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Old 11-07-2015, 00:10   #31
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Re: Basic question about furling (main & headsails)

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Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
I guess there aren't too many of us still hanking on headsails, eh?
My Reef Rite headsail furler ( made in NZ ) has the best of both worlds in my opinion. It has 2 luff grooves and the sails have slides. Let the halyard go and the sail falls down much like with hanks and then I lift it off the foil. Can do a sail change in about the same time as hanks. I still roller furl when necessary but can choose a suitable sail for the day if I want to. The Reef Rite also has a pawl in the drum operated by a light wire to a highfield lever on the cockpit coaming. This prevents the sail unwinding when either partly reefed or when moored. The sail can be reefed / furled without operating the pawl and it can only be wound out when the lever is operated. It also takes the load off the furling line. Works well and nicely made.
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Old 11-07-2015, 01:58   #32
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Re: Basic question about furling (main & headsails)

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Originally Posted by GrahamHO View Post
My Reef Rite headsail furler ( made in NZ ) has the best of both worlds in my opinion. It has 2 luff grooves and the sails have slides. Let the halyard go and the sail falls down much like with hanks and then I lift it off the foil. Can do a sail change in about the same time as hanks. I still roller furl when necessary but can choose a suitable sail for the day if I want to. The Reef Rite also has a pawl in the drum operated by a light wire to a highfield lever on the cockpit coaming. This prevents the sail unwinding when either partly reefed or when moored. The sail can be reefed / furled without operating the pawl and it can only be wound out when the lever is operated. It also takes the load off the furling line. Works well and nicely made.
We had a Reef-Rite furler on our previous boat, and I agree that it is a superb bit of kit. Absolutely bullet proof construction, the "Kiwi-slides" that you describe are great, and I loved that rig. Sadly, it sank to the bottom of the Tasman when we were dismasted in 1996...

One of the design features that I really liked is the use of standard automotive bearings and seals throughout. Obtainable everywhere, cheap and very strong. Not "Marine" or "Yachting" quality, but who cares?


For those who lust after a furler but are worried about all the tales of failures, this is the answer. They are a bit pricey, but worth it.

Jim
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Old 11-07-2015, 04:57   #33
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Re: Basic question about furling (main & headsails)

Jim & Ann. Sorry you lost your rig. I had a Hood Seafurl prior to the RR. The wire near the upper swage on the forestay cut a grove into the Hood extrusion and prevented it rotating. That was after a number of years so I bit the bullet and bought the Reef Rite.
The Reef Rite as I'm sure you know has an extra long swage to prevent that happening.
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Old 11-07-2015, 06:09   #34
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Re: Basic question about furling (main & headsails)

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Roller furling used to be called "roller failing"for a reason. It's come a long way though. Jim states the most common issuesnicely. I also know of several cases of broken furling lines with partiallyfurled sails.

If ingood order furling hardware shouldn't be a problem partially furling sails. Thesails themselves though are another story. Jim and a few others mention thelighter material of larger sails will stretch if partially furled and used inhigher winds. This is true for Dacron of any weight because partially furlingincreases cloth bias loading (load at an angle to the direction of yarnbundles). It doesn't take so much bias load to reach fiber yield point, meaningpermanent distortion. Oversized head and tack patches help reducethis issue, but by no means solve it.

Radial sails have better yarn orientation and stabilityfrom diagonal yarns, so are arguably handle partial furling better. They canhave other qualities that make them less desirable for furling though: such asmildew problems on radial laminate sails or long vertical seams that cansnag/wear/chafe on furling mains going in/out of the mast slot.

Further, a partially furled headsail has lousy shape. Adding bulk in theluff, such as foam, helps a little, but… And unless you move the sheet leadwhen partially furled, sail trim is awful. The car must go forward or the upperleach is under tensioned, causing more bias loading, and wear/tear if luffing.Lastly, when furling the center of effort on the sail moves higher up. If thewind is on the beam or forward, higher center of effort becomes greater heelingforce. Yes, there is less sail area, so less sail/rig load, but it is in aworse place.

I understand the practical convenience of partiallyfurling, but with it distorted sail shape and perhaps a shorter lifespan.Everything is a compromise. I’d partially furl if really needed, but haven’tother than testing. Other sail combinations work well on Totem.
Interesting discussion this and one which I have wondered about.

When we got our new sails made, our sail maker recommended not partially furling the genoa. This was not to do with damage to the furler but rather that furling it contributes to the sail loosing it shape more rapidly and shortening life.

For the record, our genoa is around a 120% radial sail cut from a dyneema hybrid cloth from Contender.

His argument was that the sail is designed so that the stresses line up in the correct way with the cuts, seams etc and once partially furled, this all changes and the sail is no longer operating as designed. This was also why he encouraged us to go with the more modest size genoa than the 135% we initially thought we needed. I make no claims to know any better or worse as this is our first boat and the sails were shot when we bought her!

We are however able to run another sail on the inner forestay. We have recently started using our staysail and have tended to go with the stay sail up all the time and just furl away the genoa once we are getting up around 20-25kn. On a beat to windward though we find that with the staysail up, pointing is not as high.

So our sail/reefing pattern is generally Main + Genoa + Staysail (<15kn)---> 1 reef main (15-20kn) ---> Furl genoa away (20-25kn) ----> 2 reef main + staysail (25-30kn) ----> we haven't been there yet! Have had some really great sailing with just a reefed main and staysail.

Just some comments from a complete amateur really but I am interested to hear so many in favour of partially furling the headsail given the comments we got from our sailmaker. Is this more because if you don't have the option of a staysail then it just has to be done in order to handle stronger wind?

Winf
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Old 11-07-2015, 15:16   #35
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Re: Basic question about furling (main & headsails)

As I recall, when the solo round the world racing yachts started using roller head sails, their times were quicker, than when they changed sails. It was also safer for them. I think they have a choice of about 3 headsails each on its own furler. We see a number of super yachts ( 100' plus) in Auckland and they typically have 2 headsail furlers quite close together. The front one is a comparatively lightweight genoa which they roll up to tack. I believe roller systems have made these tall sloop rigs practical. One of the tallest to be built here is Tiara. On its delivery voyage from NZ it had to make it to the bridge over the Panama Canal at the lowest tide for months to get under. Furling systems work well on these very large yachts and make them possible as it would be an almost impossible job to change headsails with a ten story high mast when the wind gets up.
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Old 11-07-2015, 15:24   #36
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Re: Basic question about furling (main & headsails)

By the way; if you Google images of super yacht Tiara, you will see 3 headsail furlers. Looks ideal to me!
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Old 11-07-2015, 21:00   #37
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Re: Basic question about furling (main & headsails)

Winf - Your sailmaker is spot on; and your are on the right track with your sail choices in different winds. Genoa and staysail out together may hinder performance, depends on wind angle and somewhat on mainsail shape. Usually broadreaching is ok, but otherwise there is to much disturbed airflow into the main.

GrahamHO - In late '80s/'90s designed and built many sails for BOC, Vendee, etc. and yes the multi stay/furling systems were safer, faster than hoist/drop sail changes, and easy to change sails appropriatly for the condtions. Still, furlers (and autopilots) had a high failure rate then. If I remember right, Tituon Lamazou (Vendee winner) had 7 backup furling systems and (same for autopilots). I don't recall that they used partial furlng, except perhaps in unusual circumstances. Simply, the bias loads of partially furling would degrade sails meant to keep high performance and last in extreme conditions.
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Old 11-07-2015, 23:35   #38
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Re: Basic question about furling (main & headsails)

Thanks svTOTEM, and winf; I don't recall seeing photos of solo round the world yachts with reefed headsails. I mentioned the use of 2 or 3 furlers to suggest that winf in my opinion seems to have a good setup with a staysail. He could equally have a furler staysail at extra expense. I still have a large genoa that fits on my Reef Rite furler but I don't use it anymore for the same reasons others have pointed out. It's radial cut Mylar but necessarily too heavy for light winds. I now only use different sized jibs and if I ever reef the larger one it's only a turn or two. For light winds now I have a top down furling gennaker. As I have a fractional rig it's not practical for me to have a staysail though I like the idea. Nothing's perfect!
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Old 12-07-2015, 00:41   #39
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Re: Basic question about furling (main & headsails)

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Originally Posted by GrahamHO View Post
Thanks svTOTEM, and winf; I don't recall seeing photos of solo round the world yachts with reefed headsails. I mentioned the use of 2 or 3 furlers to suggest that winf in my opinion seems to have a good setup with a staysail. He could equally have a furler staysail at extra expense. I still have a large genoa that fits on my Reef Rite furler but I don't use it anymore for the same reasons others have pointed out. It's radial cut Mylar but necessarily too heavy for light winds. I now only use different sized jibs and if I ever reef the larger one it's only a turn or two. For light winds now I have a top down furling gennaker. As I have a fractional rig it's not practical for me to have a staysail though I like the idea. Nothing's perfect!
With our fractional rig we use a Solent Jib in place of a true staysail. It is about 250 sq ft and heavy and flat with a padded luff. The headsail is a 120 genoa, which works out to around 500 sq ft, fairly light. We carry it to windward up to about 22 apparent, sometimes a bit more, full size. When it seems too much we simply furl it and go to the Solent with reefs in the main as required. We do use the Solent rolled a bit in really strong winds, but often simply furl both jibs and use the main by itself. With a fractional rig, this works pretty well, even hard on the wind.

Downside is having to roll up the genoa to tack it... a PITA which one can avoid with a hanked on staysail and a quick release lever to get it out of the way when unneeded.

Works well for us...

Jim
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