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Old 03-03-2010, 22:52   #1
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Hank-on Sails vs Furler ?

I have a steel H 28 Ketch with a staysail and have decided to go against the modern trend for furlers and am sticking with a number of hank-on headsails. The way I look at it is that the sails on the boat are fairly small and easy to handle, so why not have a few different specific sails for different conditions?

I am also transferring this topic from another thread http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f47/ketchs-vs-sloops-21635-4.html#post413485 where my interest in this issue has sidetracked the original discussion. Some of the comments I found interesting on that thread included:
I use hank on jib for easy drop and replacing of sail. A strong 6 ounce jib is good for off shore and you can drop and replace with a light air sail. Say a 4 ounce jib for light air will get you to windward.” by wsvoboda

“Hank on genoa's outperform roller furling genoa's. I would immediately specify at least a batten at the head of the genoa or even a wishbone at the clew!!

Also, when it's time to reef and you take down the genoa and hoist a jib, the difference with a half-furled (roller) genoa becomes silly and you are way better off.
Don't forget that you can add a reef to the foot of a hank-on foresail too!” by s/v Jedi


These comments pretty much summarise the reason why I have decided to spare the expense of a furled. It also seems that furlers can fail?

I note, I am intending using my H 28 as a pocket offshore cruiser.


(Thanks too for the comments I have quoted)
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Old 03-03-2010, 23:17   #2
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Both choices have + and -

A furling is a good all-rounder, but from a performance perspective a hank on (or even better, one that is in a foil) is better. But then you will need more sails. All cost $ and all need to be stored somewhere.

Having the right sail for the conditions has it's place. For me that place is racing. For cruising do you really all this:

Sail wardrobe for race boat (from memory):
Light No.1
Med No. 1
Heavy no.1
No.2
No.3
No. 4
Storm sail
Jib top
Regatta Main
Offshore Main
Trysail
0.5 oz runner
2.2 oz runner
0.75 oz runner (several)
0.75 oz reacher (several)
Asymetic (several)
Code zero

and that's for a sloop. For a ketch with a staysail, I can think of another 4 on top of that
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Old 04-03-2010, 00:42   #3
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I sold the roller furling on my boat and changed to hank on. I carry 3 foresails. One 130% working for no reef. One high aspect 90% jib for reef 1and a small heavy storm jib for reef 2. I believe in the Kiss principle and that doesn't include roller furlers. I can remember at least twice of forestays coming apart inside furlers and it wasn't found until the halyard was the only thing supporting the mast. I also have two forestays for redundancy.
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Old 04-03-2010, 00:46   #4
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There was a boat across the wharf from me that lost its forestay somehow sitting at the dock (ok so we had a lot of wind but still). They had a wire luff furler for the headsail and that kept the mast up.
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Old 04-03-2010, 01:34   #5
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Well, whatever turns you on. It's fun playing a huge wardrobe of sails, and definitely more romantic.

To my mind, however, the furling headsail is one of the great inventions of the 20th century, a great enhancement of control and safety as well as convenience, and economy. I wouldn't like to be on the pitching foredeck pulling down a hanked-on genoa when a squall blows up, then struggling with getting a storm sail hanked on, and trying to keep the whole mass of different sails from blowing overboard. In certain weather it's just not even feasible to be on the foredeck. And all this time the boat is not really under control.

No thanks; being able to change the area of the headsail immediately and from the cockpit is a key control and safety factor. If a furler breaks, then what you have to do to get the sail down is not so much worse than what you would be doing anyway on a regular basis with a hank-on.

Besides that, you have one sail which replaces at least two or three which would have to be stored somewhere. And bought, don't forget ($$$).

As to the theoretical advantage of hank-ons in performance: In changing conditions, with a furlng headsail, you can change the area of the headsail without any effort, and you can change it as often as you need to. Unless you have a whole dedicated foredeck crew as on a large racing boat, you simply can't change headsails all the time without a furler. So you will end up sailing with the at least slightly wrong sail most of the time. To my mind, this more than cancels out any theoretical performance advantage.

For me, furling headsails are a no-brainer.
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Old 04-03-2010, 02:55   #6
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It all depends. I agree with the right sail for the right conditions. Single handing? Cruising? A furler is the way to go. Racing - totally different story.

BTW - We started a (white sails) twilight race last week upwind 1/2 furled in 20+ knots of wind. We were doing hull speed. Round the mark and release the rest of the 150% genny - It was like popping a spinnaker. We were still doing hull speed downwind. By the bottom mark the wind had dropped a bit so we didn't shorten for the next upwind leg.

Most other boats started out with reefed mains. We beat the second place boat by more than 10 minutes corrected time. Primarily because we always had the right amount of sail out.

I totally get sail shape and trim but if your doing hull speed it seems to matter less you are doing it with a furled headsail.
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Old 04-03-2010, 08:04   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SurferShane View Post
I am sticking with a number of hank-on headsails...


I’m quite happy with hanked-on, although I’ve never had any other kind up through a forty something ketch. It’s straightforward, low tech and dependable, not to mention easy to maintain. I like simple, and at least to my pea-brain, changing headsails to suit wind-speed seems undemanding, although when I’m feeling lazy I occasionally envy what looks like an easier chore to just unroll a little more sail for the afternoon doldrums… but there are several folks in our area who use furling headsails with that large luff filler of some sort of foam or something that allows them to “reef” after a fashion for various conditions, so who knows… but I like the simple headsail options and don’t see me changing either…
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Old 04-03-2010, 08:09   #8
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If a furler breaks, then what you have to do to get the sail down is not so much worse than what you would be doing anyway on a regular basis with a hank-on.
not quite true: if you have already furled up the genoa to storm size and it then comes unfurled in 40 knot winds you have a knockdown and a big problem for the captain.
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Old 04-03-2010, 09:20   #9
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I am right in the middle with this issue. I have had boats in the past that were hank-on. Both my boats now have roller furling, but I am about to change my Compac to hank-on. Why? I worry about the forstay- I want to be able to check it from time to time, and I am experimenting with a number of "different" sails- the Twisle rig among them.
As for needing a ton of sails- naw, just have a few. Rather than one (which I have now) I will have a working with a reef in it, a Genoa, and perhaps a storm. That will take care of much more than the one roller furling I have now.
My Valiant is a charter boat, so I have to keep that furling thing on for the charter captains. One last thing- when I was in a blow a couple of years ago, I reefed the main and brought in the furling jib about 70%- the little boat developed pronounced lee helm! I was trying to point, which the compac will not do without a jib. With a little out, it would point but become unsteerable. With only the main, it would not point. With the furling jib "reefing" to the very front of the boat and the main reefing to the center of the boat, my little compac becomes unstable. It became very difficult to sail into the slip. I do not know if many small boats share this characteristic, but it is worth the sail change to NOT have this happen in heavy weather.
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Old 04-03-2010, 09:29   #10
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not quite true: if you have already furled up the genoa to storm size and it then comes unfurled in 40 knot winds you have a knockdown and a big problem for the captain.
It happened to me in real life, and it was very rough weather, 45 knots steady and much higher gusts, not 40. It was not exactly a gear failure, it was a operator error which caused it (inexperienced crew member, poorly instructed by me, let the furling line go, then it broke as we struggled to haul it in). There was no knockdown despite the terrifying size of the out-of-control sail (830 square feet! yikes!); I quickly turned the boat downwind and we got the sail under control without too much drama (more experienced crewman who was already wearing a harness, clipped on and crawled up the jacklines, retrieved the stub of the line, to which I bent on another line). Note well that this incident required only 30 seconds to be spent on the foredeck and so was much less scary than any kind of sail change with hanked-on sails.

How often do furlers fail? They are exceedingly simple and rugged devices. That was the first furler incident I've had in about 15 years of using them. I wonder how much drama I would have had over those 15 years messing with sail changes on the foredeck. A whole lot more, I'll tell you, for sure.
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Old 04-03-2010, 09:40   #11
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One last thing- when I was in a blow a couple of years ago, I reefed the main and brought in the furling jib about 70%- the little boat developed pronounced lee helm! I was trying to point, which the compac will not do without a jib. With a little out, it would point but become unsteerable. With only the main, it would not point. With the furling jib "reefing" to the very front of the boat and the main reefing to the center of the boat, my little compac becomes unstable. It became very difficult to sail into the slip. I do not know if many small boats share this characteristic, but it is worth the sail change to NOT have this happen in heavy weather.
It is true that a furling genoa does not really save you from needing a storm jib of some kind. Once you have furled much more than 30% of a furling genoa, the sail stops working anywhere near the wind, the shape just goes to h*ll.

The lee helm in the situation you describe comes from the center of effort moving too far forward -- a too small sail too close to the bow. Here a hanked-on storm jib hanked onto the forestay will have the same problem. Your storm sail needs to be on an inner forestay to work well with a deeply reefed mainsail. It needs to be closer to the mast so the sail plan balances.

Our boat is a cutter rig and here is a big advantage in this regard. In really heavy weather you just put away the main headsail, and use the staysail (also roller furling -- yay!) as a storm jib. Sloops can rig a removeable inner forestay for this purpose, and hoist a hanked-on storm sail. Sloops will need this without regard to whether the main headsail is roller furling or hanked-on. None of this is really essential for coastal cruisers who can avoid big blows.
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Old 04-03-2010, 09:55   #12
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Our boat is also cutter rigged... one of my grips is tacking that 135 through that 5 foot hole between stays.. the furler makes it simple by pulling it in and tacking and then letting it out.. only takes a few seconds and keeps people off the foredeck while tacking.. I guess the electric winch helps out a little for the job too..
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Old 04-03-2010, 09:57   #13
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Big plus on cutter rigs, and being able to get rid of the genny. I also have a storm sail for my furled stysail if ever need be. Changing this sail I am at least 10feet away from the toe rail, and crossbeam.

If the big boats that race the world & live with a furler. I think I can too.........i2f
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Old 04-03-2010, 10:00   #14
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None of this is really essential for coastal cruisers who can avoid big blows.

Wait!....Avoid big blows????...wheres the fun it that....If I wanted sedate and mild I would keep the Sea Ray.....Bring it on baby!
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Old 04-03-2010, 10:03   #15
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Due to the fact that we ARE on the subject of furled sails.............
Does anyone have any experance with furled mains IN THE BOOM..
we've looked at a couple, and at one time it seemed the sails would wrap like a rolled up newspaper but I've herd that has been overcome..
Any experance???????/
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