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Thread: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

  1. #1
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    Default Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    After a season of sailing and taking care of my boat (a 1949 Alden sloop), one of the issues I need to address quickly is a flaw in the way that the mainsheet is led into the cockpit from the traveler. I can't believe that this was the original design - it's probably just a result of some modifications over the years - but it binds terribly and is almost non-functional in any kind of a decent breeze. I know that lots of the hardware on this boat was changed so I'm not sure that even the traveler, although bronze and perhaps period correct, was even original.

    Take a look at the pics - you can see that the mainsheet feeds through the cockpit coaming through a horizontal fairlead to a cam style cleat, but the fairlead really needs to be mainly vertical to account for the lead from the block attached to the traveler. And when the traveler is ever moved off center, it will need to be both horizontal and vertical to work properly. I'm tempted to just remove the wood in the coaming above that fairlead - it's not really doing anything useful - and use that entire space to put in something more functional.

    Interested to get your ideas - thanks!

    Malabar mainsheet - 1.jpg

    Malabar mainsheet - 2.jpg
    1949 Alden Malabar Jr - "Nixie"

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    If al all possible I would re-jig the system so that the final fall was from the top, rather than the bottom.

    Then the fall can then lead through a non-tumbling deck block to the final cleat and will be largely unaffected by the boom position.

    I can see that you may be short of space forward of the track for the final deck block, so this could be a problem. You might have to locate the deck block aft of the track and then lead the fall sideways to a horizontal lead block and thence forward to a cleat or jammer.

    Cheers -- George
    To be truly free to live, one must be free to think and speak.

    A C Grayling

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    This is how it's normally done. If you're adverse to the modern block, I suppose you could mount a cam cleat on some stainless strap and attach it to your existing block to create the setup.

    -Dave

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    The jam cleat in the coaming is not an original part. Nix that thing for sure.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    For a simple fix, replace the shackle from the block to the traveler with a swiveling shackle, and then swap the cam cleat for a regular cleat. You may want to carve out a chunk of that coaming to mount the cleat to some thing solid.

    Further than that, changing that jib sheet set up for a proper main sheet traveler would help.
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    I suspect the original set up was with two padeyes on each side of the cockpit. Then the sheet could run to a cheek block in the center of the aft deck leading to the center of the coaming.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    Quote Originally Posted by debenriver View Post
    If al all possible I would re-jig the system so that the final fall was from the top, rather than the bottom.

    Then the fall can then lead through a non-tumbling deck block to the final cleat and will be largely unaffected by the boom position.

    I can see that you may be short of space forward of the track for the final deck block, so this could be a problem. You might have to locate the deck block aft of the track and then lead the fall sideways to a horizontal lead block and thence forward to a cleat or jammer.

    Cheers -- George
    This, but bring the tail down in front of the coaming, to a fairlead and cleat mounted ln the inside of the cockpit coaming.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    This, but bring the tail down in front of the coaming, to a fairlead and cleat mounted ln the inside of the cockpit coaming.
    Yes - of course - this would work just fine - much simpler. Even just a cleat would do.

    Cheers -- George
    To be truly free to live, one must be free to think and speak.

    A C Grayling

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    It looks like you have more strength in that main sheet than is necessary! You might consider following Nick's advice on the fairlead of the line and use the next diameter smaller sheeting line which will have less friction through the blocks. I suspect that friction and an unfair lead may be contributing a lot to your problem! If your blocks have roller bearings, disassembly, cleaning and a dab of white grease can cut down on friction. Investing in a set of modern blocks such as those made by Harkin can make a world of difference in sheeting ease and efficiency! There should a fair lead to a sheeting winch when the wind pipes up. A separate swiveling block on the bottom lead from above can allow leading the tail to either of the sheeting winches in addition, a double ended sheet can add to ease of lead to a winch when the rail is buried.

    I speak here of line by diameter even though some of our bunch may remember that line was once sized by circumference. Today's one inch line is 3.14 inches in circumference.
    Jay

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    I'd choose one side for the sheet to lead.

    Ditch that whole ridiculous bronze slide, that is for a jib sheet block that needs only occasional adjustments., not for a sliding main traveler. Remove the raised portion of the aft side to side coaming, it serves no purpose.
    Return to two blocks mounted to the deck (pad eyes) , one with a becket. Two singles with independent overlapping bridles on the boom.(or just 2 singles a few inches apart if there is no room for the bridle).
    You will still have a 4/1 purchase, can add a winch if you like, it will be quieter and not jam.
    I'm assuming this is a cruising boat, not a racing machine.
    bruce

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    If that is one inch line, dropping down to 7/8" won't tear your hands up. Bruce is correct about the track. But the track does spread the vertical load over a wider expanse than a single point connection. Thwartships positioning of the lower sheet block is only an advantage if you want to move the sheeting angle to leward and apply down force to flatten the main. Or move the lower point angle to weather in light airs. An efficient traveler has lateral positioning lines and blocks for that that kind of monkey business! Harken makes the one I have on "Red Witch" Alden's boats sail well enough without getting complicated!
    Jay

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    The last fall of the mainsheet should be to a block on the deck, not to the traveler. This will allow the traveler to slide side to side while keeping the length of the sheet about the same. I cannot tell if there is room for a block in between the traveler and the coating. An alternative might be to have the block aft of the traveler and have the sheet go under the traveler to the fairlead and cleat. You might have to raise the traveler on some stand offs if there isn’t enough clearance.
    SHC

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    Quote Originally Posted by debenriver View Post
    Yes - of course - this would work just fine - much simpler. Even just a cleat would do.

    Cheers -- George
    This sounds like a good solution...I could remove that through-mount fairlead (along with that section of the coaming to make it all look neat and tidy) and mount a vertical fairlead/block where the current cam-cleat sits. If I use a wooden block it will look "right" and I can probably find a spring to make it stand up. A pair of regular cleats on either side of that fairlead on the cockpit coaming would make it easy to make fast on either tack.
    1949 Alden Malabar Jr - "Nixie"

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    If that is one inch line, dropping down to 7/8" won't tear your hands up. Bruce is correct about the track. But the track does spread the vertical load over a wider expanse than a single point connection. Thwartships positioning of the lower sheet block is only an advantage if you want to move the sheeting angle to leward and apply down force to flatten the main. Or move the lower point angle to weather in light airs. An efficient traveler has lateral positioning lines and blocks for that that kind of monkey business! Harken makes the one I have on "Red Witch" Alden's boats sail well enough without getting complicated!
    Jay
    I'm not too concerned with the line size - it's pretty heavy but easy on the hands and it's not the primary issue. The real issue is that there is essentially no fairlead from that block on the traveler into the cockpit - it binds as it takes a 45 degree run directly against the vertical edge of the through-mount fairlead that has horizontal sheaves - those sheaves do nothing when the traveler is centered (which is basically all the time). I used to race small boats and utilized the traveler routinely, but I'm not racing and even so, this traveler (as others have pointed out) is pretty useless since it won't move under any load. It looks nice and as you point out, it spreads the load. And pulling it up will only make more work for me so I'll leave it be, at least for now.
    1949 Alden Malabar Jr - "Nixie"

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    I'd choose one side for the sheet to lead.

    Ditch that whole ridiculous bronze slide, that is for a jib sheet block that needs only occasional adjustments., not for a sliding main traveler. Remove the raised portion of the aft side to side coaming, it serves no purpose.
    Return to two blocks mounted to the deck (pad eyes) , one with a becket. Two singles with independent overlapping bridles on the boom.(or just 2 singles a few inches apart if there is no room for the bridle).
    You will still have a 4/1 purchase, can add a winch if you like, it will be quieter and not jam.
    I'm assuming this is a cruising boat, not a racing machine.
    bruce
    Yes - cruising boat. Do you have any pictures of what you are talking about? I think I have a pretty good idea what you are talking about but pic would be helpful. I'm not inclined to do all that work right now, but maybe something I can plan down the road...
    1949 Alden Malabar Jr - "Nixie"

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    By the way - while pondering this sheet issue, I took a heat gun to the lazarette covers (the paint was peeling an I had nothing to lose) and found some pretty nice teak/holly veneer underneath. The paint came very cleanly off as the original varnish separated very easily from the veneer with the heat:

    Malabar cockpit - 1.jpg

    A couple of hours later:

    Malabar cockpit - 1 (1).jpg

    There are a few spots where the veneer was sanded through, but I much prefer this look to all the white paint! The whole process went so easily, I'm tempted to take the heat gun to the cockpit coamings next. You can see I started in on the blocking for the winches and had pretty good luck - there was some patching from previous winch setups, but again, I don't mind a little imperfection - it adds some character. It is a 1949 boat, afterall.
    1949 Alden Malabar Jr - "Nixie"

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    I suspect the original set up was with two padeyes on each side of the cockpit. Then the sheet could run to a cheek block in the center of the aft deck leading to the center of the coaming.
    pad eyes or some sort of horse
    "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito"

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    I sailed, cruised and raced Alden's 38' mini Malibar Schooner "Wanderlure II" for over twenty years. She was and still is a great boat! She was built in 1927 at City Isaland NY. She has recently been completely re-framed, re- decked and re-planked. "Wander Wagon" had her main sheet doubled so that it could be tended from the most advantages position on either tack. There was a double set of winches used for the hard pull the load was also split and carried to two swiveling single blocks, each on either side just aft of the cockpit. The main sheet was 7/8" Sampson Braid. Her owner was my pal Jerry Hampton. We won darn near every race we entered. The E.B. Shock schooner "Lucky Star" owned by Brad Downey" was our main opponent we would win some times and Brad would win the other times. It was a great duel between friends! For us, the main sheet worked just fine!
    Jay

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    Ditch the old go with new traveler and mainsheet controls. well worth the time and $ Gaurhauer is great stuff and less pricey then harken and others. https://www.garhauermarine.com/
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    I sailed, cruised and raced Alden's 38' mini Malibar Schooner "Wanderlure II" for over twenty years. She was and still is a great boat! She was built in 1927 at City Isaland NY. She has recently been completely re-framed, re- decked and re-planked. "Wander Wagon" had her main sheet doubled so that it could be tended from the most advantages position on either tack. There was a double set of winches used for the hard pull the load was also split and carried to two swiveling single blocks, each on either side just aft of the cockpit. The main sheet was 7/8" Sampson Braid. Her owner was my pal Jerry Hampton. We won darn near every race we entered. The E.B. Shock schooner "Lucky Star" owned by Brad Downey" was our main opponent we would win some times and Brad would win the other times. It was a great duel between friends! For us, the main sheet worked just fine!
    Jay
    Hi Jay - always great to hear these stories...inspired me to do a little searching and found these pics of that beautiful boat:

    Alden Wanderlure Under Sail.jpg

    This pic show's her mainsheet tackle pretty well and just as you described:

    Alden Wanderlure Stern.jpg

    My boat is smaller but has long heavy boom and large mainsail, typical of the era. The mainsheet tackle is very similar to the pic above - Wanderlure even has the bronze "traveler" arrangement, but as most have noted, the final fall comes down from the boom. Those winches either side must have been nice for making adjustments during a blow!

    I can mimic this setup pretty easily (without the winches) I think: if I just invert the whole rig so the block attached to the traveler is on the boom and vice versa, the fall will come down from the block on the boom. I can replace the cam cleat with a stand-up swivel block same as what appears in Wanderlure just forward of the coaming and just find a convenient place on the coaming either side for regular cleats, easy to reach on either tack.

    Cool - I've got a plan.

    Thanks for all the ideas and input - I'll post come pics when it's done.
    1949 Alden Malabar Jr - "Nixie"

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    Those photos were shot after Jerry sold the boat and she was rebuilt. The main sheet is a bit different than we had it as it was double ended and could be led to either of the two after winches, without the need of shifting the lines. Jerry did get rid of the running backs after converting her to a staysl rig with a taller fore mast. He added the boomkin and tiller steering. He bought her with an Edsen Wheel set up. We liked the tiller much better than the wheel! The tiller is crooked in order to favor handling her on the long reach home from Catalina Island. Jerry would lay on the weather cockpit seat and steer with his leg hooked into the crook. We also added the teak bulwarks. I carved some fancy leaves on the after sheer plank that were CB. The boat looks better without them but a bit of golden ginger bread would look nice even so! Looks like the same martingale net I made for straining sails and people. I think the two on board are the current owners Scott and Marilyn Richardson. They have the boat up for sale but have had no takers which is odd as the boat is, essentially a new Alden Schooner!
    Jay

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Need ideas: mainsheet feed and cleat improvements

    Quote Originally Posted by sejman View Post
    Fairlead arrangement aside, it seems to me that the block on in your current arrangement is being misused. Four of the five lines leading to the block are pulling upward with full rope tension, while the fifth runs out horizontally. As a result, the whole block twists and would bind somewhat even if there were no fairlead. It looks like you need a two-sheave fiddle block - then the block won't twist. Like this, but upside down of the photo:

    I will beg you for advice, your reply will be concise, and I will listen very nicely and then go out and do exactly what I want! (Apologies to Lerner and Lowe.)

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