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Old 09-09-2011, 02:35   #1
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Furling a Staysail to a Storm Jib Size

I asked this on the Gale Sail thread and it went unanswered so a new thread is probably more appropriate anyway.

My new boat will have a 36 sq m main, a 54 sq m (135%) genoa & a 15 sq m staysail on a furler which I think is about twice the recommended size for a storm jib. My question relates to furling the staysail to storm jib size instead of swapping it for a storm jib when things get really crook. I understand that some might see this as loading up the furling line excessively but is it feasible? ...and are there any furlers that you can lock with a pin or something so that the pin takes the strain, not the furling line.

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Old 09-09-2011, 03:13   #2
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Re: Furling a staysail to a storm jib size

Dont know about locking the furling drum. I use the staysail as a storm jib, rolling it up as required. I use the largest diameter furling line which will fit the drum, and make sure its in good condition. Its been subjected to 60 kts wind gusts and held OK
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Old 09-09-2011, 03:33   #3
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pirate Re: Furling a staysail to a storm jib size

I'd not worry about your furling line... as for locking pins... they don't do them... no need.. the loads are not that severe.
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Old 09-09-2011, 04:47   #4
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Re: Furling a staysail to a storm jib size

The staysail furling line got away from a crew member when we were trying to roll the sail in a bit in 50+ knot gusty winds. It took about five seconds for the wild flailing to shred the sail's clew, putting the sail out of commission when we needed it the most.

I later had it remade with a lot of extra reinforcement. Make sure your sail and furling line are beefy enough for the heavy work.
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Old 09-09-2011, 05:49   #5
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Re: Furling a staysail to a storm jib size

Keeping the line on the winch with multiple wraps will help from it getting away. This is the same we damaged our clew on the headsail. Only one wrap with it blowing stink pulled the line out of Mel's hand.......i2f
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Old 09-09-2011, 08:52   #6
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Re: Furling a staysail to a storm jib size

G'Day Greg,

Sorry that I missed it on the other thread. IMO and in our experience this will work up to a point. But as with all furling sails the shape generally becomes compromised when it is rolled up very much. Not an issue downwind, but in the dreaded "clawing off a lee shore in a storm" situation it could be. Also, depending on the cut of the sail it may move the CE up higher than a proper storm sail which can lead to more heeling than you might like... all depends on the details.

I don't know how well your masthead rig might sail on just the deeply reefed main. I-2 does fairly well in winds up to ~40 knots, but we haven't tried getting upwind in any more on just the main. Something that you might fool around with once you splash the boat...

And I wouldn't worry about the furling line -- that bugaboo is way overstressed on sites like this. Consider that the loads on the furling line are far smaller that those on the sheets, and the sheets don't often fail! You do want to avoid chafe points.

There is one furler that does have a ratchet mechanism built in to the drum: called Reef-Rite, designed by the famous Bob Grahm in Doves Bay, NZ. IMO the best heavy duty furler ever built. But, they are pretty dear, and also pretty heavy aloft, but boy are they well built. Use standard automotive bearings and seals, cheap and easily sourced anywhere in teh world. We had one on I-one, loved it but then lost it when we were dismasted in 1996.

Hope that this helps, mate.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:29   #7
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Re: Furling a staysail to a storm jib size

As has already been pointed out, the loads aren't too bad on the furling line, but any chafe will get you when you can least afford it. Also, make sure that the furling line is very well secured -- mine goes through a spring-loaded cam-cleat that can sometimes let go if the line hasn't been properly loaded in the cleat. If I am concerned about it, I run the furling line to a secondary winch and secure it there.

And for what it's worth, my Harken furlers are designed so you can clip a shackle through the mechanism, locking it quite securely. I've never done this.

My staysail can roller-reef pretty deeply and still have a usable upwind shape. It's not as good as an unfurled storm jib, but it's decent.
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:29   #8
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Re: Furling a staysail to a storm jib size

Another consideration is the stays'l itself. Can it hold up as a Storm Jib (or stays'l) would? For 40' to 45' boats a cloth weight of 9 oz or better is commonly recommended. (I would go for 10 myself) Also the patches, the clew, the tack and the head are all going to be reinforced. Take the strength of the sail into consideration as well.
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:31   #9
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Re: Furling a staysail to a storm jib size

While I understand the convenience of roller reefing, and enjoy it greatly on my yankee jib stay, I question its use on a staysail stay, particularly in the way you wish to use it.

I would suggest that you consider a hank-on staysail with a set of reef points sewn in. Keep the sheets on a shackle (or keep "storm sheets" set up for this purpose), and rig a downhaul for the staysail. You can bring the staysail down 30% or so, retension the halyard and reattach the tack and clew. Properly made, this is both more robust and more efficient than partially rolling a staysail, which gives you the same problems with sail shape as would a half-furled jib or genoa.

There's a discussion about it in this PDF that debates the pros and cons of reefing a staysail in place of setting a dedicated storm staysail.
www.porttownsendsails.com/pdf/staysail.pdf
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:49   #10
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Re: Furling a staysail to a storm jib size

I quit buying storm jibs after my 30 footer. I by far prefer the stays'l, it's more inboard, the boat balances well, sheeting angles and track adjustments arent necessary etc. A full staysail should be good to what... 40 knots? After that, I doubt you are going to be going to weather in storm conditions. I dont think you are going to reach anywhere near the strength of your furler line. I had a slab reef in one of my staysails (no furling) and it was a great setup. The staysail was in a heavy bag, hanked on and ready to go. Have your staysail cut fairly flat, it really should be anyway on most boats as the sail is useless in lighter winds below 18 (?) knots.
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:22   #11
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Re: Furling a staysail to a storm jib size

I've gone to weather in 30 knots under staysail only and have been surprised that such a modest piece of canvas could haul our 16 tonne boat quite so close to hull speed. The slab reef idea is a good one, as is the flatter cut.

I have the "heavy bag/hanked on" setup aboard my boat. It makes things easier and as the staysail stay runs down into the anchor well, it's a protected spot to work on for me and the bag is not usually affected by wind.

I would disagree that the staysail is not useful in lighter winds. In combination with the jib fully out and on certain points of sail, as in front just aft of the beam to, say, just less than a close reach, the two sails can be adjusted to make a nice slot between them that means a nice pop in propulsive power.
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Old 09-09-2011, 17:50   #12
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Re: Furling a Staysail to a Storm Jib Size

yeah, there are useful points of sail as you mention.
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Old 10-09-2011, 06:17   #13
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Re: Furling a Staysail to a Storm Jib Size

15 sq m storm jib does not sound like a huge thing vs. a 90 sq m total sail area (ex the jib!).

In any case, if the sail is flat enough and if there is a foam or rope in the luff then you will most likely be able to furl it to the size that matches the conditions.

We never locked the drum even in the worst weather. Never had any issues with the unit nor the line either. We have a cheapo unit. I bet things from Harken, Profurl, Facnor, etc.. can take the load.

You can also invest into a small, flat, strong, bright orange jib - drop the stay sail, hoist the storm jib and off you go - a nice thing to know that the big tanker crew may be able to see you early enough to say hi.

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Old 10-09-2011, 06:56   #14
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Re: Furling a Staysail to a Storm Jib Size

Partially furling a roller furled jib/genoa in big winds is in my opinion nuts.
the sail shape is never good (you think it is from the cockpit...get someone to take a picture of it from in front of yr boat...its baggy, even with a rope in the luff),
the sheet positions will be all wrong,
the load on the furler line IS high ( we broke one in 40+ knots going to windward on the way to Tonga last year... the sail unfurled itself and was a bitch to get down)
the load on the foot and the leech of the sail is in the wrong place and high.
the centre of effort of the sail is too high and too far for'd
Best practice solution : inner forestay with hanked on staysail and storm jib...not a roller furler
If you think you can get a roller furled staysail out of a foil and then hoist a storm jib up a foil in conditions that demand it, I doubt you've been in those conditions.
Working with hanked on sails in 40-50+ knots is manageable..the sails are close to the deck as you are....all the work can be done on the deck before you hoist the sail...its safe, seamanlike and the sail shape is better...and the centre of effort is closer to the mast...all round more efficient.
As for tanker crews being able to see you...in my expereince they're not even looking ! you have to look out for yourself
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:30   #15
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Re: Furling a Staysail to a Storm Jib Size

What Albro359 is saying reflects my experience, even in Lake Ontario where I currently sail, particularly as regards sail shape and where the loads end up.

Of course, I think electric locks and windows on cars are accidents waiting to happen and my windlass is both manual and electrical, like the pumps on the water system, so I obviously have a touch of the Luddite disorder and a suspicion regarding just where safety, convenience and needlessly complex mechanical aids intersect.

A sidenote: A hank-on storm jib makes a nice riding sail at anchor off the backstay.
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