Jib Sheet Turning Blocks

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Jib Sheets need Turning Blocks to winches to clear Fiberglass Rubbing?

Q: On my Catalina 34 (87), the port jib sheet runs to the port winch and is hauled clockwise. This, unfortunately, causes the line to rub on the fiberglass area just forward and outboard of that winch. No amount of fiddling with the line seems to get it to clear and the friction from the rubbing seems to make it more difficult to close haul the jib on that side. Since I bought my boat used, I'm not sure if it's always been this way or if it's suffering from some previous owners "good idea". Is this normal?

Rodney Grim

I suggest you add cheek blocks aft of the winches as now done on the new boats. I did it years ago for the same reason and to avoid the sheets abrading the dodger side panels. Garhauer has them at modest price and they're easy to do, but put in a decent thickness backing plate.

Charles Holder

We run the sheet through a block on the outside track (on the toe rail) and bring it into the winch at an approximate 135 degrees angle. This clears the dodger and any fiberglass.

Frank, Kik N Bak

Be sure that you get the turning blocks with ball bearings. When mounting these especially be careful with the starboard. With the sheet line wrapping clockwise, the sheet line will be come closer to the combing than on the port side. You may want to cut in a Beckson port in on the starboard to facilitate access to the backside.

Ron Hill, APACHE, #788

I found that it was necessary to use some angled teak spacer blocks under the Garhauer turning blocks to get good clearance to the fiberglass from the forward sheaves and provide good leads from the turning blocks to the winches. It's a very necessary upgrade. Another benefit is that the sheet won't tear the cover off your shore power inlet if you forget to screw it down.

Jim Moe, Windseeker #976

Thanks! Actually Charles's reply yesterday gave me just this idea. My boat is equipped with outside T-Tracks (but no spinnaker gear) so I slapped on a couple of spare Schaefer lead blocks towards the rear of the track, rerouted my sheets and my problem appears to be solved (I haven't sail tested this).

Rodney Grim

I have a MKI also, but my boat may be different. I didn't have the turning blocks installed when I bought it so I ordered the Garhauer units (beautiful quality at reasonable price) and installed them about as far aft as I could on the smooth fiberglass cockpit side. This cured a number of problems and makes it easier to single hand, as the jib sheets never get too far away from me. If you mount the blocks carefully, you can just barely get a good fairlead from the port block to the winch in the stock position without adding teak pads. Getting to the back of the starboard turning block bolts can be a challenge. When measuring, you have to be careful, or you will wind up putting holes in the aft ceiling. This was one of the first modifications I added to the boat after ball bearing blocks at the base of the mast. Both modifications made significant differences in ease of sailing. Another solution (easier and probably cheaper) address only the sheeting angle to the winch, consists of two sets of stand up blocks on the genoa track. One set is placed aft as far as they can go. This gives a good run to the winches and avoids the furling line on the starboard side and the power inlet on port.

Ken Dickson, Family Affair #876

On my MK I, I have two large cheek blocks mounted right aft as spinnaker blocks. I believe they came with the boat, are ball bearing and very substantial. I also have a second block mounted right aft on the Genoa tracks P&S. My Genoa sheets run aft through both track blocks and then right aft to the turning cheek blocks then to the winches. There is no clearance or rubbing problems at all.

Gary Wiseman, Up Spirits #894

We had the blocks already mounted with the teak spacers on both sides. Access to the back of the bolts, as Ron suggested, is through Beckson ports. I know the port side one is above the aft cabin berth. Never did look for the starboard one.

Stu Jackson, Aquavite #224

I concur with all others that adding turning blocks makes a lot of sense; but another option if you have the Maxwell winches as I have, they are reversible. I found this out when rebuilding them several years’ back. What you have to do is disassemble it, and flip the locking ratchets as well as one of the gears. Takes about 30 minutes. It was made that way according to the Maxwell tech rep I spoke with.

Bob Mack, Upon A Star #52

I tried just that on a previous yacht. The arrangement only survived a few weeks of racing. Instinctively, experienced crew flip the sheet on clockwise and then discover that the starboard side should be counterclockwise - resulting in a fluffed tack. Not recommended if you race.

Keith Wallwork, Margaret C #1253

Good input. In my case, not a problem since I'm a fair weather cruiser, but should be taken into account by anybody else wishing to reverse the Maxwell and do more serious sailing.

Bob Mack, Upon A Star #52

I'll give you another way to prevent the rubbing of the Gel coat. First of all, most of the older boats mounted the Electrical Plug in a bad place and the jib sheet can get caught. I mounted a spring loaded turning block on the inside track so that it rests up against the electrical plug. To prevent the gel coat rubbing, I also mounted what is called a Rub Strake (page 560 west marine) on the rub edge. I did it this way because the foot block method (page 24 in Garhauer) waste lots of energy making the 180-degree turn back to the winch. That’s what’s fun about this mailing list, you end up with lots of options to pick from.

Dave Davis

Interesting approach. I'll try my current potential solution (lead blocks set aft of the main winches on the outside t-tracks) and if it seems cumbersome, I'll give this a shot.

Rodney Grim