Home Sails, Rigging & Deck Gear

Sails, Rigging & Deck Gear

Designing a Dump Line for the Multihull Mainsheet

Many of Practical Sailor's previous reports have explored the risks of multihull capsize, and what sailors and designers are doing to reduce this risk, which, though generally low, increases as designers push for more speed. One detail that we have not explored in great depth is the engineering of a “dump line,” which allows the helmsman (or automatic system) to quickly release the mainsheet in case a capsize is imminent. Simon Angus, a Canadian sailboat designer and builder who recently launched a new 40-foot catamaran that fits into a shipping container, has a manual system that involves the clever use of Ronstan’s constrictor textile rope clutches, which allows a person at the helm to quickly release the mainsheet with the swift tug on a parachute cord.

Other Methods to Control Yaw

Yawing is the result of imbalance between windage (you want it aft) and underwater resistance (you want it forward). If the center of windage is forward of the center of lateral resistance, the bow falls off and the boat sails off in an arc around the anchor, until forced to tack and return, the cycle […]

Drogues to Dampen Yaw

A leading cause of anchor dragging is yawing so vigorously that either the soil around the anchor is liquefied, or the anchor simply capsizes. We studied this phenomenon in a report last year (see “Yawing and Anchor Holding,” PS February 2020). The anchor may reset, but it may be either clogged with mud or moving […]

Getting the Most Out of Older Sails

Efficient windward work requires sails with a good lift-to-drag ratio. Mylar laminate sails hold their shape throughout their useful life, well enough for all but the most discerning racers, which often ends in spectacular failure. Polyester sails, on the other hand, are often retired long before they are structurally weak, because they have stretched out […]

Testing the DIY Dog Bone Shackle

Soft shackles became the cool thing nearly as soon as they appeared on race boats. Any savvy DIYer could make them using Dyneema single braid. They are light, strong, flexible, and reliable. Because they are metalfree, a flogging genoa clew is less likely to gouge the mast or result in forehead stitches. No tools are […]

Sizing Up Improvements In Low Friction Rings

The first time I brought a handful of low friction rings (LFR) to the boat, I got funny looks from my partner. The plan was to set up a barber hauler. Familiar to small-boat sailers and racers, a barber hauler is effectively a moveable sheet lead that allows us to fine tune headsail trim (see […]

Outboard Steering Tricks

Outboard powered boats can be slow to respond when maneuvering around the docks at low speed. With no prop wash over the rudder, it...

What Color Bimini Top is Best for Summer?

So you want to build the awning described on page 7 of this issue, and were wondering what material to use. We’ve been using...

Revive Your Mast Like a Pro

Unobtainium is the metal at the top of every Naval Architect’s wish list. It’s a perfect marine material; light, strong, stiff yet flexible—it’s as...

Drudging To a Safe Landing

The word ‘drudging’ can be traced to the middle-English word for dragging. It is the practice of using a chain, heavy weight, or anchor...