Loose sail ties are easily lost overboard. Here Colin Jarman explains a simple system of
sail control without ties
We use this system for the mainsail on a little
19-footer, but I've also seen it on a 29-footer and can't imagine
why it wouldn't work on boats even larger. Its great virtues
are that it is always available and it's dead simple. We never
have to search the boat for a tier.
All we have is a doubled length of shockcord (elastic rope) stretched
along the underside of the boom with just enough tension to keep
it taut. Beneath the clew of the mainsail, the pair of cords
are seized together and there's a similar seizing about half
way along the sail's foot and a third about 12in short of the
tack. Between each seizing a plastic hook is fastened to one
piece of shockcord. (These hooks are bought from the chandler
in a size to fit the elastic used.)
When the mainsail is handed, the hooks are pulled up on one side
of the sail, the plain shockcord on the other and the two linked
on top of the sail bundle. That's it, the sail is secure. To
hold the head down, I have tied a short length of rope to each
of the shockcords forward beneath the gooseneck. These come up
and are reef knotted together to hold the headboard down, usually
with the halyard still attached, ready for a quick hoist.
It's dead easy, as the photos show.
sail is handled, a hook and a plain loop are pulled up and linked
above the sail to hold the
bunt securely in place along the boom.
Safety! Should you accidentally
let go of a hook, it will self-stow beneath the boom without