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Discussion Starter #1
My mainsheet currently uses a dock cleat to secure it. It seems kind of scary to me to use something like that for a sheet so I am looking at replacing it with a rope clutch. I will need to move the winch and possibly the sheave. Also planning to move the main halyard back to a second clutch so its not on the mast. I have a pretty good plan for doing all of that.

I am wondering about the size of line for the mainsheet? I have looked for some kind of sizing chart but they are all based on boat size which seems like you would end up with a line that may be off. My traveler is about in the middle of the boom so I am guessing the boom will be generating more leverage on the sheet than if it was toward the end of the boom. Or is it just a rule of thumb and if the sheet breaks you get a stronger line next time? :) I was just going to replace the line with a similer diameter but I had Mack sails out to replace my main halyard and they said it was oversized(was 7/16 replaced with 3/8) and replaced it with a smaller diameter line. The larger line is easier to hold onto but harder to keep tidy. Always a trade off but I would rather only have to buy the rope clutch once. The current mainsheet is 1/2 inch.

If I could replace the 1/2 inch mainsheet with 3/8 or 7/16 then I can get a single double clutch. 7/16 can get up to 6100 lbs in strength while 1/2 inch is 8700 lbs. The current line on the mainsheet is very old and has not broken yet. I don't know what kind it is but it is ready to be retired.

Anyway long post for a simple question about how strong of line I need for a 30' sailboats mainsheet. :)
 

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I'd downsize it to 3/8 or 7/16 as that is plenty strong enough. Most modern line has enough strength that people go large enough to make the line easy to handle and end up with a much stronger line than they need. 1/2 is too big in my opinion.
Brian
 

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I've never seen a rope clutch used on a mainsheet, I cant' say why not, nor quite provide an explanation for why not, but I would not use a clutch. The mainsheet is the one line on a boat most often played, ie.e repeatedly eased and trimmed, and a rope clutch is not good gear for such an application.

As to size, given the above statement I'd generally go with as large a size as cleanly fits in the sheaves. If the 1/2 fits cleanly I'd use that size again. While the 3/8 would probably be fine to carry the load, the crew's hands will like the 1/2 a lot more...
 

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My mainsheet currently uses a dock cleat to secure it. It seems kind of scary to me to use something like that for a sheet so I am looking at replacing it with a rope clutch. I will need to move the winch and possibly the sheave. Also planning to move the main halyard back to a second clutch so its not on the mast. I have a pretty good plan for doing all of that.
You should be using a cam cleat, clam cleat or something similar for a main sheet. A rope clutch doesn't always release under load, nor does it release anywhere near fast enough to be safe on a mainsheet.

I am wondering about the size of line for the mainsheet? I have looked for some kind of sizing chart but they are all based on boat size which seems like you would end up with a line that may be off. My traveler is about in the middle of the boom so I am guessing the boom will be generating more leverage on the sheet than if it was toward the end of the boom. Or is it just a rule of thumb and if the sheet breaks you get a stronger line next time? :) I was just going to replace the line with a similer diameter but I had Mack sails out to replace my main halyard and they said it was oversized(was 7/16 replaced with 3/8) and replaced it with a smaller diameter line. The larger line is easier to hold onto but harder to keep tidy. Always a trade off but I would rather only have to buy the rope clutch once. The current mainsheet is 1/2 inch.

If I could replace the 1/2 inch mainsheet with 3/8 or 7/16 then I can get a single double clutch. 7/16 can get up to 6100 lbs in strength while 1/2 inch is 8700 lbs. The current line on the mainsheet is very old and has not broken yet. I don't know what kind it is but it is ready to be retired.

Anyway long post for a simple question about how strong of line I need for a 30' sailboats mainsheet. :)
Depends on the amount of purchase/leverage your mainsheet gives you as well as what line you're using. On a 30' boat, a 1/2" polyester double braid is quite common... but if you go up to a spectra or dyneema based line, you might be able to drop down to a 3/8" or 7/16" line. One advantage of a smaller line is that they generally run out with less friction—smalller diameter==> less friction. One disadvantage is that they're harder on your hands.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh great sure make it even more complicated for me. :)

I saw rope clutches on a 36' islander in the great lakes. He was not racing the boat so maybe that is why he was using the rope clutch for the mainsheet? he had about 5 clutches setup for the lines and even the reef points it was pretty slick. I will look into a cam for it and see how it will fit. I guess it would solve the problem of having differently sized lines for the various functions. If it did stick on occasion I think a clutch is better than the dock cleat I have on it now.

The crew is basically me and the SO and whoever happens to be along for the ride. So I am guessing if I choose small lines I will be the one that ends up paying because the SO will refuse to deal with it and I will be the one cursing at them as they slip through my hands and chew up my baby soft hands. :)
 

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I've never seen a rope clutch used on a mainsheet, I cant' say why not, nor quite provide an explanation for why not, but I would not use a clutch. The mainsheet is the one line on a boat most often played, ie.e repeatedly eased and trimmed, and a rope clutch is not good gear for such an application.

As to size, given the above statement I'd generally go with as large a size as cleanly fits in the sheaves. If the 1/2 fits cleanly I'd use that size again. While the 3/8 would probably be fine to carry the load, the crew's hands will like the 1/2 a lot more...

I use a rope clutch for my mainsheet. It works out well with my deck layout, where all lines are led to the cockpit. I use Lewmar D2 clutches, and they release very nicely under load. Original sheet blocks were old and the loads were too heavy for my wife to ease the line, but she can do it nicely with the clutch. With new sheet blocks the loads are much lower, but the clutch still works fine. I would rather have an end boom traveler with a gross and fine adjustment lines for the mainsheet, but the current set-up works well for us.

For the size boat huguley3 is talking about, 3/8 line should be more than adequate, although it will depend on the forces on the line, which will depend on the number of blocks and mechanical advantage on the sheet. If the forces are high, a thicker line such as 7/16 is a little easier on the hands.
 

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Oh great sure make it even more complicated for me. :)

I saw rope clutches on a 36' islander in the great lakes. He was not racing the boat so maybe that is why he was using the rope clutch for the mainsheet? he had about 5 clutches setup for the lines and even the reef points it was pretty slick. I will look into a cam for it and see how it will fit. I guess it would solve the problem of having differently sized lines for the various functions. If it did stick on occasion I think a clutch is better than the dock cleat I have on it now.
Most likely, you're a bit confused. If the reefing lines were there, chances are much more likely that the line in question was the MAIN HALYARD, not the mainsheet. The main halyard, outhaul, topping lift, boomvang, and reefing lines are often brought back to the cockpit so that the mainsail can be reefed and shaped from the cockpit.

The crew is basically me and the SO and whoever happens to be along for the ride. So I am guessing if I choose small lines I will be the one that ends up paying because the SO will refuse to deal with it and I will be the one cursing at them as they slip through my hands and chew up my baby soft hands. :)
Go with 7/16" or 1/2" lines then.
 

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huguley,

Do you have a picture of what you are trying to modify? Not that I would want a cleat either, a cam cleat is best. Not sure I would want a clutch, altho I have to admit, I do have a clutch for how I can operate my 110 and smaller jibs with the way those lines come to the top of the cabin top. I may change this option at some point in time. Not sure I would want a clutch or equal with a main sheet, a jam cleat could/would be quicker to release than a clutch in most cases. Are you sure you do not have a jam cleat?

Marty
 

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I think the OP is referring to a horn cleat as a "dock cleat". If so, the horn cleat is certainly the most traditional means for securing sheets, although racers may like clam cleats. Cam cleats for sheets are common on smaller boats, especially one designs., and often for the mainsheet when used on a block tackle.

For sheets used with winches on a non-racing boat, stick with the horn cleats installed by the builder...
 

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SF,

I may not have said the type of cleat I was thinking of very well, I was thinking of a cross between a Horn and a ham, where one side the line with jam between the deck and that horn, the other the line will not jam, on can wrap around it lose. I have some of these my self, and do like them, in that one does not have to use a figure 8 to Cinch/tighten the line, but a (usually) a quick flick will unloosen the sheet.

marty
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Indeed I mean a horn cleat. Besides my boat I only ever see them used for dock lines. :) I have them for both main and jib sheets. I planned to use cam cleats for the jib sheets as they stick out less. I have not decided whether I am going to put them where the existing cleats are or up where I would need to smooth out the non-skid. But that is another question that I am still pondering and researching yet.

Here is a pic of the winch/sheet/cleat in question:



Don't ask about the teak in poor shape. Still working on that.
 

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SIde cabin shot



Back forward cabin top shot

Right side after adding clutches, and 2nd winch



The upper is a side shot of the area at the top of my cabin. I believe your Islander is a bit smaller up there vs my 30' Jeanneau, but you can see what I had before I removed the "horn/jam cleat" on the top of my cabin top. With the clutch's that are in front of the winch.

The clutch closest to you in the pic, is for when I use my 110 or smaller jibs. As I have two jib tracks. One down below for my 130, 140 and 155 carbon, and one in between the wood rails you see on the outside of my cabin and the mast for smaller headsails, that lead aft thru that clutch and to the winch. At some point in time, the winch you see, will move a bit more inward, and a bigger winch, probably a 32 will go to the outside approx where the cleat is for the small jibs.

I prefer this style "horn cleat" for lack of better wording, or knowledge of what that cleat is, probably should look it up online at WM or equal eh?

The inner clutches, are for my boom vang, cunningham, empty for spin pole ring, Jib then main halyards and 110- jib. Other side is set up simaler, but I have the first three lines are for outhaul/reef lines, spin and 2nd jib halyard, boom lift, spin pole lift and 110- clutch. I also have two winches there, a single speed 14 on the inside, and a dual speed 16 on the outside, that will go inside when I get bigger winches for the outside.

Hopefully how I have things setup will help you come up with a plan for you cabin top, and what may or may not work.

Marty

ON EDIT,
added two more pics, left now looks similar to the right side, with one more triple clutch set to the right towards cabin entry, with double stacked organizers per side. You can also see the inside jib tracks too. I should point out, I do race my boat, so I probably have a few more lines than most will!
 

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I recommend you read this post I just wrote on controlling lines. :)
Indeed I mean a horn cleat. Besides my boat I only ever see them used for dock lines. :) I have them for both main and jib sheets. I planned to use cam cleats for the jib sheets as they stick out less. I have not decided whether I am going to put them where the existing cleats are or up where I would need to smooth out the non-skid. But that is another question that I am still pondering and researching yet.

Here is a pic of the winch/sheet/cleat in question:



Don't ask about the teak in poor shape. Still working on that.
 

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My mainsheet currently uses a dock cleat to secure it. It seems kind of scary to me to use something like that for a sheet so I am looking at replacing it with a rope clutch.
Given that the load in the sheet is carried by the winch, not the cleat, which merely keeps the wraps tight around the winch barrel, I'm not sure what looks "scary". The cleat shown in you photos is more than adaquate for the purpose. As is, you have a simple fool-proof system as is and, unless you wnat your winch to do double-duty for several lines, why change a system that works?

One of the most important things with a main-sheet is to be able to cast it off when the fit hits the shan and know that the line will run free which the system on you boat will do.

FWIW...
 

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Indeed I mean a horn cleat. Besides my boat I only ever see them used for dock lines. :) I have them for both main and jib sheets. I planned to use cam cleats for the jib sheets as they stick out less. .....
Horn cleats of that style would be the most common cleat used on cruising boats your size and up. You might want to take another look around and then leave them in place. In particular i would advise against using cam cleats for jib sheets on a boat your size, as it woulnt be that hard for someone walking around the cockpit to kick the sheet out of the jaws, and I bet you'll have a devil of a time working out the correct entry to the cam. i.e so the sheet feeds clean and straight inot the jaws...

Have you run out of other boat projects?
 

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Putting the mainsheet through a clutch makes it easy for the line to snag - - and therefore STOP -- just when you don't want it to. With the horn cleat you have now, or a camcleat, when you release the line, it RELEASES. When you are trying to slow the boat down as you approach a stone quay or other hard surface this can be important, along with other situations you may come across. We have a clutch on our main halyard, and it is almost more hassle than it's worth, with the snags. I would not put a sheet in a clutch.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Have you run out of other boat projects?
LOL! Nope in fact I managed to create a completely new one last night by waking up in the middle of the night and pulling down the headliner in the V berth. The tacks I bought to put it back up are not long enough. So besides freaking out the SO last night now we are sleeping on the settees tonight...

I also still need to replace my windows and quite a few other tasks. The SO is taking sailing classes though and I would like to get the boat out and about before I put it up for hurricane season.
 

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Don't use tacks to put up the headliner. Tacks and fiberglass, especially cored fiberglass don't mix well. Use adhesive or velcro tape instead.
 

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Huguley,

What type of headliner do you have? I've had to redo the one in my boat, many ways to fix it, any options etc.

look here for what and how I did the aft state room, and there is a link to how I did the head. The aft state room shows of mixture of what I did. It might give you some idea's of how to "FIX" your issue vs just "fix"ing the issue.

Staples do not work going into fiberglass!

marty
 

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Move the cleat to a storage unit. Or use it as a midship cleat. They're only good for docklines.

Move the winch to where the horn cleat is, add at least a double rope clutch in front of the winch. Lewmars will allow you to ease the load slowly, while under a heavy load. And they're cheaper than spinlocks. Use 3/8" line. If its not strong enough, use a more expensive 3/8" line. For instance, warpspeed: 3/8" = 12,900 lbs

Smaller lines = less friction, as stated above, they hockle less, are easier to coil, less weight aloft, and go around small sheaves better. Rough on the hands? small price to pay for all around better performance. I've noticed the cover of lines are more of a determining factor of comfort, rather than line diameter.
 
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