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Measuring sails for replacement

| Sail & Rigging | November 26, 2016


When you need a new sail, there are lots of options in the used sails market. Measuring sails for replacement will give you the information you need to purchase replacement. You will need to know the dimensions of the sails that you have or the rig dimensions. Either one will work and here we show you how to come up with the dimensions you need. There are basically two ways to get the information, first to find out the measurements from data found in various places. The second is to measure the sails you have or measure the mast and rig of your boat.

When a yacht designer specifies the rig dimension he uses these dimensions.

I             The mast height above deck

J             Distance from bow to mast

P            The mast from the boom to the upper end of the sail track and

E            The end of the boom to the mast

These dimensions are then used by sail makers to design the boats sails.


Discovering the I, J, P and E for your boat.

Here are two tools that you can use to find out the rig dimensions for your boat. Select the boat manufacturer from the drop down menu to discover the dimensions




Measuring a headsailmeasuring a headsail

To figure out how big your headsail is or needs to be you need to measure two basic dimensions. They are the Luff and the LP or Luff Perpendicular. The headsail is a basic triangle and two dimensions is all that’s needed. There are other details but these dimensions define the size.

Here we look at measuring the sail you have and want to replace. If you don’t have an existing sail to measure you will need to measure the rig.

Measuring an existing sail

All three corners of the sail have grommets where you attach the headsail halyard, the tack fitting and the sheets.

Measurements are from these points. So if you already have a sail that you want to replace, measure the luff length between the head and tack grommets and the LP (luff perpendicular) from the clew to the luff perpendicular to it.

Measuring for maximum luff hoist

Measure for Hanked-on Headsails

If you attach a measuring tape to your halyard and hoist it as far as it will go, then take the bottom of the tape and measure to where the sail attaches at the bottom end. The tack fitting maybe on the stem fitting or on the deck or on a furler. In each case measure to the bearing of the tack fitting

This is the maximum length you can use. Make an allowance for measurement accuracy and stretch. You need space for the sail to stretch under halyard tension.headsail on roller furler

Measure for sail on roller furler

The red line is the distance from the head fitting on the top furler and the tack fitting on the bottom drum.

Attach a tape to the top swivel, just as the sail would be attached. Hoist the top swivel up the mast with the halyard. When the top swivel is at its upper most point, lock the halyard. With the tape measure down to the tack fitting on the bottom drum.


Measure the LP of a jib

To measure the LP you can tie the end of a tape measure to the headstay. A loop of line can be tied around the headstay and then attach the halyard to the loop along with the tape measure. Now you can hoist the tape up the headstay. Pull the tape measure to the turning block for the headsail. Hoist the tape measure up the headstay until it lies perpendicular to the headstay. See diagram 1.

Typically LP are designated as a percentage of the J measurement. This is what is called the overlap of the headsail i.e. how far the headsail overlaps the mast.

Often you will see 103% or 130% or 150%. The 150% is generally the largest LP.

Measuring a Mainsail

Mainsails are easier to measure as there are fixed measurements P and E, which are the luff length and the foot length. The diagram courtesy of ORC shows a typical mast and boom with black bands.

















Finding the sail you need

How to find the right size sail for your boat on http://www.usedboatequipment.com/

Type  “luff 36” into the search box and you will get the listings with luff lengths with 36 feet and x inches. Chose the sail that fits.

Used Boat Equipment sail search















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Mainsail Reefing Systems

| Sail & Rigging | June 18, 2015

Leisure furl boom furler

Mainsail Reefing Systems

The Annapolis sailboat show has many racers and cruisers on show. So in October we took the opportunity to see how each type, cruiser or racer, tackles mainsail reefing. This was a great opportunity since all the major boat manufacturers and brands are on display. See survey below.

Mainsail Reefing; there are 3 types

Slab reefing systems incorporated 3 types. Bolt rope and slides, lazy jacks and Dutchman systems. The performance cruisers use systems to capture the mainsail when it drops, like the Dutchman and lazy Jacks systems. I was surprised to see so many lazy Jacks as IMHO the Dutchman system is the better system, as it flakes the sail as its drops, but it is also more expensive. Performance orientated boats including the racers tend to go with slides or bolt rope and slab reefing.


In mast furling is a very popular method of main sail handling as its found on many of the major production Boats.

Roller furling Booms are typically found on high end and larger boats and many use the Leisure Furl from Forespar. Boats in this category are the Trintella, Morris, Hylas, Friendship etc. Hylas had the GMT boom.

Mainsail Slab reefing

Slab reefing is the most traditional & simplest form of reefing. You only need some grommets in the sail and some blocks and reefing lines to make this system work.

slab reefing

How slab reefing works

Harken page slab reefing layout and equipment

The slab reefing system is the cheapest simplest and easiest to add to your main. This Harken diagram details the blocks and lines you need to assemble a slab reefing system.

Video tips on slab reefing

Single Line reefing makes slab reefing simple. Instead of a reef line for the tack and the clew, there is one line for both. The process of reefing involves easing the main halyard to the desired point and then taking up on the single reef line. The line starts by pulling the tack of the main down tightening the luff and then the load automatically pulls the leech tight.

Slab Reefing works with a bolt rope or luff slides and can be incorporated with either Lazy Jacks or the Dutchman system.

The other types of reefing are in Mast Furlers or in Boom Furlers.

In Mast Furling

The basic design is a roller furler unit fitted inside a mast section that has a slot in the aft end that the mainsail rolls in and out of. This mast section is larger than normally required and may require less spreaders due to the extra stiffness. The mainsail because it furls like a jib cannot support battens, hence the mainsail needs to be cut with leach hollow like a jib/genoa.


in Mast furler

A list of production yachts at the Annapolis Boat Show using In mast furling include; Jeaneau, Hunter, caliber, Gozzard, Fingulf, Oyster, Hylas, Halberg Rassey, Bavaria, Island Packet, Catalina 6, Dufour, Beneteau, cruisers, Passport, Robi, Impression, & Wauquiez,

The Sparcraft in mast furler is one example of in mast furlers, see image.

Points to consider & potential problems;

In mast furling although a very convenient furling system it does has its pitfalls. The Z Spars link to in mast furling help describes some of the pitfalls and how to overcome them.

Boom Furling

The Boom Furling system works similarly to slab reefing. The main halyard is dropped and the lower part of the main sail is rolled up into a mandrill located inside the boom.

One critical feature of boom furlers is the angle of the boom to mast. This is specified by the manufacturer and you will need some sort of solid vang to control this angle.

boom furler

A list of production yachts at the Annapolis Boat Show using Boom furling include; Hylas 70ft, Trintella, Niad, Cabo Rico, Westsail 42, Saga, and Tartan 4400.

There are several Boom furlers including Schaefer BoomFurl, GMT PowerFurl and FurlBoom and Forespar/Leisure furl among others.

Forespars Coastal system

Forespars Coastal system is the smaller boat version of the Leisure furl boom furler and is shown on the Catalina 30 pictured below. The coastal system has the furling drum in the boom at the aft end and so does not go through the mast, unlike the traditional Leisure furl.

Survey Annapolis Boat Show 2008

The survey is based on all boats over 28ft. The boats using In mast furlers are the larger production builders, Catalina, Hunter, Beneteau, Island packet etc.

In Mast Furler

Reefing type & # boats with system

In Mast Furlers 54
Boom Furlers  14
Slab reefing bolt rope  28
Slab reefing sides and Lazy Jacks  37
Slab reefing sides and Dutchman system 11


Since this survey was done in 2008 we have checked the results every year and similar patterns show today as did then.

So if you wonder which is the most popular reefing system it seems slab reefing is. We broke out the 75 boats with slab reefing into 3 parts, Bolt rope, Lazy jacks and the Dutchman system.

A list of production yachts at the Annapolis Boat Show using Slab reefing include; Impression, Dufour , Southerly, Outbound, Fingulf, Valiant, Delphia, Grand Solie, X41, Wauquiez, J Boats, Shannon, Catamarans, marla, Geronimo, Fountain Pajot, Alerion, Etap, Sabre, Hanse, Tartan, Caliber, Sunsail, Moorings, Hunter, Morris, Crealock

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Lazy Jacks

| Sail & Rigging | May 2, 2015

Installation; Mainsail handling systems

The following articles describe the various systems available to handle sails without having to or reduce the amount of manual labor required to handle them.

These systems make it easy to raise lower and reef the sail . First up are Lazy Jacks which are the cheapest and easiest method of handling a mainsail.

Lazy Jacks

vendee roxy

The Lazy Jacks sail system is a method of containing the main sail when its lowered or during reefing. Lazy jacks are the simplest and cheapest mainsail handling system available. The Lazy Jack lines are installed either side of the mainsail; attached high up in the mast and down to either side of the boom. Since the jacks are either side of the mainsail it can be dropped and is captured between the lines.

Lazy Jacks will not flake the sail neatly as the Dutchman system does but it will hold the sail on the boom.

The picture shows Roxy finishing the Vendee Globe race and you can see the lazy jacks attached to a white cover along the length of the boom. These Sailors choose Lazy jack systems over Dutchman due to the extreme conditions they sail in. If the mainsail gets blown around the vertical lazy jacks capture the sail.

Lazy Jacks V Dutchman

Harken single leg system and double leg inset


The difference between Lazy Jacks and the Dutchman system is the lines of a Lazy Jack system are positioned either side of the mainsail, while the Dutchman line goes through the sail. The mainsail is stowed between the Lazy Jacks.

The Lazy Jacks lines capture or cradle the mainsail as it drops. Lazy Jacks will work with a mainsail with a bolt rope, while the Dutchman system needs slides.

The Lazy Jack system is much cheaper than a Dutchman system and no modification of the sail is required (although full battens work better),

The lazy jacks are attached to the mast with pop rivets or screws and the same at the bottom end . This process is relatively cheap and fast although you will need to go aloft.

With a Dutchman system when you are reefing or dropping the mainsail in heavy wind conditions the Dutchman filament lines drag on the discs and that may prevent the sail dropping easily. This is why the Vendee round the world racers use Lazy jacks.

lazy Jacks Layout (number of legs)


The lazy jacks start with one line mounted high up on the mast. This one line then splits in to two more lines and its possible to make as many legs as you need.


The simplest system has just one top leg and splits into two bottom legs. You can ad more bottom legs as required for larger mainsails.





The 60 foot long Vendee Globe boats like Roxy and PRB have 3 legs which split into 7 legs for the very long boom they have. You can add as many legs as you like, but I would follow the boat manufacturers recommendation.


Lazy Jacks installation tips

The best results with Lazy Jacks is by using full length battens. Short or regular batters end up getting caught in the Lazy jack lines. With full length battens the mainsail folds down in a stiff manner in between the lines and does not flop around.

When you hoist the mainsail and its fully raised the lazy jack lines should have some slack in them. The slack  allows the mainsail to set properly.

harken lazy jacks

The Harken Diagram, shows the lazy Jack legs being held outboard at the spreaders, which helps separate the sail, from the Lazy Jack Legs.

The boom cover will need to be modified unless you pull the Lazy Jack line lined forward after the sail has been dropped and secured. The modification includes slits and zippers or Velcro where the Lazy Jack Lines attach to the boom.

Lots of sailboat classes have descriptions on the Class forums about how to install Lazy Jacks or Dutchman systems.Lazy jacks and Mainsail cover

PRB Vendee globe racer


If you combine the Lazy Jack system with a mainsail luff track and slide system, the front of the sail may flake itself somewhat, and then you can tidy up later.

In the case of the vendee Globe boats the lazy jacks are attached not directly to the boom but to canvas which is in turn attached to the boom. This picture of PRB, shows how the canvas captures the huge mainsail on these boats. Stack packs are versions of this concept.


Lazy Jack Manufacturers

It is quite feasible for you to make your own Lazy Jack system, many do. However buying a pre made kit takes some of the time out of the project.

Harken and Schaefer are two of the manufacturers for lazy Jacks. The Schaefer system is a bit more expensive, but has a feature allowing the lazy Jacks to be pulled forward which removes the need for boom cover modification.

Each have sizes based on boats length from 21ft to 48 ft. Both are available through the links below.

Most of marine stores have ready to go Lazy jack systems. All you need to do is install the legs, all the lines blocks and cleats are provided.

The Ezjacks system lets you pull the lazy jack lines forward. This enables you to use your existing mainsail cover. Otherwise you will need to modify you main cover with slits where the lower legs meet the boom.


Other Sail handling systems

    • Mainsail Furling and Reefing systems
    • Lazy jacks
    • Dutchman system
    • Roller furling systems (headsails)


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Mast Boot

| Sail & Rigging | April 4, 2015

This Mast Boot is from Windblown products and is a self amalgamating Tape. Jay Herman developed this product using his extensive knowledge Rigging Cruising and Racing Sailboats over 30 years.mast boot

Due to the variety of mast partners and mast sections to deal with Jay sought out a tape that would bond to itself and to the mast and deck.

He ended up with this self amalgamating 5 inch wide rubber tape. the tape is very easily applied and will provide a complete waterproof seal to your mast partners in one application.


Unlike hard plastic mast boots, this self amalgamating tape can fit any mast size.The tape which is a wide 5 inches seals to the mast partners and to the mast and to itself, providing a complete seal, without needing hose clamps, glue or Duct tape.

mast bootThe picture of a J/122 using Windblowns mast boot demonstrates how clean it looks. (See the video below for application.)

Mast Boot application Video demonstration

Purchase here

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Sail Repair

| Sail & Rigging | April 3, 2015

Sail Repair

Dr Sails is a two-component epoxy adhesive ideal for fast and flexible and underwater curing and is especially designed to repair sails.

Companies like saillrite make sewing machines so sailors can repair sails, but they are expensive and bulky, so not very practical for onboard use. DrSails being a flexible glue that will work with wet substrates and sail material is a simple solution for sail repair.

There are some excellent examples of current sailors using DrSails and that is the current Volvo round the world race. During the race there are legs which stretch out for thousands of miles and to be able to fix damaged sails is a top priority. Out of all the teams most have opted for DrSails adhesive while one team opted for a sewing machine.

So what is DrSails; it has a fast cure time (8 min) and can be applied on wet surfaces
Once cured DrSails is pliable and flexible which makes it idea for repairing sails. DrSails is ideal for gluing sail cloth, fiber glass, carbon, Kevlar, metal, wood and neoprene. Its easy to apply with the supplied mixing nozzle.


Dr Sails Epoxy Adhesive

dr sails
DrSails is an epoxy adhesive developed to repair and mount various applications on a sailboat. It can be used to glue fiber glass, carbon, metal, wood, wetsuit and can even be used to repair sails. What makes DrSails unique is the fact that is stays flexible and therefore is shock-resistant. It can also be applied on wet surfaces or even under water.

DrSails is a 2-component adhesive that will be mixed by the unique nozzle and therefore it is always ready to use.

Key Features:
Working Time: 8 minutes
Working Temperature: Tested Range: -9 oC to 22oC
Can be applied on wet and/or greasy surfaces
Easy to apply with the supplied mixing nozzles
Suitable for Fiberglass, Carbon Fiber, Sailcloth (Mylar, Dacron, Kevlar, Thecnora, Twaron), Wood, Metal, Leather, Neoprene & Plastics
Flexible: 4.5MPa flexural strength (ISO 178). Flexible as a PU, structural as an epoxy.
Structural: Reaches over 200kg/cm2. Ideal for bonding a full range of materials such as metals, wood, composites, sailcloth, wetsuit and plastics.
Underwater: Bonds under fresh, salty or even sparkling water. It also bonds under fuel or gasoline.
Elongation: 108% at elastic limit
Shelf life: 36 months.

Volvo Ocean race competitors using DrSails for sail repair

Dr Sails web site

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Replacing your Standing Rigging

| Sail & Rigging | February 12, 2015

Rigging Inspection

cracked swage

There are no hard and fast times to replace your boats standing rigging, so regular inspection will help you know when to replace any stays. At the end of the season a thorough check leaves you time to make changes, while a quick check at the beginning of the season for clevis pins cotter pins etc. makes sure your rig is secure.

When inspecting your boats rigging check for;

    • Clevis & cotter pins
    • Cracks in swages and studs (see image)
    • Damage to wires (see image)
    • Damaged to turnbuckles

T Tterminal wire damage

During an inspection you find a shroud which has some issues. This observation becomes a concern and you inspect other parts of the rig and you see a couple of problems.

How do we go about fixing any problems.

    • Replace the wire part A
    • Replace the whole shroud B
    • Or Replace fittings



mearuring length

The answer is it depends on the damage. If the swage is cracked or the wire frayed, and the turnbuckle is OK, then you could just replace the wire. If the damage is local to the swage fitting or its cracked you could cut it off and replace with a swageless fitting with a extra long stud. For the DIY enthusiast this is a simple operation.

If just the turnbuckle is damaged this may be all that needs replacing. If the wire and the fitting is damaged the whole shroud should be replaced. This may be one shroud or the whole set of stays.

Whichever it is well look at how to do this.


Shroud Replacement (what you need to know)


Once you have figured out what you are replacing, the next step is how.

1;            Remove shrouds and give to Rigger

To do this it’s best to have the mast pulled during the winter or any downtime. If you remove the shrouds and send them to a rigger it’s almost unnecessary to do much more, as the rigger will be able to reproduce. If they have any questions they can ask for additional details.

2;            Measure rigging and order to swap out later

Measure rigging and order replacement for swapping out old for new at a later time. If you measure the rigging and send dimensions to a rigger for them to build replacements, this involves a lot more knowledge plus measuring in situ can be problematic.

3;            Replace yourself

Swageless fittings allows a boat owner to replace stays himself. You can replace one shroud at a time or if the mast is removed you can pull all the shrouds at one time.


Shroud details you need to know

    • Wire diameter
    • Clevis Pin diameter; these are sized to wire diameter.
    • Length of shroud (see measuring)
    • Terminal types; marine eye, fork, t terminal
    • Mast Tangs and backing plates
    • Turnbuckle stud thread diameter and hand right or left



Identify your Fittings

Main types of Sailboat Rigging Terminals

    1. Marine eye  / Marine jaw
    2. Stemball terminal
    3. T Ball Terminal
    4. Turnbuckles and studs

Top end

Marine eye, jaw, stemball and T Ball terminal

For these fittings you’ll need the tang type wire diameter plus the pin size

Tangs and backing plates; if you replacing shrouds make sure you have information on the existing mast tangs and plates so you can match to new fittings. Some T-Terminals are no longer made and new ones may have a different shape and the Gibb style T-ball may not fit into those backing plates.


Bottom end

marine eye, double jaw closed body turnbuckle, swaged stud, swaged open body turnbuckle

For these fittings you need wire diameter, clevis pin diameter, turnbuckle Stud diameter, and thread direction.

Note for a given wire size the thread could have 3 diameters. For example ¼ wire fittings can have a 3/8, 7/16 or ½ inch diameter.

If you have a turnbuckle stud at the bottom end you will need to know the wire diameter and the hand of the thread,

StaLok  Guide to Identify left or right hand threads



What sizes do you need; pin to pin dimensions, the wire size, terminal identification and terminal pin size are important. Some riggers use the pin centre as the definition of one end, other use the bearing point.

bearing points

bottom end bearing point


To measure a shroud, bang a nail into a suitable surface. Hang the shroud terminal on the nail and then hook the measuring tape on the same nail. Stretch out the shroud and tape, puling tight.


mearuring length

If you are making a whole new shroud you should measure the old stay and then when making the new one set the turnbuckle 2/3 open.

Turnbuckle 23 open

With the  turnbuckle 2/3 open, you have enough room to tighten the stay once the mast is stepped. Rigging stretches so the extra length to tighten the stay will be very beneficial. This 2/3 open is an Industry standard although some may set them at 1/2 open.


Replacing a terminal without replacing whole shroud


T Tterminal wire damage

One advantage of swageless terminals is they can be made by the DIY boater.

Advantages of swageless fittings

    • No need for specialized tools
    • Replace a shroud in the middle of an Ocean
    • You do not have access to a rigger
    • Replacing yourself DIY saves money

See this link for a full explanation of swageless fittings


In the example shown in the image (wire damage close to T Terminal), well show you how to fix this problem with swageless extra-long studs. Diagram A shows a normal swage above a extra long swageless fitting. The two lines show

Difference between normal swage and extra long swageless

where the wire ends inside the fittings. The distance between the two lines is how much can be gained by using a long swageless fitting. If you have the damage to wire and the damage is limited to 2 inches or less from the swage fitting then it’s possible to cut off the swage fitting and replace with a swageless fitting with a long stud.


Lets see how this works in practice with 1/4 inch wire. For this we need to look at the specs for normal and long fittings.

Navtec Norseman

The difference between c and b is what can be gained in length (diag B).

Specification Norseman fittings for ¼ inch wire; For 1/4 diameter wire with 1/2 inch thread; C = 5.71 inches, B = 3.27 inches

C-B = 2.44  inches which is the distance gained by using an extra long fitting.

Link to Noresman specs gives us the dimensions of B and C in the diagram B.




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Sailboat Standing Rigging

| Sail & Rigging | December 31, 2014

Swaged Rigging Terminals


swage machine

Sailboat rigging is simple in concept once you have a basic understanding. There are several parts which all work together to support a mast and sails. To make sure that your rig stays in one piece there are a few things you should know. Most mast failures occur from a simple loose cotter pin, frayed shroud or a cracked fitting. In this article we will be looking at Swaged Rigging Terminals, to help you understand what you may have and what other options are available.


Most sailboats rely on swage fittings at the terminals of wire shrouds. Swaging is the compression of the fitting onto the end of a wire by a roll swage machine. Therefore unless you have access to a swage machine you have to get a professional rigger to make them for you.

Swaging is different from Nicopress Type Swages which is the compression of a wire thimble over a wire to form an eye.

There are other wire terminals, swageless mechanical terminals, such as Noresman and Sta-Lok rigging terminals. These fittings can be installed by the DIY boat owner without any specialized tools.  We will look at these in another section in this sailboat rigging series.

Main types of Swage Sailboat Rigging Terminals

    1. Marine eye  / Marine jaw
    2. Stemball terminal
    3. T Ball Terminal
    4. Turnbuckles

Wire Terminals are normally made from Type 316 stainless steel.


1                   Swage Marine Eye


marine eye

These are the most common rigging terminals on sailboats. There are lots of sailboats with this setup of wire rigging with Marine eye ends attached to a stainless steel tang. Tangs are through bolted through the mast from one side to the other with compression tubes so the tightening won’t crush the mast wall. Now all you need to make is a set of wire shrouds with a marine eye at the top end. As well as Marine eyes and forks there are Aircraft eyes and forks. These are thinner than Marine eyes and often used for lifelines.


The picture above shows a simple single spreader rig, using Swaged Marine Eye’s with through bolted Tangs.

masthead Marine eye

The tang and eye fittings are the most popular seen on sailboats especially older ones. They are easy to make and inspect for maintenance. They can easily be made by a DIY boat Owner. Tangs can be bought from retail stores or specialized sellers like Rig Rite. Left is a Masthead Tang for marine Eye.




2       Swage Stemball Terminal

With this fitting the Stemball sits in a Cupel which itself sits in a tang, spreader base or spreader bar. The Stemball can articulate in the Cupels so the shroud can self-align. Here are three examples of Stemball terminals

A;    Swaged Stemball in Cast Spreader base

Stemball and cupel

The cast spreader base with integral shroud attachments were popular in the late 80’s and later. They proved to be quick and cheap to manufacture. However the problem with these mast fittings is the weakness in the spreader castings that attach to the mast. When these fail the whole mast is at risk, so it becomes a one point failure.

stemball thru cast spreader base800

The Stemball seats in a Cupel which sits in one of the two cutouts in the spreader base. Notice the T Ball terminal just in front of the spreader.

B;   Stemball in Spreader bar

A spreader through bar is a more modern use of spreaders and stemballs. The stemballs are fitted into a spreader bar which makes the Spreader bars structurally very secure. They take the load from the Spreaders and transfer through the mast without putting undue pressure on the mast wall. This is probably the strongest mast spreader shroud combination. It does require very accurate machining and needs professional Mast makers and Riggers to manufacture. This solution is more expensive but the lightest and is used mostly on racing sailboats.


thrubar stemballdetail

The above picture shows a rig with a Spreader through bar in which the Stemball is secured. The through bar has a hole for Stemball and Cupel. The second hole is for the Spreader Clevis pin. When assembling this type of set up you need to install the spreader through bar, push the shroud through the hole and then install the spreader over the bar and secure with the clevis pin. To remove the shrouds you need to remove the spreaders.

C;   Stemball Tang is fitted into the mast wall

More modern thinking using Stemball fittings for larger cruising boats. The Stemball Tang is fitted into the mast wall below the spreader. This approach is a little easier to build as the precise position of the shroud is not so important. However it not as structurally secure as the shroud is relying on the mast wall to transfer the load to the spreader, but can be built without specialized equipment or machining. Because the design is not as strong as the through bar solution the fittings and mast wall are larger and therefore heavier, but this is not a concern for most cruisers.

stemball mast wall

The Stemball fits into a Stemball Tang which mounts in a cutout in the mast Wall. In this case the wire fitting is inserted into the tang and then the complete assembly is pushed into the cutout. The tang is then screwed or riveted into place. The shroud cannot be removed without the tang also being removed. In the above picture the shrouds are discontinuous. The uppers and intermediates are terminated at the spreader. The upper shrouds join at the spreader tip with a Marine Eye and Fork and a Long Clevis pin. The diagonal shroud has a swaged turnbuckle and Fork.

3       Swage T Ball Terminal

Swaged shroud T terminal, sometimes called round T ball Terminals and even LollyPop’s. With the backing plate installed in the mast wall the round T ball is inserted into the mast plate at 90 degrees and then the wire and T ball is rotated inline. The black plug is inserted to secure the shroud in place. These are the easiest shroud fittings to install. However they are not quite as strong as some others. The weak point is the curved bearing point. However convenience is a big factor in using these fittings.tterminalplug

T Ball Terminals & Backing Plate

A  Smaller Gibb style T balls on a J80

Gibb T ball terminals are the first of this type. Now there are other T ball terminals like the Navtec ones seen below.

J80 T ball terminal DETAIL

T Terminals can be removed just by removing the plug and turning the shroud through 90 degrees.

B  Navtec style T Ball terminal on 42 foot cruiser

natec T ball terminal DETAIL

Navtec style T Ball terminal are newer and better for larger sailboats as the designs have bigger backing plates and the T Ball sits closer to the mast wall and not inside as with the Gibb Terminals. T Ball Terminals can be removed without removing the backing plate. The shroud is turned through 90 degrees so the T ball can be removed. There is a rubber plug that is inserted after the T ball has been installed so that the T ball cannot accidently fall out.


4          Swage Turnbuckles

Whatever the fittings you have at the mast or spreaders the bottom ends depend on the chainplates fitted to the deck and turnbuckle you will use. When setting up the turnbuckle it should be 2/3 open. That way you have enough room to tighten and half the amount to loosen when tuning the rig. This 2/3 open is an Industry standard and is you need a replacement shroud the rigger will set up the turnbuckle 2/3 open to the length you prescribe. The image below shows a boat with two examples of turnbuckle attachments. The chainplates seen are typical straps of stainless steel. Either on the side or through the deck. Turnbuckles to fit these chainplate should have a toggled bottom. This is important so the toggle can align with the line and load of the shroud. Without a toggle at the bottom end the turnbuckle bottom thread can bend drastically reducing strength.


A             Swaged threaded turnbuckle; this open turnbuckle body has a toggle at one end and a swaged stud at the other. The stud is swaged to your wire and is the recommended solution in this case. The fixed eye Turnbuckle on the other shrouds are prone to bending as they do not have toggles.

gibb swage Turnbuckle open

B             Marine eye to fit on double jaw fixed turnbuckle

fixed jaw turnbuckle erigging

The issue with this fixed jaw Turnbuckle is that there is no toggle. If the chainplate is not aligned up properly with the direction of the wire than the threaded part of the Turnbuckle (i.e. weakest link) can bend. Also as the rig moves in relation to the boat there is no give. A toggle lets the turnbuckle properly align at all times with the wire.   Now you understand the various Rigging Fittings what can we do to maintain then and how long should they last. To be continued.


Rigging Terminology

    • Clevis pin
    • Cotter pin
    • Marine eye, marine fork
    • Shrouds
    • Swage fittings
    • Swage studs
    • Swageless or Mechanical fittings
    • Tangs stainless mast
    • Threaded stud
    • Toggle
    • Turnbuckle open or closed, toggled, fixed, fixed eye jaw, fixed jaw,

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Swageless Rigging Terminals

| Sail & Rigging | December 28, 2014

Swageless Rigging Terminals

An alternative to Swage Rigging Terminals are swageless terminals also called mechanical terminals.

The beauty of the Swageless fitting is it does not require specialized tools. All you need is a method of cutting the wire to length and then 2 wrenches. This makes them perfect for the DIY boater. This can save costs and in some cases you can make a shroud in an emergency when no swage machine is available.


How do Swageless fittings work?

Standing rigging is normally made from 1* 19 wire which has an outer layer and inner layers of wire (19 wires in total). Swageless rigging terminals do not rely on crushing the wire into a hollow fitting like a swage fitting they have a mechanical grip.

Swageless fittings work by trapping the wires between the body of the fitting and the cone which is position in between the wires outer and inner layers. When the body is screwed into the eye the individual wires are locked in tight and when shroud tension is applied the cone is pulled tighter into the body therefore increasing the grip.


How to Install a Swageless fitting

The image shows a Noresman swageless eye

noresman instructions

Noresman swageless mechanical wire terminals fitting steps

    1. First find the end of the wire and then slide the body of the fitting over it.
    2. Prize open the outer layers of wire
    3. The Cone should sit 1 1/2 times the diameter of wire from the end of wire
    4. Insert cone over inner layers
    5. Once cone is in place carefully twist wires back together. They should look like ‘a” in the drawing.
    6. Position eye over end of wire and push terminal body to meet eye
    7. Make sure you have the correct lay of wire to match the terminal
    8. Screw down eye and tighten using 2 wrenches. Locktite is used to stop the eye unscrewing.


Swageless terminals v Swaged terminals

Advantages swageless fittings

All you need; Wrenches 2, and a hacksaw
DIY saving cost of rigger
Emergency repair

Disadvantages Swageless fittings

High cost per fitting
Heavier and bulkier

Comparison of cost of fittings


Terminal Type Wire diameter- Pin diameter Cost
Marine eye  5/16″ – 1/2″ $34
Norseman Swageless Eyes 5/16″ – 1/2″ $57
Sta lok Swageless Eyes 5/16″ – 1/2″ $64
Hayn Swageless Eyes 5/16″ – 1/2″ $89

From this you can see the cost of a swageless fitting is quite a bit more and in the case of the Hi-Mod terminals over twice the cost. However if you are willing to make a shroud yourself you will save the riggers cost. One Company I found posted the charge for a swage for wire sizes 5/16″ to 1/2 ” to be $24. Therefore the true cost of a marine eye is $34 + $24 = $58 about the same as the Noresman fitting.

So quite possibly the Swageless shroud will cost less than a Shroud made with Swaged fittings from your rigger.


Swageless Manufacturer’s

Sta-Lok Swageless Fittings Sta-Lok the reusable alternative to swage. Easy to install. Only basic hand tools required. Guaranteed stronger than wire rope. For right hand and left hand lay wire rope. Packed for 1×19 wire as standard. Different wedges are available to terminate 7 strand and compacted wire ropes.  Sta Lok



Norseman Swageless Terminals Norseman terminals provide a completely secure end fitting. The standard terminal can be used on 1×19 strand, 1×19 Dyform and 7-strand rope, using the appropriate cones. They are approved by Lloyd’s Register of Shipping. Noresman Swageless eye



Hayn Hi Mod Swageless terminals Produced by Petersen Stainless Rigging and distributed by Hayn Marine in the USA. Hi-MOD terminals have a unique crown ring that assures the wires stay evenly spaced around the fitting, eliminating the need to bend the wires, assures the cone is in the proper place, and keeps the strands from dropping into the cone slot. Hayn Hi Mod



Main types of sailboat rigging terminals

As with swage terminals, swageless terminals are available with a variety of different attachment methods; eyes forks, toggles and threaded studs (for insertion in a turnbuckle barrel).

Link to Swage Rigging Terminals


Swageless Rigging Terminals

These fittings are used to connect wire rigging to mast and chainplates.

    1. Marine eye or
    2. Marine jaw and toggle jaw
    3. Stemball terminal
    4. T Ball Terminal
    5. Swage stud for use in Turnbuckles

When purchasing swageless fittings match the wire lay to the thread i.e. either right hand or left hand thread.




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Shipping a big mast & mizzen

| Sail & Rigging | December 9, 2014

 Complete Standing Rigging for C&C 62′ Ketch


Both Rigs have all fittings, spreaders, Goosenecks, sheaves, and assorted hardware.

    • Main: 81′ 4″ overall length 13 3/4″ x 8 3/4″ 34.8 cm x 21 cm
    • Mizzen: 51′ 9″ overall length 9 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ 23.5 cm x 14 cm

The booms have paint on them, they are white.

    • Dimensions are: Main: 20′ 10″ length 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ 21 cm x 13.5 cm
    • Mizzen: 13′ 10 1/2″ 6 7/8″ x 4″ 17 cm x 10 cm


Annapolis Rigging posted the above ad and a buyer came from Denmark. 

ketch rig box

So how do you ship a big Mast & Mizzen to Denmark?

The rig will go on a ship leaving Baltimore going to Rotterdam. From there it will go by truck to Denmark and the new Owners home.


So how did the transaction work;

The mast sold for $9,000. The buyer sent Annapolis Rigging a 50% deposit to secure the sale and to have the shipping crate built. The remaining 50% transferred when the truck picked up the mast. The buyer arranged for the shipping and knew the trucks schedule and the ships schedule. The buyer paid for shipping directly.


This 78 foot by 2ft by 2ft crate contains a main mast, mizzen mast, booms, rod rigging and many parts. The box is mostly for protection and storage, while the masts themselves offer the structural rigidity.

The crate will have two well marked designated lifting points as this package is very heavy.

When the box was lifted it weighed 3,500 lbs, measured by two load cells.

Annapolis Rigging


5550 total views, 1 today

Roller Furlers & Roller Furling systems

| Sail & Rigging | August 26, 2014

Roller Furlers & Roller Furling systems

In Mast Furler

Above Image Caliber 40 “Windom”, with in mast Furler

There are many reasons to put a roller furler systems on your boat. Convenience is the big one, to be able to set the sail and loose it quickly and without having to leave the cockpit is huge. Storage is another, you do not have to put the sail in a locker, saving space.

Whatever your reason for wanting a roller furler this article attempts to help your decision, by presenting each furler and their features.
We take a look at some of the most popular manufacturers of reefing systems and roller furling equipment, such as Harken, ProFurl, Schaefer, Reckmann etc.

We looked around and there is not much in the way of Roller Furler reviews, so we have attempt to give you an idea of how each one is different, what you should look for when choosing a furler and a price comparison.

Apart from issues in deciding which furler unit you need, we also discuss other aspects. Roller furlers are like any piece of mechanical equipment, they do come with issues that should be addressed. Then you know that its going to work, and not jam up when you least need it to. Also when using roller furling there are some considerations for your sail to get the best shape and life out of it.


Foil Furlers or Rope Luff Furlers

karver Top down furlerfMost traditional furlers use solid extrusions for the luff of the sail. The Foil sections can be aluminum, carbon or plastic. Simply pull the line on the furling drum and the foil turns. The sail attached to the foil is wrapped around the foil as it turns and is wrapped evenly from top to bottom.

Other versions of the furler are the Code Zero furler or Soft Luff Furler and the Top down furler. The advantage of the these rop luff systems is that they do not need Rigid Foils but a Anti-torsion rope so the whole furler can be lowered down to the deck while under way. Soft Luff furlers have two distinct types;

The Code Zero Furler is for a Code Zero or Gennaker, (cross between a Genoa and asymmetrical spinnaker). The Code Zero has a rope luff built into the sail, which is a torsion rope. This torsion (anti twist) rope transmits the furling of the lower drum to the top swivel. As the furling drum turns the top swivel turns almost at the same time. The Code Zero requires very high luff tension. You need to work with the sailmaker to get the torsion rope built into the luff. Link to Karver Code Zero Furler.

The Top Down furler is intended for Asymmetrical spinnakers. The reason for the name is the furling process. Because the sail is only attached to the top furler, (floats loosely on the bottom drum) it is only this part which gets wrapped when the furler line is pulled. As the furler turns, more and more of the sail gets wrapped around the rope luff and does so from the top down, hence the term, “Top Down furler”. This furler works well for spinnakers and sails that are set with a loose luff. The top down furler is an alternative to the Snuffer. No modification to the spinnaker is needed.


Solid Foil Furlers

For cruisers a Jib or Genoa works best with the solid luff extrusion furler, which we are discussing below.

Things to look for when choosing a Solid Foil Furler syste


Find out what type what arrangement and how many bearings there are with a system. Torlon is preferred Schaefer, Hood, and Harken use Torlon bearings.
Furlex Rondal and Reckmann use stainless steel bearings. Profurl uses carbon steel bearings which are housed in a lip seal. The issue here is if the seal gets worn through or damaged corrosion will occur.

Extrusions shape

There are various shapes of extrusion round or airfoil. Round is better for furling as it rolls the sail evenly. Airfoil or oval shapes are best for racing.

Extrusions weight

Airfoils sections are usually lighter with thin wall. Round sections like Schaefer are very thick walled and heavy. You also have twin groove for racing.

Extrusions connections

Some are plastic lined, others use screws or rivets. Its important that the extrusions do not come apart, as furlers are subjected to years of rattling which can undo even well seated screws. Screwed systems need to use Locktite to stop them coming out.


Harken MkIV, Schaefer and Profurl use your existing headstay so you can use them with a turnbuckle or not. Harken MKIII uses a turnbuckle body built into the furler drum and so some modification is necessary. With Furlex you get a new headstay w choice of (turnbuckle) rigging screw or not.

Independent tack swivel

A fully rotating tack swivel allows the sail to Furl from the middle first, which results in taking shape out of the sail. Furled sails tend to be quite baggy and so flattening helps. See also the section on sail shapes below.

Furlex has what they call turn free. This means the tack swivel turns almost 1 turn and then stops. The reason for this is the Hood Patent on the fully swiveling tack.

Drum diameter

larger drum diameters mean more leverage which reduces the load on the furling line. Harken MKIV has a better drum diameter to foil size than the MKIII which is one of its improvements.


Materials used include, injection molded plastic, cast aluminum, machined aluminum, investment cast Stainless Steel. Machined aluminum is best say for the halyard swivel.


Its very important to have toggles at top and bottom end of extrusion to allow for the sag of the headstay.


Lots more in the Full Article

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