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Old 26-03-2013, 10:48   #1
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Sweating the Small Stuff

So there I was...(this forum is labeled confessional...I know I made poor choices here...hopefully someone will learn something from my errors.)

I needed to pull the Genoa (~690sf) off the furler to get it to the loft to have the sacrificial panel restitched. Simple.

I was stern into my slip. It was too windy, 10-15 kts from the stern. It was the end of a long day of compounding, polishing and waxing. I decided we could quickly pull it down without too much drama...

Ready...go!

Everything was going as planned until halfway down, the furler swivel wouldn't come down the track any further. The sail is now trying to pull my wife over the side as she is trying to keep it off the pilings. Also, the sail has pulled out of the track at the bottom so that I can't just pull it up and try another day. It's still very Windy.

I have to put on my climbing gear and get hoisted to the swivel where I discover a set screw on the track has backed out 1/8" or less, but won't let the swivel pass. I was too dumb to have thought to bring a screw-driver or allen key...

An absolute eternity later, the set screw is fixed, the sail is down. No damage is done (besides ego, dock credibility, etc.).

A set screw! The small stuff does matter sometimes...Any other small stuff I should 'know'!?
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Old 26-03-2013, 10:50   #2
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Re: Sweating the Small Stuff

Oh, and before I put that sail back on, I'm going up and locktiting all those little @$%$'s set screws.
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Old 26-03-2013, 10:52   #3
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Re: Sweating the Small Stuff

[QUOTE=...Any other small stuff I should 'know'!? [/QUOTE]


Other than it happens to all of us and that the small stuff will happen to all of us again? Nope.
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Old 26-03-2013, 10:53   #4
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Re: Sweating the Small Stuff

Yep, did you welcome Murphy aboard now that he's there? :>)
People tend to "out of sight out of mind" their headsail furler ( I did). They often will not come down for one reason or another. Salt/dirt build up in the groove, cantakerous head swivel etc. I suppose it would be a good idea to pull down that head sail every few months....
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Old 26-03-2013, 11:37   #5
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Re: Sweating the Small Stuff

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
. I suppose it would be a good idea to pull down that head sail every few months....
My sailmaker says take off the headsail when ever you know you won't be using it for a while because UV can still do a number on the thread of your protective cover.
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Old 26-03-2013, 11:39   #6
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Re: Sweating the Small Stuff

Sounds like a typical day...
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Old 26-03-2013, 11:41   #7
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Was it a Profurl unit?
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Old 26-03-2013, 12:29   #8
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Re: Sweating the Small Stuff

Oh, thank you for reminding me to locktite all of those little set screws.

It's very common: just be happy you had the easy failure mode. The bad failure mode is if you tighten the halyard while you are sailing, and one extrusion slides out from the inside of another -- then the top of the sail can rotate freely from the bottom, the sail rips along the bolt rope, and you can no longer pull it down. That's very difficult to undo.

I'm not sure if this is endemic to profurl (which it was for me), or all brands of furlers.
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Old 26-03-2013, 14:00   #9
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Re: Sweating the Small Stuff

Sometimes these situations deliver knowledge far beyond their price.

67Therapy: it seems to me you've learned about a contingency which could have had really serious consequences, if it had happened under other circumstances - say a bearing cage disintegrated offshore, jamming the rotation of the foil or the swivel, and you had to drop the sail, rather than roll it. It doesn't bear thinking about....

And it sounds as though fate has added enough memorably inconvenient twists to the tale that it makes a great story, permanently etching itself not just on your memory, but on the memories of us fellow-travellers on the internet (thanks!). Without leaving scars (at least, not for us !)...

I'd call that a win-win-win!

And msponer's further horror story (and this would be a REAL horror if it happened offshore at the onset of bad weather - thanks very much!) just adds further value to this thread.

As far as his question about the foils being pulled apart:
<<I'm not sure if this is endemic to profurl (which it was for me), or all brands of furlers. >>

I'm not sure to what extent, but I think this is a possibility with many designs, and it's one crucial reason I have just taken delivery of a set of Alado headfoil sections (I'm planning to make my own end fittings and rotational mechanism).

With the unusual Alado approach, there are three things preventing this failure mode:

1) The foil is in two halves, port and starboard, interlocking by jigsaw tongue and groove (the section is the same for each half, flipped about an athwarthships axis)
2) Each half is staggered, so that a joint between two port foil sections comes halfway between a joint between two starboard foil sections. The sections are 1.5m (actually 5') long, so the minimum the stack would have to extend to allow free rotation of the tack end vs the clew end would be 0.75m. That's physically impossible without lengthening the forestay.
3) The halyard does not run back down the mast: it runs back down the foil. Hence there is no external force which could pull the stack apart, in fact halyard tension forces the stack together. Their system does not rely on fasteners or adhesive to prevent the foil sections pulling apart, and does not need to.

There are aspects of the way it's implemented which I would personally have preferred to be different:

I purchased a section bigger than a foretriangle my size would normally require, partly for ruggedness, and partly because the sectional drawings on the Alado website for this (the biggest section available) showed a luff groove big enough to accomodate an endless halyard, which had attractions for me. (including providing an integral head downhaul)

It turns out that the groove was only a little over half the size indicated by scaling from the drawing, large enough only for a 6mm boltrope. (I'm planning to use slugs)


Furthermore I'm a bit disappointed with the finish of the ends of the foil sections, but it's a purely aesthetic point, and the ends are not visible installed

More puzzlingly: there is a radial cross-hole near one end of each foil, to accept a moulded stub protruding from the plastic bearings which centralise the foil over the headstay.
These bearings are split, and plug together when assembled over the standing headstay, another cunning and user-friendly feature, making installation a breeze.

In my case, at least, these holes are not circular, but lobed - the way holes in sheetmetal often are when drilled with a standard twist drill - and will have to be reamed to persuade the bushes to fit.

This was something I was not happy about, as that would remove the anodising. It turns out that, at least in my case, the cross holes were drilled after anodising, so at least I won't be making anything worse... The sections were at least cut to length and fettled (somewhat amateurishly, IMO) prior to anodising.

But those reservations aside (and frankly most people would barely share any of these, let alone all) it's a very well thought out system, and the extrusions appear to be of good quality.

Alado would have you believe that the minimum increment of foil length permitted by their system, without cutting any extrusion, is 5'.
I attach a sketch I did to persuade myself that, given that Alado sell half as well as full lengths, the true increment is 2.5'.

Alado give the impression that only the right hand configuration is valid, and that to get the situation on the left, you would have to order the right hand stack, discard the bottom starboard (half length) extrusion, and cut the bottom port extrusion in half. Which is silly - but without working out issues of 'handedness' to do with where the holes end up (which I checked per my diagram), it's not patently silly.

(This is implicit, rather than explicit, in the way they quantise the available foil lengths)

I'm recounting this here, not to attack Alado, but to assist those thinking of ordering from them.
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Old 26-03-2013, 14:15   #10
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Re: Sweating the Small Stuff

i never seem to have those problems with hanked on sails
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Old 26-03-2013, 14:42   #11
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Re: Sweating the Small Stuff

Oh, then one more failure mode -- in case it helps prevent chaos at sea for other folks:

On my Profurl, there is a pair of big set screws on the drum, underneath the rolled up furling line, which keep the ~50' long extrusion from slipping down. If these back out slightly the extrusion will slip down inside the furling drum until it hits the top of the turnbuckle. On my boat this was about 6 inches, and was enough for the swivel at the top of the sail to pop off the top of the extrusion. The sail could no longer be rolled up or lowered from deck. Trying to roll it up before I realized what happened tore the bolt rope at the head. The only fix was to go aloft and unshackle the head of the sail from the swivel.

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i never seem to have those problems with hanked on sails
And that's why I really appreciate having hanked on sails for stronger winds.
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Old 26-03-2013, 14:53   #12
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Re: Sweating the Small Stuff

like he said: it would be a good idea to pull down that head sail every few months .. when the wind is not blowing
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Old 26-03-2013, 15:44   #13
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Re: Sweating the Small Stuff

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i never seem to have those problems with hanked on sails
I have learned to never openly state (or even think about) there not being any 'problems'......because then they show up!
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Old 27-03-2013, 07:24   #14
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Re: Sweating the Small Stuff

Good points here. I'll take a look at the other potential failure points when I'm climbing & locktiting. Glad I didn't suffer one of the WORSE potential failures...thanks for helping me keep perspective!
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Old 27-03-2013, 10:37   #15
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Re: Sweating the Small Stuff

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Was it a Profurl unit?
Yes...All of mine were Profurl... 4 boats no issues on any, other than hard to get the sail down when left on for a year or three!
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