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singlehanded mainsail halyard

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ludo
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singlehanded mainsail halyard

Hi everyone!

Most of our sailing has been done double handed but now with a baby, it's closer to sail single handed and I have an issue with our main halyard.

Right now based on our setup we need someone pulling at the mast to hoist it and someone else pulling the main halyard from the cockpit through the rope clutch and the winch.

What do you think would be the best practice to single hand the hoisting of the main sail.  Trying to hoist it right from the cockpit is very painful and doesn't look natural and very slow.

Right now on our mast we have few cleats, no winches, no clam cleat or rope clutch.

 

Ludovic François
​Hotel Catalina - Catalina 36 Hull #883
Marina Del Rey, CA

Catboat Willy
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Hello Ludo;
 We originally had some problems raising the mainsail. My guess is that as our boats get older the sail slot in the mast begins to pit and wear making the sail slides more difficult to slide inside the mast slot. Plus the sail slides themselves tend to chip & wear.
We solved our problem by using a Tides Sail Track and roller cars. see  https://www.tidesmarine.com/pdf/sailtrack/Sailtrack_Catalog.  It still takes a little effort to get the sail all the way up to the mast head, but no where the effort it took previously. Ideally, it would be nice to have a 12 volt power winch or power winch handle - but we're not there yet.

Bill Dolan 1990 Catalina C-36 MKI - Hull #1041  'Williwaw'
Std. Rig, Walk Through, Wing Keel
M35, Oberdorfer Conversion,
Home Waters; SW Florida
'You are never out of work if you own a boat'

 

Wally-1840
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Hi Ludo, 
i have a MKII and I found the last few feet were getting difficult due to an injury and my age. I went for the aforementioned Tides Track and bought a “Winchrite” power unit. Together, that did the trick. You can’t use the Winchrite for jib winching, but for halyard work it’s the best! I just haul the sail up within a few feet, use the Winchrite for the last few, stopping just short of full haul and finished with a regular handle to get the desired tension. 

The Winchrite is a very powerful item and I don’t like the idea of taking the sail the full hoist with it alone. I use a regular handle for the last few inches as I can “feel” the tension.

I mounted the unit’s “holster” just inside the companionway so it’s easy to grab.

Wally

Wally
"Onanne"
2000 MKII, deep keel, tall rig
​Lake Champlain
 

Parsons
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Personally, I prefer "jumping" the main halyard as it's faster and less work than raising from the cockpit through all those turning blocks.  When single-handing, however, you don't have the luxury of someone pulling in the slack from the cockpit and securing it with a clutch so you cannot just leave the mast.  When single-handing, I raise the main from the cockpit; it's not fun, but it works.

I saw an improvement on a neighbor's boat that I was thinking of adding to mine.  He added a vertical clutch to the side of his mast above where he grabs the halyard to hoist. He jumps the halyard as usual, and lets the line 'puddle' at the base of the mast.  He then goes to the cockpit and gathers that line in. Since clutches are one-way, he doesn't bother to release the top clutch.  In dropping, he opens the cockpit clutch, and can go to the mast to drop sail with the top clutch and gather it in.  He says he likes the system because of the ease in both directions and preferring to handle sail at the mast.  He does not use it in seas where the mast trip may be dangerous single-handed.  You can buy good quality replacement clutches used on eBay for about $50.

John Parsons
"Water Music" 1999 Catalina 36 Mk II - Hull 1771
Tall Rig, Fin Keel
Bay City, MI, USA

GaryB
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Ludo,
Couple of suggestions one is make sure your halyard is 3/8" diameter. Helps immensely with hoist and and the drop. If you do not have a stack pack and lazy jacks suggest you do, again it helps with the sail when dropping. If your main is full batten than the issue becomes holding the boat into the wind. I also have a can of Teflon spray that I spray all the slides when the sail is down. For the most part I can hoist from the cockpit by myself (usually do) almost to the top, but sometimes need the winch to get the last 3-5'

Gary Bain
S/V "Gone With The Wind"
Catalina 36', Hull #: 1056, Year: 1990, Engine: M-35
Standard Rig
Moored: East Boothbay, Maine
Home: Auburn, Maine

Chachere
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Ludo-
  When we first got our Mk1, like yours the only practical way to hoist the main was at the mast.  But we already had a rope clutch affixed to the mast, so we didn't have to bother with pulling all the slack into the cockpit (we just coiled it up at the mast).
  A few years back, I revamped the control line set-up so that -- among other things -- the mainsail could actually be raised from the cockpit (both because I prefer to be there during rough weather and to make single handing easier).   The key was reducing the friction on the main halyard, and to accomplish that I did several things, including replacing the sheaves in the line organizers with ball-bearing upgrades from Garhauer, and moving the line organizers further aft so that the turning angles were shallower.   Details and pictures / diagrams are on this post.
www.catalina36.org/comment/55992#comment-55992
   Although I still generally need to use the winch for the last couple of inches, it works sufficiently well, and no need for a second person "pulling at the mast to hoist it".   Cleaning and lubing the sail track and slides helps, too. (Someday I may add the Tides Track as well, but its well down the priority list)
    Alternatively, you could add a cleat and a rope clutch to the mast, so that you can raise the main by "jumping" the halyard, as others above suggested.  I added a rope clutch and clear for the spinnaker halyard (its fairly easy to drill and tap into the mast for the attachment screws, just use plenty of cutting oil, and make sure to use an anti-seize compound on the screws).

Matthew Chachère
s/v ¡Que Chévere! #466
1985 C36 MKI tall rig fin keel M25
Homeported in eastern Long Island, NY

LeslieTroyer
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Ludo

Last January athe the local boat show  the wife bought me a Winch Rite - mostly so she could haul my sorry butt back on board in a MOB situation.  I use it for raising the main.  I set the autopilot to go upwind, then with the Winch Rite on high speed, and three wraps on the cabin to pinch, I look out the back side of the dodger - one hand on the Winch Rite and one hand on the boom -- this allows me to "stear" the battons around the lazy jacks.  As things slow down I switch to low speed, and finish off the last few inches with a normal handle.  

Whom ever positioned the winch on the cabin top should be shot -- you can only get ~ 3/4 of a turn on the winch handle before you rin into the dodger. so if using a "normal" handle it takes lots of work.  Also when I got the boat it was not self tailing so it was a real pain to raise from the cain top.

 

Les & Trish Troyer
Mahalo 
Everett, WA
1983 C-36 Hull #0094
C-36 MK 1 Technical Editor. 

Chachere
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LeslieTroyer wrote:
Ludo
Whom ever positioned the winch on the cabin top should be shot -- you can only get ~ 3/4 of a turn on the winch handle before you rin into the dodger. so if using a "normal" handle it takes lots of work. 
 

That's why I -- and several other owners of earlier Mk1s -- moved the winches inward.
See the link in my immediately prior post above, (https://www.catalina36.org/comment/55992#comment-55992 ) , and also see Tom Soko's photos of the mods he did to his former boat at https://julandra.shutterfly.com/263 .-- which is where I got the idea from (Thanks, Tom!) 
You'll need to fabricate backing plates for the relocated hardware (we made ours out of heavy aluminum plate).
 

Matthew Chachère
s/v ¡Que Chévere! #466
1985 C36 MKI tall rig fin keel M25
Homeported in eastern Long Island, NY

rtrinkle
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Not reading all the responses, when I first bought our 1995 MKII, the mainsail had issues raising and lowering easily as well.  To resolve this issue, first, I lubricated the track in the mast for the mainsail, then lubricated all the hardware involved with the main halyard.  That helped, but when I replaced the main halyard, I can almost fully raise the main from the cockpit without using a winch, and it drops fully.  P.S., the old main halyard was a larger size than the recommended size in the manual.  I replaced with the recommended size, and all is well.  5 years later the main still raises and falls from the cockpit, and I only need to put it on a winch for the final inches when raising to adjust tension.  

Robert Trinkle
Troubador, 1995 C36 MKII #1433, SR/WK
Universal M35A
Kinsale Harbor Marina
Kinsale, VA

KevinLenard
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Ludo, I'm not convinced that Matthew's moving of merely the deck organizer further outboard is critical to improving the ease of raising the main.  What everyone with a Mk I is facing with this issue is not pitting or problems with anything inside the mast or non-ball bearing sheaves in the organizer, but rather with the fitting mounted in the side of the mast that the halyard emerges from (the technical name is escaping me). 

When we're at the mast the halyard pulls freely because we're pulling it outwards from the mast.  When you try to raise from the cockpit the halyard gets pulled in quite tightly to the base of the mast where the swiveling blocks are, then across the deck to the organizer.  It is the friction (binding) against the bottom of the exit hole through the side of the mast that causes the problem. 

I tested using a snatch block tied to the shroud to pull the halyard outwards, then back into the block at the mast base and it eliminated the problem. This is not a permanent solution, however, and the set up blocks access across the cabin top.  Installing an extension at the base of the mast collar block to lengthen it out would also do the trick, while somewhat blocking passage, however this would then chafe the halyard where it enters the deck organizer. 

The problem could best be solved by removing the fitting in the mast and installing a new one with a sheave in it at the bottom (not sure I've ever seen one of these, but manufacturers might make one for  Hobie/dinghies).  I'll look at the problem again and search for a fitting online and at our local marine supplier and will report back if I have any success since even using a clutch at the mast (I installed a simple jam cleat which is dangerous as it often lets go) is problematic as very often the 'pooled' slack halyard at the mast base gets jammed when you return to the cockpit to pull it in, necessitating a return to the deck.

Kevin Lenard
"Firefly"
'91 C-36 Tall Rig, Hull #1120, Universal M-35 original
CBYC, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

Chachere
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KevinLenard wrote:
I'm not convinced that Matthew's moving of merely the deck organizer further outboard is critical to improving the ease of raising the main. ....

Nor am I; all I can say that between doing that and replacing the sheaves in it with ones that had ball bearings seemed to reduce the friction significantly, and made the hoisting considerably easier... (Garhuer has replacement sheaves with ball bearings to replace the originals (which had no ball bearings) in the deck organizer  without modification).
I would imagine that the areas of high friction may be different from boat to boat, so, as they say, your mileage may vary.
KevinLenard wrote:

What everyone with a Mk I is facing with this issue is not pitting or problems with anything inside the mast or non-ball bearing sheaves in the organizer, but rather with the fitting mounted in the side of the mast that the halyard emerges from (the technical name is escaping me).

I think its called a "mast exit plate".  I hadn't noticed friction there on ours (but I will certainly examine it, now that you point it out!).
I think another significant source of friction (at least on ours) is at the sheave at the top of the mast; sometimes, with the bitter end of halyard free of the sail in my left hand and the standing part (just outside the exit plate) in the other, I can sense the friction from that sheave (other times it seems to run more freely).  Replacement will, alas, probably have to await the next time the mast is down. (Over on the C34 website, Tom Soko posted (http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,6055.msg38776.html#msg38776 )  a write up of the,  um, rather challenging methodology he utilized when he managed to replace the masthead sheaves on his C36 with the mast up, involving the construction of a temporary platform just below the masthead and supporting the mast temporarily with other lines while one disconnects the stays from the masthead while suspended up there.   Not for the faint of heights and hearts!) .
KevinLenard wrote:
...even using a clutch at the mast ...is problematic as very often the 'pooled' slack halyard at the mast base gets jammed when you return to the cockpit to pull it in, necessitating a return to the deck.

When we used the clutch at the mast, this was not a problem because the halyard wasn't run back to the cockpit at all (and thus didn't need to be "pulled in"); we was just coiled it up at the mast and hung it from a cleat, as we do with our spinnaker halyard now.
 

Matthew Chachère
s/v ¡Que Chévere! #466
1985 C36 MKI tall rig fin keel M25
Homeported in eastern Long Island, NY

dejavu
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My first Cat 36 had a Zip Stop main which was a DREAM. When I got Deja Vu with a regular main I had a clam cleat installed on the mast. I steer into the wind, go forward, quickly raise the main almost all the way, cleat it at the mast and then go back to the cockpit to gather the slack and crank the last few feet. The halyard pops right out of the mast clam cleat when winching. Works great.

Deja Vu
1991 MK I # 1106
Marina del Rey, CA

Catboat Willy
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Please;
What's a 'Zip Stop' Main ?

Bill Dolan 1990 Catalina C-36 MKI - Hull #1041  'Williwaw'
Std. Rig, Walk Through, Wing Keel
M35, Oberdorfer Conversion,
Home Waters; SW Florida
'You are never out of work if you own a boat'

 

KevinLenard
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Hm.  Thanks for that point about the masthead sheaves, Matthew.  I'm going to check that out next week when the mast is down.  I'm also considering replacing the somewhat dangerous jam cleat with a clam cleat. 

A solution to the friction at the 'mast exit fitting', although it would not be 'elegant' might be a sheave fitting with a fairly large diameter installed immediately below the mast exit fitting -- a roller wheel that would mount close enough to the mast exit to lift the halyard away from the point of friction.

Kevin Lenard
"Firefly"
'91 C-36 Tall Rig, Hull #1120, Universal M-35 original
CBYC, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

KevinLenard
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Hm.  Thanks for that point about the masthead sheaves, Matthew.  I'm going to check that out next week when the mast is down.  I'm also considering replacing the somewhat dangerous jam cleat with a clam cleat. 

A solution to the friction at the 'mast exit fitting', although it would not be 'elegant' might be a sheave fitting with a fairly large diameter installed immediately below the mast exit fitting -- a roller wheel that would mount close enough to the mast exit to lift the halyard away from the point of friction.

Kevin Lenard
"Firefly"
'91 C-36 Tall Rig, Hull #1120, Universal M-35 original
CBYC, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

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