Folding Kayaks Forum

Main Sail Rigging Options
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Author:  indylux [ Tue Nov 04, 2014 3:46 am ]
Post subject:  Main Sail Rigging Options

Alright guys, let's debate the best way to rig the main sail. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here goes...

This is how I was told you rig the main (higher risk of garroting your passenger): Clip on the stern, small block/pulley at the end of the boom, small block on boom by the mast, back to the cap'n.

A slight variation on the same idea that should double leverage (I think): Clip on stern, fiddle block on boom end, to small block near mast, back through fiddle, to cap'n.

Something I've seen on a few postings involving a cable management board. Looks like great leverage and less risk of strangling the person in front of you: Clip to block on board, over small block mid boom, back through block on board, +/- through clam cleat, to cap'n.

Talk amongst yourselves.

Author:  DLee [ Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Main Sail Rigging Options

Chris, love those drawings!

So, version number three is the one I use. For many though the simplest and most sure fire way of doing the job is to simply tie the main sheet to the end of the boom and hold onto it by hand. At least that was my favorite way of doing it until I became a little more savvy to sailing the S4 rig.

I still keep a line on the end of my boom. Some days I tie it up, other days (when it's gusty out, or I'm feeling sluggish) I let it hang. It's a very immediate relationship between sail and capt'n. It's really easy to let go and response is pretty much immediate. It's been my experience that the tackles and blocks can get jammed and tangled especially when the wind starts hitting the fan. In the AEII that's the last thing you need when you have to drop sail. I am sure I have capsized for a snagged line somewhere.

If you search the sailing threads here you will find some interesting discussions by a guy named KäpitanVonKlepper I think. He has a thread posted once or twice about suspending a block and tackle similar to the idea in your #3 but it basically eliminates the board. I finally bought the appropriate block ($$$) and cannot get it to work efficiently. I can make it work, but not well enough to comfortably sail. After a few tries I abandoned the idea and went back to my control deck.


I may have even discussed this before. I'd like to figure this out because it would open up a lot of space in the cockpit and I would love to be able to go forward quickly without having to climb over the control board.

The problem as I remember was not having adequate leverage to unhook the line (sheet) from the block while underway. In other words... and vaguely... too much slack in the system. I'm open to suggestion.


Author:  DLee [ Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Main Sail Rigging Options

Also, there should be an eye on the center of your boom that you can connect to; so that you don't have to go all the way out to the end.

I think there are also a few reasons not to anchor to the stern. My first and favorite is that you need to save that spot for the mizzen! Ha.

I also think that getting to the stern for a problem is no simple feat while under sail. (I had rudder issues in rough weather twice and neither was a fun fix) It also forces you to turn your back to the direction of travel while underway... and as my Nana told me... "Never turn your back on the Ocean."

Mainly though, it doesn't seem efficient to me. BUT, I am a completely self taught sailer and am totally open to suggestion.

I think there are rigs to anchor the main sheet up by the mast but they become inefficient in a light system like this. A triangular system like Balogh uses might work and I considered and began setting this up until I realized it was going to get in the way of the hand tiller and tiller extension.

I think in this S4 rig, 'less it more,' and anchoring amidships somehow and sheeting to the center of the boom is the most effective way to cruise if you don't want to hold the main sheet all day long from the end of the boom.


Author:  indylux [ Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Main Sail Rigging Options

Thanks DLee,

I hadn't thought about just holding the end of the boom with a rope. How simple that would be...

I may still have fun and make a control board just because I have the J-bolts already and want to try the computer-aided CNC cutting machine at our local geekery. Plus, I want an efficient place to cleat my jib that I plan to make. I will certainly post pictures of the process if I go that route.

Author:  DLee [ Sat Nov 08, 2014 12:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Main Sail Rigging Options

Don't get me wrong, I like the control board, it's fun. I did find some nice side mount clam cleats that I think will fit nicely on the outsides for the coaming. Using the Lee Board cross bar's eye holes I think these cleats could work really nicely for the jib sheets. I am just having a really hard time drilling holes in any of the original wood on the boat.... ha.

Access to a CNC machine? That's cool.

The line directly to the mast is a great great backup system. There's no more better way to control that sail on a gusty day. ha.

Are you thinking about outriggers?


Author:  indylux [ Sat Nov 08, 2014 1:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Main Sail Rigging Options

Outriggers: I have read several posts about outriggers including your experiences with the Hobie Sidekick Ama rig. I'm considering mounting it on the leeboard cross bar with the supplied mounting brackets but that may get in the way of the leeboards swinging freely. The pipe may be a bit too big but seems like it could all be attached in a way that simplifies the overall install.

Control Board: We have a great resource in our community called the Matrix Create Space ( where you can rent time on CNC macines, laser cutting machines, and lots more. I figure if I'm going to make a control board, might as well do it in style.

Here's something I mocked up and may go play with some evening. The top is a close-up of the pattern (blue is CNC cut, black is laser cut). The middle is the whole layout design (minus the install points for hardware). The bottom is the retail Klepper version I'm basing this on.

Author:  DLee [ Sun Nov 09, 2014 12:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Main Sail Rigging Options

That looks awesome!

Check the dimensions on your coaming for the slots on the control board. I'm not sure why they have two sets there... the wider smaller set may be for mounting closer to the middle of the cockpit. I would pick a spot further forward myself... so you may only need one slot.

If your lee board has eyes in the ends those are for the jib sheets to run through. I like to use these so that you don't completely lose your line when you drop the sheet going from one side to the other. Put a figure eight knot in the line and that keeps it from going through the eyehole. That said, angling the clamshells on the control board to the angle of the line coming in from the eyes on the Lee board cross bar will make everything work a little smoother.

I like the idea of having the cleats on the board as they will be handy to tie your halyards to. However, I can tell you now that they will catch other lines all the time while you are making line changes and adjustments. I use clam shells and plan to put Harken guides out in front of them or on the Lee Board cross bar to keep the angle lower.

I tried to figure out a way to mount the Hobies on the LB cross bar but it was too complicated - the bar hits the lee boards...

The tube in the Hobie system should be slotted for a variable fit on the Kleppers. I drilled my holes straight which means they only fit in a small area of the coaming. The good thing about that is that the fit is tight and the J bolts stay vertical. They don't start pinching and angling as you tighten them. -- This makes me think that a series individual holes on the control board might make for a better fit than a slot... -- The angling that you get from a slot always ends up loosening in my experience. I now use large washers to help prevent this but there is still some angling. Don't forget to take the male/female connection equation into consideration before drilling the holes in the Hobie center tube. I do have to say that the single hole method is a really great tight fit. Honestly I wouldn't mind having my Lee Board fit like that.

Another thing to consider is leaving space for a compass on the control board.

Here's a shot of mine, the black square to the right of the mainsheet clamp is for a compass:


The three forward facing clam cleats are for the sail tensioning. Typically the two on the left are for the jib - one for the halyard and the other for the jib's tack at the bow. I keep the jib on a continuous loop so I can deploy and retrieve it easily while underway. There's just enough slack to stow it comfortably in front of the mast under the deck. The clam shell on the right is for the main halyard.

Underway - you can see the Hobie cross bar mounted and ready for outriggers if I need them:


You can sail the S2/4 rig without the outriggers. The BOSS system is great, but the Hobie system can be easily stowed or deployed while on the water. They will allow a capsize if you have a pretty strong blast and are asleep at the wheel though. I never capsized with them but I think I came pretty close once when I was reclining while sailing... no counter weight... scary moment and scramble, ha.


Author:  indylux [ Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Main Sail Rigging Options

Well, I'm back from a mostly successful first sailing outing with a few updates and questions.

Round Peg vs Square Hole:
Most of what I had issues with was just setting up the mast and boom. I thought that the mast pole would slot directly into the keel box. Unfortunately, it was too big around to fit into the slot. I found a piece of scrap wood that would fit up inside the pole and the box to limit lateral movement and the shrouds did the rest of the work. I'm going to build a bracket/adapter to slot the mast in more securely before I try it again.

Rigging Test:
I did set up the rigging like I showed in the first picture (top of the post) but quickly found a problem. Any pull on the line pulled the boom cleat off the mast. I could just snap it back on by pushing back on the boom, but not at all what I was expecting. I ended up just holding the line at the end of the boom like DLee suggested and that was better. I am considering just tying a line from the boom around the mast, but that could snag as well. How do you guys deal with this?

The only other annoyance was that the boom swings within an inch or so of my face. I am fond of my face. Suggestions on preventing being boom-smacked in these boats?

More to come...

Author:  DLee [ Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Main Sail Rigging Options

Hey Chris, I'll try and make a picture, but until I do... there should be a plug on the bottom of your mast that has a square aluminum protrusion that fits into the square hole on your deck. You might be able to go to the local lumber yard and find a strong 1x1 that you can taper and fit into the square. Then make a plug for the mast with a hole bit and connect them all together. Ideally a circle of ply or hardwood that fits into the aluminum mast would be perfect to screw the square onto. Then you could fasten the circle inside the mast with screws. At least thats where my thinking starts.

The gooseneck, in your picture, should have a loop on it just before the neck that you could put a line to and tie down to the mast cleat. I believe it's called the downhaul and it's probably where you had a block set for your main sheet. The fact that your mast cleat pops off is not good so you might want to consider an alternative tie down such as a rolling hitch/taught line combo for the downhaul. Where do you tie your halyard off at?

As far as the length of the boom... I either duck or lift it over. In other words, coming about in the AEII is a rather slow process, at least controlled hopefully... when jibing I try to have a hand on the boom or a tight line.

Any more ventures out?


Author:  gbellware [ Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Main Sail Rigging Options

There are some close up pics of the rigging of a circa 1969 S2 here:


...showing the downhaul Dennis references as well as the cleat. Klepper changed the design of the rigging over time and sailors are notorious for customizing stuff, so I suspect your rig is not exactly the same as mine, but hope this helps.


Author:  jcwlx [ Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Main Sail Rigging Options

Hello fellas,
I was reading the string above and saw all sorts of comments about sail rigging, goosenecks, down hauls, and boom encounters of the hurtful kind. Some of you might be interested in looking at some of my Klepper A2 evolution photos in the attached album on Facebook. Click this link and it will come up: ... 916c13c1c4.
The last few photos show the new lower mast I just made for my Klepper A2, which is 12" longer than the one that comes with the S4 sail this new one is 10' long, versus 9'. I made it to raise the boom a foot higher for head clearance for my crew and me, and so I can make a genoa sail for sailing in lighter winds. Whereas the original Klepper jib is about 14 square feet, the new genoa is 32.1 square feet. I designed it with the sailmaker at Sail Rite, and I have received the sail kit ($162), but not had time to sew it yet with the help of my wife. Will probably get it done this winter for next season. With the higher boom and 32 s.f. genoa, the total square footage of the sail comes to about 72.2 square feet, which with the BOSS/Wilkes outrigger reduces my "wind speed required for full ama submersion" from about 30 mph (with the standard Klepper S4 55 square foot sails) to about 23 mph. This should put sailing in light winds very safe from capsizing, even with some moderate gusts that might occur.
Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Author:  FrankP [ Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Main Sail Rigging Options

Chris I like the looks of your new setup. Having the boom over your head will be nice especially for Suzanne. When, By mistake, I was sent the replacement lower section of my mast (about 10 inches longer than the original) I found that I liked it a lot more. I still have not done anything about a board with cleats to make is so I don't have to hold the main sheet yet. I may but I don't mind holding it except when I need to paddle.

Author:  jcwlx [ Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Main Sail Rigging Options

The taller mast and associated higher center-of-effort is really a trade off of loss of stability for (a) freedom from head-banging, and (b) more speed in light winds (due to the taller/bigger genoa sail I can now install....the luff, foot and leech all get much bigger in going from 14 square feet to 32.2 square feet).

In light non-gusty conditions, I have never had a problem with safely cleating up both jib and main sheets. Personally, I would not be without jam or cam cleats for holding course and trim while sailing....and they certainly help in light winds when you want to paddle-assist with hands free from jib and main sheets. Adding a sailing control board, or just main sheet jam, or cam, cleat is very simple stuff. Try it, you'll like it!

Author:  indylux [ Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Main Sail Rigging Options

Thank you for the ongoing conversation. I'll have to play with the downhaul setup next time I get the sailing rig out. I'm not sure how pulling down on the boom will offer much lateral attachment force from the boom cleat to the mast. My 'gooseneck' is just an open plastic ring that snaps around the mast, not a nice metal 's' like others seem to have. Might require some tinkering to get it to stay put.

Author:  CanvasClipper [ Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Main Sail Rigging Options

DLee wrote:
If you search the sailing threads here you will find some interesting discussions by a guy named KäpitanVonKlepper I think. He has a thread posted once or twice about suspending a block and tackle similar to the idea in your #3 but it basically eliminates the board. I finally bought the appropriate block ($$$) and cannot get it to work efficiently. I can make it work, but not well enough to comfortably sail. After a few tries I abandoned the idea and went back to my control deck. d

Hi d,

I also have the same block and have tried to follow Kapitan's instructions, and I too have not been able to make it work. Then again my whole set-up needs work. I don't have that groovy Klepper crosspiece, nor do I have J-hooks because Klepper won't ship to SA and I haven't got around to ordering from Long Haul.

Still I'll work on that Harken block arrangement this weekend and see what happens and let you know.



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