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Disconnecting/Removing mainsheet while motoring?

May 21, 2020
2
Catalina 27 Annapolis, MD
Hi all, new sailor here, so first, thank you for any insights. Taking all the help I can get and trying to learn. I acquired an old '74 Catalina 27 over the winter. Been working on her all spring and now have been out a few times with the wife and young daughter. We would like to install a Bimini on the boat to give shade in the cockpit, however at the stern side of the boat the rigging is a bit different than many other boats I've seen / been on. Please see photo.

IMG_7623.jpg


The mainsheet on this boat connects to the boom about 2/3 of the way toward the stern side of the cockpit. So a Bimini is going to bump into that and not be able to cover the latter 1/3 of the stern. So, my question relates to using the Bimini while motoring. Would it be possible to remove/take down the mainsheet during motoring? This would allow that to clear out of the way (vertically) so that my Bimini could go further back toward the stern and cover the cockpit. Bimini would hit right at the back stays.

My thinking is I could set the Bimini up on track slides so that when sailing (mainsheet in use) I could have it at least cover the 2/3 of the cockpit up to where it would hit the mainsheet. But then if I can take the mainsheet down when motoring, I could slide the Bimini back to cover the stern final 1/3 of the cockpit, giving shade to all of the passengers (including the captain).

There IS a short steel line connected from the boom to the backstay on this boat. I assume that comes off while sailing, obviously, but I'm hoping it could keep the Boom held up and in place if I wanted and am able to take the mainsheet down during motoring, for the purpose of moving the Bimini back as described above. I'd need to figure out some kind of quick connect way to get mainsheet off easily for motoring and back on easily for sailing.

Any help would be appreciated! Many thanks
 
Oct 22, 2014
12,095
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Welcome to the Forum and congrats on the "new to you" boat.
As you will soon learn just about anything is possible given enough "Boat Bucks". What is a Boat Buck you ask?
"Break Out Another Thousand"... a Boat Buck.

You are likely going to have to manufacture your own Bimini or have one made that can accommodate the back stay and sail boat rigging. You might choose to improvise a tent over the boom and running out to the life line stanchions. You might find a golf umbrella or two and zip-tie them to the stanchions and an impromptu shade cover. There are many tricks attempted to provide shade and relief from the sun...

Being frugal, I have opted for a large brimmed sun hat $14.95 at Costco for those rare days when the sun peeks our from behind the Northwest clouds.

Just be sure that you use a good sun block to protect your skin. I have enjoyed the Harken product. There are many brands but get a good one.
 
Sep 24, 2018
805
O'Day 25 Chicago
I wonder if it would be reasonably possible to extend the boom so the mainsheet is at less of an angle. This would allow for greater bimini coverage
 
May 21, 2020
2
Catalina 27 Annapolis, MD
Thanks guys the solutions like umbrellas etc seem fine for when parked, but I’d like to have the Bimini up while sailing or motoring. I’m talking about just one of the $150-$200 aluminum ones that fold, available off amazon. Ive found one that has a height which lines up right under the boom which is great. I just need to be able to have it reach further toward stern (Slides back on its tracks) when motoring which is the use case for when I’m wondering if it’s possible to temporarily take off the main sheet.
@Hunter the one you posted looks too tall, looks like boom would have to be off to the side to make room for it.
Thanks for any guidance on this removing the mainsheet matter and thanks much for the warm welcome y’all!!
 
Oct 22, 2014
12,095
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
It would seem that if you have it above the Boom and you are not using the sails then on of the frames could sit above the boom, and the other behind the Back stay. When not in use collapse and attache to the back stay. When not sailing you'd have the Main tied to the boom and the Bimini could ride above the boom. Only issue would be while sailing.
 
Jun 11, 2004
920
Oday 31 Redondo Beach
Hi all, new sailor here, so first, thank you for any insights. Taking all the help I can get and trying to learn. I acquired an old '74 Catalina 27 over the winter. Been working on her all spring and now have been out a few times with the wife and young daughter. We would like to install a Bimini on the boat to give shade in the cockpit, however at the stern side of the boat the rigging is a bit different than many other boats I've seen / been on. Please see photo.

View attachment 179449

Would it be possible to remove/take down the mainsheet during motoring?


There IS a short steel line connected from the boom to the backstay on this boat. I assume that comes off while sailing, obviously, but I'm hoping it could keep the Boom held up and in place if I wanted and am able to take the mainsheet down during motoring, for the purpose of moving the Bimini back as described above. I'd need to figure out some kind of quick connect way to get mainsheet off easily for motoring and back on easily for sailing.
Yes. Should be easy. Just remove the top shackle that attaches the main sheet to the tang on the boom and replace it with a snap shackle.
Just be sure to get one that will take the load when sailing.

The wire from the back stay to the boom is a topping lift and should support the boom just fine. And yes, that comes off when you have the main sail up.
 
Jul 19, 2013
57
Pearson 31-2 Boston
This one looks like it covers full cockpit
View attachment 179452
Hard to see where the mainsheet is here, but this setup consists of a dodger and a small , short bimini located over the aft end of the cockpit, with a connecting piece between the two. The connecting piece would be removed if sailing. I expect the bimini is as sort as it is due to the mainsheet location as with the OP boat.
 
Sep 22, 2018
1,257
Hunter 216 Kingston
Yes. Should be easy. Just remove the top shackle that attaches the main sheet to the tang on the boom and replace it with a snap shackle.
Just be sure to get one that will take the load when sailing.

The wire from the back stay to the boom is a topping lift and should support the boom just fine. And yes, that comes off when you have the main sail up.
4CD2FF58-EB27-4C73-A539-E05D754D7A3E.jpeg


I’m not sure the cable is the topping lift as there is something else that is angled upwards towards the mast. Perhaps the wire coupled with a little tension on the mainsheet keeps the boom from flopping around.

If that is how the wire works in conjunction with the mainsheet then removing the main would defeat its purpose.

Even with the main sail down the boom is going to catch some wind when motoring. If the boom is slopping side to side because nothing is holding it still that wouldn’t be good IMHO.

How much play is there in the boom swinging with the cable attached?
 
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Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
6,987
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
That's not a topping lift... it's the pig tail and it's only purpose is to hold up the boom when the sail is down... period. Don't use it at all if you have the sail up. The topping lift holds the back of the boom up when sailing... and it is usually adjustable …. which you'll soon learn why when you go out sailing.
As far as disconnecting the mainsheet... only with the sail down... all you need is an easier opening shackle that the screw type. You can splurge on a pricey snap shackle... or use a more reasonably priced halyard shackle... it'll have a levered, notched pin to open and close.

Okay... please don't get riled when I offer you this piece of advice.... I've owned my C27 for 21 years... and the boom connection for the mainsheet is probably one of its weak points.. in that the swinging motion can (and has, in my case) work the bolt loose in the end cap....and disconnect the mainsheet from the spar entirely.... Ooopss!!! So... what most of the other C27 guys I know do is LASH the shackle directly to the boom as a backup connection with a length of polyester webbing. In fact, you'll see many race yachts do that... just for the reason I mentioned. For that reason... I would not make the mainsheet so easily detachable on the C27.

This means that you can make the Bimini extend to just in front of the mainsheet below the boom. And if you want shade on the stern rail... add another small one, or rig an umbrella. I honestly think you'll be better off with the Bimini extending over the hatchway... like a dodger... because you'll be able to keep the interior open and shady and even drier.. I just don't think that extra 2 feet behind the boom is going to make a lot of difference... you haven't even taken the boat out yet... so how can you know what you'll need....
Another solution is to extend an awning from the back bow frame to the push pit if the sun is low and behind you.
Finally.. be sure your frame brackets on the coaming don't interfere with your winches...
Oh... another thing... when you're motoring and there are waves... leaving the mainsail up, or up and reefed, and dropping the headsail is a way to keep the boat more stable easier to handle. Wow... too much info.. have fun!
 
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danm1

.
Oct 5, 2013
94
Hunter 34 Mamaroneck, NY
I'd slice the bimini from one side to go around the sheet, and have velcro to hold it back together while up. That's the way my bimini splits around the backstay.
 
Jul 27, 2011
3,691
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
That's not a topping lift... it's the pig tail and it's only purpose is to hold up the boom when the sail is down... period.
I was on the verge of pointing that out myself.:thumbup: But I think a topping lift is redundant if there is a pig tail. A fully-hoisted mainsail keeps the boom suspended while sailing.
 
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Jun 11, 2004
920
Oday 31 Redondo Beach
I was on the verge of pointing that out myself.:thumbup: But I think a topping lift is redundant if there is a pig tail. A fully-hoisted mainsail keeps the boom suspended while sailing.
Not t to be argumentative, but it is a topping lift. Although maybe useful for sail trim a topping lift doesn't need to be adjustable. A topping lift holds the end of the boom up. That is what a "pig tail" does. So a pig tail is a topping lift.

"The main purpose of the Topping Lift is to hold the boom up when the sail is not raised."
" topping lifts are primarily used to hold a boom up when the sail is lowered. "
 
Jul 27, 2011
3,691
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
A topping lift is a line. It’s essentially the same thing as an up-haul. They are lines used to lift or raise spars. A pig tail is not a line. It is not used to lift or raise a spar. To use a pig tail, YOU must lift the spar (boom) up to the pig tail to attach. The height of the spar cannot then be altered; it’s fixed in place by the pig tail. Thus, in my opinion, a pig tail does not equate by definition to topping lift. To be more precise, we’re discussing the boom’s topping lift as opposed to the spinnaker/whisker pole’s topping lift, etc., as another example of a topping lift. It’s not a line specific to the boom.
 
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Feb 26, 2004
20,998
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
and replace it with a snap shackle.
Snap shackles are a bane!!! Please do not use one. Why? They come undone at the most inopportune moments. I've removed them ALL from my boats over the years, since 1983.
all you need is an easier opening shackle that the screw type.
A simple halyard shackle would work. Just get a simple captive D shackle, doesn't need to be a screw type either, just a click.
 
Nov 22, 2011
746
Ericson 26-2 San Pedro, CA
I was on the verge of pointing that out myself.:thumbup: But I think a topping lift is redundant if there is a pig tail. A fully-hoisted mainsail keeps the boom suspended while sailing.
I don't quite follow this. Wouldn't you want a topping lift when it comes time to reef the main? I don't think the pig tail would be much good in that case.
 

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
6,987
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
I was on the verge of pointing that out myself.:thumbup: But I think a topping lift is redundant if there is a pig tail. A fully-hoisted mainsail keeps the boom suspended while sailing.
Your right in the redundancy point, but in a opposite way. The pig tail, which is a short pennant attached to the backstay is there simply to hold the boom up and out of the cockpit when the sail is down. That's all it does.
While a topping lift also keeps the boom from dropping into the cockpit when the sail is down. Its main function
is to support it in its arc of lateral movement. It is designed to hold the boom in position when the air is light and wanting to distort the mainsail. The boom has no lateral movement when attached to the pig tail... essentially making the boat un sailable. I got rid of the stupid thing almost immediately when I acquired my current boat. It might have a function if you leave your boat on a mooring... but I'd be more apt to build a collapsible boom gallows for that... then you'd get absolute stability.

You can use the topping lift and the main sheet to stabilize the boom while the boat is resting.... Opposing forces, you see. And it is most stable if you push the traveler down to one side (opposite the one you normally board) to lessen possible swinging generated by the boat's movement at anchor.

\ I won't get into sail trim functions of the boom topping lift... since the subject has been discussed ad nauseum and can be somewhat controversial.... just realize that any discussion of the boom topping lift will assuredly bring up the proponents of the rigid vang(or a boom kicker). I installed the garhauerer rigid vang many, many years ago because the TL became a nuisance once I rigged my new, large roach mainsail. What a revelation!.. I wrapped the TL around the backstay and haven't used it since. Now I use the main halyard clipped to the back of the boom instead of the TL when the boat is asleep.
 
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Jul 27, 2011
3,691
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
I don't quite follow this. Wouldn't you want a topping lift when it comes time to reef the main? I don't think the pig tail would be much good in that case.
My Pearson 30 that we owned and sailed for 11 yr had the pig tail and a boom topping lift. Although we reefed more than a few times through the years, I honestly don’t remember now if we used the pig tail. Slab reefing. I had to go forward; everything was done at the mast. So I imagine I tensioned the topping lift from there as well to support the boom as the halyard was eased. That said, the boat was usually stowed with the pig tail attached. I do seem to remember standing in the cockpit fighting to attach the pig tail with the mainsail flagging & boom bouncing around, before dropping the main. So, the topping lift was not our sole device for keeping the boom up when the main halyard was eased. Maybe “redundant“ was not accurate.

Now, of course, we have the rigid boomkicker on the Bavaria. That’s the way to go. But, we also have the topping lift. I don’t use it for sail trim. I mostly use it to support the boom when I’m using boom end as a “crane” attachment point for lifting dinghies and outboards, etc.
 
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Sep 14, 2014
908
Catalina 22 Pensacola, Florida
A topping lift that goes from the boom end to masthead and back down to base of mast comes in real handy when you lose a halyard up the mast or break one. also when used along with a main sheet attache to a loop comes in real handy to haul a man overboard back on board who cannot climb a ladder.