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Old 17-01-2009, 10:46   #1
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Advice on (gracefully) single-handing a selden imf?

When deploying the mainsail after motoring away from the slip, the opposing forces on the outhaul and the retraction mechanism are difficult to manage.

The retraction mechanism (continuous looped line around the mast-mounted internal retraction winch) must be reversed a few feet at a time, to allow the outhaul to pull out the mailsail a few feet at a time (two competent sets of hands, or one set of hands alternating between the different lines). It seems impossible to hold some intermediate level of tension on the retraction loop to keep the sail foot tight and making one smooth continuous deployment.

The alternative is letting the continuous loop to go slack, allowing the mainsail to unroll freely, which sounds ok but chances the wind to billow the sail out in an uncontrolled manner before the outhaul is all the way out. Theoretically facing into the wind should minimize the flogging but without a second set of hands to keep the boat pointed exactly into the wind, the sail can fill suddenly and start to heel and turn the boat (as I have proven to my embarrassment). This dramatically slows the deployment since the outhaul loads are now too high to pull without winching, which is difficult to do while lunging for the wheel.

Retracting the main into the mast gives the same issues, plus the aft-bowed mast causes a wrinkle during the process that raises jamming concerns. Obviously, keeping the entire sail taut during the retraction is very important to prevent jams, so uncleating the outhaul and winching in a flogging sail is a bad idea. I am mostly concerned about successfully shortening sail in threatening weather singlehanded.

Selden's manual cryptically advises keeping some tension on the retraction line when moving the sail but this doesn't shed much light on the best ways to accomplish this.

Without falling back into furling vs. non-furling discussion, any operational advice would be greatly appreciated. I am new to the larger boat and my wife can cause equipment to malfunction merely by looking at it.
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Old 17-01-2009, 13:59   #2
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Sounds like a Chinese fire drill. I too would be interested in suggestions to your mainsail shape/size problem. I wonder if you asked in a tighter question it might be easier to bight off and chew. What is the essence of the problem: maintaining a luffing coarse, or gaining enough purchase on the outhaul line, etc?

"my wife can cause equipment to malfunction merely by looking at it."

Very funny line.
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Old 17-01-2009, 14:04   #3
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I'm not familiar with the Selden setup. Is it possible to put the outhaul on a winch so that you could winch it out with one hand, while maintaining tension on the retraction line with the other?
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Old 19-01-2009, 18:04   #4
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I'm interested too, but I have a couple questions.

Is the boom topped up a touch, to relieve its weight on the sail? Is the mainsheet slacked, to avoid having the wind fill the sail as you roll it out? (Not sure if this will cause the sail to flog more violently, but it certainly can make the situation more stressful due to the noise and having to duck the boom - still it may save some load on the furling mechanism.)
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