Topic: Line Sizes - Please add yours

Hi All,

I'm going stir crazy while the boat is on the hard this year and the weather still nice out...  My thoughts drift back to things I want to fix, replace and maintain in the spring.  One thing I'd like to do is inventory the line sizes I have on the boat and then work to replace them all with the proper size.  I'm curious to know what size and type you have on your boat?  Please include both size,type and material. For example my docking lines are 1/2", 3-strand, nylon.

Also, I'm curious to read about how often people replace their lines.  Do you routinely replace them every few years or just monitor them for wear and replace them when you think they need it?

1. Halyards
2. Main sheet
3. Jib/Genoa sheets

4. Reefing lines
5. Outhaul

6. Spinnaker guy/sheets
7. Spinnaker topping lift/down haul

8. Roller furling
9. Topping lift
10. Traveller controls

11. Docking lines.

I won't post mine yet because I'm not sure what they are and many are the incorrect size;  i.e. the reefing lines are too big for the sheeves on the boom, I *think* the genoa sheets are oversized.  The only ones I've replaced so far are the traveller controls and docking lines.

Cheers,
Jordan.

2 (edited by Ian Malcolm 2011-11-26 11:42:42)

Re: Line Sizes - Please add yours

From memory, and note I am set up for extreme heavy weather cruising rather than racing.

1. Mostly 12mm.  Jib halyard is Spectra (or maybe Dyneema, cant remember)

2.  12mm for the main sheet.  matte finish braid on braid.
 
3. For heavy weather, oversize jib sheets are *GOOD* so long as the blocks are sized to match.  I have 14mm.  A set of 10mm genoa sheets would be worth having for light winds and racing.

4. reefing lines: 6 mm 3 strand prestetched.   Horrible I know, but strong enough.

5. 4mm outhaul with a 4:1 purchace at the boom end, replaces the old lashing to make it adjustable!

6. 10mm braid on braid

7. 8 mm. Uphaul braided, downhaul 3 strand, both fairly nasty.  DUE FOR REPLACEMENT

8.  8 mm braid on braid (Sailspar continuous loop furling system)
9.   8 mm braid on braid (The topping lift MUST be able to take my weight in an emergency)
10.  6 mm polyester braid jacketed kevlar (I had a length spare) 2:1 rigged to advantage for contol lines on the main horse.  Genoa tracks dont have towed cars.

11. Permanent dock lines 14 mm 3 strand + snubbers.  Spare warps/Heavy Shore lines 2x 35 m long 14 mm octoplait nylon.  Working mooring lines: an assortment of 12 mm 3 strand lines, mostly nylon, some polypropylene (floating) + a length of 16mm octoplait nylon for nasty mooring buoys.
   

Replacement policy:  If excessively worn, and I can't end for end it again or if damaged or too stiff (usually the same thing)   I replace one rig or control line per year on average.   The main halyard currently has a darned in section of jacket about 1/4 the way up as the previous owner had let it chafe.  As this is not loaded even fully reefed, no problem!  I am generally fairly fussy about the condition of my lines compared to a lot of the other skippers I know.

3 (edited by JordanH 2011-11-26 15:22:50)

Re: Line Sizes - Please add yours

Thanks Ian, that is precisely what I am after.  I usually sail in light winds, but want to make sure she can handle the worst - we've been out in 35+ knots of wind this summer and the running rigging held up, but the traveller and a couple snatch blocks failed.  I'd like to ensure I don't give up bad weather performance.

Right!  And you added a good addition.  I don't have control lines for my genoa cars either and I don't have my spinnaker rigged completely yet so I forgot to add the following...

12.  Genoa car control lines.
13.  Spinnaker pole traveller control lines.  (None of you guys actually have a track with big boat control lines on it do you??)
14.  Spinnaker twings.

Re: Line Sizes - Please add yours

We'd probably sail in a 30-35 knot forecast (assuming it was reasonably stable weather, wind with tide and an off the wind passage not exceeding 8 hours to an all weather all tide port) but try to stay in port if 40+ is expected.  Sometimes we get caught out . . .
Previous owner got caught out in a Force 10 on the way back from (IIRC) the Azores - NOT recommended, but the boat was fine!

The reefing lines are probably under size. I'm likely  to replace with 8mm doublebraid when I get some nice colour coded reel ends at the right price!

My genny cars are mismatched.  One has a clamping screw, the other a pin (Its a long story involving a previous owner and an overenthusiastic  lifeboat . . . .)

The extremely light 4:1 outhaul was the only way I could cram suitable sheaves in the boom end, which originally just had a pin and a lashing as it used to be a roller reefing boom.  The line actually runs inside the foot boltrope groove to a small horizontal V cleat on the boom just below the tack. Its stronger than the lashing that was used for the previous 40 years! :-)

The horse control lines are sized to withstand an inadvertant gybe 'all standing' in any conditions that I am likely not to have a preventer rigged.


13. NO

14.  Preventers/twings (dual purpose) are 8mm 3 strand. Far from ideal but I inherited them.

Re: Line Sizes - Please add yours

Yes, I know all about 'inheritance issues' of wrong sized line... and fuel hoses... and anchor chain rode...  We've been working at replacing everything as we can from the most critical on down, and this is why I posted the question.

1.  Halyards.  The owner replaced the halyards a short while ago and they seem to be ok but wouldn't have been my choice.  I would guess they are 11mm or 12mm, cheap braid.
2.  Mainsheet.  This is likely 14 or 16mm old braid... even though it's got a 5:1 purchase, there is so much left over tail that it gets in the way.  It will be replaced if I can find a good deal on a fiddle block setup to replace the elderly 3x2 setup that I have now.

3. Jib/Genoa sheets.  13 or 14mm braid.  I feel secure with these in rough weather, but I think they are really heavy and quite a bit bigger than those I have raced with on larger boats.  I want to buy stronger, lighter lines.  Also, the previous owner built these lines as a single line with a snap shackle spliced into the centre of it.  When they get replaced, I will go with two lines... jury is still out on the shackle.

4. Reefing lines.  I think these are 13 or 14mm as well.  These are totally the incorrect lines and bind in the sheaves on the boom.  I think I'll get rid of the 1st reef line as we always go straight to the 2nd reef.  You think 8mm is sufficient?
5. Outhaul.  Same as reefing lines, 13 or 14mm.  It's only a 1:1 system, do you think more purchase is necessary?

8. Roller furling.  This is a small diameter braid line and is the correct size and good condition...  I'd have to measure it for the size but I'd guess 8mm max.
9. Topping lift.  This old, cruddy line needs to go.  I have 2 different thoughts;
a)  if I use this as a spare halyard, that means it's sitting in the weather and deteriorating; When I need to count on it, it might fail.
b)  if I use an older line, and keep my spare halyard stored safely, then I could always fish the spare halyard using the topping lift if need be.
I currently have 3 halyards and the cruddy topping lift on the mast now, plus two previous halyards in a locker.  I think I will use one of the previous halyards as a topping lift, move my main halyard to spare duty in the locker and buy a new main halyard.

10. Traveller controls.  I just replaced my aluminium track, pin stops and car with a fantastic new Harken setup I built myself - I can't tell you how happy this improvement has made me; a warm glow sets in when I touch it.  I configured it with 3:1 control lines, but consider backing that off to 2:1.  The cord is ... 8mm?  I can't remember the trade name for the line, but it is super strong, flexible, soft and easy on the hands.

11. Docking lines.  I don't have a permanent place to dock her yet, but I built my dock lines out of 13mm, 3-strand, nylon.  I have 4x26' and 1x80' ... I think I'll add some boat handling lines in braid as the 3-strand gets grungy and hard on the hands after only 1 season.

No 6/7/12/13/14 for me yet.

Re: Line Sizes - Please add yours

1. Remove the jib halyard, tie it off on a strong point ashore and see how stretchy it is.  It may need replacing with something low stretch to get decent jib luff tension.  If your jib halyard stretches too much, it may even cause your furling to jam in heavy weather. 

2. I cant imagine having 5:1 on the main sheet, it must jam up a lot.  My 4:1 setup has a double block on the boom and a fiddle block + jammer on the horse.  Doesnt need gloves to trim it even in a force 8.  The tail *does* get in the way, but is unavoidable if I want to be able to let the boom right out.  Try a batten across the cockpit sole  about a foot from the back to *encourage* the tail to stay where you put it.  If you are going to race in light wings, swap out the sheet for a free running, non water-absorbing 10mm line if the forecast is under force 4.

3. I have a snap shackle in the middle of a single line for my jib sheets, but you *MUST* be  ABSOLUTELY sure it cant catch on anything and release.  A snap you have to trip with a spike is best.  I don't have it spliced though as that tends to catch on shrouds if spliced in as o<==.  Its OK if spliced as --<>--. 

Mine is tied with an Eskimo Bowline http://www.morethanknots.com/bowline_pi … ne_008.jpg as that knot  wont capsize if the tail is loaded as long as the loop is fairly tight round something.

Tied on light jibsheets for racing are *slightly* kinder to your bow-man's head, but if he/she commonly gets hit on the head or neck by the sheets, he/she's a medivac (or worse) waiting to happen.  It only takes a loop to drop round the neck and that's one crew member dead or crippled.

4.  Look at the breaking strain of 8mm.  Its double that it as it goes through the reefing cringle so is 2:1.  You will rip the eye out of the sail before it breaks.  Remember to have it a couple of feet too long so you can chop a bit off it where it dead-ends to the boom in a year or two to shift the wear points.  Don't get rid of the first reef unless you have a third one - talk to a good sailmaker or ask here how deep your reefs should be for your sailing area.

5. 2:1 is easy to rig and much stronger.  The outhaul isn't usually heavily loaded but might as well make it easier to handle while keeping the strength for the rough stuff. 

9. When you need a spare halyard, you may well need it NOW! (i.e. main sail has just descended on its own and you are close to a lee shore.)  If you want to save the topping lift in harbour, put the boom in a crutch or hang it from the backstay and pull the topping lift right up the mast with a light retrieval line on the end of it if its internal or replace it with a light mouse if its external.  IMHO the pain is NOT worth the gain.  Its not too expensive to replace and I'm ALWAYS short of reasonable used 8mm for fenders.  Mine is 5 years in with no significant wear.  Need to end-for end it again at the end of next season and maybe chop 6" off to shift the wear.


10. 3:1 + a Harken Traveller makes it *EASY* to trim in heavy weather.  I've helped a lot of by friends upgrade to 3:1 - don't throw away the benefit.   The down side is more rope in the cockpit but a mesh backed canvas hanging bag helps with that.  Even with my 3:1 horse (a shackle sliding on a bar)  control lines, I tend to trim it when hard on the wind rather than the mainsheet as its easier to handle.

11. Soft docking lines require a *LOT* of care to prevent snagging yarns out of them and chafe. My long octoplait warps/shore lines each have a dedicated bag with anti-chafe gear kept in it for this reason.  Braid also doesn't have the elasticity of three strand.  DON'T try snubbing an old halyard round a cleat to stop the boat when coming alongside as *something* will break sooner or later.  You can also ruin it in five seconds through friction!  Nylon hardens with age but polyester 3 strand remains softer and is usually elastic enough for working dock lines. YMMV.

Re: Line Sizes - Please add yours

1.  Yes, exactly. I don't like the halyards but they appear to be sufficient for the time being.  They're almost new so I need to recommission them to justify replacing them... not at the top of my list.

2.  The 5:1 system hasn't jammed yet.  It works smoothly and is extremely light to use... even when it was blowing like mad out, I never even thought about using force on the line.  However, the tail of the line is not "a little extra", it's a lot extra.  Even at full boom extension, there is a full coil of really fat line.. I'd guess conservatively 14mm but it could be larger.  My traveller sits aft of the cockpit so I often toss the coil up on the aft deck to get it out of the way. The result is a very wet, heavy coil of line.

3.  The cheap snap shackle that is on the jib sheets is loosing the spring pressure in the pull pin.  And yes, it caught on the shrouds twice this summer and opened up.  The first time I thought my wife had not snapped it shut, but the second time couldn't have been a coincidence so it was so I rigging-taped it shut so it wouldn't snag again.  I sail on another race boat that has nice, light lines.  I like the two line system they use, and although they use the trigger/spike-type of shackle, I think I will likely go with trying them on.

4.  Good point, 8mm it is.  As for the reef points, why keep the first?  We sail under 155% genoa or 100% jib & full main until about 15-17 knots.  The main gets reefed to the deepest reef at that point - by passing the first reef.  Once the winds get higher, we reef the genoa or jib further as needed - this takes us up through 30 knots downwind.  The only reason I'll keep the first reef rigged is "because it's there."

5.  Thanks for the tip, I think I'll do that in the spring if the boom layout permits.

9.  Yes, the "I need it NOW!" argument is certainly the view I've had from one side.  And this is why I'm leaning towards using my 3rd quality halyard; It's strong enough to use in a pinch and I won't be heart broken if it wears - it doesn't owe the boat anything at this point.  I'm not big on portable boom crutches and the stern of my boat is already full of "stuff" (traveller beam, BBQ, wind vane, life buoy, ladder and sometimes dinghy motor)  No more!  As it is, the BBQ and dinghy motor may stay home next season.

10.  Yes, I'm loving my 3:1 Harken system.  Some previous owner had installed an Aluminium I-beam track (unnecessary on the supported beam) with pin-stops and a Ronstan car.  The car was fine but had no control lines.  The pinstops were - obviously - unable to change position while on that tack, the pins would bind in the holes and not slide, and gybing was horrendous as you couldn't centre the boom and then ease it out.  Once the Harken system was on, gybes became smooth as silk and the control of the sail became so much easier for making small adjustments under load.  I'm sure any brand would do nicely because the technology is so far advanced.