Recently, while working to add third-reef controls to the mainsail reefing on my Morgan 382, I realized I had no idea how to calculate loads and, therefore, no concept of the size and strength of hardware to install.
Unless the boat was equipped with two headstays, which adds considerable windage, the headsail change drill meant releasing the lowest hanks on the headsail in use, tacking down the new sail, hanking it on below the head-sail already up, taking a deep breath, letting the jib halyard run, then going like mad to get the hanks open on the old jib, all the time listening to the skipper scream to hurry up.
Boat cleats are an elegantly simple yet essential piece of marine hardware. Yet, after scrutinizing cleats at the Annapolis and Miami boat shows, it appears that while there a few innovative designs and tried-and-true classic models, many builders are using sub-par installations. The shape of a cleat needs to take in the significance of how a cleat locks a line in place and yet still allows a crew member to control the easing or snubbing process. Proper topping and backing cleat plates can greatly improve cleats durability and long-term performance. Some hide-away cleats or pop-up cleats have water drainage issues and less-than-robust support structures. Other designs use the less-secure rings and eyes instead of proper cleats.
Although stainless steel wire and rod rigging are still the traditional, most popular, and economical material of choice for mast rigging, metal is rapidly giving way to a new generation of synthetic rigging material. There are a handful of companies that manufacture standing rigging using ultra lightweight high-modulus synthetic fibers such as Kevlar, PBO (polybenzoxazole), and carbon.There are many advantages of synthetic rigging. Weight savings aloft is the primary benefit, and high-modulus fiber can be up to 50 percent stronger than similar diameter rod or wire rigging, and up to 90 percent lighter. Another touted benefit is greater fatigue resistance. For the average racer-cruiser, there are three big drawbacks to PBO: It is four times as expensive as stainless steel wire, although roughly on par with rod rigging; should its cover fail, it drastically loses strength in direct sunlight; visual inspection and DIY repair is currently impossible. Until recently, the technology for high-modulus, synthetic fiber rigging was only available to deep-pocketed mega-yacht owners. As development advances and competitive pricing is sparked, this type of rigging may one day be an option for average sailors. Under the current state of technology, we can only recommend this product for the serious racer with very deep pockets.
Prices, advice vary greatly when it comes to asymmetrical sails.
Because increasing numbers of serious sailors have become interested in retrofitting inner forestays for heavy weather headsails, a look at quick-detach hardware is in...
Summers warm breezes and lazy weekends have arrived, so PS testers have put together a lineup of cool toys and tools for the dog days. Tower Adventurer Inflatable Standup Paddleboard: Inflatable SUPs are sprouting up everywhere on the Internet; many boards are identical, made by different brands at the same factories in China. Quality varies. Generally, boards 6 inches or thicker offer better stiffness and stability, making them easier to ride.
Storm trysails rarely get the close look they deserve. Designed to replace the mainsail in a severe storm, it spends most of its life in the sail locker. Trysails should be cut flat, and the center of effort located to optimize stability and helm balance. Generally, the trysail’s clew should be just above the boom, its tack just above the furled mainsail’s head and its head near the mid-point of the mast. It is best to work closely with a sailmaker or a boat’s designer to get the right size and shape trysail. When inspecting or commissioning a trysail, pay close attention to detail at the head, clew, tack, leech, and luff.