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Self Rigging the Falcon (and not killing anyone within 20')

PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:11 am
by DaveD
*Starring the webmaster, Dave D.

OK, This post is a long time coming.

I got my wife taking pictures while I setup the boat today for a great pre-thunderstorm sail. Winds were blowing 10-15 with gusts to 25. I put up the "G-String" jib, because I would like not to scare the wife, and she will continue to let me sail. :)

I'm going to do this in multiple posts so follow along!

If you are new to sailing, and need a refresher on terms and anatomy of a boat here's a couple of links:

The Falcon is a Fractional Rig Sloop. This means the forestay doesn't run up the entire mast (only 3/4). This give a performance advantage because the mast can be "raked" by tightening the back stays and pulling the mast back.

Here is my boat all trailered up for a trip to the lake.

You can see how I have it tied down to the trailer. I've traveled over 500 miles with this setup at 70 mph. I need to get a cover made for rainy trips...

Now we are at the lake, ready for setup.

Step 1.
Release the mast tie downs, get your stays sorted out. Fasten the backstays to their ties starboard and port.

Step 2.
Run the main halyard through up and over the mast head, making sure to keep the stays separated from the halyards.

Clip or tie the stern end of the main halyard to your cheek block or cleat.

Step 3.

Run the jib halyard through the jib block on your mast.

Tie the jib halyard to the mast by making a couple of "wrap knots" as I like to call them.
This keeps the jib halyard tight the the mast and out of your way for Step 4.

Step 4.

Double check the positions of your halyards and stays, and make sure they aren't wrapped wrong, or not attached. This will make it easier once you get into this position:

Slowly and steadily raise the mast, and place the bottom into your mast holder. Some people have a moulded hole, others have a tabernacle.

Once the mast is in place, grab the loose end of the main halyard. We are going to use it as a temporary forestay.
Pull it tight, and move to the bow of the boat.

THIS IS KEY: I have added a nylon "eye" block to my mast crutch on my trailer, and I run the main halyard through it and tie it off on the deck cleat like this:

Now your hands are free to take your sweet time to hookup the forestay. Mine has a clevis pin, that is a pain in the rear, and you need both hands to do it.

Here is how it looks from far, with the "temporary stay".

That's raising the mast. Next is setting up the sails.

Re: Self Rigging the Falcon (and not killing anyone within 2

PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:34 am
by DaveD
Whew, we setup the mast, now for the rest of the rigging.

Step 5. Move the Main Halyard after attaching the Forestay.

Now the forestay is attached, we can move the main halyard back to the mast and secure it.


Attach your clip end or the end that runs down the back of the mast to the far end of your boom.

Step 6. Setup the Jib Sheets

This is when I like to take a little breather and run the jib sheets. Liquid refreshment may be a requirement. Maybe even a cocktail.

I color coded mine when I had them cut green for starboard, red for port. I like to teach people and give them "jobs" to do when we go out for a cruise, makes it easier for them to do some work then jump around them while I try to sail the boat. Colors help. :)

Jib sheets on the deck un attached to the sail:
Through the coaming boards and the jib blocks:

Step 7. Rig the Jib

I like to get all my sails rigged up while on land. Makes it easier to get underway once on the water.

Hook up the jib, clipping the luff of the sail to the forestay with the clips:
Attach the foot of the sail, tie the jib halyard to the top of the sail, and attach the jib sheets.
One a breezy day, I'll take a couple wraps around the sail with the halyard just to keep it secure.

Step 8. Rig the Main

This one is different for every one. It's all good. Most of us have slugged mains, meaning we have plastic slugs that slide in the slots on the mast and boom. However, how the boom attaches to the mast, and sail are different. I have a pin that slides in the mast under the boom, then I tie the boom down to a cleat on the mast, holding it secure. Also, the tack of my sail is held in place by a bolt and a u-joint. I'll include more detail later.

I like to run up the mast slugs first, attach the tack to the boom, then secure the boom to the mast.

I then run out all the slugs on the foot of the sail, and attach the clew.

Once the main is secure to the mast and boom, I then add the battens. *My Battens are removable, and I take them out for storage.*

Step 9 Run the Mainsheet

The stock setup for the mainsheet is as follows.

We go through 2 blocks on the stern, up through a single block on the end of the boom, to another single block about half way up the boom, then down to the main block on the keel locker.

I hope this clarifies some things with rigging this boat.

Any questions?

Re: Self Rigging the Falcon (and not killing anyone within 2

PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:44 pm
by WhiteFox
Wow Dave, great post!!!

This definitely helps me out as I'm sure I'll float solo when my boat is aqua-bound!

I noticed your Mainsheet Block centered on your boom looks further back than mine, by about a foot. not sure if it makes a difference or not. I just fixed mine yesterday. The parts were lying the the boat (luckily) until I figured out where they belong. The holes for the screws for my block were stripped, so I drilled new ones about an inch further forward and mounted the block there. Seems like it works well so far.

After seeing how the stern end of your boom is configured, I realize now that I need to put a block on the end like yours is set up. For some reason there is a block, similar to the main and jib halyards on the bottom of the mast, attached to the starboard side of my boom, I have the mainsheet routed through that, and i figured it wasn't right as it binds and doesn't let the mainsheet move freely.

I noticed your boom allows the use of slugs, which mine does not so i questioned it's originality. However, your boom appears to be the same length so I'm guessing they most likely varied throughout the years, especially since your boat is similar, yet doesn't share the same characteristics all over.

Thanks for the great post, we all appreciate it, and as it stands today, the most informational post on the internet regarding the use and setup of these little boats that I've seen yet!

I've already dropped my mast on accident (which luckily didn't do any damage) and I've made it a point to have two people when raising it. It's really intimidating to handle, but as you've shown if you are careful you shouldn't have any problems.

Oh yeah, nice subie! I too am a fozzy owner :)

Re: Self Rigging the Falcon (and not killing anyone within 2

PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:04 pm
by DaveD
The mainsheet block location on the boom shouldn't make much difference performance wise, as long as it's ballpark to the location of the block on your keel locker. A few inches won't matter much.

I added the cheekblocks on the mast (that my halyards are routed through) after seeing Tim Gillespie's setup. I ordered them from DR Marine, the link is under the suppliers section in this forum. They were only 12 or 13 dollars. I added the cleats on top of the cuddy to tie them off. This was done because the jib sheets were snagging extra line tucked between the mast and cabin top, during a tack. I had to get it out of the way as a matter of safety. Also, it's easier to rig when you are single handing it, or for someone sitting up front to hoist sails or drop them.

As far as the slotted boom, I thought all of them were that way. I could be wrong though. I'm knowledgable, but not an expert. We are missing a lot of history on this boat still. There is even some family politics going on on the storyline. I digress...

If the foot of the sail is slugged, it only makes it a little more durable and easier to remove the sail in a hurry. If yours is freely floating, I recommend making sure your outhaul (the line attached to the clew that goes out to the cleat at the stern end of your boom) is in good condition and securely fastened.

I keep a small "kit" of goodies in my locker for just in case of those "Oh, Sh..." moments. Things like extra clevis pins and clips, extra sail slugs, extra lengths of outhaul and down haul line, some sail tape, paper clips (various sized) in a water tight container (you would be amazed at what you can make from a paper clip in a jam), and a stainless steel multi-tool (it doesn't have to be an expensive one). I put all of this in a tupperware container and tie it down somewhere.

I love my Subaru. I will never own another car. :) It tows this boat like a dream.

Re: Self Rigging the Falcon (and not killing anyone within 2

PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:24 pm
by joecomet
First thanks for the site. I just aquired a 1964 Falcon. I would guess it was built at Paceship's plant in Canada by McFay Still looking for any ID. Boat is in good shape, having been brought back by a real sailor. I have owned a few other sailboats since my Pram at the age of nine. I have sailed as crew on several large sail vessals. The largest as crew on the 120' staysail schooner Voyager in the Caribbean, and lately on the a 55' ketch. I have owned an O'day Mariner, San Jaun 21, and several others. I just turned 70 and I think my last boat will be this fine little Falcon.
I noticed your electric motor on the stern. I just bought a 40# Kota. The man I bought the boat from used an 18#, so it shoud do the job. What size in yours and what size batt do you use. I think the marine batt that came with the boat might be a little small. Again thanks for the site and the info. Keep it comming.
Joseph Haley
PS Are their any other Florida owners on the site that you know of in the 'Panhandle'.

Re: Self Rigging the Falcon (and not killing anyone within 2

PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:36 pm
by DaveD
First of all, Welcome! and you're welcome for the site. It's my pet project. :-) I'm happy to set this up as info on this particular boat is scattered all over the web.

Please take the time to create a forum for your boat under the "Roll Call" section, and pictures would be great!

I also have been creating boat profiles for our main site, I usually include some relevant info on your boat, 5 or 6 pictures, and the owner name.

Mine is a 34# Endura. I use a group 27 battery with the Minn Kota battery center.

I have my boat wired for navigation lights, as I like to go sailing in the evening when the other boats get off the lake, and it cools off. My Nav lights are LED though, so they maybe pull down 15 watts total.

I have motor sailed on "3" setting for 2 or 3 hours with that setup with the lights on, and used maybe 25% of the battery life. My guess is a 40# would use a little more.

I also will make the recommendation of moving the battery up by the keel locker to better ballast the boat. I haven't done this yet, but it's next on my list.

Re: Self Rigging the Falcon (and not killing anyone within 2

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:21 pm
by bill54
Hi :shock: ,
I was wondering if there is any way that you can activate the images on this subject? I have tried numerous times to see the images, but only the word image shows up. The pictures would be so helpful, as I am new to sailing this type of sailboat and would appreciate the help. I had viewed the pictures once when I first discovered this site, but they no longer work. Any help would be appreciated.

Re: Self Rigging the Falcon (and not killing anyone within 2

PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:18 pm
by DaveD

Thanks for noticing. I had moved the images to a new location on my server and forgot to update the links... :o

There you go... enjoy!


Re: Self Rigging the Falcon (and not killing anyone within 2

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:12 am
by bill54
Thanks for getting the pictures back on for me, they are a great help! Now I have another problem, any suggestions on how to get the mast back down safely? When taking down the mast, I have a problem keeping my grasp on it because of the angle and height it comes down at. I just can't seem to grab it in the correct place. It then comes down too quickly, and is out of my control. I have had some back surgeries, and no longer have the upper body strength that I used to have. I just finished restoring the boat, and would love to get a ride in it:) Any help/suggestions would be great!!!!

Re: Self Rigging the Falcon (and not killing anyone within 2

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:39 pm
by DaveD
Hey Bill,

Dis-assembly is pretty much reverse order of what I have posted above.

There has always been a couple of seconds in taking the mast down where I do a "quick" hand shuffle as she comes down to avoid dropping it completely. As she drops, I go from 1/3 to 1/2 of the length up the mast in a couple of movements. Once you have the middle of the mast, you are golden to drop it in the crutches.

I'm not a spring chicken by any means, but I have been fortunate on the back injury front. I can appreciate caution.

Try a couple of things:

1. Wear some sailing gloves when taking the mast down (they have sticky palms), shuffling your hands and sliding as you walking down the mast toward the stern until you get her a little more level (DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT THE TRAILER HITCHED TO YOUR CAR, when your weight gets aft, you will tilt the trailer and boat back and go for a ride.)

2. Tie the foot of the mast down (attach a long rubber bungee and wrap a few times around the foot of the mast, connect it to the deck cleat) or rest it on the cleat as you walk your hands down the mast. That will keep it secure until you can walk it down and stop it from flailing around.

3. This option is a bit of an engineering project, but I've see it done-- Put a winch on the trailer to lift and lower the mast for you. Some Hobie's and trailered larger sailboats use this method. It would be a second winch, in addition to your trailer winch.

I also noticed your trailer is missing an upright "crutch" for holding the mast up. See the photos above to see what I mean.