Catalina 270 Running Rigging 2.0

Refer to the Running Rigging (Initial Notes) page on more background on how the running rigging was set up from the factory and why I didn't like it.

Direct links to each section:
  1. Main Halyard
  2. Jib Halyard
  3. Boom Topping Lift
  4. Reef Lines
  5. Outhaul
  6. Jib Sheets
  7. Main Sheet
  8. Boom Vang
  9. Preventer
  10. Cunningham

Summary of Line Dimensions

Please note: these are specific to my boat given all the rigging changes I've done. Some are the same length as stock, many are not.

Length (ft)
Main halyard
8mm (5/16")
Samson Warpspeed II
Jib halyard
8mm (5/16") NER V-100
Topping lift
8mm (5/16") Samson XLS
Reef #1 line
8mm (5/16") Samson Warpspeed II
8mm (5/16") FSE Robline Racing Sheet Pro
Jib sheets
35 (x2)
8mm (5/16") NER Endura braid
8mm (5/16") NEW Salsa
Boom vang
8mm (5/16") Samson Warpspeed II
11 (on boom) + 43
8mm (5/16") NER Sta Set
black (white flakes)

Main Halyard

The main halyard now terminates at the mast. This accomplishes a few goals:
  1. Main is so much easier to raise!
  2. Free up a cabin top clutch.
  3. All related lines (halyard, topping lift, reef lines) are now grouped together at the mast/boom, no need to run back and forth anymore.
A clutch (Spinlock XAS) and a winch (Harken #8) were added to the mast for the main halyard.

I really can't overstate how much easier the main is to raise now! What used to take several minutes of grinding away on the cabin top winch can now be done by hand in about ten seconds. The winch is there in case it is needed for very windy conditions but I haven't needed it yet, it really is so easy to raise and tension by hand now. This is how Catalina should have set up the main halyard from the factory!

The halyard is 78 feet of 8mm (5/16") Samson Warpspeed II (red). This is a bit longer than necessary, in order to allow the halyard to reach the water in case it is needed to lift a MOB or something else.

Jib Halyard

No changes here. Jib halyard exits port side of mast and runs to a clutch on the port side cabin top.

I kept this as-is because:
  1. Although the effort to raise the jib is much higher than it would be at the mast, it doesn't matter that much because the jib is on a furler so I don't raise it every time.
  2. It is nice to sometimes be able to adjust jib halyard tension while sailing so having it semi-accessible is good.
The jib halyard is 75ft of 8mm (5/16") New England Ropes V-100 (green).

There is also a second jib halyard which I don't use. I coiled it by the mast to clear up some unused line from the cockpit.

Topping Lift

The topping lift used to terminate at the mast which is fine, so no change in location.

It used to make fast to a horn cleat which has been removed and replaced with a clutch (Spinlock XAS).
With this arrangement, this line can also be used as a backup main halyard in a pinch.

It is 78 feet of 8mm (5/16") Samson XLS (black).

Reef Lines

As I mentioned, the factory reef arrangement was an exercise in baroque overcomplexity. Definitely one of those "what were they thinking" moments. And it only allowed for a single reef line. Here's what I changed:
  1. Remove the internal (to boom) car and all associated lines
  2. Add a clutch to the boom
  3. Add a winch to the boom (Forespar #6 marelon winch)
  4. Add a cleat to the boom
  5. Add two exit plates to the boom for two reef lines.
  6. Replace gooseneck reef hooks (NB1-1RA from
  7. Added a floppy ring to the main sail reef point

Reefing it now so very quick and easy. Everything can be accomplished while standing in a single location.
  1. Drop main until ring reaches the hook
  2. Tighten main halyard
  3. Tighten reef line
The winch on the boom turned out to be somewhat unnecessary in hindsight because most of the time I can tighten the reef line by hand and if I can't, I could also run the line to the main halyard winch just behind it. Still, it's nice to have.

Reef #1 line is 24ft of 8mm (5/16") Samson Warpspeed II (green).



The outhaul was previously unusable because it terminated in a jammer at the gooseneck. The quickest solution would have been to move it to a sheave with no jammer and extend it to the cabin top. But I prefer to simplify as much as possible (simple = reliable) so I removed the three lines and two blocks (inside the boom) and replaced them with a single line and zero blocks inside the boom. Much cleaner! The line now goes to one of the port side cabin top clutches.

  1. Most importantly: Outhaul is now available for regular adjustment while sailing.
  2. The line can be replaced easily in the future without having to drill out boom end caps again.
  3. Removed multiple potential failure points inside boom.

I used a Wichard MXLEvo10 soft block on the clew.

Outhaul line is 30ft of 8mm FSE Robline Racing Sheet Pro (blue).


Jib Sheets

35 feet each, 8mm NER Endura Braid (blue).

To prevent the jib sheets from ripping out the dodger, I added a padeye closer to the winch and a small block (Harken T2 soft attach carbo) to keep the sheet away from the dodger.



The mainsheet was my highest priority to redesign, as the factory arrangement just didn't work. See the Running Rigging (Initial Notes) page for more on why I diskliked it so much but to summarize, the factory mainsheet has these major problems:
  1. Not within reach of the helm (I singlehand a lot, so this is critical).
  2. Locked in a clutch so cannot be dumped quickly (even if I could get to it, but see #1).
I re-routed the mainsheet so it is now within easy reach of the helm and it can be very quickly released (and trimmed). I can now easily steer with my left hand and handle the mainsheet with the right hand when conditions warrant.

The original rigging was 4:1. Mine is now 6:1 (although the line is longer so likely has some extra friction). I used Harken 75mm single and triple blocks to preserve the two attachment points in the boom. I routed the line down the starboard side to the stern.

The last block is a Harken ratchet block (can be switched between ratchet or free-running) to make hand holding the mainsheet easier in windy conditions. The block is placed so that the winch can also be used if necessary (in practice I don't believe the winch is ever needed - I've singlehanded in 25kts without reefing and still was able to handle the mainsheet with one hand without much difficulty).

Here are some views of how the line runs down the starboard side:

Line is 66 feet of 8mm (5/16") New England Ropes Salsa. Salsa makes for a very nice mainsheet, it is very soft to hold and being single braid, does not kink.

Boom Vang

Originally the boat had no vang!

I re-used the factory Garhauer blocks which had been used for the mainsheet (see above) to rig a boom vang. The line terminates in the starboard side cabintop clutches.

(Photos TBD)

Line is 39 feet of 8mm (5/16") Samson Warpspeed II (green).


By the time one wants to tie a preventer on the boom, the boom is already way out over the water which makes it rather difficult!
I like to have a pre-rigged preventer on the boom which reaches the mast. There it is easy to reach no matter how far out the boom is.

(Photos TBD)

Line is New England Ropes Sta-Set. About 11ft is on the boom and the separate tail is 43 ft. This terminates on the starboard side clutch on the cabintop.


Originally the boat had no cunningham.


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