I just bought an older Thistle (#2614) and I'm having trouble figuring out how the jib sheets were rigged. It is a fiberglass hull, and the wooden bits are in very bad shape. I'm working on replacing all of it now. The previous owner had removed all the wood and hardware before I got it, but he took lots of pictures first, and between the photos, and the screw holes and varnish "shadows," it's pretty easy to see where things were. I've found several sites with good photos of several variations of the sheet rigging. All use blocks of some sort to route the sheets to cleats on the centerboard thwart. There is no sign of this having been the case on my boat. I am struck by how far inboard the "ideal" position for the sheet seems to be. The Lightning I had as a teen had the sheets led much nearer the rail. I've searched for any sign of the jib sheets having been routed to the rails, but there is no sign of that either. The only place I can find that is a possibility is a single large cleat on the centerline of the aft end of the centerboard trunk that could have been used alternately for either sheet. The cleat is clearly designed and located to have a line wrapped around its aft end before being "jammed" under its front. The jib has sheets attached, which are of a rather large diameter (half inch yacht braid) which would work well on the aforementioned cleat, and the cleat is low enough, and far enough aft that the sheet would cross the thwart very nearly in line with the "ideal" location. Has anyone ever seen this arrangement on an older Thistle? If not, where did they go? (And what's that big cleat for?) I can't quite believe anyone was expected to hand hold the line continuously (even half inch yacht braid), and there's nowhere else!
thistle jib sheet rigging question
Posted 09 May 2013 - 08:08 PM
If you want to rig it like it was, I can't help you except to say older thistles had the jib sheets led way too far off centerline to be optimum for going upwind.
If you want to put them where they should be, there is great info. on where to put the leads on the North Sails One Design website, on the Thistle specific pages.
Posted 10 May 2013 - 12:39 PM
Hi ROADOG fellow old Thistle owner here, the jib sheet turning blocks do indeed go on the wood thwart accross the Centerboad trunk. I'd need to see a photo of the larger cleat, but it sounds like a very dated setup, probably not something worth reusing. The jib sheet blocks are typically mounted 15.5" off the centerline on the thwart. Many people add a short section of track to move the block fore and aft, but it's optional. There is a combined block, cleat car called a jib-master availible from the curent builder Great Middwest 740-965-4511 (he has no webpage sorry). Alternatively you can come through a block to a bulls eye fairlead to a cleat mounted on the thrwart. Many of us prefer not to cleat the main racing, but the standard main sheet block with the swiveling cleat attachment is also used.
I can post pictures latter this weekend if you need.
Posted 10 May 2013 - 01:58 PM
Why is not cleating such a shocking thought? Particularly if it aids in hiking?
Posted 10 May 2013 - 03:28 PM
You can cleat and hike! unlike a lighting the thistle jib is 1-1 so it gets tough to hold after a while in a blow. Also since I stear by it upwind I like to have it trimed then cleated anyway.
Posted 11 May 2013 - 03:06 PM
Roadog here again. Thanks for the replies. I have seen many photos of how folks are rigging their sheets now. Near as I can tell, they all wind up secured to the thwart in some manner. I suppose I will use some variation of this approach myself. I have noticed that there seems to be an issue with leading the sheet far enough aft and/or high enough above the thwart to achieve the ideal line. I just received my set of drawings from the folks at the class association store and notice that the thwart on the wooden version was a tiny bit (+/-3") further aft. I am curious why they moved it forward on the fiberglass plan if they were already using the thwart for fixing the sheet cleat. A few inches doesn't seem very significant structurally, so why screw up the sheet line? I had hoped that these plans would show sheet rigging detail, but no such luck!
I was just hoping someone could confirm that the single cleat on the centerboard trunk was once used to secure the sheets. It would be low enough and far enough aft that the sheet might cross the thwart very near the "sweet spot." If this is the case, the single cleat would seem a simple and ingenious solution to how to secure the sheets. Though it would mean having to reach the centerline of the boat to make trim adjustments; an issue when hiked out.
As to "Why not hang on to it the whole time?", aside from the fatigue issue, without some sort of fairlead to turn the sheet athwartship toward the windward side, one would have to be on the lee side of the boat to hold it in correct line for decent trim of the sail. My boat has no sign of any such fairlead, unless they did something with the (sorry I'm at a loss for the correct term) "snatch eye" that seems to be used for leading the spinnaker pole guy to its cleat, and this would lead the sheet far outboard from what seems to be considered ideal.
The whole bussiness is just a WTF situation. "Where are the jibsheet cleats?!!!!" "Whats that big jam cleat there for?!!!"
Love to hear any and all insights.
Posted 11 May 2013 - 10:30 PM
Ah so you have one of those boats, that's ok so do I. I think all the thwarts were installed further forward at some point, but someone figured out that rolling the centerboard farther aft balanced the boat better, so subsequent boats were built with the thwart moved aft. Easy to fix on a woodie, a bit harder with molded glass seats. Anyway what people have done if they cant move the thwart they hang a jib car track off the back of the thwart. (see photos) mine have wood supports under them. This guards peoples legs as much as supporting the track. If you plan on racing something similar may be the way to go.
Also I believe there was a point in thistle history that the jib did sheet to the rail, but the sheeting angle is all wrong and you can't point high enough, but it is possible that there were turning blocks on your rails at one time that made that center cleat, uh thing work. If you can post a photo I might be able to make a better guess at it.
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