PMD Lug Rig; Cheek blocks for halyard; Reef points

Hi all,  I've searched the forums and read all of the posts I could find about rigging, but I'm still unsure about a few things. 

Cheek blocks for the main halyard: I want to use harken 29 carbo cheek blocks ( for the main halyard and lazy jacks instead of drilling the 1" hole throught the top of the mast. I was going to install one cheek block on either side of the mast and (if I am very careful to keep the holes parallel while drilling) through-bolt, using the same screws for both blocks.

I want to use the cheek block to reduce wear and friction from the line running through the 1" hole and also because I want the sail to drop very quickly into the lazy jacks; in one of the videos I saw demonstrating lazy jacks the guy said the sail needs to drop very quickly and I thought the cheek block would help with this.

I was all set to move forward with installing the cheek blocks until I read a comment by Laszo on another post that called into question whether the cheek block would be strong enough for the forces that the main halyard will be subjected to. Would through-bolting make the cheek blocks strong enough for the halyard or should I scrap the idea and go with the 1" hole after all?

Reef Points: When I ordered my kit I cheaped out and ordered the lug sail without reef points. Now I'm second guessing that decision and thinking I probably should have got the reef points. It looks like the sail isn't even available without reef points any more.  For the next few years I'll be using the PMD on the waters in and around Buzzard's Bay (Souther shore of MA, near Cape Cod) and I've seen the conditions change quickly around here. Hoping some more experienced folks could comment on whether the reef points are needed and if so, how do I go about having them added? Or if the wind picks up, should I just drop the sail entirely and row?

There happens to be a sail loft right up the road from me (Harding Sails, no idea if this is a good loft or not) so I may be able to use them and save on shipping the sail somewhere to have the work done. I've never done business with a sail loft so I'm not sure how they would feel about adding reef points to a sail made by another maker and if this may be too small of a job to even be worth their time. Any thoughts?

Thanks for your consideration!




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RE: PMD Lug Rig; Cheek blocks for halyard; Reef points

Hey Jason,

I'm a professional sailboat rigger with a plans built EP.  I have a very similar setup on my lug as yours.  Your double cheek block configuration is perfect.  Is the second cheek block for tensioning the lazy jacks?  I'm about to start building a TAPMD with the gunter sloop options, so will also need a double cheek block arrangement for the jib.

While I will never disagree with Laszlo, I do remember thinking that post was a little pessimistic, although erring on the side of caution is always a good idea.

My lug sail kit came with reef points, which I sewed, but never installed the cringles.  There are times when I think about needing to reef, but a lug sail is very easy to depower on all points of sail.  Sorry I don't have any imperical feedback for you on that question.

RE: PMD Lug Rig; Cheek blocks for halyard; Reef points

P.S.  My EP has a stripped/tapered double braid halyard (MLX) with a dipped Dyneema core...:)

RE: PMD Lug Rig; Cheek blocks for halyard; Reef points

I forgot to ask, but it sounds like you're going with a solid wood mast instead of the aluminum pipe version with CLC's mast cap.  Maybe that's mostly for the gunter sloop option.  What's your plan?

RE: PMD Lug Rig; Cheek blocks for halyard; Reef points

Thanks for all the info CaptainSkully,

Yes, the second cheek block is for the lazy jacks. I don't think it really needs to be a cheek block since the lazy jacks wouldn't benefit much from the reduced friction and they shouldn't need to be adjusted much. I think most folks use a pad eye or something, but the block was pretty cheap. I like the symmetry of having one block on each side of the mast and just thought why not?

When you say it is easy to depower the sail, does that just mean you let out on the sheet to reduce power?

My halyard is just the New England brand low stretch stuff the guy recommended at West Marine. I may upgrade my lines later on to color code them, but with the very few lines this rig needs I didn't think there was much need.

So far as I know, the aluminum mast is just for the gunter sloop rig kit. The lug rig sailing kit comes with a solid wood mast. Not solid, but several layers laminated actually.

By the way, were you displaying your EP at the wooden boat show in Mystic this year? I met an EP buider there last month, maybe that was you? 




RE: PMD Lug Rig; Cheek blocks for halyard; Reef points

   I already had the mast top hole drilled and epoxied on my dory when I decided to turn the mast a quarter turn and use the hole for the lazy jack lines and mount a cheek block for the sail halyard, and yes it IS important that the sail and yard fall fast when popping the lazy jack line.


Note halyard arrangement with a block on the yard also helps it drop smoothly.  I am a big fan of this works great...lazy jacks, cheek block for halyard, halyard around mast to keep from bowing out away from mast on starboard's a total package that works together.



RE: PMD Lug Rig; Cheek blocks for halyard; Reef points

 Lots of good info already added to this post, with the exception of your question about a sail loft modifying someone else's sail.  Not too worry, unless these guys have more work than they can handle they should be quite happy to modify your current sail and add reef points.

RE: PMD Lug Rig; Cheek blocks for halyard; Reef points

Curt's idea is brilliant.  I think it may depend on whether it's a balanced lug or standing lug.  This will affect your weather helm.  I also recommend parrel beads, depending on the geometry.  His system may also get rid of that troublesome diagonal wrinkle lugs are famous for.

When sailing big boats with lazy jacks, I only deploy them when setting/dousing the sail.  Under sail, they're tucked up against the mast.

Yes, just blowing the mainsheet will instantly depower the lug sail.  Because it's a yoke arrangement instead of a gooseneck, the sail is free to swing in a 360° arc.  Any more than that and you foul the lines.  That's also why I don't have a cleat for my mainsheet.  I often need to ease it in fractions of a second.  I'm assuming the PM has a slower response time, but not much. 

The only reason I have a hi-tech halyard is because I can make them myself.  It's ridiculously overkill, but it looks cool.  You really only need a polyester double braid.  The loads are not that significant.

I wish I was able to go to Mystic.  I'm in the left coast wooden boat Mecca, Seattle and go to Port Townsend every year.



RE: PMD Lug Rig; Cheek blocks for halyard; Reef points

Thanks for all the great responses.

Curt, your post and pictures have given me a new idea and I think I am going to try your method with the block on the yard and the halyard running around the mast to the yard outhaul. Do you think that block is 100% necessary? It doesn't seem like the line would run through the block, more like it is just a fixed attachment point. 

Also, what diameter is your halyard? I went with the 1/4" recommended by John in the PMD plans, but it seems a little thin to me. I guess it is plenty strong enough for the aplication and maybe a thicker line would just be overkill, but I guess I am thinking more of the hand feel than the strength requirement.

The cheek blocks I bought will handle up to 5/16", so not a lot of room to go bigger. If I decide to go with a thicker line I'd like to make that choice now while I can still swap these blocks for larger ones. Another consideration is that the blocks that I have don't have enough room between the mounting holes for the 1" hole to pass between them as with your setup. I thought that having that hole up there may be useful as a backup in case the cheekblock failed while underway I'd still be able to rig something up to get home.  Any thoughts or suggestions?

Oceanluvr, thanks for tha advice. If I decide to go with the reef points I will just walk in and see what they say.

CaptainSkully, It's the balanced lug kit that CLC offers. From what I've been able to tell most folks just set the lazy jacks a little slack while under sail so they don't interfere with the sail shape and maybe tension them a bit when they drop the sail into them. Seems like a great way to keep the boom, yard, and sail up out of the way when I want to shift to rowing for a while.

Thanks all!


RE: PMD Lug Rig; Cheek blocks for halyard; Reef points


< Do you think that block is 100% necessary?

I see your point and just looking at the picture your question makes sense.  I had to think about it.  In actual use, yes I think the mid-spar block is needed because when you are raising or dropping the sail it loosens up and only draws up tight when you put the last tug on the halyard.  Also when dropping the sail I tend to release all lines with lots of slack so that the boom, sail and yard can be laid under the mast thwart.  You couldnt do that if that line were terminated on each end.

< what diameter is your halyard?

I measured it and it is at least 5/16", maybe 3/8".  As far as your cheek block fitting 3/8, often a block will accept one line size larger line than it is rated at so you may want to take your cheek block to a place with rope and see if 3/8 will fit.  It's important also to have a flexible rope so that the sail will drop fast, and yes, the only reason i went larger was to be able to hold it easier, and with no mechanical purchase advantage (halyard is 1:1) that's important.


RE: PMD Lug Rig; Cheek blocks for halyard; Reef points

Thanks for the tips Curt. 

After meandering up and down the aisles of the local West marine for way too long I ended up going with this harken block: 

It's a "soft attach" block and I can lash it directly to the yard.  

I considered purchasing some larger diameter line too, but since I already have everything I need to outfit the boat with the 1/4" I thought I would give it a shot first and see how it works out & if I want to step up to 5/16" (or larger) later on, I can.

Now I just have to concentrate on finishing my PMD. She is completely assembled, just gotta finish up the last coat of epoxy and then apply the paint and varnish. I originally hoped for a spring launch, but at this rate I am just hoping to get on the water before winter comes and everything freezes solid!

Thanks again!


RE: PMD Lug Rig; Cheek blocks for halyard; Reef points


  •   Curt, I am in the early stages of my build. Went to Port Townsend class and really glad that I did. I have looked at every one of your photos, twice. If I install 2 cheek blocks, is there any reason to drill the 1" hole in the mast? Thanx, Don



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