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Old 05-02-2016, 09:25   #1
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Horizontal Furling of Headsail - will it work?

With the popularity of Bermuda sloops, I often am amazed at the proliferation of roller furling given all it's disadvantages over slab reefing. Clearly, roller reefing trades off safety for ease of use. But there must be an easy way to get a 'slab reef'. Conventional furling systems have many cons:
1) You can’t safely change sails in high winds b/c the luff does not stay attached to the stay
2) A furled sail has a poor (more full) shape reducing pointing ability and forward power
3) You can’t inspect the head stay
4) When furled, your center of effort doesn’t move lower
5) Furling systems increase wear on your forestay
6) more weight aloft

What is preventing the installation of a furling system horizontally along the foot of the sail with a swivel between the sheet and clew and the drum at the tack? Why can't you loosen the halyard and furl down the jib? Obviously, this won't work with standard hanks, though some kind of detachable hank system is an engineered solution. But keeping a foil luff groove and off the shelf system, why can't you furl the foot of the jib instead of the luff. This could reduce most of the above cons of a traditional furling system. What do you all think?



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Old 05-02-2016, 09:39   #2
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Re: Horizontal Furling of Headsail - will it work?

You can, if you want a boom on your jib.
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Old 05-02-2016, 09:45   #3
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Re: Horizontal Furling of Headsail - will it work?

Interestingly, the only way I've ever seen it done is with hanked on sails.

The reef points on both luff and leech have to be substantial enough to take the strain of being the new tack and clew, and reefing cringles are sewn into the sail to bundle up the unused lower part of the sail. The excess part of the leech (the old clew) is tucked into the rest of the reefed part of the sail. The old tack can be left on the stay or also tucked into the rest of the sail.

Takes more time than your idea would, but I wonder how easy you would find it to haul down the jib in a furler track in windy conditions. I've occasionally found it difficult in a calm. Refeeding the luff when shaking out a reef would probably require a crew on the bow.
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Old 05-02-2016, 10:06   #4
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Re: Horizontal Furling of Headsail - will it work?

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You can, if you want a boom on your jib.
Why are you so sure that you need a boom? Code 1 furling systems do not wrap around a foil. Torque ropes are popular for spin furling. I'm thinking a flexible torque tube/rope would do the job and still allow for an overlapping genoa. Maybe not 140% but probably a 115%.
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Old 05-02-2016, 15:15   #5
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Re: Horizontal Furling of Headsail - will it work?

Geometry... The foot isn't 90deg to the luff.

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Old 05-02-2016, 18:10   #6
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Re: Horizontal Furling of Headsail - will it work?

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Geometry... The foot isn't 90deg to the luff.

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Ahhh yes.. I think you have identified a serious problem with my idea. Thanks for killing my dreams Snowpetrel!! haha j/k

Still, there's got to be am easy way to slab reef a jib from the cockpit. Why don't people just run a tack reef line down to a block at the stem fitting and aft and pre-run 'reef' sheets to the reef eye?? Then you could reef from the cockpit right?
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Old 05-02-2016, 18:18   #7
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Re: Horizontal Furling of Headsail - will it work?

The other thing that comes to mind is how do you roll up the foot and keep the clew (foot) pulled out? I am guessing you are thinking of rolling to a reef point and go forward and attach a sheet to the clew or an outhaul to the boom for the jib?

The slab reefing idea: I have seen folks rig downhauls on the luff to pull it down from the cockpit, but if you run other sheets, other than the increased collection of lines to deal with (including when tacking), don't you still have to go forward to roll up the "slab" that is now on deck or would it just stay as a hollow tube at the foot?
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Old 05-02-2016, 18:59   #8
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Re: Horizontal Furling of Headsail - will it work?

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The other thing that comes to mind is how do you roll up the foot and keep the clew (foot) pulled out? I am guessing you are thinking of rolling to a reef point and go forward and attach a sheet to the clew or an outhaul to the boom for the jib?

The slab reefing idea: I have seen folks rig downhauls on the luff to pull it down from the cockpit, but if you run other sheets, other than the increased collection of lines to deal with (including when tacking), don't you still have to go forward to roll up the "slab" that is now on deck or would it just stay as a hollow tube at the foot?
Well, kinda a moot point, but no. I was thinking that you would keep tension on the sheet and turn up to luff a bit, then with a flexible torque tube (think 1/2 PVC), the foot would roll up fairly nice and smooth with no need to connect a new sheet... but that's water under the bridge unless the 90 degree issue is resolved.
As far as the slab reef, I'm not sure how much the loose part of the foot will flap and create an issue if not tied up. I don't bother to tie up my main when reefed but that's attached to the boom. Of course there's ways to run lines to clean up that issue as well... Like run the reef line from the block on the stem, up through the reef eye on the tack and down around the foot with an elastic back to the old clew. That should bunch up the sail a bit... maybe someone with some real experience will come along and school us!.. I HATE my roller furling.
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Old 05-02-2016, 19:19   #9
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Re: Horizontal Furling of Headsail - will it work?

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Originally Posted by zstine View Post
Well, kinda a moot point, but no. I was thinking that you would keep tension on the sheet and turn up to luff a bit, then with a flexible torque tube (think 1/2 PVC), the foot would roll up fairly nice and smooth with no need to connect a new sheet... but that's water under the bridge unless the 90 degree issue is resolved.
As far as the slab reef, I'm not sure how much the loose part of the foot will flap and create an issue if not tied up. I don't bother to tie up my main when reefed but that's attached to the boom. Of course there's ways to run lines to clean up that issue as well... Like run the reef line from the block on the stem, up through the reef eye on the tack and down around the foot with an elastic back to the old clew. That should bunch up the sail a bit... maybe someone with some real experience will come along and school us!.. I HATE my roller furling.
I had a few reefing jibs on my first boat. It worked of a fashion. The big issue was the Bunt of loose sail. I could never get it tightly tied up, and it always filled up with water and caught on everything, then slowley the clew lashing would loosen and flog out. in the end I seldom reefed the sails, it was so much better and quicker just to change down to a smaller sail.

if it was on a boom it could have been lashed properly. I also note that some of the smaller racing boats are fitting reef points to there jibs to reduce the weight of one extra sail. not sure how they go with the bunt, smaller stiffer sails? maybe a batten or two would help? see the Mini 6.5's for some pics





looks like in these pics they just leave it loose. My guess is they are pretty dry boats, not too much green water over the bows, and they are optimised for long distance racing. not much tacking, and no anchor gear on the foredeck to foul..
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Old 05-02-2016, 19:27   #10
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Re: Horizontal Furling of Headsail - will it work?

I had a skipjack rigged boat which used slab reefing on the jib. Once you got practiced at it it was rather nice.

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Old 05-02-2016, 19:31   #11
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Re: Horizontal Furling of Headsail - will it work?

Most of time the loss of shape isn't a really big issue when cruising, IMHO.

More important if you are trying to race in heavy air.

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Old 05-02-2016, 19:39   #12
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Re: Horizontal Furling of Headsail - will it work?

A batten at (just below) the reef point? I haven't seen that, but that is an interesting idea...
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