New DS II owner with some questions

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New DS II owner with some questions

Postby 109jb » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:28 pm

Hello everyone. I am a new DS II owner, and would consider myself new to sailing. When I was in high school we had a AMF Alcort Puffer that I sailed quite a bit, but that was 30+ years ago. The sailing itch was re-kindled on a vacation earlier this year and I decided to buy a sailboat. I found a Daysailer II and bought it. I have only had it out once so far. It went very well although I wish we had a bit more wind, but after that outing I am thinking about making some changes.

1. I already bought and installed a tabernacle to make mast setup easier. Prior to installing the tabernacle I noted that the mast shrouds/forestay were a bit loose. That hasn't changed since the overall mast length is the same after the tabernacle install. What is the procedure for adjusting the tension on the shrouds/stay?

2. I plan to add a topping lift for the boom and would like to see others setups for this. I am thinking about one that is fixed at the top of the mast with a small block and cleat on the boom for adjustment. I have even thought about just fixing a line at the top of the mast with it attached to the boom with a taut line hitch.

3. Rigging - All of my rigging lines are looking a bit suspect, so I would like to replace them. Some of the lines seem to be too big for their use. Is there a list of what size and length lines are appropriate for the halyards, sheets, etc. Also, a recommendation for a brand of lines to use.

4. I'm thinking about replacing the standard halyard cleats with cam cleats. Would there be any reason not to do this?

5. Rudder uphaul and downhaul. My rudder doesn't have either and I don't see any evidence that it ever did. Does anyone have recommendations for adding these?

Thank you all in advance
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Re: New DS II owner with some questions

Postby GreenLake » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:35 pm

Welcome to the forum!

That's a pretty long list; many items were covered extensively in the past, let's see whether we can get you to some answers. But first, I'll move this thread to the "Rigging" section, because none of the issues you give are specific to just the DSII: they apply equally well to all DS and they seem largely about the Rigging. (Feel free to open another thread in the DSII area, especially for discussing things like the DSII centerboard :) ).

I'll comment on some of your issues in detail in my next post, but before that, I'd like to encourage you to sail your DS as many times as you can before making upgrades (particularly those where you change the configuration). You'll know much better what will work for you.

Again, welcome!
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: New DS II owner with some questions

Postby GreenLake » Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:00 pm

1. Adjusting rig tension

Different boats are equipped differently. Older boast have a mast-jack, something that raises the mast until the rig is tensioned (early DS1's). For later boats, tension is set with turnbuckles; many have a lever on the forestay to set the final bit of tension. A rough guide is that you should be able to pluck a low note (some people swear it's an F) when the rigging has been tightened on land. When sailing, you'll see the leeward shroud become loose. Many jibs are designed so that you can tighten them so an internal luff wire will take most of the load off the forestay. This allows control of the jib luff tension which determines sag. (There are some threads in the "rigging" section that you might like to look at).

2. Topping lift

Many discussions here. Should be able to find them (you may want to check out the "How to use this forum..." section to find the hints on better searching than with the built-in search).

3. Lines and lengths

There's a rough guide for the various lengths somewhere, but I found it not reliable. The required length for the main depends on the way the main is configured. If the current length works for you, why not copy it. My rule of thumb: it needs to be just long enough that if you make a knot close to the end, you can pull the boom out towards the shroud and the knot will stop the sheet just before the boom hits the wire. Jib sheets probably vary less, but details depend on how yours are cleated. Do you have a spinnaker?

This thread has a discussion of every line on my boat: Rope for various lines

4. Halyards

Pretty much double the height of the mast sheave or block above the cuddy. If you have a fancy setup where you lead them off the mast to some cleats, you might need to add that distance. We had some recent threads discuss cleating options. If you poke around and look at anything from this summer, you should come across it. (My take on cam cleats is that you do not want to set them up on the cuddy top with the halyard hanging over the little hump at the edge of the cuddy: if anybody sits on, stands on, or pulls the free end of the halyard, the hump makes it so the halyard will pop out of the cleat, and the boom will come down - fun when you are on the water and someone gets his head between boom and deck; however there are some ways to cleat on the mast that seem promising).

5. Rudder lines

Also a topic discussed at some great length. A downhaul can be useful, but would need a cleat that auto-releases, or you'll destroy your rudder when you ground it. An uphaul may be useful if you beach your boat a lot. Go hunt around in the older posts for details. (The relatively few times I've beached the DS, I've managed w/o an uphaul; I may need a downhaul because the big wingnut on the rudder pivot used to hold the rudder down by friction, but it's failing at that task nowadays -- I'm puzzled about that change, but a downhaul would fix it, so I may get around fitting one).
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: New DS II owner with some questions

Postby fatjackdurham » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:11 pm

Hi, I am right there with you. I bought a DSII and suspected it was rebuilt from salvage. One of my issues is of course how long the stays and shrouds should be, and where on the mast they should be.

The north sails tuning guid has some measurements that should be helpful for you to tighten up your rigging.

Good luck.
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Re: New DS II owner with some questions

Postby GreenLake » Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:22 am

Another possibility is that the support for the compression post is no longer solid. There was another poster here, whose whole mast went through the cuddy floor. If there's even an inch of give, your stays would go slack, but depending on where the tabernacle was above the deck, it may not go down enough to touch the deck.

There are rather few threads here about people doing massive surgery on their masts (other than immediately after some damage). That makes me think that there may not be too many cases where that is required.

Most common is that somebody ripped out a tabernacle, cut an inch off the mast and then some later owner puts a shim under the compression post to get back to the correct geometry.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: New DS II owner with some questions

Postby 109jb » Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:10 pm

Thanks for the replies.

On my boat, the mast did not have a tabernacle when I bought it. I got one from D & R Marine and installed it per the supplied directions. I can't remember how much of the mast was cut out, but when Doing it I did measure the space taken up by the tabernacle and the directions were spot on. In other words the mast length before and after adding the tabernacle is the same, unchanged.

The floor of the cuddy where the mast step casting is bolted is solid as a rock. I have read that some daysailers have a jack type arrangement that raises the mast to tension the shrouds/forestay, but mine has no such jack, only a casting that the end of the mast fits on to. On my boat the Shrouds/forestay have turnbuckles for adjusting the tension on the cables.

The forestay/shrouds on my boat were what I consider loose when set up how the previous owner had the turnbuckles adjusted. He had heat shrink tubing on the turnbuckles, so I know he didn't loosen them when taking the mast down because the adjustment wasn't accessible through the heat shrink tubing. The advice to have them "low-note taught" is good enough for me at least for now.

I have searched and searched for the original dimensions of the running rigging, but every post/table/thread has something different. I know for darn sure that the lines that came with my boat are tremendous overkill. I have 3/8" lines for just about everything except the boom downhaul. I suspect that one is smaller because the cleat for it is too small to fit 3/8 line in. It also seems that after my first sail that many if not all of the lines are also much too long. Simply measuring the length of my current lines is therefore useless. The halyards I can get come real close to what I need by measuring and the same for the main sheet by swinging the boom against a shroud, but I'm not sure how long I should allow for the Jib sheet. I don't have a spinnaker right now and don't have immediate plans to get one. Having said all of this, What I am most interested in is the diameter of the rigging as supplied by O'day when the ship was delivered, and the correct length for the jib halyard. I have searched for this, but as I said, everything I find has different specs. Maybe the original O'day specs aren't available. I don't know, but I would really rather not spend money I don't have to on lines that are longer than I need.

In regard to the topping lift, I have seen the various methods people have used to add an adjustable topping lift to various small boats. What there is very very little information on is fixed length topping lifts. I probably didn't make it real clear in my original post, but the main question I have is in regard to a fixed length topping lift and what is thought of this option? Are any DS users employing a fixed length topping lift? If so how well does it work? As mentioned I am thinking about a mostly fixed length TL with just the good old Boy Scout taut-line hitch to provide a bit of adjustability. This appeals to me because it is dirt simple and only really requires a piece of rope with possibly a small bungee to keep it taught when it isn't supporting the boom. I would like to hear what more experienced sailors think of this idea. All I want to do is to have it to support the boom when the sail is dropped because the boom crutch is really kind of a pain in the rump as far as I am concerned.

Thanks again.

John Brannen
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Re: New DS II owner with some questions

Postby mtclaymor » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:29 pm

Hi there, fellow new DS II owner as well. I've had mine for about a month and been addressing some small things, but also keep with Greeenlake's common suggestion to sail it as much as possible before changing things. That said, I've replaced both halyards with 5mm Sta-set, believe I bought 40' for the jib and 50' for the main- main needed no trimming, but the jib is pretty long even after a failed eye splice attempt was cut and replaced with a Halyard hitch knot. One of the first things i did though was a quick and cheap topping lift of paracord tied with a bowline to top of mast and a tautline hitch to the boom- has worked just fine for my needs, paracord is a bit stretchy but no big deal in this application for me.
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Re: New DS II owner with some questions

Postby GreenLake » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:36 pm

John,

you are correct that most DS are rigged with lines that are way over dimensioned. I would go to 3/8" for the sheets, just because of handling. Do look in my thread that I liked above (Ropes for various lines) because I have tracked down the actual brands for certain lines, even though I first selected them at a local store based on "feel".

I like your idea of a fixed topping lift. The reason to make it adjustable is just to add the length so it's slack while sailing. A rolling hitch is fine for that, as would be a two-loop system where you have a loop a few inches up that you would hook over a horn cleat at the end of the boom for the "taught" setting.

You want really light line for this. Look into Amsteel (smallest diameter you can get, that stuff is way stronger than you'd need, so you can go down in size). Or the FSE Robline at 3mm. That one holds a rolling hitch, the Amsteel does not.
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Re: New DS II owner with some questions

Postby GreenLake » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:40 pm

With a tabernacle it may be possible to not adjust the shrouds, but you need a way to put tension on the forestay. If yours doesn't have a lever, the alternative may be to apply the tension via the jib halyard (if the jib has a wire luff or a rope luff designed to take that amount of tension). In any case you would want to make sure that your shroughs are adjusted (short) enough that the mast does not come too far forward when the forestay is at the desired tension.

Norh Sails has a tuning guide for the DS that gives the distance of the mast tip from the transom for guidance. (If your boat sails balanced in moderate winds, your mast rake is probably where you'd want it).
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: New DS II owner with some questions

Postby 109jb » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:56 pm

Thanks guys.

Today I had a little time and raised the mast and connected the shrouds/forestay. I tightened them just snug and everything seems fine. I then came in this evening and saw the reference to the North Sails tuning guide. It is a good read, but one thing I don't understand is how the measurement is actually taken. It says:

To measure the aft rake of your mast,
hoist a tape measure on your main halyard
and hold it tight at the intersection of the
transom and rear deck.


What it doesn't say is where the end of the tape is hoisted to. It is rather vague as to where the measurement at the mast head is taken from. My halyard connects to a cable that runs over the pulleys in the mast head and then goes to a clevis to attach to the head of the sail. Bottom line is that I am not sure where they are wanting me to measure from. Any pointers on this?

I'm going to give the fixed topping lift with a taut-line hitch a go, especially after hearing mtclaymor's success with the same. It is ultra cheap to try and worst case is I don't like it and go with one of the more extravagant arrangements I have seen.

For lines I am thinking of the following:

Topping lift - Paracord I already have for now, later on I'll likely switch to something like 2.8mm Spyderline (dyneema core 1200lb breaking strength)
Jib and main Halyards - 1/4" New England Ropes Sta Set
Jib and main sheets - 5/16" or 3/8" Sampson MXL double braid (Sheathing looks like it would be better for gripping).

I will order some extra of all sizes for all the other lines on the boat. I made the above choices as a balance of economy performance, etc. What do you guys think?
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Re: New DS II owner with some questions

Postby GreenLake » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:57 pm

For the sheets, do you mean MLX?

I would to to something that's recommended for Dinghy sheets. Either FSE Robline Dinghy Sheet (like I have) or check out New England ropes Bzzzz line.

You want something that doesn't kink or hockle and is not only grippy but feels good in your hands. Either one of those two would be tops in that category.

About the halyards I would possibly rethink that. The thing is that you do not want your halyards to "give" when a gust hits. So you want the elastic elongation to be very small. Check out this chart. http://www.samsonrope.com/Documents/Brochures/RM_Line_Selection_Guide_WEB.pdf

Sta-Set is I think similar to XLS. At 10% of breaking strength (or 330lbs for 5/16"), XLS stretches by 1.5% or over 3". At half that load, it's still 1.5".

If you went with an Amsteel (Amsteel Blue/Amsteel-78) Halyard, you could go down to 1/8" (to get roughly the same breaking strength). However, you would have only 1/3 the stretch. (If you went to 3/16" the stretch would be 1/6th, because the breaking strength doubles).

Quick reading shows that prices are comparable (if you go with the thinner Amsteel).

Only drawback with the Amsteel is that it doesn't have a cover. You could ckeck for some dyneema cored lines that are small diameter, such as FSE Robline's Dinghy Control. If you get one in 1/8" or slightly larger (they may be metric), you would have something light, strong, and non stretchy (will hold well in cam cleats).

I essentially started out with Sta-Set or XLS and replaced it once I realized I could stretch this noticeably with my bare hands.
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Re: New DS II owner with some questions

Postby GreenLake » Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:03 pm

109jb wrote:What it doesn't say is where the end of the tape is hoisted to. It is rather vague as to where the measurement at the mast head is taken from. My halyard connects to a cable that runs over the pulleys in the mast head and then goes to a clevis to attach to the head of the sail. Bottom line is that I am not sure where they are wanting me to measure from. Any pointers on this?


It's more specific than you think. If you attach your tape measure to your halyard and pull it up like raising a sail, the tip of the tape will end up at the mast sheave. You then grab the tape and pull the other end to the top edge of the transom (I think that's what they mean with deck and transom meeting).
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Re: New DS II owner with some questions

Postby 109jb » Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:29 pm

For the sheets, do you mean MLX?


Yep. Just a typing error

I would to to something that's recommended for Dinghy sheets. Either FSE Robline Dinghy Sheet (like I have) or check out New England ropes Bzzzz line.

You want something that doesn't kink or hockle and is not only grippy but feels good in your hands. Either one of those two would be tops in that category.


Thanks. Those both look good. The Bzzz is available in 8mm (5/16"), so I think that one will be how I go for the sheets.

About the halyards I would possibly rethink that. The thing is that you do not want your halyards to "give" when a gust hits. So you want the elastic elongation to be very small. Check out this chart. http://www.samsonrope.com/Documents/Brochures/RM_Line_Selection_Guide_WEB.pdf

Sta-Set is I think similar to XLS. At 10% of breaking strength (or 330lbs for 5/16"), XLS stretches by 1.5% or over 3". At half that load, it's still 1.5".

If you went with an Amsteel (Amsteel Blue/Amsteel-78) Halyard, you could go down to 1/8" (to get roughly the same breaking strength). However, you would have only 1/3 the stretch. (If you went to 3/16" the stretch would be 1/6th, because the breaking strength doubles).

Quick reading shows that prices are comparable (if you go with the thinner Amsteel).

Only drawback with the Amsteel is that it doesn't have a cover. You could ckeck for some dyneema cored lines that are small diameter, such as FSE Robline's Dinghy Control. If you get one in 1/8" or slightly larger (they may be metric), you would have something light, strong, and non stretchy (will hold well in cam cleats).

I essentially started out with Sta-Set or XLS and replaced it once I realized I could stretch this noticeably with my bare hands.


I'm not too concerned about stretch in the halyards since my rig has rope to wire halyards. Because of this there is no more than a couple feet of rope between the cleat and the end of the wire part of the halyard, so stretch will be minimized anyway. I think pretty much anything would work in this situation on this small of a boat, but I do thank you for your advice.
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Re: New DS II owner with some questions

Postby GreenLake » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:23 pm

Sheets: 5/16" would seem the smallest diameter, I went larger diameter than that for ease of holding (no cutting into my hands -- I do tend to sail w/o gloves quite a bit). However, I did go to 3/16 for spinnaker sheets. Those are just too long to oversize :)

About your halyards: I missed the "rope to wire" bit. Sorry, if you stated that somewhere. Clean missed it.

In that case, you can easily go to the cheapest polyester double braid - and you can go down a size or two for cost, because the only loads on the rope tails will be the weight of the sail. I downsized my main halyard tail to LS Yacht Braid (I don't think I even went XLS) and am down to 3/16". This would be way too stretchy for the loaded part of the halyard, but the breaking strength is still a multiple of expected loads and even if it's the rope part that sits in the cleat, the length of it would be too short to allow significant elongation.

Looks like you are narrowing this down.
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Re: New DS II owner with some questions

Postby Shagbark » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:02 pm

In regards to the topping lift, I've gone with a fixed length line with a shackle on the boom end. It makes it very easy to attach the topping lift to the boom. When the sails aren't up, the length of the topping lift keeps the boom up and out of the cockpit, above my head. When the sail is up, the topping lift goes slack. It just took a little bit of adjusting to get it right.
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