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Old 05-07-2014, 00:58   #61
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Re: Sail life

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
fair point - "serious" off shore work was probably a misnomer. Particularly considering high latitudes.

It's very difficult to keep these threads in context and there is "always" something better. That's why, "What's the best XXX..." threads are always so much fun...

Quite frankly what works on 40+ foot boats is usually overkill for smaller boats. Maybe CF needs a forum for "Up to 35 foot monos"

Everything you say about jibs is valid but I have a 26 foot boat. No way can I carry 4 jibs on board for a 5 day cruise.
Yes, yes, ok. Context. But on small boats the sails are also smaller and much lighter. Four headsails is pretty standard for covering the full wind range. You can easily eliminate one with a reefing jib, this actually works very well and it is also less work than changing down. Then you just have a genoa, a "multi-function" jib in the middle and a storm jib.

I understand better your statement about the inner forestay now.

I don't think boat size is the determinant, it is what you do with the boat and where you go. My old boat was a 30' Arpege sloop, it was the exact same deal as now, just a lot less work to handle. The gear was much lighter and loads much smaller - and there is a lot to be said about that. On the other hand it was a lot wetter and changing headsails is far more comfortable now.
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:47   #62
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Re: Sail life

The concept of changing a sail on the water gives me the heebeegeebees (sp?)
I just took the genoa down at the dock and it took me a good half hour to do so. That was with maybe 2 knts of wind. There is just no way to imagine doing this on a moving platform with anything more than maybe 5 knts. I suppose you can point the boat into the wind and hope that the sail ends up on the deck somehow (and doesn't beat itself to death in the process) but I can see a slight wind shift or an autopilot with attitude making for a REAL bad day. It would be a lot easier with a storm jib because of the reduced amount of sail cloth but unless you put that storm jib on WAY before you need it, I can't see how you would manage! Again, the key here is being single handed because with enough crew a lot more possibilities open up.
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:43   #63
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Re: Sail life

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If you stay at the dock almost all the time a trawler looks even better. On the other hand if you are a full time cruiser who spends lots of time sailing, especially in areas where clean fuel is not assured a trawler probably does look too bad.

As Ann noted we may not all have the same standard for judging what a 'good' sail is. There are plenty of folks who get much more than four years out of a sail, just as there are folks who change their sails every season.

There have been several threads about the sail vs motor economic analysis. While it is probably possible to do some type of analysis to determine just how many miles you have to travel at a given price per gallon of fuel for me it would be a waste of time. I can't stand a motor boat. The noise and vibration give me a headache and the stench nauseates me. I would be sailing even if it cost more than motoring.
I was brought up on early sportsfishing boats...Post 37 in particular wood hulls etc the fast boats were ok for cruising but trawlers just droned on and on...and a bit rolly for that matter...oily following seas were queasy times at best!
That droning hour after hour at about 2800 rpms is not missed by me on my sailing vessel! Love rhe sounds and occasional music one of many special dimensions to Wind Power!
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:41   #64
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Re: Sail life

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
fair point - "serious" off shore work was probably a misnomer. Particularly considering high latitudes.

It's very difficult to keep these threads in context and there is "always" something better. That's why, "What's the best XXX..." threads are always so much fun...

Quite frankly what works on 40+ foot boats is usually overkill for smaller boats. Maybe CF needs a forum for "Up to 35 foot monos"

Everything you say about jibs is valid but I have a 26 foot boat. No way can I carry 4 jibs on board for a 5 day cruise.
Horses for courses. And to some extent horses for riders.

I have no illusion about taking my boat, or any boat to the high latitudes. There is a huge difference between getting sails for a boat used for coastal sailing around the US and one used for circumnavigation.

Another consideration is the cost. I feel comfortable with a screecher and a working jib. Even if I wanted to get another headsail I am not sure I could justify the cost for what would probably be limited utility. To a great extent this is because I choose to simply not go out in heavy weather and if I get caught in something like a line squall or thunderstorm I know it will be over more quickly than I could deploy a small sail.

Not to say some other posters at CF may not be able to justify a larger sail inventory, just that for most folks it is not cost effective to carry four headsails.
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Old 05-07-2014, 14:20   #65
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Re: Sail life

Today I went out to the boat to look over the furler. Turns out it's a Shaefer 2100. With no sail on it turns completely free on both upper and lower bearings. I flushed them out and things seem ok but of course I will have to check with full halyard tension when the sail is back.
One interesting thing I found - the steel cage of the furling drum was located in such a manner as to have the furling control line run over the edge of the cage making maybe a 30 degree angle with an empty drum and possibly upward of 45 degrees when the drum is full. Well no excrement it would be hard to turn under load ... duuuhhh
I fixed her all up and am looking forward to trying the 'new and improved' furler towards the end of next week when the sail is back.
I will also make an effort to keep a bit of tension on the sheets as I haul the sail in and on the furling line as I haul the sail out - I have a habit of letting the lines run slack which causes a really soft sail furl and a possible overlap of the furling control line on the drum.
Checking out the furler was an excellent suggestion and I am confident it will be a substantial improvement.
The Furler manual warns against use of the winch for furling but the more I think about it the more I like the idea in difficult circumstances with the proviso of being careful. I think I will implement 'careful' by limiting the wraps around the winch so that an overload causes the control line to slip. I will still need to test that theory of course but all-in-all I learned a lot from this thread!
Thank you for all the replies !!!
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Old 05-07-2014, 15:55   #66
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Re: Sail life

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Originally Posted by Jd1 View Post
The concept of changing a sail on the water gives me the heebeegeebees (sp?)
I just took the genoa down at the dock and it took me a good half hour to do so. That was with maybe 2 knts of wind. There is just no way to imagine doing this on a moving platform with anything more than maybe 5 knts. I suppose you can point the boat into the wind and hope that the sail ends up on the deck somehow (and doesn't beat itself to death in the process) but I can see a slight wind shift or an autopilot with attitude making for a REAL bad day. It would be a lot easier with a storm jib because of the reduced amount of sail cloth but unless you put that storm jib on WAY before you need it, I can't see how you would manage! Again, the key here is being single handed because with enough crew a lot more possibilities open up.
Well, then how was it done in 1970 before there were any headsail furlers around? Winds didn't exceed 5kts then? It is done just the same today and in any weather conditions.

Reading this, either your setup does not work or you are lacking practice, or both.

There are techniques for getting a large headsail down without ending up in a mess dragging canvas into the water, and the first thing you want to do is sheeting it in. Downwind is easiest. On a broad-reach, your main is all the way out; sheet the headsail in behind it. Once you get it in the wind shadow of the mainsail, it takes all the fight out of it. Let the halyard go as it flops towards the boat centreline.
When you release the halyard, it must free-fall. If it doesn't, your setup is wrong.

You can get it down upwind too, by setting up the boat so it is luffing the sail, and same story, when the load decreases you let it go. If you are sheeted outboard instead of over the foredeck, then you need to control it down and pull it over the lifelines starting from the foot as it comes down.

On my 30' I used to turn round to drop the bigger headsails even if I was punching because the foredeck was a very wet and unpleasant place where to be upwind and the sail was outside the lifelines. Now I can drop a working genoa in too much breeze upwind much more comfortably, so I just point higher and slow down before going forward.

If it is blowing a gale, at some point the sail gets blown up the forestay, so it won't free-fall any more. Let the halyard go, make sure it is clear to run, get to the foot of the forestay and pull the luff down. When you get to the head, grab the halyard and run it underneath a deck cleat for example, so the sail doesn't blow straight back up.

And this is all single-handed as you may have noticed. With crew, you do the same but you can split the tasks.

Changing a sail at sea is basic seamanship. The guys used to run up the rigging and out on the yard arms in all conditions, pulling the canvas up and furling it. We are rather better off now. Sailing used to be a profession, now it is leisure stuff, but at the end of the day the same sea is still there and you should be just as proficient and professional at doing it, at all levels.

Giving up, claiming it can't be done or trying to find some easy way out is not going to take you anywhere. Get stuck into it and you will get good at it.

Eric
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Old 05-07-2014, 16:56   #67
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Re: Sail life

Eric, we all used to do headsail changes on a regular basis, but I think that your explanation is a bit misleading. JD does not have hanked-on headsails, but rather a furler. In my experience, the friction in the luff groove in the furler foil precludes the "free-fall" that you talk about... rather the contrary! Further, the sail,once down on deck is not attached to the foil and it is all too easy for it to get overboard. Not really comparable to what we all used to do and pretty daunting for a singlehander.

If you are suggesting that he ditch the furler and go to hank-ons, well, I think that is a bit harsh. I spent years doing singlehanded ocean racing, and doing headsail changes. Then Ann and I did some years of full time cruising, again doing headsail changes, but now double handed. We eventually bought a furler, and I would not go back to the old methods. Why should JD? There are many things he can do to improve his current setup without loosing the convenience of furling sails, several useful suggestions have been made above.

For you, Eric, the marginal performance loss of furling sails may not be acceptable. For others, including the high end RTW solo racers, the trade-offs are OK.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 05-07-2014, 17:55   #68
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Re: Sail life

Jd1,

First, good on ya for fixing the lead for the furling line, and I'm glad to hear the Schaefer is turning freely.

In the days when we were dropping headsails on the foredeck, we also fitted lifeline lacing to help the sail fall on the deck.

Some singlehanders first heave to, essentially stopping the boat. It stays heeled over a bit, but it is a stable motion, rather than jerky. Then take down the sail. If your boat heaves to on the main, with the head still well up to windward, then that method might work for you. I mean, you'd hate to ruin a new sail on it's first time out, so you might "have" to drop it.

If you fit a light line to the headboard, that will give you some help pulling it down.

What you do, is get the halyard ready to run, but leave one or two turns on the winch. You're going to take down on the leeward side of the boat. Holding that line, you walk (or scuttle, or go on your knees) to the aft edge of the sail and start hauling on the leach, scuttling and flaking it as you go. The lacing keeps you and the sail on the boat. (We kept sail ties affixed all the time, so you tie it down as you go along. You need longer ones for the increased bulk as you approach the head the sail, and we always took a end of the tie through the headboard, and secured it to the toerail, too.)

Getting your 135 down is, in fact, doable, and might be a better deal than ruining your new sail when you get it. So, I'd suggest you take a bit of time and think through what you'd have to do (including staying on the boat) to do it, then practice it a few times and make the modifications as you get more ideas. I have to agree with the poster who suggested that you overcome your fear of the operation and learn to do it, even if you have to get someone to help you work through it. It can happen with a furler failure that you would HAVE TO get that puppy down, right now. The alternative is the sail self-destructing, an exercise we have been through recently and found quite unpleasant.

If your boat has perforated toe rail, it will be easy, otherwise, I'd suggest using the flattish pad eyes, and through bolt them through the timber toe rail (of course bedding the screws agains water intrusion. Three or four sail ties should do it for you. Lifeline lacing can be managed as well, and might make you feel safer on the foredeck.

I hope you think about it, anyway.

Ann
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Old 05-07-2014, 17:57   #69
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Re: Sail life

Eric - I am sure that learning hanked on jibs can be important but it's not 1970 anymore and furlers are pretty common for most cruising boats.

The only time I have done downwind jib changes is racing and we know the next beat needs a different sail. At that point we are flying the spin and the bow crew has the luxury of time.

Normally one is on a beat. We would rig the new sail on the windward deck hank it on between the current sails hanks. The skipper goes head to wind, when the sail is over the deck the mastman drops (the sail lands on deck) the bowman has 30 seconds to change the halyard and unhank the old sail while the mastman swaps the sheets. The mast man hoists and then the bowman and mastman stow the old sail which hopefully hasn't gone overboard and is now laying on the new windward deck.

The backend crew drinks coffee, smokes cigarettes and yells about how slow we are...
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Old 05-07-2014, 21:00   #70
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Re: Sail life

Ooohh, Dan, where can I get one of those shirts?

Our foredeck duties are pretty tame for the most part these days, but the memories linger on!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 05-07-2014, 22:28   #71
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Re: Sail life

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Ooohh, Dan, where can I get one of those shirts?

Our foredeck duties are pretty tame for the most part these days, but the memories linger on!

Cheers,

Jim
Thankfully earned my foredeck stripes quickly and "graduated" to the back of the boat. I find demonstrated incompetence and too many extra pounds helps.

I've been been meaning to buy that shirt for years...

dryshirt: SAFU Foredeck Union Tee shirt R Rated

There is also a rebuttal one from the cockpit crew but I can't find it.
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Old 05-07-2014, 22:32   #72
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Re: Sail life

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Reading this, either your setup does not work or you are lacking practice, or both.
While I grant you that I am lacking experience, I can tell you that people jump over multiple cars with a motorcycle all the time. Some even jump over large trenches in the ground called canyons. That still isn't a reason for me to do the same.

Sure, if the **** hits the fan with enough of the brown stuff involved then you might have to try and take the sail down even if you are single handing but if you do that in todays day and age as a routine plan then I have a big canyon for you to jump over - it's really not a big deal with enough practice.

Being in my mid fifties, I have acquired enough common sense to not pull stupid maneuvers like that without a really really really good reason to do it.
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Old 05-07-2014, 22:45   #73
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Re: Sail life

Jd1,

I am sorry if I offended you. Such was not my intention.

More, I was thinking, what if the furler line breaks while the sail is out? What is this guy going to do?

We've been cruising sailors for about 28 yrs., now, and I may be hypersensitive to what can go wrong, but Murphy's always lurking on sailboats.

Ann
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Old 05-07-2014, 23:00   #74
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Re: Sail life

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While I grant you that I am lacking experience, I can tell you that people jump over multiple cars with a motorcycle all the time. Some even jump over large trenches in the ground called canyons. That still isn't a reason for me to do the same.

Sure, if the **** hits the fan with enough of the brown stuff involved then you might have to try and take the sail down even if you are single handing but if you do that in todays day and age as a routine plan then I have a big canyon for you to jump over - it's really not a big deal with enough practice.

Being in my mid fifties, I have acquired enough common sense to not pull stupid maneuvers like that without a really really really good reason to do it.
Well some get frustrated with me for being able to argue both sides of anything but, in actuality a sail drop shouldn't be a drama even single handed underway.

I've also done foiled sail changes and a second slot in the foil helps and you do have to haul it down.

I am not sure I could load my 150 by myself though...

Practice makes the exceptional more routine.

I don't think you can fairly call a headsail change a "stupid maneuver"

A little confession - I was sailing with a guy on my boat and let him helm. No doubt I was responsible for everything that happened next. A ship was coming up channel and I judged (with my helming experience) we would not have to tack and could pass upwind of the ship. I paid too much attention to the ship and no attention to the boat. We ended up pinched, slow and making too much leeway. We ran out of speed to tack and when the ship passed it was exactly 1 1/2 boat lengths away.

What happened next was the wind reflected off the ships side, the genny stalled and the bow fell away towards the ship, we had no choice but to pirouette to leward. Had we waited second more we would have drifted close enough to make a collision unavoidable.

There was some crew on the rail of the ship smoking cigarettes and we could have tossed them a beer. We missed the ship by less than 10 feet.

My boat continued to turn down wind, the boat eventually gybed then tacked and when it was all done the genny had wrapped backwards around the forestay. It was impossible to unwrap or furl and I had to drop it on the deck.

One of my stupider moments.
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Old 05-07-2014, 23:14   #75
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Re: Sail life

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Jd1,
I am sorry if I offended you. Such was not my intention.
I actually reacted to Eric's post, not yours .... so no worries.

Yes, I realize that excrement happens and sometimes we have to do things that we would rather not.

I have jack lines on the boat and a harness so I can deal with things when I have to (although I have my doubts about getting back into the boat if I get thrown overboard).

I go out on windy days to a) have fun and b) learn a bit more each time. Who knows, maybe a few years down the road this stuff might not faze me I was actually surprised at myself and how I was relatively unconcerned about the wind and sea state until towards the end. Not too long ago my limit was 20 knots, now it is probably 30 knots so every time I go out I learn more.
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