All-time best innovation

After a description by Jerk Oldenburg (SY Vindela, #27) and idea by Douwe Fokkema (SY Johanna, #720)

Double mainsail sheets on either side of the cockpit

In every Monsun the mainsail sheet runs on a traveller rails in the middle of the cockpit (see picture to the left), between the starboard and port benches. This is a terrible solution, since it makes one have to climb over the bar in the cockpit all the time. In rough seas this is basically impossible, in lighter seas it at least causes bruises and bleeding sores on legs and feet. A cause of many language abuse episodes, for crying out loud!

In 2009 I read about a solution to this problem on the website of SY Vindela, that Jerk Oldenburg maintained to tell about his around the world adventures. He wrote in Swedish only, and had learned about this idea from his meeting with another around-the-world Monsun sailor, Douwe Fokkema. I looked at Douwes website for the adventures with SY Johanna, which is in Dutch, but did not find a description.

In the winter of 2009-2010 I fixed this arrangement, and now, a few seasons later, can say that this is the best innovation any Monsun owner can make to their boat.

The cockpit becomes bigger, more accessable, and no more bruised feet and legs with this simple but excellent solution. The main sheet railbar is history on SY Isabell! At the same time you have a stable boom in heaving seas. No more side-to-side movement in the boom when no sails are up. It also is easy to perform a one-man controlled jibe while sailing before the wind. I am very pleased with this.

Works like this

Take out the railbar and use it for anything else as you please.

Move the genua sheet winches a little bit toward the aft (if you have to for getting room to turn the winchhandle freely).

Drill holes through the most forward part of the wooden winch support board (cockpit coaming) on either side of the cockpit, all the way through, and fix a stainless steel U-bolt (see picture) on either side. Make sure you put enough support under the deck to fixate in place, since there will be a lot of strain on the U-bolts. In Isabell I put 12 mm plywood sheets cut to the size of the interior room under the deck below, and bolted the U-bolts through that.


Buy a main sheet arrangement identical to the one you already have, with 10 mm sheets (15 m on either side), put a snap shackle (see picture) on the seating of each of these. So you can attach/detach quickly and easily.

Attach the main sheet systems to the same place at the boom fitting. On the underside attach the snap shackle to the U-bolts and you are set and ready to sail!

Snap shackles

Advantages when trimming

I found that this arrangement together with a boom vang or rodkicker (Isabell has a Selden pneumatic rodkicker) is excellent in trimming the setting of the main sail. By adjusting either side of the main sheet arrangement you get the right angle to the wind and then all you need is to adjust the height of the boom to get the right curve in the sail. Works great. You can just unsnap the mainsail sheet on the side that you do not use, so it does not run straight across the cockpit.

Main sheet system

Securing the boom

While sailing before the wind or with open wind it is always a good idea to secure the boom. For this I made an arrangement with a block on the furlex footing in the bow, through which I run a 12 mm sheetline (25-30 m length) that comes back to the cockpit on either side of the boat. In this sheet line I made a loop in either side about at the place where the rodkick is attached to the boom (one loop on port and one on starboard). In this loop I attached a strong spring release shackle. When going to secure the boom, I pull the side to be secured toward the cockpit, unhook the mainsail sheet arrangement from the U-bolt (the sheet that is away from the side over which the boom is going), and lock it to the securing line loop shackle. Then the line can then be winched on the opposite side of the cockpit, via a block in the back of the cockpit, until the boom is secure. Then I tie down either end of the line in a clamp to hold the securing line in place.

Isabell had the original mainsail sheet attached on the traveller rails in the cockpit until 2009

This is the new arrangement as shown on the website for SY Vindela by Jerk Oldenburg (Sweden)

And a side view of the SY Vindela main sheet arrangement after the initial innovation by Douwe Fokkema on SY Johanna (Netherlands)

And a side view of Isabells boom securing line, running along the portside forward when the wind is over starboard side