions (how about stantion blocks?), and some kind of cleat in the cockpit area to fix the bitter end of the downhaul line.

Jib downhauls are not as prevalent as they once were because of the success of roller furling units RFs are now reliable, standard equipment. They are more expensive than a downhaul, but the prices have come way down over the years. I used a makeshift downhaul on my Oday 23 before I bought a CDI RF unit. After using the RF, I would never go back to the downhaul. It is just so much easier to unroll that sail when I need it; no unpacking, no hanking, no trips to the foredeck in bouncy seas, no unhanking and repacking the sail. Worth every penny I spent.
 

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I had a great week's sailing last month in the San Juan Islands on a Bristol Channel Cutter with a jib downhaul.
As Jomsviking said, the downhaul is really useful when there's a bowsprit to deal with , and I can report that it worked really well, rigged as you suggest, with a block at the tack and at the stanchions.
All the best with your experiment.
 

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JG, I had a down haul on my I26 and it worked great. I spent a lot of time single handing and did not want to climb on deck to stow the jib.

I set mine up just as you had outlined.

You will need netting to keep the sail on deck. By sure and run the stantion block out of toe stub area and keep down haul line tight. A kink from rough seas will prevent it's use. I found out the hard way.

Also don't run the down haul throu the hanks, it will snag and cause you to cuss alot.
 

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I'm not certain if this is a jib net but I have had bungee looped on to stantions on the port side then pull it to center cleat to pin my jib to the deck on one side. I did this as my anchor was hung on the starboard side. This was on my Macgregor. I don't have it but will be adding a similar setup to my AMX
 

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I have used a jib downhaul on my boat to good effect for several years now. It's simple to rig, simple to use, makes a big difference in higher winds.
 

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When I single-handed to Mexico I rigged a downhaul. Last thing you want is a sail pushing you over board. I ran the halyard back to the cockpit also. After a while you will be able to lay the sail right onto the deck while you are safe in the cockpit......i2f
 

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I wouldn't know what I'd do without it! It's great to have for single-handing and I expect that you'll find that you have less trouble than anticipated in keeping your sail on board when you bring it down smartly with the downhaul.

Try to get as clean a run to the cockpit as you can with the downhaul, avoiding too many turning blocks which will not only impart friction but be potential fouling points. I ran mine from the cabin top directly forward to the base of the fore stay, and it lays nicely on deck with the sail hoisted. Alternate your hanks to either side of the downhaul when you hank on your sail and the downhaul will lay nicely along the fore stay with the sail hoisted. I'd also install a cleat for it so that, once your sail is down, you can secure the hauling part and keep the head and tack of the sail "nailed down" at the base of the fore stay.

Don Casey has some good instructions on the project in his, 100 fast and easy Boat Improvements book. Amazon.com: 100 FAST & EASY BOAT IMPROVEMENTS: Don Casey: Books

You're going to be really happy with the results of this project.
 

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I use a downhaul on my main

I have my Genoa rigged with a roller furler so there is no need for a downhail. But on my main I have rigged a downhaul to assist in lowering the main as I release the halyard from the cockpit. I also have a set of lazyjacks rigged to "catch" the sail as it comes down. Now, if you could figure a way to rig a lazyjack for the jib you would be set.
 

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Also consider splicing the downhaul and halyard into a continuous line.

There is less to coil that way!

I did this on my 27' cat and was very happy with the result.
 

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Consider running the downhaul line from the block at the tack directly back to the cockpit on the centerline of the boat and then to a cam cleat to keep it tidy. You could run it through a cheek block on one side of the mast or even on deck to keep the run straight.

Spectra or Dyneema are great here because they can be quite thin and still do the job without putting weight and tangles aloft.

An idea I had to "improve" a jib downhaul is to make a rather large loop. Put the top of the loop through the headboard or through the jib halyard shackle and run either side of the loop down to blocks either side of the forestay. When you pull downwards, the pull is even either side of the hanks, and so the chance of snagging is lessened and the speed of the drop can be controlled by easing the halyard at the desired speed.

I came up with this idea while contemplating putting reef points in my staysail.
 

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Had a set up like you are talking about on my 26.5 Hunter. My jib would not drop all the way and had to be lowered by hand. It worked very well. Held the jib down till I could get out on the fore deck to bag it. Also had a net on the life lines to keep the jib inboard.
 

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I ran downhauls on all my headsails on my gaff-topsail ketch by attaching to the head and running down to a bronze ring that I whipped to a hank on the sail. The hank was at a point where the clew was perpendicular to the stay. I then ran the downhaul out through one side of the clew and back to another ring and down to a block mounted near the tack and back to the cockpit. When pulling the downhaul, the head is pulled down and the clew is pulled forward bringing all three corners of the sail together.
 
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