How to raise the Mainsail
Learn to Sail with Norton Yachts!
Hoisting a Mainsail
On a smaller keelboat, we will raise the mainsail first and head to open water. Next, we will raise the jib. Because safety is the first consideration when boating, it’s important that everyone onboard understands what to expect when hoisting the mainsail. In this post, we will be going over how to raise the mainsail. Safety will be addressed in another post.
- It is essential to first have the boat oriented “bow to wind”. This means the bow is pointed directly into the oncoming winds. This allows the luff (edge of sail next to the mast) to slide upward freely with minimum friction.
- Time to Prepare the Crew!
- Once everyone is in their position, go ahead and remove the sail ties.
- If the aft end of boom (the pole that supports the foot of the mainsail) is tied off, untie it and lower it to the deck.
- Make sure the main halyard is free and not tangled on anything.
- Take in on the tail of the halyard to get rid of excess slack.
- Double check that the boom is free of any ties, so it can be raised.
- Let your crew know you are hoisting the sail! Letting your crew know you are about to hoist will make them aware that the boom will swing.
- Hoist the halyard! Next, cleat the halyard.
- Release some tension in the boom topping lift so it doesn’t tighten up when the mainsheet is tight.
- Finally, coil the tail of your halyard and stow it away, and adjust things as needed.
And you’re off!! Whenever you are out sailing, remember to brief your crew beforehand, so that everyone is on the same page. Communication is a huge part of boating
safety. Everyone should be aware of what’s going on at all times, so that no unwanted surprises occur. Fair Winds and Happy Sailing, everyone!