Friday, July 12, 2019

Single Handed Sailing – Lines Led Aft

If you sail single-handed frequently like I do, having all of the sail control lines close at hand is important.  Leaving the tiller to go forward to reef the mainsail just isn’t safe when you are the only one aboard.  So, aboard Snickerdoodle I have led all of my sheets, halyards, reef lines, Cunningham, et. al., to the cockpit.  Of course, this has the added benefit of convenience for folks who crew with me too.  Let me go through my setup:

My system of line arrangement has some lines coming down the mast to turning blocks that are shackled to a stainless steel plate mounted beneath the mast base tabernacle.  Other lines are lead to swivel blocks secured to the lower part of the mast with machine screws or SS pop-rivets.  There is a winch mounted on both left and right side of the cabin top near the aft edge of the top; and cleats near the winches.  Two line organizers (one to port and one to starboard of the mast) direct the lines from turning blocks at the mast base back to the winches and cleats.
On the starboard side of the cabin top are the main halyard and the topping lift.

On the portside of the cabin top are the jib halyard and the spinnaker halyard.

There are five swivel blocks on the mast located between the mast base and the boom.  These swivel blocks are for the Cunningham, mainsail clew outhaul, flattening reef, first full reef and second full reef.  The ends of these five lines are long enough to extend past the back of the main hatch when it is closed.  The boom vang also is led, along with these five lines, past the main hatch.  The six lines “dangle” in the companionway while sailing within an arm’s reach.
The jib sheets, traveler adjustment lines, and main sheet are in their “factory” positions.  And, two additional lines lead along the port side side-deck to cleats on the outside of the port side cockpit coaming.  These two lines are a jib downhaul line to help douse the jib on strong wind days.  And, a cruising spinnaker tack adjustment line.

BTW – The flattening reef is a way to depower the mainsail when the wind is strong; but, not strong enough to deserve the first full reef.

This setup for my lines has worked well for many years.  Of course, it is a work-in-progress.  New ideas come along all the time.