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Old 15-12-2010, 13:34   #1
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Ice and Roller Furlers

No comments on "heading south until butter melts" please; I don't like the heat and they're not helpful.

I went sailing yesterday, quite rough and about 25F, and it became imidiately apparent that if I rolled the genoa out there would be no way to get it rolled back in. The front 2/3rds of the boat was completely coated in ice, and the roller drum was a big snowball. I actually had a good time, with reefs in the main. Thank goodness for cabin heaters, dogers and jacklines.

So, for those that sail in the north country, is it all hank-on sails? It's really not that hard to build ice on a furler, and I can see that a frozen drum and a frozen luff groove on a frozen bow could make for a real problem. We sure see furlers on the southern ocean racers, but I think they're staying above the freezing line.
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Old 15-12-2010, 13:37   #2
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Old 15-12-2010, 13:41   #3
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No comments on "heading south until butter melts" please; I don't like the heat and they're not helpful.

I went sailing yesterday, quite rough and about 25F, and it became imidiately apparent that if I rolled the genoa out there would be no way to get it rolled back in. The front 2/3rds of the boat was completely coated in ice, and the roller drum was a big snowball. I actually had a good time, with reefs in the main. Thank goodness for cabin heaters, dogers and jacklines.

So, for those that sail in the north country, is it all hank-on sails? It's really not that hard to build ice on a furler, and I can see that a frozen drum and a frozen luff groove on a frozen bow could make for a real problem. We sure see furlers on the southern ocean racers, but I think they're staying above the freezing line.
Really good question. I hope Evans Starzinger drops by and answers this question because I suspect he has experience with it.

I've sailed in subfreezing temperatures in Alaska. Didn't like it. But had hanked on sails at the time, so I don't know about furlers.

I think having a a sink with a saltwater pump might be a solution. Fill a bucket with salt water and throw the salt water at the furler, run back and furl. ????
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Old 15-12-2010, 13:57   #4
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Thank goodness for cabin heaters . . . .

So, for those that sail in the north country, is it all hank-on sails?
The problem I see with hanked on sails is that you can't do a head sail change until after you turn off the cabin heat and your stack has cooled down, otherwise if there is any wind at all you are almost certainly going to melt a hole in your headsail.

OTOH, when a wall of wind comes in, the time to depower your sails is NOW, not when the stack has cooled. So, points there for furling gear.
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Old 15-12-2010, 14:02   #5
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Here is the first single-handed circumnavigation of Antarctica in a sailboat, but Dr. Lewis had neither a heater nor furling gear.


Ice Bird: The Classic Story of the First Single-handed Voyage to Antarctica


Amazon.com: Ice Bird: The Classic Story of the First Single-handed Voyage to Antarctica (9780713664119): David Lewis: Books
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Old 15-12-2010, 14:10   #6
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One other observation, I see your boat doesn't heel much, but what I've discovered the hard way on my current boat (which is steel and has epoxy paint with marginal rubber non-slip) is that in subfreezing temperatures my deck quickly turns into an effective ice skating rink if the cabin heater is off. Moisture in the air freezes on contact with deck and ices up fast, long before the lines and such start icing up. So as a mattter of safety, I cannot turn off my heater in subfreezing tempuratures.

As an aside: my first boat's non-slip deck consisted of a light grey paint with sand mixed in. The effect after application was a most effective non-slip surface. That was great. I miss that. Henry Wauquiez knew what he was doing.
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Old 15-12-2010, 14:39   #7
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Also, don't let the windward jibsheet get frozen. Any firefighter will tell you theres nothing worse than rolling frozen hose. (reality, plus an inside joke for firefighters) :
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Old 15-12-2010, 15:08   #8
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Some of these challenges are easily solved:

Freezing ropes: Ice climbers face this one every day, and there are some very effective products.
Sail Delmarva: Line Washing
This will prevent the water absorbed by the rope from turning it into a worthless stick. It also old old stiff lines handle better.

Melting sails on heater stack: My heater, at least (Dixson P 9000) has a double pipe which cools the exhaust by exchanging heat with the incoming air. The stack is hot, but not enough to melt nylon or give a serious burn. Also, a line-deflector gives some spacing (though with a very hot stack with a less efficient heater, the gasses alone would eat the nylon).

However, the shear mass of ice that can form in the area of the furler is substantial. Just because I can keep the rope from freezing does not mean I can get the drum to turn!
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Old 15-12-2010, 15:12   #9
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I once made the mistake of putting a plastic bearing, grease nipple and grease in the bottom of my roller furler. It stopped the water from draining out, and it froze solid. I took the bearing out and washed the grease out and have had no problem since. That was decades ago. It is a5/8th ID aluminium pipe on a 5/16th stay . lost of room for water to drain out.
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Old 15-12-2010, 15:13   #10
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One other observation, I see your boat doesn't heel much, but what I've discovered the hard way on my current boat (which is steel and has epoxy paint with marginal rubber non-slip) is that in subfreezing temperatures my deck quickly turns into an effective ice skating rink if the cabin heater is off. Moisture in the air freezes on contact with deck and ices up fast, long before the lines and such start icing up. So as a mattter of safety, I cannot turn off my heater in subfreezing tempuratures.

As an aside: my first boat's non-slip deck consisted of a light grey paint with sand mixed in. The effect after application was a most effective non-slip surface. That was great. I miss that. Henry Wauquiez knew what he was doing.
Good points:

Yes, a cat gives a much safer for-deck. On the other hand, a tramp or other flat deck can build ridiculous amounts of ice. Other cat sailors have reported this.

My deck is cored so thick (1 inch foam) that the heater does not deter ice. I crawl when needed and don't stand up.
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Old 15-12-2010, 17:04   #11
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I have 1"+ foam.

I guess it depends on how cold it is outside. It doesn't normally get that cold here in PNW. That's one of the reasons why I relocated down south here.
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Old 16-12-2010, 15:04   #12
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I once made the mistake of putting a plastic bearing, grease nipple and grease in the bottom of my roller furler. It stopped the water from draining out, and it froze solid. I took the bearing out and washed the grease out and have had no problem since. That was decades ago. It is a5/8th ID aluminium pipe on a 5/16th stay . lost of room for water to drain out.
Good point; In my case, I can see that ice in an aluminum bearing housing is a bad thing. I have gone from plastic balls to stainless, because of failures, but I did not seal the bottom. I did place a splash guard on the top and added an additional drain hole in the spool. I did not notice the extrusion freezing to the stay; there are plastic bearings, but they are loose and drain through to bottom.
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Old 16-12-2010, 15:15   #13
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IF I ever need to consider the effects of ice on my sailing gear, please just shoot me!
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Old 16-12-2010, 15:20   #14
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Lower Salt levels?

I wonder if the lower salt levels in the bay caused the ice to be worse? IE - would it be as bad at sea?

E
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Old 16-12-2010, 15:47   #15
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Depends on the temperature. Salt slows the rate of freezing and thereby lowers the freezing temperature until about -20C or -4F and then it makes no difference.
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