Gp14 rigging questions
08/04/2018 at 2:52 pm #14250
Hello, I’m new here and new to sailing.
I bougut a fibreglass gp14 last August 2017. And I have only been out once so far. The main halyard has confused me as it is only rope (I was expecting a wire halyard). The jib has a wire halyard and a metal tensioner at the bottom of the mast. Seems weird to me that the jib should have a better method of adjusting the sail than the main sail?
any advice is appreciated 🙂
08/04/2018 at 4:10 pm #14251
Although it may seem strange, that arrangement is quite correct and usual. The reason is that the mainsail does not require a lot of tension in the luff. The rope halyard is fine to hoist it to the top black band on the mast. A “cunningham” can be used to increase the tension down the luff in strong winds if needed.
The genoa, on the other hand, needs a lot of tension, (350-400lbs) in order to create a straight entry point for the wind, and prevent “luff sag”.
There are some good explanations of how to set up your GP14, i.e. “tuning” guides on the site in the Members Area.
Choose from the menu “Members”=>”All About your GP14” and see the Tuning Guides from Speedsails and others
Hope that helps!
08/04/2018 at 4:46 pm #14253
Hi Chris thank you for your quick reply!
Thats great and clears that up I’ll make sure I check out the tuning guides 🙂
I will replace the main halyard “rope” for a new rope with no stretch. The current main halyard is so stretchy and struggles to hoist sail right the way up the mast track.
08/04/2018 at 4:43 pm #14252
Several points here; and by coincidence a post has appeared on the GP14 Owners Online Community forum more or less simultaneously asking for advice on binning the wire+rope halliard and going to rope only!
In part, a great deal depends on the type of sailing you wish to do. If you can be quite certain that you will never, ever, need to reef the boat then there is a very slight benefit in using a wire halliard; although dyneema is very nearly as good, and even pre-stretched polyester is quite good enough for most purposes – but it absolutely must be the pre-stretched type. Non-prestretched polyester has almost as much stretch as nylon.
If you are ever likely to reef the sail you absolutely must not use a combined rope+wire halliard, because once the sail is reefed the halliard is now in a different position, and that then places the full halliard tension on the wire to rope joint. However that joint is made this is an unfair load, and doubly so if the joint is a simple eye splice in the rope interlocking with an eye splice in the wire, which is usual in the class; the wire then tends to act as a (blunt) knife, and in time will cut through the rope. It is simply not designed for this use, only for use while you are in the process of hoisting or lowering the sail.
On the matter of reefing methods, see my paper on Reefing Systems in the Members’ Library on this site.
As a very broad generalisation, if absolutely all your sailing is to be racing you will probably be very marginally better with a wire halliard; and since races are won or lost on marginal factors this could be important – once your sailing skills are good enough! However if you intend to do any cruising at all, including just day-cruising, the ability to reef the boat becomes potentially important – indeed it is potentially life-saving if you get caught out; so if any sort of non-racing sailing figures in your intentions then stick with all-rope for the main halliard and also equip the boat with the means of reefing. Incidentally the rig as originally designed (in 1949) incorporated a means of reefing, square gooseneck roller reefing, but most modern GP14s have ditched that arrangement; most boats used for high level racing are never reefed, and are not able to do so, and most serious cruising boats are nowadays equipped with slab/jiffy reefing, which is a more modern and very much better system than the original.
You hit the nail on the head in picking up that the genoa has a better means of adjustment, and (more importantly) a means of achieving far greater tension, than does the main. That is absolutely correct, and there are two reasons for it.
First, as well as serving as a means of hoisting the sail the genoa halliard also stresses the entire rig, in particular it tensions the shrouds (and produces compressive loads in the mast and the spreaders and potentially also the mast gate), and thus helps to control the amount of bend in the mast; second, it also serves to keep the luff of the genoa reasonably straight, preventing it sagging away too far to leeward. For both reasons the genoa halliard tension needs to be quite high, and at the top level of racing it also needs to be adjustable to suit the wind strength.
With the mainsail the situation is very different. The shape of the luff is controlled by the mast, and modern masts are designed to bend, with the amount of bend being controlled by (primarily) a combination of the rig tension (set by the genoa halliard) and the kicker tension, with a smaller influence when going to windward also provided by the mainsheet. Mainsail luff tension plays no part in controlling the mast bend, and main halliard tension has no effect on the rest of the rig.
It is of course important to have sufficient mainsail luff tension to remove horizontal creases from the sail, but the tension needed to achieve that is comparatively modest, certainly very much less than the genoa halliard tension. The normal technique for setting the mainsail luff tension is to hoist the sail until the head is up to but not beyond (the bottom of) the upper black band, and then secure the halliard. Then, and only then, pull the boom down to (the top of) the lower black band. If you have a sliding gooseneck you can put the boom onto the gooseneck first and perform this adjustment by means of the slide, but most modern GP14s have fixed goosenecks, in which case you don’t put the boom on the gooseneck until after you have hoisted the sail and secured the halliard; then you pull the boom down onto the gooseneck.
If you attempt to hoist the sail with the boom already on the gooseneck (if fixed), or already at the lower mark (if using a sliding gooseneck) you will not succeed in getting sufficient luff tension; but provided you hoist first and adjust the luff tension second it is quite easy, and your own weight does the job.
Once the main sail is correctly hoisted and set there is unlikely to be any need to adjust the main halliard except, perhaps, to ease it off a little in ghosting conditions. However in stronger winds if your sail has a Cunningham fitting, and most modern racing sails will have, you may wish to tension that when going to windward in order to move the fullness of the sail forward.
Finally, a lateral comment on one point in your post; never underestimate the size and power of that genoa; it is a seriously big sail. In a decent blow it will pull like a train, especially when going to windward; and in strong winds it has enough area to potentially capsize the boat on its own – be warned! And while we are talking about the genoa, a GP14 will sail surprisingly well under genoa alone on any point of sailing, even beating to windward if needed; just occasionally it is useful to know that the boat is capable of doing that.
If you eventually decide to specialise in racing, once you reach Gold Fleet standard – if you become that good – you may then wish to modify this advice; but I am sure it is sound advice for your present level of skill, as someone new to the sport, and quite probably for a long time forward into the future as well.
Hope this helps,
08/04/2018 at 5:10 pm #14256
Wow thanks Oliver great info there! I am brand new to the sport and defiantly appreciate sound advice. I’m looking forward to learning more about the boat itself and of course sailing.
I think I’ll buy 5mm pre stretched polyester. I’m going to be cruising for now.
08/04/2018 at 5:02 pm #14255
Choice of rope for the main halliard:
Material; dyneema will be effectively almost completely non-stretch, but pre-stretched polyester has a lot of benefits and is likely to be good enough. Certainly pre-stretched terylene (which was a trade name for what I think is the same material) was a very popular racing choice several decades ago, and more recently I have used pre-stretched polyester and been unable to detect any stretch in it.
Avoid nylon for this purpose; this has more stretch than any other type of rope, which is why it is the preferred material for anchor warps and mooring lines, but it is no use for sheets or halliards. Non-prestretched polyester comes somewhere between the two, but I gather that it stretches almost as much as nylon.
Diameter: On early masts 3/4-inch (circumference) rope was the standard, which approximately corresponds to the modern 6 mm (diameter); however that may be too fat for the sheave boxes of some modern masts, since they are often designed for wire halliards. I used 6 mm dyneema when I had A Capella built, and it worked well, but when I later had to replace the mast (another boat in the dinghy park blew over onto my one during a storm) although this same halliard worked in the new mast it had an undesirable amount of friction. On my previous boat I used 5 mm pre-stretched polyester, which worked perfectly in all respects. I have also known some owners use 4 mm dyneema.
My personal choice would by 5 mm pre-stretched polyester, for ease of handling and for good tolerance of tight radii (something which dyneema won’t tolerate – see the recent RYA Safety Advisory on that topic), but before committing yourself try a small sample in your sheave boxes.
Hope this helps,
08/04/2018 at 5:40 pm #14257
Follow up on fitting a decent reefing system; it can often make life so much easier, and in extremis it could save your life.
Incidentally racing and cruising are not only different, they are also complementary, and there is a place for both. I reckon that I learned much of my boat handling and most of my boat speed skills from racing, and much of my seamanship from cruising. Both sets of skills are useful.
And there is a classic definition of a yacht race; any two sailing boas in sight of each other!
08/04/2018 at 5:55 pm #14258
The boat has a roller reefing system fitted. The previous owner drilled through the deck part of the bow and fed the reefing line trough the tiny hole. The rope does chafe slightly so I may re route the rope along the outside. I need to really get out and have a play to familiarise myself with the boat and fix problems as I go. I will also be looking for new blocks for the main sheet. Reason being the two seperate blocks act against each other when the boom goes out on a reach. I’ll be buying some new ones soon along with repair the main sail (for now new sails to follow).
08/04/2018 at 5:56 pm #14259
Also I would defiantly be up for some racing ! Just need to walk before I can run 🙂
09/04/2018 at 3:08 pm #14279
Interesting method of hoisting the mainsail that Oliver prefers. I have to say I do it slightly differently…
I hoist the mainsail most of the way up with the boom in the boat. Once the boom begins to rise (i.e. is suspended by the sail) I then attach the boom to the gooseneck, and only then hoist the sail the final metre or so to the top black band. The reason I do it this way is that in high winds I don’t like the the boom thrashing around next to me – also if the sail is hoisted fully it can be very difficult to attach the boom to the gooseneck in stronger winds. However, Oliver has a vast experience, and I am racing not cruising, so I suggest you try both and see which works best for you – like everything, there is “more than one way to skin the cat” – it’s just a matter of preference! The main thing is “enjoy your sailing!”
10/04/2018 at 8:25 pm #14282
An interesting post from Chris.
“I suggest you try both and see which works best for you – like everything, there is “more than one way to skin the cat” – it’s just a matter of preference! The main thing is “enjoy your sailing!””
Agreed, absolutely. But if you choose the method that Chris suggests for hoisting the main, do make absolutely sure that you hoist the head fully up to the black band, in order to achieve the correct luff tension. All too often I have seen sails, usually I think in the hands of less experienced skippers, with the head of the sail a couple of inches (or more) below the black band – and with the then inevitable numerous horizontal creases or even downright folds in the sail. There is a derogatory expression which I think it better not to use on the forum, referring to elderly ladies’ underwear, to describe how the sail then appears to be setting!
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Oliver Shaw.
11/04/2018 at 9:11 am #14284
I hope you are enjoying being part of the GP14 ‘Family’, as you can see by the two excellent responses (thank you Chris and Oliver) we want our members to get the best out of their sailing. Hopefully see you in the future at one of our racing or cruising events. 🙂
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