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Old 06-05-2013, 08:43   #1
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Hunter 36 with furling main?

There is winch/ratchet on the main mast with two settings - "free" and "ratchet". Can someone please clarify for me how to effectively use this piece of equipment?

Tried to reef (furl in) the main with it set on "free" but the foot of the sail closed as the main furled so we tightened the outhaul to open it up and it simultaneously pulled out the reef (unfurled the main).

We were in the middle of a race so we just sailed on without reefing the main rather than try to figure it out on the course. It was a club race and no one on board was familiar with the set up.

My guess is we should have furled the main with it set on "free" and then switched to "ratchet" before we tightened the outhaul. Is that correct?
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Old 06-05-2013, 18:20   #2
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Great furling gear. Use the a winch handle and ratchet only it continuos line is broken or off drum. To reef main it needs to be luffing very slightly. Ease outhaul and reef in to desired size. Tension outhaul and sheet in. Always do it on a starboard tack with wind ahead of beam.
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Old 06-05-2013, 18:43   #3
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Re: Hunter 36 with furling main?

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Originally Posted by OldFrog75 View Post
My guess is we should have furled the main with it set on "free" and then switched to "ratchet" before we tightened the outhaul. Is that correct?
No. Think of it this way: when the lever is set to "ratchet," you can only shorten sail; when it's set to "free," sail can go in or out.

We rarely put a handle in that drum, preferring to furl from the cockpit using a continuous-line inhaul. Think of the winch handle option as a backup in case the primary system fails.

You should be able to keep a reef point fixed by locking the inhaul with rope clutches in most situations. In a gale, we'll send someone forward to ratchet the drum so that it can't accidentally blow out.

Here's the important part: NEVER PUT A HANDLE IN THE DRUM UNLESS THE LEVER IS SET TO "RATCHET." Otherwise, a gust could spin the handle backwards, and it would be pretty easy to break bones at that point.

The time to figure out how to use gear properly is not during a race, not even a club race. Never take a boat out, any boat, unless you know how to shorten sail on that boat before you leave the dock.
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Old 06-05-2013, 18:56   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldFrog75 View Post
There is winch/ratchet on the main mast with two settings - "free" and "ratchet". Can someone please clarify for me how to effectively use this piece of equipment?

Tried to reef (furl in) the main with it set on "free" but the foot of the sail closed as the main furled so we tightened the outhaul to open it up and it simultaneously pulled out the reef (unfurled the main).

My guess is we should have furled the main with it set on "free" and then switched to "ratchet" before we tightened the outhaul. Is that correct?
Yes that is correct. If you just cleat the continuous furling line then you are relying on the friction against the line on the drum to keep it from unfurling further. If you set it to ratchet, you can tighten the foot with the outhaul without the furling line slipping.
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Old 06-05-2013, 19:29   #5
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Re: Hunter 36 with furling main?

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The time to figure out how to use gear properly is not during a race, not even a club race. Never take a boat out, any boat, unless you know how to shorten sail on that boat before you leave the dock.
You got that right. It was a green crew (I consider myself included) and we assumed the skipper knew what's what...and you know what they say about assumptions.
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Old 06-05-2013, 19:43   #6
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Green crew is a big reason for every one to stay in the cockpit. By putting a snug on both sides of the reef line after it stoppers are down locks drum from turning. Drum handle is a emergency back up if reef line fails.
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Old 06-05-2013, 19:53   #7
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Green crew is a big reason for every one to stay in the cockpit. By putting a snug on both sides of the reef line after it stoppers are down locks drum from turning. Drum handle is a emergency back up if reef line fails.
So what you're saying is that you've never had the furling line slip on the drum when the sail is reefed and your are trying to flatten the sail/foot? The OP has experienced it at least once and so have I ( many times on a few different Hunters between 36' and 45'). When that happens, if one wishes to keep the sail size reduced, then somebody gets to go forward and flip the lever. The stronger the wind and the more wear on the drum and furling line, the more common it is to happen.
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Old 06-05-2013, 20:23   #8
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I have sailed my 36 going on 9 years, never use ratchet. I have sailed reefed in some good blows without reef line slipping. You need to learn to make sure both sides of reef line are snug. If you are not strong enough or worried use the winch for a little more tension. The line from the stopper around the drum and back to the stopper must have tension on it.
I am a single hander so I bought main reef so I could stay in the cockpit. I have found the main reefing to be more reliable than jib system.
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Old 06-05-2013, 21:17   #9
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Re: Hunter 36 with furling main?

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Originally Posted by Rubikoop View Post
So what you're saying is that you've never had the furling line slip on the drum when the sail is reefed and your are trying to flatten the sail/foot? The OP has experienced it at least once and so have I ( many times on a few different Hunters between 36' and 45'). When that happens, if one wishes to keep the sail size reduced, then somebody gets to go forward and flip the lever. The stronger the wind and the more wear on the drum and furling line, the more common it is to happen.
A lot depends on how you rig the inhaul. Like I said earlier, we tend to lock the drum in gale force winds so that the drum doesn't slip on the inhaul. In an ideal world, however, this is a backup measure.

By the way, this is not a Hunter system. Rather, it's a Seldon Mast system.
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Old 07-05-2013, 16:55   #10
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Sail unfurling is no big deal. Sail goes out boat heels and rounds up. Sending people forward just to lock furling drum is just a unnecessary risk. If you learn how to use a Selden mast furler you just don't need to do that. If the wind is so high you can't afford to round up you just should not be using the sail, and a bigger reason for staying off the deck.
If you read this site a lot you see a big focus on safety safety gear. After single handling for 30+ years and now being old I realize that staying on/ in the boat is the only thing that will work. All the other safety gear is maybe survivable. I bought a boat with a furling main for this reason. ( it won't make the boat faster) Please use the gear and stay in the cockpit.
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