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Old 22-07-2010, 09:56   #1
JRM
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How Is Your Furling Line Rigged ?

After an educational experience in 30+ knot winds and steep swells, I need to change the way my roller furling line is set up. I reefed early, but the conditions continued to build, and I found myself needing to reduce sail further. Thus began a short odyssey that took years off the life of both the sail and myself.

I currently have the roller furling line led through a series of fairleads back to a cleat about two feet aft of the main winch (which is ST). To date it has worked fine to just hand pull the furling line, or to pop the jib sheet off the winch, apply a bit of friction to the sheet, and use the winch to furl up the headsail. However, in the conditions we had, I was not strong enough to manage the force on either the furling line or the sheet without mechanical advantage, and I only could use for one or the other.

It seems overkill to add a small dedicated winch just for the roller reefing line, but I can't seem to find a good alternative that doesn't involve a bunch of additional hardware (stoppers, etc.) For sure the horn cleat *has* to be swapped out with something like a jam cleat, as the pressure on the line was so great that I couldn't release the wraps on the horn without some creative shennanigans.

I had previously went and talked to my local loft about converting the sail to hanks, and it's not really an option.

So, how do you all work your furling gear if you use it for headsail reefing? I'm open to ideas, and would really like to use this as a learning experience.

JRM
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Old 22-07-2010, 10:33   #2
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JRM,

Why could you not just luff-up, and reduce sail?
If your head sail is set up only for "furling" at the end of the day, it will require a little more guts to "reef" in a blow.
Size of furling line, friction thru fairleads, orientation of belaying cleat to lead of furling line, design ergonomics, etc, all become more important as the wind picks up.
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Old 22-07-2010, 11:32   #3
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JRM, we have a small winch for the roller reefing, boat comes as standard with it.

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Old 22-07-2010, 11:34   #4
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I have never had to put my furling line on a winch. Harken 02 unit on a CS36 Merlin. The line is led aft through 4 small blocks on the toe rail. Last Saturday I furled it in 42 knots of wind. It was not easy and the sail flogged a bit but I finally got it in. I think Harken discourages putting the furling line on a winch.

In most conditions it helps to head up into the wind to take the weight off the sail when you're furling.
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Old 22-07-2010, 15:40   #5
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JRM,

Why could you not just luff-up, and reduce sail?
That's sort of what I ended up doing, but the second I started reducing tension on the jib sheet, the sail started flogging. To the point that when I had released the jib sheet entirely I was pretty sure the sail was going to destroy itself. In the end, I figured I'd better risk damage to the sail than continue to overstress the rigging. That and the lee helm was considerable. Every time we crested it took full rudder input to keep from bearing off down the wave.

I figure there has to be a better way, so I'm looking for examples.

Quote:
If your head sail is set up only for "furling" at the end of the day, it will require a little more guts to "reef" in a blow.
Size of furling line, friction thru fairleads, orientation of belaying cleat to lead of furling line, design ergonomics, etc, all become more important as the wind picks up.
The sail has the foam luff inserts for roller "reefing." It's a brand new 155 genoa that the PO had purchased just prior to deciding to sell. I rarely roll it out past about 110-120% though, and I try to adjust my length for the best balance to the helm.

That's the point. What ways have folks set this up, and why? I'm new to the whole keelboat thing, and I'm trying to optimize my setup as best I can. Do you have roller gear, and if so, how have you utilized it in heavy weather where it isn't feasible to just "luff up?" And if so, what setup do you have to facilitate?

JRM
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Old 22-07-2010, 15:51   #6
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I have never had to put my furling line on a winch. Harken 02 unit on a CS36 Merlin. The line is led aft through 4 small blocks on the toe rail. Last Saturday I furled it in 42 knots of wind. It was not easy and the sail flogged a bit but I finally got it in. I think Harken discourages putting the furling line on a winch.

In most conditions it helps to head up into the wind to take the weight off the sail when you're furling.
Thanks. How is the line secured? Do you have some sort of cam or jam cleat? I'm not Kevin Sorbo, but I have pretty decent arm strength. I must have been doing something wrong. Or maybe I'm just underestimating the amount of flogging that is acceptable.

I'd rather not go the winch route if possible. So do you have any advice for the best way to secure the reefing line for the easiest use? A clutch or cam perhaps?

Thanks again,

JRM
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Old 22-07-2010, 16:00   #7
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The line is secured around a cleat. The hard part is hauling on the line with both hands and then trying to take up the slack around the cleat. I'm not strong at all but you have to put all your weight behind it. While I was doing this my wife was trying to control the boat, the toe rail was in the water. It was a small black cloud, not a lot of rain but it sure packed a lot of wind. The Ontario 300 was just starting then and a lot of boats blew out their sails. It's pretty busy on Lake Ontario and all I saw was sails all over the place, in the water, spinnakers flying miles ahead of the boats. All in all an interesting afternoon. I just got back from the sailmaker had to put a new uv strip on the sail. It was pretty ragged from the flogging. The sail is 12 years old but still has a lot of life in it.
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Old 22-07-2010, 16:03   #8
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Don't ever use a winch.
Don't luff up in a blow, bear away to 140 apparent, ease the sheet way out.
Don't use a fairlead if the line bends more than a few degrees (5?), use a proper block.
Reef 5 minutes before you first think of reefing
Carefully follow the furler instructions regarding the halyard lead and tension.
Don't let the forestay sag, use some backstay.

You should be able to furl a 600 sqft genoa, or more, by hand in a squall. I bet yours is much smaller.
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Old 22-07-2010, 16:04   #9
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I currently have the roller furling line led through a series of fairleads back to a cleat about two feet aft of the main winch (which is ST).
JRM
JRM -
You say "the" main winch. Do you mean you have only one? Or do you have a winch for each jib sheet? If so are they both self tailing? If so why don't you just change tacks so the furler uses the winch on one side of the boat and the jib sheet uses the winch on the other side? With self tailing winches that's possible single handed. With crew it's a piece of cake./
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Old 22-07-2010, 16:09   #10
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As a foreword, I don't like furlers. Anyway...

Our yankee is on a furler. Pinch, haul some line in, pinch, haul some line in, etc, etc. You can do some serious damage to something with a winch if it's not made to be winched. I'd really avoid putting the furling line on a winch. You could end up making some nasty knot in the drum that will have you your knees, on the bow, having to hand turn it and use a fid. I've done it, it sucks.

If you have *that* much tension on your jib, it's possible that you needed to haul in some sail earlier on. Not to be preachy, but "reef before you need to".
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Old 22-07-2010, 20:06   #11
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Originally Posted by daddle View Post
Don't ever use a winch.
Don't luff up in a blow, bear away to 140 apparent, ease the sheet way out.
Don't use a fairlead if the line bends more than a few degrees (5?), use a proper block.
Reef 5 minutes before you first think of reefing
Carefully follow the furler instructions regarding the halyard lead and tension.
Don't let the forestay sag, use some backstay.

You should be able to furl a 600 sqft genoa, or more, by hand in a squall. I bet yours is much smaller.
I'm going to go out and try practicing this in some lighter weather when I get back next week. I still think I'm going to replace the horn cleat with something easier to release, but I really should have thought about bearing off and running. Heck, the boat was pretty much bearing off all on its own as it was, I perhaps I should have listened to it

Thanks so much. This gives me a good basis to start playing with. I had been told that you always wanted to furl on a close reach, but the more I think about it the more it seems like in the heavier stuff that bearing off and running a bit would make life easier for a variety of reasons.

JRM
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Old 22-07-2010, 20:31   #12
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I have had the same issue.

I've come to the conclusion the answer is "reef early."

Trying to luff up or pinch when single handing gets dicey soon.

Trying to do it with a green crew gets dicey soon.

Trying to do it at night.............. well, you get the idea.

Reef early and bring a good book to read. Relax, take your time, enjoy.

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Old 22-07-2010, 21:03   #13
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I have never liked heading up to reef the headsail. I like to blanket the jib with the main on a deep reach and furl the head sail. If I know its rolling okay and just has a lot of pressure on it I have put it on a winch but don't like to for the obvious reasons. This is with a Harkin Mark 3, I hear the Mark 4 has a 3rd set of bearings and furls easier than the older models. If your furling line is old and a little warn in places that can cause a lot of friction when its wrapped tight on the drum. I have heard more than one person comment on how easy their setup was to furl after replacing the line.

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Old 24-09-2010, 15:56   #14
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Bumping an old thread here because I have a similar issue.

When wind builds really fast and I get overpowered, pulling the genoa furling line can be really hard! The other day winds went from 8kts stead to 28kts in about 30 seconds. It didn't feel safe to bear off and ease the sheet with that much wind, but pointing up makes the sail flog so much that I worry about damaging it, or getting injured by a line.

My furling line goes through some leads along the port toerail to a block about 2 feet aft of the winch. I ended up putting the furling line on the winch and winching it in. Luckly the sheet was on the other side (though I could have run the furling line to another winch just fine.)

Winching it all the way in would obviously remove all the tension from the furling line, but I wanted to leave a little out. The problem there is that taking the tensioned line off the winch and cleating it off is really difficult.

I could winch it all the way in, move it to the cleat, then let it out slowly, but I'm wondering if I could relace the aft furling line block with something like this:

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and use that to hold the line temporarily while I cleat it off.

Is there any reason this would be a bad idea? It seems like it would be perfect.
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Old 24-09-2010, 16:15   #15
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Bumping an old thread here because I have a similar issue.

When wind builds really fast and I get overpowered, pulling the genoa furling line can be really hard! The other day winds went from 8kts stead to 28kts in about 30 seconds. It didn't feel safe to bear off and ease the sheet with that much wind, but pointing up makes the sail flog so much that I worry about damaging it, or getting injured by a line.

My furling line goes through some leads along the port toerail to a block about 2 feet aft of the winch. I ended up putting the furling line on the winch and winching it in. Luckly the sheet was on the other side (though I could have run the furling line to another winch just fine.)

Winching it all the way in would obviously remove all the tension from the furling line, but I wanted to leave a little out. The problem there is that taking the tensioned line off the winch and cleating it off is really difficult.

I could winch it all the way in, move it to the cleat, then let it out slowly, but I'm wondering if I could relace the aft furling line block with something like this:

Product Details

and use that to hold the line temporarily while I cleat it off.

Is there any reason this would be a bad idea? It seems like it would be perfect.
I don't quite understand the problem. Is it a question of having no winch if you're on a tack which puts the sheet on the same side as the furling line? Just put a rolling hitch on the sheet with another line, take it off the winch, and belay it somewhere else, in that case. We have 8 cockpit winches so there's always another winch or another to put the sheet on, in case of need, but a cleat will do.

To take in some headsail in case of getting overpowered, we bear off. That reduces in general the forces. Then ease the sheet until it starts to luff; then the furling tension will be low. And start taking in the sail. If you can manage to blanket the headsail with the main, that's a bonus.
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