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Old 09-08-2005, 13:28   #16
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I know that a lot of people have had good luck with in mast furling, but when I talk to delivery skippers who have spent thousands of miles sailing with these devices and sailmakers who have repaired the damaged sails that have come off of in mast furling sails, I get very different stories from the ones above. I have heard numerous stories of the sail jambing half in and half out (HIHO) in just those conditions when you need the system to work most, including a story of having to go up the mast and cut the sail off the mast when it jambed rather than risk losing the boat. I know a couple delivery skippers, who will not deliver a boat with in-mast furling offshore.

I also disagree with the statement that "Lowering a conventional main in a stiff breeze without coming into the wind is an invitation to disaster." Coming up into the wind is heavy going is an invitation to disaster. Most properly designed two line reefing systems will allow quick and easy reefing with the boat reaching which is far safer than coming up into the wind. Iam a very strong believer in two line reefing systems lead back to the cockpit for single-handing. These are cheap, reliable, quick to deploy systems, that can be deployed on the fly. None of that can be said for in-mast furling.

Beyond that, in mast furling precludes the use of mast bend as a tool in controling helm pressure and heeling.

Respectfully,

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Old 09-08-2005, 14:00   #17
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jeff - would you list the order of steps when reefing on a reach with 2 line set up. can you safely reef on a reach with a jiffy (1 line) set up. capt. lar
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Old 09-08-2005, 14:46   #18
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single line reefing

capt lar,

I have single line reefing on my CS36 Merlin. I will only head up to reef when the wind is well abaft the beam. All other times I just luff the sail, lower the halyard to the reef mark, haul in the reef and then haul the halyard up a tad to tension the luff.

On the matter of delivery skippers and furling sails, it might be that some are wary because they deliver boats without fully knowing the condition of the gear. I realize they inspect and test but nothing beats owning and caring for a boat from new.

As for off shore deliveries of mainsail furling boats, just take a look at the charter fleets in the BVI. Nearly all the newer boats have furling mains and most of them get there on their own bottoms.

I agree a traditional main is easier to deal with if a problem occurs but from my perpective as a cruiser furling mains will, in the not too distant future, become the standard as the furling headsail has.

My Ben393 has a furling main and I must admit I now prefer it to the CS36's full battenned traditional main. Unrolling is a lot easier than hauling up and grinding the last foot or so. Jeez, I must be getting old!
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Old 09-08-2005, 18:32   #19
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To answer your question, here are the steps in reefing with a two line set up that I follow:

1. Preparation:
I load the reef tackline on one winch and the clew reefline on the other. If I am on a larger boat and have tandom halyard stoppers on the main halyard I open the aft stopper and pull through the stopper enogh of the halyard so that the reef mark is in the correct position and then lock off again. (I mark the reef with a stitched on whipping so that I can find it by feel. I place the whipping so that it is aft of the cleat when the halyard is in the correct position for reefing).

2. Providing slack:
I ease the vang (and mainsheet if beating) and open the forward halyard lock, which effectively eases the halyard to the proper length.

3. Adjusting luff and foot:
I then grind in the tack line which tensions the luff of the sail, and then grind in the clew reef line which tensions the foot.

4. Trimming the sail:
If reaching I tighten the boom vang then adjust the mainsheet, if beating I tighten the mainsheet then vang.

and the reef is done. In most conditions, that is roughly 30 seconds to a minute on my 38 footer.

I don't like single line reefing because you can't trim the luff and foot independently and there is generally way too much friction and way too much line to bring in.

Both delivery skippers cited multiple cases of experiencing badly jambed in-mast furlers in extreme conditions including the worst case on a very high quality, nearly brand new boat. Sailmaker friends have described the same kind of experiences related to them on sails that they have had to repair or replace.

I contend that in-mast furling is fine if you have crew aboard and you are not going offshore. It is not a good idea for single-handing, especially offshore. And yes, it can be a good workout to haul a mainsail to the top of the mast on a good sized boat.

Jeff
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Old 09-08-2005, 19:50   #20
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I just called

four delivery skippers, each of which has countless miles offshore on vessels equipped with both types of systems. None of them has ever had a sail jam so badly that it had to be removed with a knife. Maybe your delivery skippers are not so lucky.
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Old 09-08-2005, 21:43   #21
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I think that you may have hit the nail on the head. The owners of the boats who had the jambing problems with in-mast furlers had all tried to save money by ordering in-mast furlers and not purchasing the 'good luck' option. Consequently, they encountered the 'bad luck' of having their furlers jamb offshore in heavy going.

I must say that I completely agree with your conclusion about in-mast furlers, if you are going to single-hand or go offshore with an in-mast furling system, you had better be counting on having good luck on your side. For those of us, who unfortunately cannot expect to count on having good luck, a more reliable and adjustable slab reefing system probably makes a lot more sense. ;^)

Reading between the lines, I can only assume that your four delivery skippers, each of which has countless miles offshore on vessels equipped with both types of systems, did however experience a jamb, even if it was not so bad that the sail had to be removed with a knife. At least from my point of view, it is not acceptable to risk a jamb when single-handing in heavy going.

(Even with out the jambing issue the shortened sail life and poor heavy air sail shape would be a deal killer for me, but that probably is just me.)

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Old 09-08-2005, 23:06   #22
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well - the easy answer to the equipment debate is use what you got and maintain it since adding main reefing is expensive- delivery captains get what they get - some get the new toys - some get the shakey dogs.
my guess ( and i have been on the fail side of furlers) is that new equipment made by quality company will work reliably for years. i've always been on the 20 + old boat with the 10+ gear (except one designs - but real men don't reef - on star boats a teflon ball locks the mainsail halyard at the top of the mast - she up or she down. depowering is accomplished other ways). Jeff - thanks for the reef drill. i was taught a different way using the topping lift. new boat has a jiffy set up, but not to cockpit yet which kinda takes the jiffy out of it, and i had already been thinking stoppers would make it easy once all were lead to cockpit. capt. lar
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Old 09-08-2005, 23:15   #23
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Good point about the topping lift. I usually keep mine set so that the sail will fly properly without ever adjusting it. This means that the boom is a bit low over the cockpit when the sail is on deck. That does not work on some boats by which I mean that you need to tighten the topping lift before dropping the sail and ease it everytime you raise the sail.

I am also a big believer in marking lines at the reef point.

Jeff
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Old 09-08-2005, 23:39   #24
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yep - caught that - no brainer once someone else suggests it. we will set up and mark prior to leaving long island. closed today and on-board friday. capt. lar
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Old 10-08-2005, 01:22   #25
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Topping lifts

My first boat had the usual four part vang. The topping lift was at the mast . Everything else was led back to the cockpit. This sailing thing was new to me then and every time I reefed I'd forget to go forward and take the slack out of the topping lift. After getting hit in the head a couple of times (actually the boom usually hit the dodger first) I vowed that my next boat would have a solid vang. Never been without them since.
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Old 10-08-2005, 01:43   #26
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This is a great enlightenment on the differing perspectives about in-mast furling. Its a shame this wealth of ideas is not in its own suitably named thread, but it is exactly the sort of issue my original question was based on. A smaller boat probably wont have it, but a larger boat might, and if it goes wrong you may have more than you can manage if alone particularly when short on experience.

So from analysis of the responses, it seems that my approach would be: if the boat already has it, then enjoy the labour saving, particulalry on a larger boat. Be aware that it may jam, so watch it closely and understand what would cause a problem.

It seems I probably wont be faced with that chocie based on the size and age of boat I am looking for.

As for boat size for a singlehander with little experience, the general consensus (not all) seems to be 36 feet or maybe a little larger is OK ideally, displacement up to around 5 tons.

Can any of you singlehanders think of other occasions when things went wrong, and you wished you were on a smaller boat or the opposite for that matter - where larger/heavier would have been better than small?


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Old 10-08-2005, 02:02   #27
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I certainly have been in situations where I wish I was in a bigger boat. Most of those came when single-handing 25 and 28 footers in bad conditions. By the same token I have found masthead rigged boats as light as 12,000 lbs and fractional rigs approaching 17,000 lbs a lot of work to sail single-handed, especially as wind have gotten into the mid-20 kt range and above.

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Old 10-08-2005, 02:05   #28
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running aground

Quote:
Wanderlust once whispered in the wind:



Can any of you singlehanders think of other occasions when things went wrong, and you wished you were on a smaller boat or the opposite for that matter - where larger/heavier would have been better than small?


Steve [/B]
Steve,

The only times I ever wish that I'm on a smaller boat is when I run aground. It'd be real nice to be able to jump over the side and push the damn thing off!
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Old 10-08-2005, 12:08   #29
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Bigger boat

I think people are being way too conservative on size of boat to single hand. Displacement is a better indicator of size than overall length. Displacement determines the size of everything else. Need more hp to move more weight so need a larger rig, sails, ground tackle etc.

Having said that, I think a limit of 10,000# displacement is way too low for a single hander. I essentially single handed our 22,000#+ displacement Westsail without roller furling, manual windlass and most other conveniences. My wife was along but, at 85#, wasn't physically strong enough to do all that much. She steered getting us out of anchorages and handled mooring lines entering slips but that was about it. Really had no problems except when I got caught with the drifter up off of point conception. It was fun getting it down by myself in the 30+ blow but I did it.

Sailing a sloop of that displacement would be a chore without roller furling, however. Of course, sailing any sloop without roller furling is work with all the required sail changes. Think I'd stick with a 130% roller furling genoa with an intermediate stay for hanking on a storm jib. A 130% genoa will reef down enough to cover almost all wind conditions except the very lower and upper ranges. An Asymetrical spinnaker or other sail, set flying, would suffice for light air and running off with heavier winds.

I don't like the idea of in mast furling for two reasons. The first is the complexity of the system and the potential for a potentially life threatening failure. Being forced to have too much main sail up in a serious wind could bring the rig down or make the boat uncontrollable. Also, getting stuck with an inappropriate sized main for a long passage would frustrate the hell out of me. At least with a roller furling headsail you can let the sheets run free and hold on till it either destroys itself or conditions improve so you can haul it down.

The second reason is they require a roachless un-battened sail. Think the main is the big secret to making time offshore because so much of it is with the sheets eased. That's where the main can really give you drive. Having to cut down its area to accomodate the furling doesn't agree with me.

In any case, slab reefing isn't that big a deal. You can even set up single line systems and do it from the cockpit. Personally I wouldn't 'cause I don't like lines led to the cockpit. If everything goes well, halyards etc. are nice to have in the shelter of the dodger. If things don't go well they are life threatening. It's impossible to haul a sail down with cockpit led halyards unless you have someone in the cockpit feeding the line. The clutches, turning blocks, etc. grab hold of the halyard forcing you to move from the mast, back to the cockpit to free up the line and back to the mast. In high winds and seas, it ain't fun, btdt. I initially led all our halyards aft but abandoned it after our first bout of snotty weather.

An electric windlass would be a great addition for getting out of crowded anchorages. If set up right, you could hall anchor from the cockpit while you navigated around other boats and obstacles.

A really good autopilot or self steering vane would be my first purchase. I mean first purchase even before buying the boat. I don't really trust electronics so would get a vane before an autopilot but an autopilot would have been my next purchase if we hadn't sold the boat.

Anyway, don't see a reason that any healthy male couldn't single hand a properly set up 10 ton boat. Do you need one, probably not. You can get almost anything in usable interior room in a 36 footer as a 40. You'll give up some storage and maybe head dimensions. Those are of little concern if you are really single handing, however. Biggest thing you give up is speed. Nothing substitutes for waterline length in getting there faster. At the lower end of the size range, I'd hesitate to go below 30' simply for speed.



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Old 10-08-2005, 13:35   #30
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so, remember the criteria - first cruiser, gets seasick (affect strength?), limited experience, short trips, no blue water for now, if he loves it will trade up in three years - i say find a nice little boat like a sabre 28 or the others that fall in this category and have been discussed in other threads and make your bones. someone once said boats get a whole lot smaller as your get further from shore and a whole lot bigger as you approach the dock. yes we would wish for a larger boat when offshore in the snot, but we are not in danger, just uncomfortable. if you kiss a piling with your 40 footer when coming in to get fuel and water, you pay. by far, i have been in more trouble close to shore than off in deep water, in part because thats where i spend most of my time (as will you for now) but also because thats where things often happen quickly and sea room is limited. i would keep the weight down and the draft shallow for now. you want to keep "the woman" happy and involved in cruising (and you do) then keep her fears and comfort in mind. you scare her, you may lose her. she needs to feel she can do it and not just be a passenger. just one example - my wife weighs 110lb. she notices and reacts to the difference in a 130 jenny on a 30 footer compared to a 130 on a 36 footer. comfort = confidence. you can get out of typical coastal daily troubles more easily on a smaller boat regardless of equipment. capt. lar
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