Jon Emmett – a perspective on control line thickness

I remember looking at Jon Emmett’s Laser at the Masters worlds in Split, Croatia last year. It was the first time that I had seen such thin control lines being used – they looked pretty radical to me, but having built up a couple of control line systems for Jon over the last few months I can see the merit. This is what Jon has to say…..

Firstly I have to say what a great pleasure it has been to work with Max at Southeast Sailboats and see his great passion for makings everyone’s Laser easier to sail, so different to when I first started with a 3:1 kicker and no blocks in the downhaul over 20 years ago!

From my days in the 49er I have always tried to keep everything as simple as possible. You certainly learn the hard way if you make your spinnaker sheets too long causing them to get looped around the back of the wing, stopping you being able to drop the Spinnaker in 25 knots!

This means that I have always used the shortest, thinnest (and lowest stretch) ropes possible. So previously I have used 2 or 3 mm ropes on the secondary lines. These moved so well I haven’t even needed elastic but after talking to Max I tried the thicker lines on the outhaul in conjunction with the ‘double puller’ elastic, and found that not only did it work just as well but the lines held better in the cleat and avoided the serious danger of the whole handle going through the cleat (which can happen with super thin lines). As an added bonus the new ropes are probably kinder on the hands which is a welcome relief as I gradually spend more and more time in the RIB these days.

Next stop looking at the Downhaul system for 4.7, Radial and Standard rigs (Mark I and Mark II)… more to follow!

When Jon mentioned ‘thicker lines’ above, he is still using something thinner than most of us. Our custom made outhaul for Jon uses 3.5mm FSE Robline Dinghy Polytech as the secondary control line. Our kicker system for Jon uses a 3mm Gottifredi Maffioli EVO Race 78 secondary line built as a 12:1 purchase – the thinner secondary line reduces rolling resistance considerably. These custom solutions aren’t listed on the website (yet), but if you want a system like Jon, just get in touch.

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