Control lines

Question: I've been looking at the pictures of the continuous form of centreboard/kicker lines, and wondered if anyone could advise:

  • What length is best for these lines?
  • What's the best way to join the two ends (and what type of line)?

Answer: For kicker and centreboard I use them about 11.5 metres long and run these around the boat as per diagrams. They are 5mm excel 'pro' which despite the name is about 85p per metre.
The way I connect them together to make them continuous is

  • to heat seal the outer by waving a lighter at each end
  • Then with some long nosed pliers pull the 'inner' out about 7-10 cm and cut off. This leaves a hollow end.
  • Get a 15-20cm piece of 3mm line - anything that is reasonably stiff will do, heat harden the end and insert as far as possible into the now hollow outer.
  • Sew/whip through both at two locations - near the end of the inserted bit - say 5+ cm and near the end of the outer. Don't whip it for more than 6 or 7 mm at each location
  • The outer is probably a bit frayed with all this work despite the heat sealing you previously did, so trim back the frayed bits to the end whipping
  • heat seal/tidy again but be careful not to get over exited now and burn through the whipping.

Before you complete the second link just make absolutely sure the line is not twisted or routed wrongly !
It's a labour of love but very well worth it if you get the systems working properly.
For the cunningham I do not make them continuous and my boat is as per the diagrams on the website. One variation I've now copied from others is to put a cleat on the underside of the boom and NOT lead the outhaul to each side of the boat - this makes things very simple and frees up two cleats for other purposes such as adjustable forestays if you want - or they can be removed completely if, like me, you like to keep the boat ultra simple. (it saves a load of line/elastic, control cleats, blocks etc etc and you rarely need to adjust the outhaul anyway). Make sure if you do do this that the boom cleat is forward as you will not be able to adjust it easily if far back.
Another refinement recently tried and now recommended ....... The centreboard is often a bit reluctant to come up when initially you pull on the control line. The reason for this is that the two blocks just behind the mast that route these lines to each side are on a common fitting. When you pull either port or starboard lines they pull against eachother - giving the impression of a very stiff centreboard.
The answer is to take the deck fitting that anchors them off the boat (and fill in the holes) and to separate the two blocks - attaching them with small shackles to the fittings that already anchor the kicker control line blocks. These will happily accommodate these extra control line blocks and naturally keep them a couple of cm apart.
Result - much improved lifting for virtually zero effort. I've noticed a lot of boats being supplied with what looks like 3 or 4mm control lines on the centreboard which really should be 5mm - this may have been done to overcome this problem but the mod covered here is much better - should be a production change really and it will save a few pence as well.
Good Luck - Mike Lyons