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Reef lines jam in blocks when reefing

Feb 16, 2021
89
Hunter Legend 35.5 Bellingham
Relatively new boat to me. My reef lines jam in the block at the mast step every time I try to reef. It’s really annoying, not to mention potentially dangerous. Any thoughts as to how to address this? Is it due to the lines being too old? They seem still serviceable to me. In the picture, you can see the green and white line jammed between the mast and the block. It is not under load, it is just to demonstrate the point of failure. The problem exists in both the first and second reefing lines at the same block (pictured).
 

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Feb 17, 2006
5,102
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
Those look really big for reefing lines. What size are they? I would think reefing lines are 1/4" (6mm) or less. Those look way bigger. It could be the photo also since there is reference to compare line size.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,840
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
The sheaves look a little loose, which may be contributing to the problem. However, I think the big issue is the line is too large for the block. Try a line one size smaller.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,840
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Those look really big for reefing lines. What size are they? I would think reefing lines are 1/4" (6mm) or less. Those look way bigger. It could be the photo also since there is reference to compare line size.
A consensus opining this quick? ;)

On a 35 foot boat the lines would be ⅜ or 7/16, a ¼" would be pretty skimpy.
 
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Oct 24, 2010
2,399
Hunter 30 Everett, WA
Make sure the lines aren't twisted. You may need to unstring them to check.

Ken
 

BobH57

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Oct 23, 2019
77
Hunter 410 Solomons, MD
The reefing lines on my Hunter 410 are 7/16", as specified in the owners manual. As others have suggested, inspect the sheaves and the lines for twisting. You may also want to think about giving the lines a soak in water with fabric softener to soften them up a bit.
 
Feb 16, 2021
89
Hunter Legend 35.5 Bellingham
A consensus opining this quick? ;)

On a 35 foot boat the lines would be ⅜ or 7/16, a ¼" would be pretty skimpy.
I’m not sure what the spec is, but mine appear to be 5/16” when measured with calipers while under load. I suppose it’s possible they are 3/8” and have stretched down to 5/16” over time? I will try soaking and checking them for twist. Would fabric softener gum up the inner workings of the boom where the lines are run?
 

DougM

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Jul 24, 2005
2,183
Beneteau 323 Manistee, MI
Hard to tell, but either the lines have aged and/or swollen from their specified diameter.
I had not seen reef blocks attached tightly to the mast like that.
The sheaves for the reef lines on my Beneteau are at the front of the boom and drop straight down to swivel blocks at the base of the mast, then lead through line organizers back to the cockpit. The reef lines, I should point out, are internal to the boom.
 

Joe

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Jun 1, 2004
7,452
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Perhaps a less close up view would help. The jam is visible, but the rest of the set up is not, so it is impossible to tell where the source of the binding may be. If possible, kindly back up a foot or three and let us see how your lines are being run.
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,115
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
The lines appear faded with age and exposure. That could be the issue. A good long soak in mild soapy water. Then in a pillowcase and a wash or two in the washer using just water to rinse the lines may be enough to clean the dirt. I’m not a softener user. I think Practical Sailor had a recent article on cleaning lines. Regarding size the lines look a little large for the sheave and space between sheave and boom/mast.

The sheaves may need a cleaning to refresh their spin performance.

There is nothing like fresh running lines on a boat. The new lines have a factory applied lubricant and a better feel.

As you suggest the lines still may have some life left on the boat. This may just be doing less stressful work. Maybe as new fender lines.
 
Aug 12, 2018
134
Hunter 26 Carter Lake, Colorado
It looks like the blocks don’t swivel with the boom so maybe the line tends to jam if the boom is off to one side, as may be the case while reefing?
 

capta

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Jun 4, 2009
4,308
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
I believe your problem stems from the lines not leading in at the proper angle. You want a fair lead into the block so the line stays on the sheive at all times.
 
Feb 16, 2021
89
Hunter Legend 35.5 Bellingham
I believe your problem stems from the lines not leading in at the proper angle. You want a fair lead into the block so the line stays on the sheive at all times.
The line does feed into the sheave at a slight angle, which certainly doesn’t help the problem. If it fed straight, it most likely wouldn’t jam, but I don’t see a good route for rectifying the situation. It was rigged this way when I got the boat, and I’m not sure what mods may have been made from the original setup by Hunter. The reef lines run from the tack down through a fair lead on either side of the boom, then down to the offending block, where they are run back up to the boom and aft through the boom to their corresponding clew rigging (I assume to blocks within the boom) from which they are run back to the forward boom sheave and down to a swivel block at the mast step, then back to the cockpit. See attached picture showing the rigging at the mast. I assume they were installed aftermarket and worked without jamming when they were first installed, though the slight angle at which the lines feed into the offending block seems the cause. I am currently soaking then in hot fresh water with a small amount of laundry detergent in hopes they will run smoother. For a longer term solution, should I mount another fairlead above the offending blocks to ensure clean entry? Or are there other blocks I might be able to replace these with? I’m not keen on putting more holes in my mast than necessary, but I do want my reef lines not to jam.
 

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Jan 7, 2011
2,919
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
It looks like a pretty tidy setup.

My roller furler seemed like it would jam and not load the drum correctly. I replaced the furling line and bang! The drum loads great. I wonder how old (and stiff) your reef lines are?

Also, on my reef system, which is a bit different than yours, my lines that come down like yours often have a lot of “slop” in them….very loose. I wonder if that “slop” allows the line to get off the sheave and then jam… I don’t have a clue how to fix it though.


Greg
 

DougM

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Jul 24, 2005
2,183
Beneteau 323 Manistee, MI
Omit the blocks mounted between the boom and the mast base completely and go straight to turning blocks at the mast base. I can’t see where the intermediat blocks mounted to the mast Are even necessary.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,840
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Omit the blocks mounted between the boom and the mast base completely and go straight to turning blocks at the mast base. I can’t see where the intermediat blocks mounted to the mast Are even necessary.
:plus:
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,115
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
It sounds like the way the reefing is rigged, the line serves to reef the tack and the clue with a single line. While this will work there will be extra friction at the tack as the line tries to haul down the sail. At the same time the line is working to shorten up the clew. The offending blocks appear to be turning the line from the tack to the out haul. I suspect the block is needed.

I would want to see the whole of the operation before attempting to resolve the issue.
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,530
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Omit the blocks mounted between the boom and the mast base completely and go straight to turning blocks at the mast base. I can’t see where the intermediat blocks mounted to the mast Are even necessary.
Are they adding purchase? Might be better to first ascertain why they are there.
 
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capta

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Jun 4, 2009
4,308
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
The line does feed into the sheave at a slight angle, which certainly doesn’t help the problem. If it fed straight, it most likely wouldn’t jam, but I don’t see a good route for rectifying the situation. It was rigged this way when I got the boat, and I’m not sure what mods may have been made from the original setup by Hunter. The reef lines run from the tack down through a fair lead on either side of the boom, then down to the offending block, where they are run back up to the boom and aft through the boom to their corresponding clew rigging (I assume to blocks within the boom) from which they are run back to the forward boom sheave and down to a swivel block at the mast step, then back to the cockpit. See attached picture showing the rigging at the mast. I assume they were installed aftermarket and worked without jamming when they were first installed, though the slight angle at which the lines feed into the offending block seems the cause. I am currently soaking then in hot fresh water with a small amount of laundry detergent in hopes they will run smoother. For a longer term solution, should I mount another fairlead above the offending blocks to ensure clean entry? Or are there other blocks I might be able to replace these with? I’m not keen on putting more holes in my mast than necessary, but I do want my reef lines not to jam.
Perhaps two swivel blocks could replace the double block there now and improve things?
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,919
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I have those same blocks on my mast, and I think that they are required (or something similar) to reroute the lines as they come down from the tack cringle If you are sing single line reefing. You can’t run them into the boom from above…so they run down to the block, reverse direction and go up into the boom neck.

A couple of blocks at the bottom of the mast way work better if you have room, but I don’t know why the current blocks wouldn’t work.

I have gone back and forth on single line reefing, currently using a hook at th tack, and a reefing line on the clew. Much simpler line routing, and I think a way better reef. Yes, I have to go to the mast to put in or shake out the reef, but I don’t mind that..I usually put in the reef before I leave the dock if I am in doubt.

Greg
 
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