Running Lines aft on a Potter 19

The 4 lines for putting the first reef in are on the starboard side.  From outboard to inboard they are arranged in order of use:

(1) Topping lift for boom (pink yacht braid)

(2) main halyard (black /red-flecked Vizzion, low stretch, low creep line with a vectran core),

(3) tack (front) for first reef (solid green dacron yacht braid), and

(4) clew (back) for first reef (white with green flecks, dacron yacht braid).

One the port side of the cabin top, there is provision for running four lines aft.  I presently run two lines for the second reef.   When I get a "chute" I plan to run the spinnaker halyard and pole lift line on the port side as well.

Cleats for reefing lines and halyards:

Of the four lines mentioned above, it is most important that the main halyard and the reef tack be very securely stopped.  Having your main come tumbling down unexpectedly is no fun.  If the line to the front grommet (aka the tack) of the reef  releases while the reef is in the mainsail, all the sail slugs will rip out of the mainsail.  I recommend using something that absolutely WON'T accidentally release the line if you trip while standing on the cabin top.  Rope clutches or old fashioned horn cleats are my favorite stops for main halyards and reef tacks.  

Cam cleats with safe working loads of about 300 pounds are adequate to do the job (get one with a 500 pound SWL for the main halyard), as long as you're very careful not to trip on the lines.  However, if you run 6 or 8 lines aft, you'll find it's difficult to fit them all on the cabin top.  Rope clutches take up less of the valuable space on the cabin top than other types of clutches.

I have one horned cleat as a back up on each side of the cabin top, just in case one of the rope clutches breaks down. I've never needed it, but it's nice to have a backup.


A few Practical Considerations:

When you're doing the planning for running lines aft, keep a few practical matters in mind:  You have to leave room for your feet on the cabin top.  It's dangerous to try to stand on rope -- you'll slip off it and get hurt.  If you run some of the reefing lines aft, run the main halyard aft too -- set it up so you aren't running back and forth from the cockpit to the mast. Also, every line you run aft takes a minute or two to rig and adds to setup time.  If you run too many lines aft, you'll be taking all day to rig!

If you don't want to run all the lines aft, then leave them all at the mast, so you can put a reef in without running back and forth all over the boat.

For an explanation on why I use two lines for reefing, and a tutorial on reefing, take a look at Reefing and Unreefing -- a link to everything you need to know about jiffy reefing.  From Kame Richards of Pineapple Sails, San Francisco Bay, CA, one of the Bay's premier sailmakers .

For a closeup of the organizer plate I used at the base of the mast, take a look at Mast Step Plates for running lines aft. Another good source for mast step organizers is Dwyer Mast Company.


Bach to Judy B's West Wight Potter Pages