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Old 13-10-2010, 19:19   #1
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To Furl on Not to Furl, that Is the Question . . .

I am setting our boat up as a blue water capable yacht, when we purchased it it had a furler with the No. 2 jib modified to suit. I have a full complement of the other headsails however only the No. 2 has a luff rope and therefore its the only sail I can use (the rest have hanks).

I dont have the cash to buy a new set of headsails and I dont like the small sail area the No. 2 gives us (boat is a dog in under 15-20 knots.

My questions is, as a blue water cruiser sailed by two small people What do you like about furlers verse's clip on sails.

I am deciding whether to remove the furler and modify the No. 2 back to hanks or to modify the furler to accept the No.1 and add a luffrope.

My background is 17 years on race boats so I know very little about sailing with furlers and I have also never used Hank's on a heady before.

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated
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Old 13-10-2010, 19:32   #2
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On a blue water cruiser and especially a smaller one, you need the safety of being able to furl the headsail in big seas and winds. Going out on deck to wrestle yard of canvas and then try to stuff them down an open hatchway while water is coming over the bow is not conducive to your or your boat's longevity.
- - The other sails if they are still in good shape can have luff tape sewed on to fit the furler. You can even do it yourself if you have good sail sewing machine.
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Old 13-10-2010, 19:33   #3
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Furlers are great... let you stay in the cockpit when things get rough, instead of scrabbling up to the pointy end with sailbags etc....
As for your sails with hanks... conversions easy enough and cheap... buy a load of metal mainsail slides that fit the furler slot and replace the hanks with them.. good whipping twine in a figure of 8
Ok.. not as pretty furled up like the purpose made one but you'll get plenty of life out of them... I use plastic ones for my Corribee 21.. and they've stood upto an F7 to date....
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Old 13-10-2010, 20:07   #4
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Add luff tapes to your best #3 or #4. Use your best #2 as your main RF headsail. I wouldn't put a #1 on a cruiser RF. The gain in sail area does not compensate for the disadvantages when the weather changes for the heavier.

Or, as I've done, cut a race #1 leech down to make a #2 high clew sail. Very cruisy.

For a racer, the cruiser's RF rig is a huge disappointment. It is slightly handier than hanks. I'm only barely convinced, though. You will have the wrong sail up 75% of the time. And without hanks a RF sail is no fun to change out without a race crew.

I sailed my Cal-36 with hank on sails for years in all conditions. Dropping the #1 and lashing it along the middle lifeline was no big deal. Hanking the #3 above and around it was easy. Yeah, you can get wet. Are we sissies?

A furled sail makes for plenty of windage aloft and weight forward, you won't like that. But it's the way it is.
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Old 13-10-2010, 22:10   #5
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Slowing a racer down

I don't mind the effect on sail shape that a furler would have however my boat is very traditional (built in 69) and as such the sail to weight ratio is fairly small to start with. We sailed it up the coast when I collected it prior to starting our refit and the wind got up to 15 knots and the boat still wouldn't point, would lose all boat speed in the waves and just generally felt significantly under canvassed. I do love the thought of pulling a rope and your sails gone, and I am setting the boat up to be as simple to sail single handed as I can however I just feel I will get VERY frustrated waiting for 20+ knots before my boat behaves like a sail boat.

The other factor I forgot to mention is we have removed the inboard for my wife's health reasons and will be relying on sails to get us places, thus I am hesitant to do anything that will effect sailing performance and start me off behind the eight ball.

The boat is small (28ft) so the sails are not monsters however the small sails are offset by the small space up front when the boat is heaving around changing sails.
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Old 13-10-2010, 22:35   #6
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My last boat had a hanked on jib, this one has a furler on the yankee (the staysail is hanked on). Because it's out on a bowsprit (that's 6' long) I can accept the safety advantage of a roller furler.

But honestly I'd rather dump it and just use hanks. Probably will.
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Old 13-10-2010, 23:20   #7
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I am a racer as well and dislike the performance disadvantage of furling headsails, but I have also committed the cardinal sin of waiting too long to shorten sail in deteriorating weather. Changing headsails at night in heavy weather in the north Atlantic is pretty much the most terrifying experience of my life. I'll take the furling and accept the sissy moniker, thank you very much.
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Old 14-10-2010, 22:18   #8
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I think for the short term I will dump the old furler (its very hard to change sails due to its completely stupid complex halyard design), and run with the hank sails. However I do like the idea of replacing the hanks with slugs ready to use inside a furler track. Does anyone know of furlers that are a realistic price that offer easy sail changing ability. In an ideal world I would like two tracks but could live with one if the overall design was better.
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Old 15-10-2010, 06:49   #9
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PROFURL - economical, sturdy, proven for decades. And it is a "roller-reefing" system not just a furler. There are two types of "furlers" - furlers which are lighter and less expensive but are not designed nor strong enough to be used for "reefing" your headsail. A "roller-reefer" is built stronger so that underway you can "reef" your headsail without fear of breaking the system.
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Old 15-10-2010, 08:10   #10
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The other sails if they are still in good shape can have luff tape sewed on to fit the furler. You can even do it yourself if you have good sail sewing machine.
Exactly as we have done. Even though we have a separate forestay which we can rig both storm jib and a No2 hank on sail, we have a spare No2 sail converted from hank on to RR just incase the Genoa blows out or we plan to make a trip when its going to be windy then we can fit the RR No2 in harbour before going out.

Both the hank on No2 and the RR No2 came from e bay, both in excellent condition and whilst might not be a perfect fit with sheeting angles are close neough not to worry on a cruising yacht.

Why can't you have both options with a spare forestay for hank on sails and say two sails for RR?

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Old 15-10-2010, 10:28   #11
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Are you talking about an "inner forestay" or twin forestays at the bow? Normally the "inner forestay" about halfway from the bow to the mainmast (Cutter Rig) is used for a storm jib when not being used for an inner staysail. Do you have roller furling?
- - Having twin/dual forestays at the bow complicates tacking and jibing the genoa or jib. The sail must pass between the two forestays - unless - the other forestay is more forward than the working forestay.
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Old 15-10-2010, 10:30   #12
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You are in an interesting situation taking a boat without an engine cruising. You don't say how far you are thinking of heading.
Though it was common years ago, it would need to be a pretty good system to make it work well now.

By that I kinda mean that in the 1960's or before if a yacht was seen flopping about becalmed in a shipping lane in Sydney Harbour so workboat would have thrown a line and helped. These days some ferry would beep you, the Police called and the fire brigade turns up at your home and work address.

I would normally just say go the furling headsail and toss the rest overboard. But as you say you need the ability to be ultimately flexible as the boat doesn't like light winds.

Its an interesting problem.

(I am being buzzed by a bunch of Optimists screaming in Spanish. I think they are using me as a race turning mark!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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Old 15-10-2010, 10:51   #13
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After racing for years, I know I am dissapointed with windward performance on cruising boats, period. I don't think it's the roller or hank on. Most racers today have a continuous foil similar to the roller in order to have better wind flow over the luff of the jib. Many thousands of dollars into new sails with deck sweeping clews would likely help, but aren't cruising friendly. Also, having two anchors, lots of chain, spare parts, tools, canned food, etc doesn't help windward performance. Of course, I don't go on my ear as quickly, and handle large swells better than the stripped out race boats do. All tradeoffs.
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Old 15-10-2010, 11:39   #14
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After racing for years, I know I am dissapointed with windward performance on cruising boats, period.
Ain't that the truth!!

"Raced" Sea Life against a IOR 47 footer in Tonga a few years ago and the damn race boat pointed about a quadrant higher than us... Mind you he did have to pass us 3 times because of tactics

Then a year later he lost his boat while anchored in a cyclone.

So I guess some cruisers can compensate for not pointing??
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Old 15-10-2010, 11:48   #15
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Are you talking about an "inner forestay" or twin forestays at the bow? Normally the "inner forestay" about halfway from the bow to the mainmast (Cutter Rig) is used for a storm jib when not being used for an inner staysail. Do you have roller furling?
- - Having twin/dual forestays at the bow complicates tacking and jibing the genoa or jib. The sail must pass between the two forestays - unless - the other forestay is more forward than the working forestay.
Its a removeable second forestay, connects to the deck about 10" behind the RR stay when being used.

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