The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Pull Tackles Tight When Laying Up

I have been doing this sailboat ownership thing for over 60 years and still I learn stuff, usually when something bites me on the ass.

We were all set to bend on the main last week when the outhaul jammed solid. No way to pull it out to shackle it to the clew.

When we took the main off last fall, I guess we left the outhaul tackle slack inside the boom, and at some point when the boom was being moved, a loop of the tackle hooked over the floating block as shown in the photo.

I could see it with my borescope but there was no way to flip it off without drilling out five 1/4″ pop rivets and removing the forward boom-end fitting—you can’t make this up stuff up.

Note to self: when removing mainsail, pull outhaul tackle tight and tie off.

Actually, there’s an even better answer to this. Any floating block, particularly in an inaccessible place, should have a piece of shock cord that keeps the tackle under slight tension at all times.

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Rob Gill

Hi John,
When I raced one design sports boats we used a long bungee cord external to the boom on a bight through the outhaul shackle pulling forward. This kept the tackle from flipping / jamming, but also allowed us to ease the outhaul quickly in light winds, overcoming a multipart in-boom block and tackle.
Best regards. Rob