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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My wife does not have much upper body strength, but she would still like to be able to raise the mainsail on our Catalina 30 Tall Rig on her own.

The obvious solution is to use the starboard jib winch.

The trouble is that the fairlead and cleat for the main halyard are on top of the cabin. When attaching the halyard down to the starboard jib winch, the angle forces all the pressure to the top of the winch. This causes the halyard to bind on the winch right away.

What's a good solution for her to raise the mainsail solo? Prefer solutions that are free or inexpensive.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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put a winch on the cabin top...
 
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Why does she have to do it solo?

If your halyard exits the mast at least a few feet above the deck, you can 'jump' the halyard at the mast while she tails, leaving only the couple of feet to be winched. We do this with our mainsail which is quite a bit larger/taller than the C30.

Winching a sail up all the way is the most tedious way to do it, IMO.
 
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How about running the halyard through a snatch block on the toe rail right across from the jib sheet winch assuming you have enough line? You could leave the halyard end knotted so you don't have to worry about skying the halyard.
Hopefully it's self tailing so she can grind and then lock off the cleat without having to hold onto the halyard tail.
 

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My wife does not have much upper body strength, but she would still like to be able to raise the mainsail on her own.

The obvious solution is to use the starboard jib winch.

The trouble is that the fairlead and cleat for the main halyard are on top of the cabin. When attaching the halyard down to the starboard jib winch, the angle forces all the pressure to the top of the winch. This causes the halyard to bind on the winch right away.

What's a good solution for her to raise the mainsail solo?
Please fill in your Public Profile, so that others will know what model and size and year your boat is.
While you are at it, just add your basic boat info and engine info to your sig. line.
Geography is a great help also -- where you sail and what kind of weather you encounter will influence both your problems and solutions. :wink

If nothing else, your petite spouse should be driving and you should be cranking on the winch.........
 

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The more she does it the stronger she will get. The stronger she gets the easier it will be. Another option is a larger winch, perhaps a multi speed one, or maybe fairlead the halyard to a jib sheet winch for a while. Also, you could two block the main halyard; that would certainly make it easier, but longer. A lot of the cats do this.
 
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Assuming a normal sized sailboat ....

Most of the difficulty in raising (and lowering) a mainsail is FRICTION - friction from the sail slugs in the mast track; high friction sheaves - top of mast, etc.; friction in any coach roof mounted sheaves that control the halyards 'back to the cockpit'. For a normal sized sailboat (mainsail less than ~400 sq. ft), one should be easily able to raise the mainsail --- without winches, just by pulling on the halyard! If not possible, investigate and remedy that which is producing the HIGH friction.

Of all those listed, probably the biggest friction source is the mast track - dirty, full of crud/dirt/oxidation roughness/bird-crap etc., never routinely 'lubed' (w/ McLube or other teflonic sprays, etc.), using sail slugs that are too small because they have become worn thus a smaller diameter than sail track (worn slugs can 'toggle' and thus partly jam), etc.

If copious and diligent cleaning, some light sanding with very fine grit sandpaper, and 'dry lubricating'** of the mast track does not solve the difficulty in 'strenuous' raising problem, there is an outstanding alternative - a UHMWHDPE 'insert system' that fits into the existing mast track - VERY 'slippery' and significantly reduces friction (but can be expensive depending on total length and 'size'): https://www.tidesmarine.com/pdf/sailtrack/Sailtrack_Catalog.pdf
FWIW - with the tides marine sail track system, dont stand directly under the sail when the halyard is released as the Tides Marine auxiliary sail track is sooooooooo slippery that the sail will suddenly come down and with a lot of impact force ... that UHMWHDPE auxiliary track is THAT frictionless. It does require special proprietary sail attachments to the track; hence, the expense.

** once the (standard) mast track is thoroughly cleaned, all mast track 'roughness' is removed, the track well dry-lubricated ...... to help KEEPING the mast track well (dry) lubricated and relatively 'frictionless' - get some 'block' paraffin from a hardware store, or use a paraffin 'candle' (with the wick pulled out) and whittle the paraffin to the exact size of the mast track and about 2" long. Insert the 'candle' between the top two sail track slugs of the sail when the sail slugs are inserted into the mast track. Then, every time you raise the sail, the paraffin 'candle' will 'wipe' and deposit paraffin on any roughness or high friction zone and will significantly keep such high friction spots well 'dry lubricated'.

hope this helps. ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Why does she have to do it solo?

If your halyard exits the mast at least a few feet above the deck, you can 'jump' the halyard at the mast while she tails, leaving only the couple of feet to be winched. We do this with our mainsail which is quite a bit larger/taller than the C30.

Winching a sail up all the way is the most tedious way to do it, IMO.
I was thinking of jumping it for her, but then I have to leave the helm and go up to the mast. We don't have self-tailing winches, so she needs one hand for the winch and one to tail. That would leave the helm (tiller) unattended.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
How about running the halyard through a snatch block on the toe rail right across from the jib sheet winch assuming you have enough line? You could leave the halyard end knotted so you don't have to worry about skying the halyard.
Hopefully it's self tailing so she can grind and then lock off the cleat without having to hold onto the halyard tail.
Good idea! Thanks! :smile

I'll take a look at redirecting it with a snatch block along the toe rail. That might work, as long as it doesn't put too much angular force on the fairlead.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Please fill in your Public Profile, so that others will know what model and size and year your boat is.
While you are at it, just add your basic boat info and engine info to your sig. line.
Geography is a great help also -- where you sail and what kind of weather you encounter will influence both your problems and solutions. :wink
Done! Thanks for the tip! :smile
 

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Good idea! Thanks! :smile

I'll take a look at redirecting it with a snatch block along the toe rail. That might work, as long as it doesn't put too much angular force on the fairlead.
You may also find that the halyard will rub/chafe along the cabintop edges by running the halyard to the rail... the loads and amount of line you run across can quickly damage the gelcoat.

btw... any sort of self steering for the raising-and-dousing of sails works wonders when double handed..
 
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"Jumping" means the old man (me) goes to the mast and pulls the main up in "jumps" whilst the other person takes up the slack at the winch and tails it. For me to winch the last 6 ft. up from the cockpit when solo is a chore, pretty easy from the mast even for lightweights.
 

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Yes... the beauty of this is that the 'jumper' is putting their body weight against the weight of the sail at the point of (almost) least friction in the whole halyard run. It really doesn't take much effort until you're at the last few feet of hoist. It is important that the tailer 'keeps up'.

Once you're close, if the tailer can hold the line (or if it's in a clutch) the jumper can sweat the last bit up by pulling horizontally on the halyard; the tailer has to be quick to take up the slack on the return or much of the gain will be lost.

Finding a way to tie off the tiller/wheel and keep you slowly heading straight upwind is key - the hoist takes literally seconds - maybe 10 depending on size - as opposed to the exhausting 2-3 minutes grinding of 30-50 feet of halyard on a winch, likely under a dodger with limited or awkward swing on the handle..
 
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Good idea! Thanks! :smile

I'll take a look at redirecting it with a snatch block along the toe rail. That might work, as long as it doesn't put too much angular force on the fairlead.
I'm assuming this is a spinlock type cleat we are talking about on top of the cabin top. I looked at the typical cockpit layout and there is a mooring cleat aft that could be used to attach a block to and redirect the halyard reducing any lateral load and chafe issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm assuming this is a spinlock type cleat we are talking about on top of the cabin top. I looked at the typical cockpit layout and there is a mooring cleat aft that could be used to attach a block to and redirect the halyard reducing any lateral load and chafe issues.
Interesting idea. That could work! :smile

How do you recommend attaching a snatch block to a mooring cleat?
 
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