Jib halyard tensioner

Moderator: GreenLake

Jib halyard tensioner

Postby GreenLake » Sun May 05, 2019 1:59 pm

Anybody have a jib halyard tensioner installed on their DS?

I'm looking for something that's reasonably easy to install and rig. It's not so much that I want to constantly play with jib tension, but that it's difficult to get enough tension on it in the first place with the current setup.

I jury-rigged something for a season. The main drawback seemed to be that it prevented the jib from being fully lowered.
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Re: Jib halyard tensioner

Postby tomodda » Mon May 06, 2019 10:08 am

GL:

I don't have a halyard tensioner, still way to early in my DS "journey." But have been thinking about it, reading, and sketching out ideas for future. With that in mind, what about a "bowstring" type jib halyard tensioner? Pull the jib up by hand as snug as you want it and cleat it to a regular horn cleat. But have a low-friction ring on the section of halyard between the cleat and the turning block. The halyard runs through the ring... Now pull the ring "sideways" with a 2-1 purchase, like plucking a guitar string or pulling a bowstring. Build the purchase by mounting a solid cheek block on the cuddy roof, both giving you a good anchor point and a way to turn the tail over to a cam cleat at the lip of the cuddy. The other side of the purchase is free to move, a single block attached to the frictionless ring. And then start the purchase at a padeye back near the check block. The whole rig stays flat on the cuddy roof, so you can run whatever other control lines you need over top of it (Cunningham, vang, etc). Of course, that cheek block and bullseye had better be anchored well, with some solid wood under the roof and stainless bolts. Likewise, whatever your using to turn the halyard at the base of the mast has to be well anchored, as it will be handling load in 3 directions. Suggest a standing turning block. Back to the "plucking" pulley, I've seen some check blocks that include a becket. If you want a higher purchase, put in more check blocks and use a becket block for the moving side.

Ive been testing the concept by simply "plucking" the halyard by hand and seeing how much extra I can tension it (about 6 inches sideways). I want to try it while under sail, but need a competent helmsman to help. Hopefully, later in the season...

Thoughts?
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Re: Jib halyard tensioner

Postby GreenLake » Mon May 06, 2019 5:56 pm

The cleat I have on the mast today is a horn cleat, but I had to replace it a few years ago and the new one is "low friction". It's impossible to get enough tension as the halyard inevitably slips while being belayed.

Any line that is not in line with the mast is just going to be in the way. My jury-rigged tensioner had a tail that came off the mast 6" above the deck (at the level of the cleat; your design would need a higher position) and it got in the way of the vang.

Current thought: eyestrap on the mast holding an upper block (single, with becket). The tensioner has a lower block that is "floating" (and attached to a shackle). The tensioner line runs from becket, through floater, through upper block, back through a ring on deck to a cleat. You will note that the shackle pulls "up". The jib halyard has an eye spliced into it and is lead around the horn cleat. The purpose of this slightly convoluted design is to allow the length of the halyard from sail to eye long enough so that the sail can be lowered all the way (with the eye at the jib block at the mast). (A helper line needs to be tied to the eye to raise the jib)

I think that the cleat I have would work well as a fairlead, especially with a slippery Amsteel halyard. There will be some losses, but I think the system would give better results than the next alternative, which is to simply lead the jib halyard to a cam cleat on deck. Although that sounds attractive for its simplicity (one can always use the bowstring method while cleating the halyard; something that works with a no-slip cleat).

Thoughts?
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Re: Jib halyard tensioner

Postby jalmeida51 » Mon May 06, 2019 8:55 pm

I would like to get my jib leech to optimize its shape. Like you I can't enough tension with my halyard. I don't know if this will work. If I put a cheek block on the side of my mast about 2 or 3 feet up from the mast base. I could use the cheek block at the mast base which is now used to direct the halyard to cam cleat on the edge of the cabin roof. I will need to put a single stand up block out front of the base of the mast on the cabin roof. I will run the jib halyard Through the bottom cheek block up to the top cheek block, down to the stand up block, over to the cam cleat. I already have a downhaul for my jib so I will be able to get my jib down all the way. I'm not sure if it would be better to use a stand up block instead of the bottom cheek block. Put the bottom stand up block directly under the top cheek block? Right at the mast base on the cabin. This might give me a better run for the halyard. ( less Friction )

My other thought was to put a small winch on the cabin roof to control the jib shape. ( Forespar MW-6 ) I'm afraid Iwill put too much tension on so I dropped that idea.

Harken has a jib halyard adjuster diagram for Yngling , you can find it on their website which shows gross and fine tuning of the jib halyard.
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Re: Jib halyard tensioner

Postby tomodda » Mon May 06, 2019 10:03 pm

Ok, got it, your halyard doesn't go thru a turning block on deck, it stays on the mast and is cleated on the mast. So bowstring ain't gonna work. Going back to my Hobie Cat days, how about this? :

https://www.murrays.com/wp-content/uplo ... ng-kit.jpg

So, run your halyard thru a zig zag of blocks on the mast, thru a cam cleat and tie off on your slippery horn cleat. No need for a helper rope, but you may want to use a "tapered rope," strip the cover off the line for the last 22 feet or so - the length of line left when the jib is fully up. For the two blocks in the "zig-zag," one is fixed (cheek block, screwed to mast), the other moves. To tension the jib halyard, pull on the moveable block, either up or down the mast, with as much purchase as you need. Use Racelite blocks to keep the prices reasonable.

So, if you want to stay on the mast, you'd lead the halyard down to a cheek block, turn back up to a single block, down to a cam cleat then your horn cleat, all on the mast. Then you'd have a 2-1 pulley leading back up the mast, attached to the single block. Set it up so the tail comes back down to another cleat on mast. Done!

You'd need a cheek block, three single blocks (or two and a becket block), an eyestrap, a camcleat, another horn cleat. $60ish, not bad. Speak to the owners at racelite, they'll address any questions on load.

What do you think?

Tom
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Re: Jib halyard tensioner

Postby jalmeida51 » Mon May 06, 2019 11:32 pm

That tensioner on the Hobi Cat should work. The only thing I would ad is a block down at the base of the mast to run the halyard to a cam cleat on the edge of the cabin. I think it would be easier to have the cam cleat there instead of on the mast. I don't know why the cam cleat and a horn cleat are cleating off the halyard? John
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Re: Jib halyard tensioner

Postby GreenLake » Wed May 08, 2019 9:26 am

jalmeida51 wrote:That tensioner on the Hobi Cat should work. The only thing I would ad is a block down at the base of the mast to run the halyard to a cam cleat on the edge of the cabin. I think it would be easier to have the cam cleat there instead of on the mast. I don't know why the cam cleat and a horn cleat are cleating off the halyard? John


The cam cleat is there, because it's quick to set. The horn cleat is a backup to the cam cleat.

Relying on a cam cleat for a halyard is not a good idea. John Alesch, a former regular here on this forum, and I were sailing on his boat in pretty good wind when the main halyard popped out of its cam cleat. Sail and boom started to come down, actually trapping him between deck and boom. It was pretty scary, not least because it took us a second to realize why all of this was happening (and that all it would take to fix it was to heave to and raise the sail again).

If you have a halyard tensioner then there's no need to adjust the halyard itself under way. Other than, perhaps, release it altogether while still on the water (which is easily done even with the cleat on the mast). I'm rather doubtful when it comes to the wisdom of leading halyards anywhere on a boat like the DS.
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Re: Jib halyard tensioner

Postby tomodda » Wed May 08, 2019 12:26 pm

GL:

Why are you not sure of the wisdom of leading the halyards off the mast?
Mine are set up with turning blocks on the cuddy roof on either side of the mast partners leading back to cleats. Was that way when I bought her, and I'll admit that I'm a sucker for all that lovely Wilcox & Crittenden bronze. On the other hand, yeah it takes up space on the roof. But also quite nice to work the halyards from the cockpit instead if reaching over to the mast.

Anyway, what do you see as cons?
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Re: Jib halyard tensioner

Postby jalmeida51 » Wed May 08, 2019 2:42 pm

On my Daysailer it has horn cleats on the cabin roof. I believe it was standard on boats built by Rebel. The halyards run through cheek blocks over the cabin roof to the cleats. I changed from horn cleats to cam cleats. There was a problem with the cheek blocks about 3 inches above from the base of the mast it caused the halyard to enter the cam cleats at about 30 degrees. The halyard should have a straight shot into the cam cleat. I installed a bulls eye about 6 inches ahead of the cam cleats. This gives the halyard a straight shot into the cam cleat. I can see Green Lakes point about the halyard jumping out of the cam cleat but if it is a straight shot I don't have a problem with it.
The only time my halyard has come out of cam cleat it was due to a dumb ass mistake by me. Rushing I released the wrong line and the sail dropped but my boom dropped about a foot, my topping lift stopped it from dropping further. All of my running rigging is long enough so I can make adjustments while I steer the boat. Only time I need to go forward is to get the reef cringle into the reef hook.
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Re: Jib halyard tensioner

Postby GreenLake » Wed May 08, 2019 5:02 pm

tomodda wrote:GL:

Why are you not sure of the wisdom of leading the halyards off the mast?
Mine are set up with turning blocks on the cuddy roof on either side of the mast partners leading back to cleats. Was that way when I bought her, and I'll admit that I'm a sucker for all that lovely Wilcox & Crittenden bronze. On the other hand, yeah it takes up space on the roof. But also quite nice to work the halyards from the cockpit instead if reaching over to the mast.

Anyway, what do you see as cons?


First, I don't see the pros: I literally never need to adjust the halyard while sitting at the helm. I stand when raising the sails, anyway. And the few times I lower them on the water, I do have the reach to release them, even if seated at the crew position. Usually, I end up standing in the front of the cockpit.

Second, I've sailed boats with cam cleats on the deck, and saw the boom come done on somebody's head (I don't know how he got his head between boom and deck, but he did, and he was stuck). This could have ended with a serious injury, in open water, hours away from the nearest place to put in. We were very lucky. To me, cam cleats are not secure enough for halyards. Once is enough.

On a minor matter, keeping the halyards at the mast keeps them out of the cockpit.
2663
Mine are set up that one tug at the "bunch" frees the halyard tail; then it's a matter of undoing the cleat. I can do that with one hand while seated in the front, if I have to, but usually I end up standing anyway: the main, in particular needs some "help" going up or coming down - feeding into the sail slot or some gentle tugs to lower it; both easier from a standing position.
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Re: Jib halyard tensioner

Postby GreenLake » Wed May 08, 2019 5:18 pm

@jalmeida51:

You are absolutely correct about the need for "straight shot". But that needs to be on both sides (or the fairlead needs to be almost at the cleat): some DSIIs have cam cleats where the tail goes up and over a lip at the edge of the deck. Pulling on the tail of the halyard is enough to make it pull at an upward angle from the free side, and that can cause the cam to release unexpectedly.

BTW, I find the fact that you need to stand near the mast for reefing quite telling. Putting a reef in would be something you do in potentially unsettled conditions. So, theoretically, it would seem the operation that most needs to be controlled from the helm position. However, that would be a mistaken conclusion. First, the way to put in a reef starts with the boat hove to. At that point, you can (should?) lash the helm. Second, reef lines are really sensitive to added friction in the system. (I made the mistake of designing mine with a single line for clew and tack, instead of adding a reef hook. I would nowadays choose the latter setup; however, given what I have, I simply reach around the boom and pull on the part of the reef line that pulls down the clew first, then tighten the rest to get the tack down; works OK, but not great)
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Re: Jib halyard tensioner

Postby tomodda » Tue May 14, 2019 9:07 pm

GL:


>>I've sailed boats with cam cleats on the deck, and saw the boom come done on somebody's head

Well, yes, you certainly should tie the bitter end of the halyard off to a real horn cleat, not a cam. As you noted, a cam inline is great as a temporary stop, but that's it.

As for dropping sail underway, I do it all the time, at least for the jib - sail up to the dock under main alone. Since my dock is at a boat ramp, replete with bass-fishing boats, I like to keep it low and slow. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I just got back from Seattle, where I watched some lovely old wooden boats blast up to the docks on Lake Union under full sail in a 12-knot wind and then land as neat as can be. Of course, it helped that the wind was running straight down the dock (parallel), so they could just take a last-minute gybe and then go in irons. Still... seeing lovingly-crafted 100-year old boats spin around like tops inches from busting their planks in was quite something. Anyway, off topic :) But do visit the Center for Wooden Boats if you're ever up there.

Did you decide yet what to do for a tensioner? What if you tie a loop in your halyard once you have it snugged down (this one - Linesman's Loop, Ashley Book of Knots # 1053, p 191 - you can tie it with one hand)? Then use a purchase attached to the loop to give it final tension? Would keep it simple.

Tom
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