mainsheet handling

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mainsheet handling

Postby oostenrijk » Wed August 26th, 2009, 3:37 pm


First of all i'd like to pardon my english. I'm dutch and don't know the exact terms for some items on the boat

I just bought an eventide 26 (at least if the engine, a volvo md-1b will run...). I have a question about the mainsheet handling. There are two eyes (rings) on the deck behind the helm (the helm gos thorught the deck, not behind the stern). The rope starts at a block at the boom, then to the deck, back to the boom, to the other eye on deck and back to the boom. From there the rope hangs loose and you seem to have to belay it on a spring.

what are the advanatges of this system (does it work at all...) and has anyone replaced it with a traveler and what were the results?

also I'm curious if it possible to install a boom vang. I have a wooden boom and am not sure if this won't brake under the strain of such a vang

hope anyone can help!

kind regards,

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Eventide Owners Group
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Re: mainsheet handling

Postby Eventide Owners Group » Thu February 18th, 2010, 7:58 pm

Hello Rob, sorry it has taken so long for you to get an answer, but I hope you are one of the people who asked the same question by mailing us direct on

The system you may have entails a double ended main sheet with two cleats one either side of the cockpit. Some like this set up, personally I do not. I prefer a pair of double and becket blocks one on the boom end the other sliding over the tiller on a horse. A Jammer built into the lower block is all that is needed.

A kicking strap should be fitted to the boom and fixed to the tabernacle, this will prevent the boom lifting and help set the sail flatter.

hope this helps.

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Re: mainsheet handling

Postby Wooden Boat Fittings » Sun February 21st, 2010, 1:25 am

John, can I respectfully beg to differ about your definition of double-endedness? If the sheet is dead-ended on the boom, then by definition it's not double-ended. The 'loose end' that Rob mentions would either be held in the hand or belayed to a cleat somewhere. A true double-ended sheet can be belayed to a cleat at either end, the other (working) end being dependent on which tack one is on. Aileen Louisa's mainsheet was double-ended like this (although with only a single block on the sail's clew as her mainsail was only 100 sq ft.) Because of the lead angles, this sheet gave about a 1¾ purchase advantage -- less than Rob would have with his current set-up..

Rob, the present sheeting system will work okay, although you might like to fit a swivel block to the centre of the cockpit sole to lead the sheet through -- this won't increase purchase (in fact it will add a little friction) but it will mean that you're always hauling on the sheet from the same position. But I think John's preferred system would be better. I agree that use of a horse (traveller) would be a sensible addition in any case, as one of the advantages of a horse (provided it's not too short) is that it serves at the same time as a partial boom vang -- the boom lifts less when the sail is out over the quarter because the sheet is leading more vertically downwards So you might find, having fitted one, that you don't really need a kicking strap at all (although as John rightly says it will make the sail set even flatter) -- unless of course you're a real racing man who wants to get every ounce of performance possible.


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Fiddler's Green
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Re: mainsheet handling

Postby Fiddler's Green » Sun February 21st, 2010, 1:57 pm

Hi Mike, you are quite right, I was thinking he had boththe two ends to cleat, but it does say, when I read it more carefully, the rope starts at the block on the boom....

He will not get as much purchase with that as when two doubles are used and the bitter end is secured on deck or to the becket on top of a double block and jammer on a horse.

I looked in a sailing book today and realised there must be half a dozen ways of rigging mainsheets! 'different horses for different courses' as they say!

My sheet horse is monted high up, full width of the stern, made of s/s tube welded at the top, forward ends of the strern rail, 24" above the deck, and just behind the cockpit, but I have seen others that are on deck just astern of the inboard tiller head and were only 1 ft long! My rudder is transom mounted of course....

Many ways to do the same thing!

Most important is to get sufficient purchase for the size of the sail so it is easy to control....

Proud owner and builder of 'Fiddler's Green'

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Re: mainsheet handling

Postby Athaena » Sun February 21st, 2010, 2:08 pm

Interesting topic. Athaena has a single eye on a block just aft of her inboard tiller. I don't particularly like the arrangement and am minded to change back to a horse as was fitted originally (the original plugged holes are visible on the stern deck).

I don't have a vang/kicker either and had wondered about this, so the comments about a horse reducing the need for this have been food for thought. I would like to stick with the original boom roller reefing so avoiding the complications of a claw etc would be good.


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