This issue gave me pause for thought the other day as I rowed out to our boat with the sole passenger being a new 135% genoa
sitting all new and eager in its sail bag.
It may be a no-brainer for many on this forum but for me I had to stop and think for a while.
All the halyards and control lines run back to the cockpit
on our Bavaria
38, like most setups do these days. On my own, how was I going to be in the cockpit
winching up the headsail while being at the same time in the position on the bow feeding the luff into the roller furling
It was probably fortunate for me, being somewhat impulsive, that it was blowing around 15 knots when I got to the boat, so I didn't rush into it, with the idea I'd wait till a little before dark to hoist hoping the wind
would start to die down somewhat, which proved to be the case, giving me time to work on this little conundrum.
Another reason to think this through a bit was the experience of my sailmaker
who had had trouble hauling the old one down on his own for a measure up. He had arrived to find nearly thirty knots blowing while he struggled with this massive piece of fabric
on his own to get it down. He thought he had everything ready to drop, unfurled the sail with all lines ready, went forward and couldn't get it moving no matter what he tried. Meanwhile all hell was breaking loose as the thing started by giving him a good whipping and nothing was moving. No doubt he rechecked all lines were free, no clutches grabbing but still no joy. Eventually he found the trouble on the mast
. It seemed that someone had at first set the halyard
up to be raised from the mast
where a rope clutch
had been set up to hold the halyard
once tensioned. And then changed their mind and led the halyard back to the cockpit, leaving the halyard going throught that clutch
and back to another one in the cockpit. Once he opened that clutch down it came. Perhaps the other clutch on the mast was designed to stop an indadvertant release at the cockpit? A sort of backup... I don't know.
My solution to haul up while still helping feed the sail into the groove.
I unthreaded the genoa
halyard from its path back to the cockpit and led it forward where I would be feeding luff rope
into track. I found a spare block on the mast step and took it off and secured it to the deck
fitting holding the forestay just under the furling
drum with a short length of rope. Passing the halyard through this single
block I led it down to my horizontal anchor windlass
in the anchor
well which has a rope drum on the other side. (Lofrans Cayman). With one sheet attached for some control once it was up, and the head
secured to the furler
swivel, the clew attached to the drum furler
end and the luff rope threaded through the prefeeder conveniently attached to a short wire on the furler drum and then started in the luff extrusion we were ready to go. The windlass
was switched on at the switchboard, the remote
was in my right hand ready to go, I had a couple of turns of halyard on the rope drum of the windlass and I was keeping a watchful eye on the feeding in process- and up she went. The prefeeder did a marvellous job having a bit of flex as the angle of approach constantly shifted as the flaking of the sail on the deck
went back and forth. The only times I paused on the windlass was when I found a greater resistance tailing the rope and I could see the angle of the luff rope to the prefeeder was to sharp which I eased a bit by hand until the angle decreased and it would flow freely. I took up a reasonable amount of tension with the windlass, and cleating off the halyard on a bow cleat, went back to the mast clutch and secured it there. (Which come to think of it is probably why it's there- for single
handed raising sail) Then went back to the retrieve line in the cockpit and rolled the sail in to stop it flogging while I rerouted the halyard back to cockpit and made final adjustments.
It may be surprising how much I had to think this through to some people. But the reality is with in mast furling
for the main and same on the headsail, we hardly do this process very often at all, and hence it doesnt come naturally. Or maybe I'm just a bit thick