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Old 14-12-2010, 14:47   #1
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To Furl or Not to Furl . . .

I was wondering what everyone thinks of keeping the roller furling on a 45 foot cutter, the staysail isn't roller furl, for recreational sailing and removing the rig for hanked on jib and staysail combos for offshore work. I see the merits of the furled genoa for week end sailing while remaining put for a few months but still feel uneasy about passage making with any of the inherant problems that furlers can have. One would hope that there would always be a young crew looking to help sail so help shouldn't be a problem with sail handling. How hard or o
absurd is it to stow a roller furling gear for a passage? What are the thoughts on a twin headstay rig?
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Old 14-12-2010, 15:04   #2
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Its not that hard to stow... most if not all break down to 4 - 5ft lengths and your free to hank... then of course theres the furling Genoa to stow... oh.. and the hank on Genoa, No's 1, 2 and 3jibs... plus of course your Drifter/Spinaker...
Seriously... why bother.. if your racing fine... but cruising... the positives for furling far outwheigh any negatives..
Keep it well maintained and you'll have no worries... gets rough and your mains reefed right down furl the Genny and stick with the staysail/main combo...
Notice you refer to 'Young fit crew'.... so can I take it you'll be staying in the cockpit and sending others into the 'Danger Zone'...
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Old 14-12-2010, 15:12   #3
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I have a cutter; staysail on boom, hanked onto the inner forestay. Yankee is out on the bowsprit, on a furler. I have a high footed drifter that just attaches via head/tack/clew (loose luff). Below are some pictures. It works well, but the yankee sheets need to be pinned forward on the bowsprit so that the drifter can tack.

My rigger convinced me to keep the furler; I'm going to remove it before we spend extended periods offshore. The yankee/staysail combination really doesn't get used all that much for me. We sort of run something like this:

0-10 knots: drifter alone, maybe mainsail but probably not if it's flogging around.
10-20 knots: main/staysail/yankee all up
20+ main/staysail
20+ downwind, staysail only.

After that there's reefing, etc. The staysail is a great sail though, and if it has a boom you can reef it as well. The balance of a staysail and reefed main works well.










That's how we're rigged. I don't mind changing out headsails on the bowsprit because past 20 knots there's nothing flying up there anyway.
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Old 14-12-2010, 15:38   #4
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Quote:
I was wondering what everyone thinks of keeping the roller furling on a 45 foot cutter
I have a roller furling on a 36 ft cutter and also one on the stay sail. When the winds get over 30 knots it's handy to have a roller furling on the stay sail. At gale force I want a piece of a stay sail and a double reef in the main. In gentle winds it seems totally foolish as the stay sail flies full or not at all. In 35 knots you couldn't pay me to hank on a stay sail. Removing a sail is maybe the harder problem.

The advantage to a cutter rig was originally that the head sails are smaller and easier to handle. Making them even easier with a furler isn't all that bad. In a two crew boat you must have someone at the wheel. A little help is never bad when it's bad out there. If it is easy to bring in a partial sail then you might do it sooner. It's doing it later that gets complicated and difficult.
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Old 14-12-2010, 16:23   #5
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Originally Posted by zoombats View Post
I was wondering what everyone thinks of keeping the roller furling on a 45 foot cutter, the staysail isn't roller furl, for recreational sailing and removing the rig for hanked on jib and staysail combos for offshore work. I see the merits of the furled genoa for week end sailing while remaining put for a few months but still feel uneasy about passage making with any of the inherant problems that furlers can have. One would hope that there would always be a young crew looking to help sail so help shouldn't be a problem with sail handling. How hard or o
absurd is it to stow a roller furling gear for a passage? What are the thoughts on a twin headstay rig?
Honestly, if a roller-furler jams (been there) it is not that hard to simply pull the sail down the grove (been there too). Assuming it doesn't jam 1/2 way rolled.

What I would do is inspect the furler before heading out; if it's catchy, service it. That was my error--"oh, it will make it until haul-out."
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Old 14-12-2010, 16:26   #6
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Any boat going offshore better have self steering or a crew to steer the boat.

The advantage of the cutter rig is that you can get by with a light air genoa/reacher, a yankee, staysail, and the main. You only have to make one sail change and drop one sail to handle most conditions. A staysail can be reefed whether it's on a boom or not. Personally, think staysail booms should be banned as they are extremely dangerous for anyone working the foredeck. Have the scar to prove it.

Having said that, I'd stick with roller furling on the headsail. It's just so damn convenient and really add a big measure of safety. With furling you could have a 100% jib that you reef as conditions warrant. On our old boat, dropping the jib cost us a knot of boat speed. If I'd had roller furling, would have been able to keep a small handkerchief of a jib up and not lost any speed. Suppose a reefable jib might have worked but it would have meant reefing it out on the end of the bowsprit instead of just furling it from the comfort of the cockpit.

I just did a solo TransPac on my 35' sloop with a 135% roller furling Genoa. Ran wing and wing most of the way. The extendable whisker pole pretzeled in the middle of a very dark, overcast, moonless night. I was up at the mast trying to figure out how to get the pole out of the water, the sail under control and detached from the pole and doing it mostly by feel. The light bulb suddenly went on, why not just roll up the jib!!! Super simple once the jib was furled. No more flailing sheets trying to take my head off and dragging the pole in the water. The pole turned into a no biggy as I just hauled in on the foreguy after I'd detached it from the genoa sheet. The pole stowed itself neatly against the life lines. I did it almost totally from the cockpit. Decided I'd had enough excitement for the night and took a nap till the sun came up and there was enough to see to stow the bent pole and set up the spinnaker pole to continue running wing and wing. From then on, I just rolled up the Genoa whenever I needed to mess with the spinnaker pole or whatever. Jibeing was super simple, roll up the jib, pull the pole forward and dip it under the headstay, detach the pole from the old windward sheet and snap the new windward sheet into the pole jaw, slowly unfurl the jib as I hauled in on the after guy to position the pole and we were off. Took less time than writing about it.

If I had the money, I'd add a small bowsprit to use with a Solent Rig. That way, I could do all my headsail tending from the cockpit. Roll out the Asymetric Spinnaker on the Solent furler in light air. Roll it up and deploy the genoa as the winds increased, reef the furled genoa as conditions dictated thereafter.
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Old 14-12-2010, 16:53   #7
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Maybe I should get a bowsprit for the bowsprit, so I can stick the drifter out ahead of the furled yankee.
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Old 14-12-2010, 17:37   #8
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The roller furling gear that uses a head foil, can not be stowed. I have the "old fashion" type there is a swivel at top (hauled up on halyard)and bottom ( drum) and a wire luff, the luf of the sail is independent of the stay. This doesn't give racing efficiency, but you can slack off the halyard, pull a pin and drop the furled sail down the hatch (where it coils up neatly on the bunk). I have my 180 Genny set up as a roller furler) with yankee cut Genny as hank on to head stay as well as working jib as hank on to forestay (storm jib is flown on head or fore stay).
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Old 14-12-2010, 17:55   #9
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Old 14-12-2010, 18:03   #10
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i think if i had a boat with an exceedingly long bowsprit (BCC, Hans Christian...) i would be inclined to keep the head sail on a furler, but with my stubby little sprit on my seawind i cant wait to switch back to hank ons...
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Old 14-12-2010, 18:22   #11
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if I had a boat with a bowsprit I would definitely have a furling jib. The type I have now would allow me to furl up the jib. leave it up, and fly a hank on
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Old 14-12-2010, 18:53   #12
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We cannot wait to add furling to our setup. We try to stay on top of the weather, but as we do a lot of Island cruising, we find that we're fine, come around a headland and boom, overpowered. I hold the helm while Brodie climbs up on the foredeck, releases the halyard at the mast, goes forward to wrestle with which ever sail is up (150%, 130% or storm) stuffs it down the hatch while trying not to get water in the cabin (or almost as good, drags it back across the deck, between the 10" space between the dodger and lifelines), goes back forward, tries not to lose the sail bag or trip on the windlass, attaches the halyard, hanks the sail on, crawls back to the mast, and hauls it up. By the time this whole process is done, we've come around yet another headland, and the wind has died, so back up goes the big sail. Rinse and repeat. The racer in me won't die and be content with losing a knot of boat speed.

To exacerbate, the current dinghy we have is wayyy too big. Unless we deflate the tubes everytime, it leaves only 4" or so between her bow and the lifelines. Which means Brodie climbs on top of the dinghy to get to the forestay. 4 times all told. Yes, I realize that simply buying a smaller dinghy would make sense. It's on the list. Boat dollars are limited.

Why would you want to be rid of roller furling?? Ensure it works smoothly, replace the furling line, and you're good to go. Some furlers (the ones that snap onto the wire stay) are removable, but are huge when stored. I've seen them rolled with a overall loop size of about 4'. Getting them back up is a real bear...

We also had a misfunction on my dad's 42' when I was a kid when we were adjusting the furler. The entire swivel/drum came detached and came whipping down the forestay, leaving a 6' gash across his hand. I was only about 8, so I don't remember what caused it, but it would be pretty debilitating at sea. I would not want to be doing any re-rigging of it at sea. (wait... that's a better argument in favour of hanked-on sails...)

The storage for all of the sails we have to carry take up the bulk of the entire port cockpit locker. Also folding a wet sail on deck (or worse, down below) is a huge PITA.

I cannot wait for our furler...
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Old 14-12-2010, 18:58   #13
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i have hanked on sails,cutter rigged and twin fore stays,i do love the ability to drop both genoas if running down wind with an approching squall ,in the time it took me to write this,though pulling them up again takes considerably longer.

cutter rig is great,means if i have no1 hanked on one side no2 on other on the twin fore stays and no 3 on the stay sail,have 3 available sail changes with out having to phisically haul sails around the deck and hank them on,no 1 weighs about 60 kilos and 100 m/2,so no fun on a 63 footer.

if i need even smaller head sails,i just hank on the storm jib or no4 on top of no 1 and 2.

removing a furled head sail in anticipation of a strong blow or replacing the tattered blown out sail on a boat this size would be a major head ache if solo or double handed.

have recently bought an electric windlass/winch for the mast up haul for when im solo or short handed, which is also use full for the 2nd anchor(45 kilo)

am all in favour of roller furling,it is great un till it goes wrogn sorry wong sorry wrong.

had a flat many years ago overlooking durban harbour when i was building my first yacht and regular as clock work would see cruising yachts arriving in after a stormy passage off the east african coast with sails in tatters,and un able to remove them at sea.............
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Old 15-12-2010, 06:41   #14
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I would getting furling for the stysail too. It just makes life easy, and safer. I also carry smaller sails for worse weather for both foils, or wing on wing with either........i2f
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Old 15-12-2010, 13:14   #15
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First boat was sloop with hanked on sails. I loved it. When the wind got consistently above 15 knots or so, I would change down from the genoa to a 100% blade. That set up with full or reefed main, depending, was absolutely wonderful to sail, very weatherly when conditions were at their best.

Current boat is a double-head sloop with furling on the genoa, no 100% blade jib onboard, and a hanked on stay sail.

I yearn for the 100% blade jib and someday will spring for it. Meanwhile, I plan to keep the furler.

I brought down the genoa recently for some repairs. Wow. It's lots bigger than my first boat, and this current boat's topsides are very busy. Handling the sail on deck was way more difficult. Lesson: part of the answer IMO depends on your topsides. If it's complicated, think real hard in favor of furling gear. Also, I sail cold weather and changing headsails would mean turning off the heater and waiting for the stack to cool before executing a head sail change, something that many times would be very impractical.

As an aside, I keep the staysail hanked on 100% of the time but deployed only when I need it. I love it. In a blow, it with the main reefed or not, depending, along with a furled genoa, really tames the boat--fast. But I know from experience that for pure sailing fun, a 100% blade is mandatory when the wind is up. I just wished I lived in an area that had dependable heavy air. Instead, I typically deal with too little or too much, and the staysail coupled with furling gear is a genuine blessing in those conditions. Easy and fast.

Final thought. I put up the genoa incorrectly this last Thanksgiving Day because of my lack of familiarity with furling gear. Long story short is that I got my spinnaker line wrapped around the top of the genoa so that the sail would neither furl nor come down. This was at the marina. And then the gale started coming in, so I eventually went up the mast (snow on the deck with a steady 15 knots of wind and building) to save my genoa and possibly even my rig, all because I raised the sail too high and caught the spinnaker line when I tried to furl in the genoa. Lesson: when things go wrong with furling gear they can go very, very wrong. Got the genoa down in time, and I picked it up from the sail repair shop yesterday. Gonna do Act Two this weekend. Wish me luck.

I have seen pictures of boats that were a total loss on reefs, driven there because of an inability to furl at critical a time. So the convenience of furling has an undeniable and inherent risk factor. Furling gear is a double edged sword. It must be used and maintained intelligently whereas hanks are definitely more idiot proof and more dependable. This is one of those areas where there is no right answer.
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