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Old 16-06-2018, 20:24   #1
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Furlers vs Hank on for long range liveaboard cruisers

Hi all, I am hoping to hear from people who do or have lived aboard and cruise(d) long distances, rather than in reference to day/race/weekend sailing. When we move aboard next year, we (wife, 2 young kids) will be sailing long distances, then spending plenty of time in the one place where possible. I have very little experience with hank on sails, and not much more experience with furling systems. ie. I just don't have that much experience

Let me start by introducing my boat as a new to me 40ft cat that currently has a furling system with a 130% genoa and an inner forestay for a hank on storm jib in the sail locker that I have yet to get out.

Anyway, the experience I have had with the furling system on my boat is that it is very difficult for me to furl up even in 15kts of wind. The boat must be pointed directly downwind to get it in, and that's using a winch to finish it off. Is this normal? I haven't had to furl it in any more wind than that, and very glad about it. My wife has no chance above 10kts.

So basically, on a purely safety point of view, I feel like a hank on genoa would be better. If the wind suddenly piped up to 25-30kts I could just release the halyard and down it comes. Or is there more to it than that?

The main reason why this is all coming up now is because I'm replacing the rigging with dyneema and I need to make a decision about the forestay. Keep the furler and grab a new wire stay, or should I do it all in dyneema with a hank on system.

Thanks for all your help and opinions!
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Old 16-06-2018, 21:22   #2
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Re: Furlers vs Hank on for long range liveaboard cruisers

Hi Fursoc, I am sailing and cruising coastally but in my neighborhood it is not uncommon for me to have to change headsails going from 10-15kts to 20-25 kts within a couple miles. I am in the hank-on camp, BUT, with the new rollerfurling systems, I'd probably recommend that route. There is one out of Australia I have heard good things about. Your system may be old and in need of upgrade. You are right that if the wind pipes up, dousing a hank-on is pretty easy and reliable. The down side is, you have to go up on the foredeck to wrestle with it in weather or conditions that are no fun. And then hank-on a smaller headsail during the maelstrom. So, a good roller furling system, if it functions well in higher wind speeds, can be safer in that it keeps you off the foredeck. (I know I'm going to hear from someone here familiar with me wondering how I could be speaking highly of furlers) Because I grew up with hank-ons, I trust their strength and simplicity, and I have had a couple of bad incidents in the ancient past with furlers, and I like the extra performance of a headsail designed to drive the boat as opposed to furl up nicely, I am happy with hanking on... but I freely admit, I am in the minority
Rollerfurling mains I have no experience with, but I eye them all with suspicion.
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Old 16-06-2018, 21:27   #3
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Re: Furlers vs Hank on for long range liveaboard cruisers

Thanks Don. I didnít even think of having to go up to the foredeck to stow it. So there is no hank on reefing is there? If you need less sail, then you have to go up the front and literally change the sail. Right?

Sorry for stupid questions.
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Old 16-06-2018, 21:30   #4
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Re: Furlers vs Hank on for long range liveaboard cruisers

Ah, New Zealand, sorry. You might check this, Reef Rite with Kiwi slides.
https://reefrite-na.com/
hmmm, not sure what's going on with the reef rite site, not working. Anyone know, they didn't go out of business did they?

BTW I have no experience with Reef Rite, they're just the ones I heard good things about. I am sure there are others.
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Old 16-06-2018, 21:35   #5
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Re: Furlers vs Hank on for long range liveaboard cruisers

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Originally Posted by fursoc View Post
Thanks Don. I didn’t even think of having to go up to the foredeck to stow it. So there is no hank on reefing is there? If you need less sail, then you have to go up the front and literally change the sail. Right?

Sorry for stupid questions.
Oh, no, sorry, I have a reefable jib. I just had those reef points added a year and a half ago. And it is better than having to change the headsail, if the jib is beefy enough to play both roles, but you still have to go up and attach the tack and clew and tie the reef ties.
Here's a shot:
And this is even easier if you have a club-footed jib.
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Old 16-06-2018, 21:42   #6
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Re: Furlers vs Hank on for long range liveaboard cruisers

I'd say that there is something wrong with your furler. You should be able to furl the sail in much stronger winds than you report... much stronger! I've had a number of different furlers, and they were all thus capable, on boats both larger and smaller than yours.

Before you make an expensive decision, have a rigger look it over. Many furlers have replaceable bearings (that's a hint!).

And for someone in your position, a working furler is a far better choice than hank on sails (this from someone who sailed and even long distance cruised without a furler for years). Foredeck work in a family cruiser should be avoided when possible, and i think the reasons are pretty obvious.

Jim
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Old 16-06-2018, 21:48   #7
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Re: Furlers vs Hank on for long range liveaboard cruisers

^^ Listen to Jim.
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Old 16-06-2018, 21:53   #8
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Re: Furlers vs Hank on for long range liveaboard cruisers

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I'd say that there is something wrong with your furler. You should be able to furl the sail in much stronger winds than you report... much stronger! I've had a number of different furlers, and they were all thus capable, on boats both larger and smaller than yours.
Thanks Jim. Yes furling headsail does seem in theory to make a lot of sense for ease of use. I guess my experience is an anomaly.

Ok, our furling unit is a Facnor LS180. I just did some quick googling and it appears that most people that have problems with them end up having to buy new ones. Is that normal? I would've thought most this things can be taken apart and greased or whatever and away we go.
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Old 16-06-2018, 22:05   #9
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Re: Furlers vs Hank on for long range liveaboard cruisers

Yeah, I'd test/swap out/upgrade the furler... you should be able to roll in a reef up front in pretty much any wind or any point of sail. The main furler, that's different, but roller I've never given a thought about. Especially with an electric furler. If you don't have an inner forestay, think about an over-the-roller storm jib to go with it.
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Old 17-06-2018, 00:06   #10
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Re: Furlers vs Hank on for long range liveaboard cruisers

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Thanks Jim. Yes furling headsail does seem in theory to make a lot of sense for ease of use. I guess my experience is an anomaly.

Ok, our furling unit is a Facnor LS180. I just did some quick googling and it appears that most people that have problems with them end up having to buy new ones. Is that normal? I would've thought most this things can be taken apart and greased or whatever and away we go.
OK, FAcnor furler...

I've had two of them, and had problems with the first when the upper swivel fell apart! FAcnor, bless their pointy little heads said that they had redesigned that upper swivel because they'd had SOME issues with it. Didn't even offer to sell me one at cost... just buy a new one from the dealer and shut up. I did and it worked ok after that.

Anyhow, later I asked a rigger friend to have a look at the lower unit because it too was getting sticky. Turns out that it was not possible to disassemble it to replace faulty balls in the bearing. Again, too bad, mate.

Fast forward a bit. The newer Facnors seem to have Torlon balls in the bearings, and they say to wash them out with fresh water regularly. If yours is one of those, that might solve your problem, for a salt build up can grossly increase the friction in the bearing. It it an older one with s/s balls in a metal race, I think you may be out of luck... but do ask a real rigger... I'm just an amateur!

It's really too bad that the Facnors have such issues, because they are far and away the easiest to install on your boat... some clever engineering there!


Cheers,

Jim
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Old 17-06-2018, 00:41   #11
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Re: Furlers vs Hank on for long range liveaboard cruisers

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OK, FAcnor furler...

I've had two of them, and had problems with the first when the upper swivel fell apart! FAcnor, bless their pointy little heads said that they had redesigned that upper swivel because they'd had SOME issues with it. Didn't even offer to sell me one at cost... just buy a new one from the dealer and shut up. I did and it worked ok after that.

Anyhow, later I asked a rigger friend to have a look at the lower unit because it too was getting sticky. Turns out that it was not possible to disassemble it to replace faulty balls in the bearing. Again, too bad, mate.

Fast forward a bit. The newer Facnors seem to have Torlon balls in the bearings, and they say to wash them out with fresh water regularly. If yours is one of those, that might solve your problem, for a salt build up can grossly increase the friction in the bearing. It it an older one with s/s balls in a metal race, I think you may be out of luck... but do ask a real rigger... I'm just an amateur!

It's really too bad that the Facnors have such issues, because they are far and away the easiest to install on your boat... some clever engineering there!


Cheers,

Jim
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Old 17-06-2018, 05:58   #12
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Re: Furlers vs Hank on for long range liveaboard cruisers

Steer up dead into the wind to furl not downwind.
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Old 17-06-2018, 06:20   #13
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Re: Furlers vs Hank on for long range liveaboard cruisers

In addition to a bit of maintenance on the furler, our Furlex needs grease each year in the 3 bearings, don't overlook the stanchion blocks to make sure they run free and don't have any grooves cut in them. Replaced ours this winter and along with a new furling line made a huge difference to furling the Genoa.

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Old 17-06-2018, 07:20   #14
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Re: Furlers vs Hank on for long range liveaboard cruisers

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I'd say that there is something wrong with your furler. You should be able to furl the sail in much stronger winds than you report... much stronger! I've had a number of different furlers, and they were all thus capable, on boats both larger and smaller than yours.

Before you make an expensive decision, have a rigger look it over. Many furlers have replaceable bearings (that's a hint!).

And for someone in your position, a working furler is a far better choice than hank on sails (this from someone who sailed and even long distance cruised without a furler for years). Foredeck work in a family cruiser should be avoided when possible, and i think the reasons are pretty obvious.

Jim
Jim,

There is something seriously wrong with your furling gear, and/or the way you are using it. First, why turn downwind to furl? The actual wind angle matters little, but you do NEED to be able to FULLY luff the sail as you start rolling, just a tiny bit if sheet tension during the furl so the sail rolls neatly. Many boats do not have jib sheets long enough to let the sail blow all the way out in front of the boat, so most people do have to head up to furl.

Based your comments, it appears that you are not very experienced. For someone like that (and we all were once!), it is a bad idea to do something differently because it "does not work." Modern jib furling systems are VERY robust and reliable if properly installed, and used, and well cared for. They work for virtually everybody else. You should be asking, "what is wrong?" not, "how do I get rid of this thing?"

More than 99% of the cruising boats out on the cruising routes of the world have roller furling jibs. You will still find cranky old timers who will not use them, but really... you might be really smart, but do you know more than 99% of cruisers out there???

Roller furlers are like any other piece of gear. Most of the failures you hear about are people who never maintained them, left them up year after year without inspections of the key parts, never did recommended maintenance.
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Old 17-06-2018, 07:37   #15
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Re: Furlers vs Hank on for long range liveaboard cruisers

If you have the plastic bearings like I do, wash them out with a fresh water hose, but do NOT spray them with Sail Cote or other really slick lube. Iím told if you do itís so slick that they may not rotate and if they donít they will eventually wear flat spots in them.
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