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      Abbreviated rules   07/28/2017

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Will1073

Doing away with winches

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Does anyone have any experiences with replacing the primary winches with a block (and purchase system) on a boat with large overlapping headsails? I'm playing around with a system for my Shark (180% genoa) where the sail is initially tacked 1:1 but with a 6:1 fine tune system behind to be able to adjust sheet tension with ease from the windward side -- critical for the Shark to keep it on it's feet. I'm running into a fair bit of resistance while using the fine tune, and I'm unsure whether my setup is at fault, or if I need more power in the fine tune. 

Just wondering if anyone else has messed around with this! 

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It's really, really hard to beat winch performance. This kind of approach rarely works out.

The problem is that the 6:1 purchase has limited travel and the windward side must be fully eased after each tack so it's fully available for the next tack. Easing 2-3 meters of 6:1 purchase is a pain in the ass, often requiring two people. Then you have the flying block slapping around on the windward rail.

When tacking, if you fail to get the 1:1 fulling in before the jib loads up, you're screwed. You don't have enough 6:1 to finish trimming. You need to go nearly head to wind to get the sheet in. If you backwind the jib trying to retrieve the sheet, you're screwed again.

 

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The vast majority of modern Dragons are now winchless - a single sheet that goes through a floating under deck turning block. A tackle on the turning block takes care of the fine tune system. The bitter end of the sheet itself is the coarse tune.  11.7 square metre genoa - (125 square feet).

deck3.jpg

The other option is the Etchells system. Two blocks on the genoa clew - the sheet goes though the block. One end is the coarse tune (2:1), the other goes to a fine tune tackle. Better with non-overlapping jibs, though - the clew blocks bash the mast less than with a big overlapping genoa.

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We use "lopez" blocks: the lead blocks are auto-ratchet blocks with cleats adjusted so that the initial movement of line in a tack leads naturally through the cleat which takes the strain when the sail fills. The sheet is then put on a winch for fine trim. The angle of the cleat on the lopez block is such that when winched or "bowstring"ed, the sheet come out of the cleat.

In light air the winches aren't used. Just 1:1 muscle and the lopez block cleat.

We've gotta move 13 feet of sheet to tack the genoa. 2:1 would double that and halve the speed.

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Best thing to do is copy what is working in the fleet.  Many boats at the RCYC have gone with a cascading system that goes around the back of the coaming to a knockerhead block on the inside of the coaming at the forward end of the cockpit.   Look at Invicta or Eager4More.  Eager has retained the winches.  Some boats have an extra cleat on the weather edge of the cabin to play the fine-tune from the rail. Torreador for instance.

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3 hours ago, in_TO said:

Best thing to do is copy what is working in the fleet.  Many boats at the RCYC have gone with a cascading system that goes around the back of the coaming to a knockerhead block on the inside of the coaming at the forward end of the cockpit.   Look at Invicta or Eager4More.  Eager has retained the winches.  Some boats have an extra cleat on the weather edge of the cabin to play the fine-tune from the rail. Torreador for instance.

I only noticed Toby's cascade system at Homecomers this year... I think I need more purchase but I'm running out of travel distance by not going all the way back around the coamings. Do you happen to have any photos by chance? 

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Cascades need lots of travel distance. On my Shark, I had a non-cascading 6:1. Because non-cascading is so much more compact, it went between the jib lead and the winch pod.

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4 hours ago, in_TO said:

Cascades need lots of travel distance. On my Shark, I had a non-cascading 6:1. Because non-cascading is so much more compact, it went between the jib lead and the winch pod.

My 6:1 is non-cascading as well. I have mine aft of the winch pod, with the 1:1 ratchet block mounted where the winch would be. Can you spare a photo of your setup? 

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Yes.  It really is only effectively a 3:1 because you lose a power of 2 in the reverse cascade 1:2 floating turning block

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Schematic of my set-up.  Cam cleats not shown in the diagram.  Coarse-tune at the forward end of the coaming, fine-tune on the winch pod.  Winch removed.  The boat had wood coaming that were boxed over to a profile more like the glass coamings. 

Schematic.JPG

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Actually, I later relocated the fine-tune next to the coarse tune, as seen in his video.

My crew adjusts the fine-tune at around 2:14

 

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My boat is a C&C (glass combings) I'm wondering if having my 6:1 so far back is causing a lot of friction with the genoa sheet being dragged across the side of the combing... Your system is easy enough for me to do. Just involves drilling more holes and moving hardware. AGAIN. 

 

My system is nearly identical to yours, except the whole apparatus is shifted back behind the winch pod. Course and fine tune next to each other. 

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Just curious, why have several of you moved from a winch to a system of blocks?

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on the dragon it is weight and ease of use. since you don't have to prep the winch and cleat it off, it is easier and faster in the tacks. there are two versions of the system on the dragon. The self cleating one and the auto release version, which releases automatically when you let the fine tune all out. Both have their (dis)advantages.

 

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don't forget that this rig as shown in the above diagram only yields 3:1 as you are pulling the turning block at a 2:1 disadvantage.

I mean if it works, it works, just saying that you're not getting 6:1 out of it!

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4 hours ago, overdraft said:

Just curious, why have several of you moved from a winch to a system of blocks?

Faster tacks
Continuous genoa sheet

The ability (if your system works) to make fine tune adjustments from the windward rail. Super critical to keep the shark on its feet (have you seen that horrendous keel?). Cross sheeting to the windward winch isn't possible due to the cabin/genoa lead/combing placement

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