layout for headsail track- sm. cruising cat

Hunky

Member
56
5
NW Alaska
I'm building a 30' catamaran and am starting to lay out the deck hardware. I'm a beginner when it comes to sailing.. have spent some time on monohulls - but don't have a good understanding of the fine points of sailing, yet. This boat is a KHSD design and I've modified it by putting a cabin on the otherwise open deck for the northern waters (Bering Sea) shelter. So I'm trying to layout the track for the headsail and am stumped. It seems Kurt is pretty easy going on how it is done in this case.. but before I start drilling I hope to get some direction.

So halyards and sheets from the mast will be routed around the cabin and to a winch either side via deck organizers. I would want to limit it to one with the thinking that the more bends you put the lines the more force required.. but I don't really know if that is much of an issue. Two organizers per side would be neat and tidy if the track were oriented pointing towards the furler. Another similar build on this design (from which I stole his cabin idea) has the track vertical to the fore and aft centerline and says it worked fine for him. I'll put up a couple pics to show what I have. Right now I have 4 tracks.. 2 are 36" long and 2 are 32" long. I expect if I did something like the first photo I could cut them down in length. Perhaps I only need one if doing something like the second pic. The sticks just represent approximate routing of lines from rotating mast.

Hoping for some thoughts on this to get me off my impasse. Won't be racing likely, just learning the boat and exploring around the area.



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Zonker

Super Anarchist
9,657
5,616
Canada
So halyards and sheets from the mast will be routed around the cabin and to a winch either side via deck organizers. I would want to limit it to one with the thinking that the more bends you put the lines the more force required..
Yep, that's true. Fewer turns the easier life is. Your second picture looks good - but make sure turning blocks at base of the mast are mounted ON the mast so the lines don't drag on the deck.

Furler line:

But I wouldn't run the furler towards the organizer. It would be in the way on the front nets. The furler line on our cat ran diagonally across the nets to a block about where you bridgedeck ends, and about 3' off centerline. Then outboard to a stanchion. Most production cats run the furler line along the forward crossbeam and then make a 90 deg turn and then along the stanchions. Even less of a tripping hazard but the first 90 deg turn adds lots of friction.

You can see (barely) how we rigged the genoa and staysail furler lines here. Staysail in black; genoa in white. First turning block for genoa was a floating block on a 18" long strop. Very little friction and a big block. Make sure your first furler block is a bit oversized because generally the line makes the biggest turn there.

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Tracks

For the tracks I'd say you're only going to use a non-overlapping or barely overlapping jib (~105% max). If so, they should be ABOUT 8 degrees from centerline. Orient the track fore-aft, not pointed toward the headstay (this way as you move the block forward it makes the sail fuller). if your boat has daggerboards 8 degrees is about right; however if it has mini-keels than something like 10 would be right because it simply won't point at a higher angle. Think Catalina 27 pointing angles. Not sure why you need/want 2 tracks each side?

 

Hunky

Member
56
5
NW Alaska
Thanks Zonker. I'm guessing for the tracks there's no need to be forward of the mast much? The design did mention 9 degrees - it has daggerboards. The rope in the pic was for the centerline from the headstay.. and I pointed the track at the headstay at an arbitrary distance from the mast on an 9 degree angle. Not sure if they need to point to headstay, and whether the track can just be parallel to that 9 degree line spaced some distance from the mast which I don't know. That first picture would probably require two deck organizers to rout the lines from the mast.

Two tracks each side were shown on the original plans so that's why I thought of doing that. Pic below of plan from early 1990's. He may have updated it some by now. I haven't even thought yet about running the furler lines. Better give that some thought too.

The second pic is from another boat of same design where he originally laid out his track. Afterward he decided not to use it like that and re-oriented it to the last pic, which he said worked for him. This just adds to my sense of not knowing what is going on and my reluctance to move forward until I had some more input. So thanks!

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Jethrow

Super Anarchist
Having the tracks as per the bottom photo above is only OK if you aren't planning on using the headsail furled. As a higher aspect sail furls the car needs to go forward to keep the sheeting angle correct. If just using when all the way out the setup in the bottom photo can be used to adjust the sheeting angle in and out for upwind to reaching, kind of matching the self tacking track arc without all the bending needed.

 
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SCARECROW

Super Anarchist
5,998
684
Melbourne, Aus
The 8 degree sheeting angle on the drawing isn't going to happen on a bridge deck cruising cat for anything other than a storm jib.  Have a chat with your preferred local sail maker about what sheeting angle they would expect for the different sails you're likely to carry then work from there.  

 

Hunky

Member
56
5
NW Alaska
Thanks Jethrow and Scarecrow!  I expect I'll want to furl the headsail some - I think that would be good in stiff winds. So narrowing it down. And as for local sailmaker, wonder if there is one within a couple thousand miles of here. Actually, there is a local guy that is a mono-sailor - one of the first 100 pleasure boats through the northwest passage (don't quote me - I think that is what he may have said) that does advertise making sails, though I don't think he has made any locally yet. He probably knows more than I about it (even on a multi) so will also see if he can shed some light into my dim brain.

 

Hunky

Member
56
5
NW Alaska
Yep, that's true. Fewer turns the easier life is.

Tracks

For the tracks I'd say you're only going to use a non-overlapping or barely overlapping jib (~105% max). If so, they should be ABOUT 8 degrees from centerline. Orient the track fore-aft, not pointed toward the headstay (this way as you move the block forward it makes the sail fuller). if your boat has daggerboards 8 degrees is about right; however if it has mini-keels than something like 10 would be right because it simply won't point at a higher angle. Think Catalina 27 pointing angles. Not sure why you need/want 2 tracks each side?
Not sure I know what is meant by orienting the track fore and aft on an 8 degree line, but "not pointed toward the headstay". I think I understand why not to point it at the headstay from your description, but doesn't the 8 degree sheeting line point from the headstay? In the photo, I put a second rope from the location of the headstay toward the stern on a 9 degree line. The track is lined up on it. So how would the track not point toward headstay  - unless I more or less center the track on that line but have it point fore and aft parallel with the fore and aft centerline? BTW, that arrangement seems to require 2 deck organizers for the lines from the mast, unfortunately. 

Thanks so much for the replies from all - I appreciate the time you've contributed!

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Zonker

Super Anarchist
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5,616
Canada
 unless I more or less center the track on that line but have it point fore and aft parallel with the fore and aft centerline?
Yes, exactly.  See my picture. 8-9 degrees depending on how you think the boat will point.

But where exactly does the jib sheet go after the block on the track? Through the cabin windows seems well, awkward :)

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Mitre cut

Member
330
56
NZ
I have a cat with a similar deck arrangement and you dont need track, all these holes create leakage issues. Have a look at this ...

The jib sheet is the thick red line.  Blue  diamonds are padeyes with appropriate sized blocks. 

An adjustable cascade runs from the front padeye to a floating primary sheet block as shown with green line. Sheet runs in blocks at padeyes around cabin aft aft to cockpit. Gives infinite adjustment. 

Its simple and works very well. Get the best quality blocks you can afford, the adjustment can even be a tied off lashing if you are only using the same headsail Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 5.28.40 PM.png all the time.

 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
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5,616
Canada
A LOT of the pointing angle depends  on how big the cabin is relative to the boat's overall profile. If it's just a cuddy like the cat in the photo it won't be that bad.

I agree talking to a sailmaker about the sheeting angle is a good idea.

I used 11 degrees for a genoa on our cat that had to sheet around the spreaders (non typical cat rig) and it was spot on. (Daggerboard cat but pretty big bridgedeck cabin)

Floating blocks are a bit tricky if you're not a good sailor - too easy to get them wrong :)   

For reaching with the genoa we used a snatch block on top of the daggerboard (good lead to the cabintop primary winches)

I suspect the outer tracks were for reaching angles. But I wouldn't fit them; just a single block on the rail to sheet through.

 
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Hunky

Member
56
5
NW Alaska
But where exactly does the jib sheet go after the block on the track? Through the cabin windows seems well, awkward :) 
Well, hadn't planned on that. Perhaps a padeye and block to get it around the corner.. Here's what that other boat did:

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Hunky

Member
56
5
NW Alaska
I have a cat with a similar deck arrangement and you dont need track, all these holes create leakage issues. Have a look at this ...
This is interesting, though Zonker makes me question that solution as I'm "not a good sailor" yet. I especially like it as I can revert back to just one deck organizer per side I think, since the headsail sheet would be above with no track to route around.

 

MultiThom

Super Anarchist
1,745
392
Benicia, CA
You don't have to (at this stage) decide on track layout.  BUT, you might want to consider the ease of a self tacking jib since your sailplan is not set in stone.  If your full size jib is only 105%, I'd seriously consider making it even a little shorter of foot and longer of luff and self-tacking.  Down the line, you'll appreciate the less need to winch it in for each  tack.  

 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
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Canada
(I was only guessing at 105% based on the position of the tracks.)  While self tackers are nice, sheeting home a small jib like this is not tricky. 

And that's a small cuddy. It won't hurt pointing ability that much. If you have an autopilot make sure you mount the controls inside. Nothing better than sitting inside pushing buttons on a rough upwind passage. And VHF and depth sounder too (or at least right at entrance on swivel mounts so you can use them inside/outside easily.

Could you raise the track up on small spacer blocks (1" high) so you could run lines from mast underneath it?

Our 40' cat came with a slightly smaller cuddy when we bought it and it really pointed well without the big bridgedeck cabin.

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MultiThom

Super Anarchist
1,745
392
Benicia, CA
I'm in my first self tacking jib boat and so I'm an advocate.  Jib track cars are the traditional way to go, but looking at cruiser forums there are a lot of posts about "how to" convert to self tacking, so I thought I'd throw the idea out there.  One other thing; you can still eschew the track and just put an eye at the midpoint of where you would have put the track and have the sailmaker use a clew board instead of a single clew grommet.  Does the same thing as moving the jib track cars fore and aft (tight luff for light wind, tight foot for heavy wind, middle pull for most conditions).  At this stage of construction, can make things easier for yourself when you are actually out there.

 

Hunky

Member
56
5
NW Alaska
Nice ideas - I think I can relax a bit about this. I'll use one deck organizer regardless whether I go track (as Zonker suggests I can space it above lines) and it might not hurt to try Mitre cut's idea either.. with MultiThom's idea of self tacking jib, I have plenty of options. When I figure out where to get sails I'll discuss with them as well.. maybe even get some of Kurt's inputs. Reason I was in a fizz at this point was I figured it would be nice to have the hardware holes drilled/filled/drilled before paint and also on trying to develop a pattern for the non-skid. Drilling would probably not be a real issue.. just mask the area. And can always sand/grind the non-skid to adapt new hardware placement. Not really knowing much about all this didn't help.. but feel with your help I've gained a bit more understanding.

So next will be scrubbing down the boat in prep for a good sanding then renew the primer and paint. I actually first built this boat in 1993-94, launched it unfinished and just primed, with outboards (no sails) to get my foot in the door of a new small boat commercial king crab fishery. It was subsequently smashed by a barge in the small boat harbor, and then sat for over 20 years awaiting repair and finishing. So the last few years the repairs are done and I've done quite a bit of building it out as a cruiser. But hence the old looking paint in the photos.

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