Monday, May 23, 2011

New Main Trim System

Disclaimer: This is a very unexciting post about main-sheeting systems. If you don't know/care what that is you may not be interested in this post. I warned you.

Our old main sail trimming set up was less than ideal. In order to trim the main you had to actually sit behind the person at the helm. It was messy and inefficient. For you to understand let me explain how most modern boats rig their main sheets.

Traditional main sheet trimming system
This is probably the most common simple set up on smallish boats. It works, it isn't complicated, and it is easy. However, if you don't have a traveler in the middle of your cockpit and your mainsheet is run behind the helm like ours, it is not ideal. The boat was designed with a similar sheeting system that just doesn't flow right for us. Most of the time when we go out sailing the main doesn't get a lot of attention. It stays cleated off between rare occurrences of adjustments. After the last time we went out it was about the time that M decided that it was time for an upgrade. He removed all of the old blocks and redesigned the whole main trimming set-up and location. The new system is apparently sometimes referred to as German sheeting but I had never heard that term.

'German' sheeting
The photo above illustrated how the new system works. Instead of trimming from the block on the traveler, it is run forward through fairleads along the boom to a block on the mast down to the cabin top. It then comes back to a newly installed winch on the cabin house (different winch location than in the illustration). The new winch location allows someone to trim the main without being balls to elbows with the person driving. However, it is still close enough that while single-handing the driver can adjust the main with little effort. We bought all new Garhauer blocks. They are strong and work just like Harken for a fraction of the cost. We used the new trimming system for the first time during the Yesteryear Regatta and all and all I would say the new system is a great success!

Old meets new: Old traveler car with a spectra strop spliced around it for our new mainsheet blocks 

New main-sheeting system in action. Note- photo from before the fairleads were installed on the boom.

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