Sails are important in propelling sailboats which explains the pressing need for the ability to properly raise mainsails. Beginners are likely to experience difficulties in raising the mainsail of a sailboat. However, everybody is always a green horn for things that are still new. Over time one can surely master any given skill through constant practice. Of course, following some guidelines will surely make it easier for you.
Raising the mainsail of a smaller sailboat
For smaller sailboats on a mooring, their sails are usually raised before the boats are underway. The steps are as follows:
- first, attach the shackle to the clew which is i the head of the sail. Next, using a shackle knife or a pliers, tighten your shackle to make sure that it does not release due to vibration during sailing.
- release or loosen the mainsheet, which is the control line responsible for pulling the inwards or outwards the mainsail. This is done to prevent the wind from causing resistance as it blows against the sail. Its main goal is to have the sail's leading edge face the wind so as not to strain the sail.
- using the bolt rope or sail slugs which are found at the sail's luff, make sure that the sail is then ready for hoisting.
- tighten the luff by pulling the halyard downwards using your hands.
- cleat off the halyard as soon as the luff is already very tight.
- and, you are now ready to sail.
Raising the mainsail of a larger sailboat
The process of raising the bigger mainsail of a larger sailboat is quite similar to a smaller sailboat. Although, there are some steps being added.
- to ease the tension on the mainsail when it rises, the bow should should point directly into the wind. This causes the sailboat to motor off the dock which prepares the raising of the main.
- when the shackle is tightened enough and the halyard is cleared to run up too, the mainsheet should be slightly loosened while the sailboat is maintaining its orientation into the wind. Then, you can now begin to start raising the mainsail of the boat.
- wrap the halyard onto the winch, a device used in bigger boats, and then start to crank to continue hoisting the boat's main. Stop only when the luff is tight enough.
- after the luff has been tightened, it's time to cleat off the halyard. To start the boat underway, bring in the main using the mainsheet.
Possible problem areas
There are some problems that may occur in raising a mainsail. It is important to watch out for any of these:
- loose shackle
- sail slugs that jammed
- snagged halyard
- frayed halyard
- broken halyard block