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How loose is your main sheet while raising the main?

  • I keep the main sheet tight

    Votes: 7 10.4%
  • I keep the main sheet a little slack

    Votes: 25 37.3%
  • I keep the main sheet completely released

    Votes: 36 53.7%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When on a boat with a diesel, and raising the main while motoring into the wind, how loose or tight is your main sheet?
 

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Main Sheet

I single hand a lot. When its time to raise the main I usually release most of the tension on the sheet so that the boom will move about a foot or so then head up to the mast and haul it up. This allows for some breathing room if she wanders off of directly into the wind. I've had her start to fall off the wind (to either side) with a tight main sheet and it can get pretty interesting rather wuickly when the sheet is tight!
 

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I would say it depends on how windy it is and how good the helm person is :)


On the race boat there is so much stuff in the way you have to be perfect up wind to raise the main OR it will hang on something
 

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Although you mention your auto pilot, I still think I would continue to completely release my mainsheet. Therer are times the wind tends to shift quite a bit, and the last thing I want is to raise my main with a significant wind on the beam.
 

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Midwest Puddle Pirate
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2,160 Posts
I leave the mainsheet loose. I have to go to the mast to raise the main, and I don't want the boat to start heeling while I'm coiling the halyard. Besides, I have my topping lift adjusted so the boom is a little low when the main is down, and slack with the main up. If I don't release the mainsheet, the sail won't go all the way up. I don't have an autopilot, so the boat never stays perfectly upwind. The main is always flogging on one side or the other when it's raised, I just head to the cockpit on the other side.
 

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SailGunner
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57 Posts
When the admiral is at the helm I have the mainsheet tight. If I am solo I would have it loose to compensate for not being able to keep the boat dead into the wind.
 

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Telstar 28
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993 Posts
I keep a bit of slack in the mainsheet, after taking up the boom with the topping lift quite a bit. This allows me to hoist the main sail completely without fighting the mainsheet, and prevents the boom from moving around too much.
 

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I forget, sometimes, how much of a luxury it is to have all my sheets led aft to the cockpit and to have an in mast roller furling main. I usually put the autopilot on a heading, keep the mainsheet tight and then release the outhaul/inhaul...then just pull out to the last reef point....if thats steady then more....then if thats steady all the way.
 

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I singlehand and set the autopilot to head straight into the wind in wind mode, so that the boat will change heading if the wind changes. The boom is high I can't reach it and my boat has in mast furling. Nevertheless I keep the main sheet loose while pulling out the main sail.
 

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I have always kept the mainsheet tight. I would most always singlehand and did not like the opportunity for the boom to fly around while getting back into the cockpit and knock me over. Even after I had run all the lines aft so I could raise the main from the cockpit I would still keep the mainsheet tight. WHen I raised the main from on deck I would let the halyard go into the cabin through the companionway and once the sails where set and the boat was on course I would wrap the halyard and stow. I guess when you singlehand you figure out wats that you are most comfortable with and fit your agility.
 

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OK, maybe this is a stoopid question. Several responses have mentioned they keep the mainsheet tight as they don't want to take the chance of havine the boom fly around. To my understanding, this would only occur if the boat were'nt headed directly into the wind. In this instance, would a significant heel be preferable to a boom swing?

Please correct my errors as necessary...

Eric
 

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I keep a bit of slack in the mainsheet, after taking up the boom with the topping lift quite a bit. This allows me to hoist the main sail completely without fighting the mainsheet, and prevents the boom from moving around too much.
Same here, except the topping lift part. I get an easier hoist if nothing is pulling down on the sail.
 

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OK, maybe this is a stoopid question. Several responses have mentioned they keep the mainsheet tight as they don't want to take the chance of havine the boom fly around. To my understanding, this would only occur if the boat were'nt headed directly into the wind. In this instance, would a significant heel be preferable to a boom swing?

Please correct my errors as necessary...

Eric
If the boat heels with the tiller loose it will round up. I am hooked to the mast and not going anywhere. If need i can make my way back into the ccockpit. If a wind shift happens while getting off deck and the boom swings i'm over the edge and if hit in the head knocked out.
 

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Tartan 37
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If you notice CD, our infamous moderator, cannot answer this question as he has never raised his sails and has no idea what you people are talking about..."main sheet, pu, thats for the master stateroom, whatever"

I for one want to know how to link my auto pilot to the wind meter, that is cool!?
 

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Telstar 28
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If you notice CD, our infamous moderator, cannot answer this question as he has never raised his sails and has no idea what you people are talking about..."main sheet, pu, thats for the master stateroom, whatever"
Very true...

I for one want to know how to link my auto pilot to the wind meter, that is cool!?
What autopilot and wind instrument do you have. If you have both Raymarine... then connect them with a Seatalk cable... and you're done. :)
 

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ancient mariner
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i have a profurl in boom furling system for the fully battened main. i head into the wind with the auto pilot on, & loosen the sheet. i have a solid vang & it's hard to get the main all the way up without the sheet loose.
 

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Administrator
Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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This seems to be a thread about whether we ease and reset our topping lifts every time we raise and lower the mainsail. At least on my boat, the topping lift is set so that it is loose enough to sail whenever the mainsail is hoisted, no matter how hard I haul in my mainsheet, and I never adjust it otherwise. Consequently, I have to ease my mainsheet or I can't haul my sail up. Its that simple.

That said my halyard winch is near my mainsheet so I keep the sheet tight until the mainsail is halfway or more up before releasing the sheet.

Obviously, if you ease and tighten your topping lift with each mainsail hoist, then it doesn't matter one way or the other whether you release the mainsheet when you hoist the mainsail. Except that, with the mainsheet tight, most boats will weathercock into the wind when the sails are almost up, making it easier to finish the hoist.

Jeff
 
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