Douglas Ritherdon has become the proud owner of a Van Veen Romilly called Serina. Which is R3, apparently the third Van Veen boat built.
Douglas and I have had an email conversation about the halyard arrangement, I have my masthead in a bit of a mess and Douglas was keen to think things through before sorting his own out. With Douglas’s permission I’ve cut and pasted some of that discussion here.
Douglas said “Looking at the photo of the top of your mast it appears that you have a different arrangement to that shown in the Nigel Irens diagram. If you look at the diagram you will see that Irens leads the rope to and from the halyard block both in and out from the same side of the masthead block. Hope that makes sense! I think it is possible to arrive at a reasonable arrangement but I think it will prove impossible to stop the main halyard leg leading to the deck block from crossing the last leg of the halyard to the parel beads and thus there will be some friction loss. Iren’s arrangement with the masthead block at the aft of the mast eliminates all friction from crossing lines.
The top of my mast appears to have a turned “Top Hat” shaped plastic plug glued into the top of the tube. I’m not sure about removing the existing eyes and then drilling fore and aft to achieve an aft placed eye. I wonder whether one could just move the little locating block on the mast at deck level through 90 degrees?”
I sent him the following pictures showing the mess my halyard is in amongst other things.
I think that I (Phil, “Riant”) have two problems.
1. The foredeck halyard block is on the opposite side of the mast to the masthead fitting. This may be the result of an error on the construction notes. See image below. I think that the masthead halyard block should be on the same side of the mast as the locating peg ie exactly aft of the mast.
2. I’ve passed the halyard rope incorrectly through the blocks leading to friction when the sail is fully hauled.
Douglas said “Your pictures are very useful – thanks. It seems the Dutch boats are rigged a bit differently to yours. On the starboard side deck are three tails leading aft to cleats (or clutches) and winch if necessary – furthest out is the luff downhaul, having a two part tackle through two eyes and blocks by the mast; in the middle is the tackle you call the snotter (parrel line) leading through a block at the fore end of the sprit and finally the inside line is the main halyard tail leading through the aft block by the mast. On the port side are two reefing lines.
My masthead block is in the same place as yours. Hopefully during this week I will get the mast down and experiment with the main halyard arrangement. I have it in mind to try first an arrangement that will ensure that the two arms of the span leading aft to the main single block on the sprit lead and return from the aft face of both sheaves in the masthead doubleblock. I intend the halyard fall to the deck to come from the foreside of the outer sheave and the fall from the parrel block from the foreside of the inner sheave of the masthead doubleblock. The halyard fall will pass to starboard of the parrel line and of course to port of the sprit on its way to the deck. I’m hopeful that this arrangement will eliminate crossed lines and hopefully there wont be too much friction – but we shall see!”
Douglas later said “A beautiful day yesterday, bright sun and no wind, just right to get the mast down and re-reeve the halyard arrangement. First snag – the mast was firmly stuck in it’s socket. Eventually after much wriggling, banging and liberal amounts of Fairy Liquid, a power derrick pulled it out.
I think the photos show the run of the halyard arrangement and most particularly in my opinion, how the sprit uphaul loop comes from the aft side of the masthead block. The parrel leg is on the sheave nearer the mast and the halyard fall on the outside sheave, both at the front of the block. It certainly seems that there are no major twisting forces in this setup. Because of the mast rake even the halyard fall seems to be a reasonably clear drop to the deck block. The masthead block itself has a fixed becket, that is it is not a swivel block. As I said there was no wind so I have yet to find out how it really works, hopefully tomorrow.
The picture shows the damage caused by the twisting block in the previous arrangement. Close examination showed previous damage that had been filled and repainted. The blocks are Harken and have dome headed rivets proud on both cheeks. I might look for a smoother cheeked block and perhaps put a chafing protection on the mast itself. Maybe a leather sleeve or a stainless steel chafing patch glued and screwed. Thoughts for the winter though. Another thought – the parrel block would work better if it were smaller.
A final thought. Nigel Irens’ arrangement using an aft eye at the masthead clearly is free running but as the top block is not directly above the sprit there must be a sideways pull on the sprit leg of the tackle. Perhaps he intended that effect – i.e pulling the sprit towards the mast. On the other arrangement with the eye at the side of the mast, the pull to the sprit is directly vertical. Just possible I suppose that the Dutch Company that built Serina thought this arrangement would be better. Strange though that in their beautifully presented fifty five page manual they show Nigel Irens’ original halyard arrangement drawing!”
Douglas later said “Excellent weather today, 12-16 knots Easterly, five hours sailing. All worked as hoped, no twists and no friction. Bearing in mind that this was only my third sail in Serina and that I really didn’t know what to expect from the rig, I noticed that, in the choppy wind against tide conditions, the sprit knocked against the mast on port tack. Maybe in the the aft masthead eye setup (Irens drawing) the sprit uphaul arrangement may have pulled the sprit more firmly towards the mast. A very minor point I think and all told I’m pretty pleased and hope now to enjoy some good sailing.”
Ed Burnett has very kindly allowed me to scan and include his diagram. An A4 pdf version suitable for printing can be found here.