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Old 10-08-2009, 14:14   #31
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As has been said, the roller furling is an addition to your headstay, not instead of it. Stays and shrouds tend to have trouble at the fittings, not very often in mid span. The upper fitting is visible for inspection if you climb the mast. The lower one is usually buried in the furling drum and not accessable without taking down the furling gear.

Thank heavens I could see the upper Norseman fitting. I went up the mast to check the anchor light and discovered one of the strands of the headstay broken at the fittings. Don't know how old the stay was but it wouldn't have been all that long before it failed. Once I got it down and stripped the furling gear off the stay, discovered the beginning of another strand failure at the head. The lower fitting was fine as was the rest of the wire. I wouldn't do away with the furling because it hides the wire, but will definitely take it down and inspect the wire on an annual basis.

On a sloop, wouldn't want to sail without roller furling. Schlepping 3 or more headsails forward and back every time there is a significant windspeed change has never been my idea of fun. Also, storing that many sails leaves little room for anything else, especially when the sails get stuffed in the bag after a change.

Having said that, I wouldn't want to have to change a roller furling headsail when the wind is blowing. It's not easy to get the sail in the groove and the bead running up the foil as you try and raise it by yourself. Add a significant wind and possibly waves trying to send the sail coming off, and the unsecured sail going on, overboard as well as torquing the tape and jamming it where it enters the foil and you have an 'interesting' session. That's 'interesting' in the meaning of the Chinese curse, 'May you live in interesting times.' On my sloop, have a light 150% genoa that will come down as soon as the wind starts to build so, hopefully, won't be too much of a problem with a sail change. After that, it will be reefing the 130% genoa with the furler. When things get really, really 'interesting,' I'll be hanking on the 'Gale Sail' which I've found isn't all that easy but doable. I'll only be making one sail change using the foil as I don't think I could do a sail change by myself with much wind or wave action.

From my experience, a true cutter like our old W32 or the Hans Christian can get by with only one jib change. We had a reacher/drifter that we used when winds were light. That sail or an overlapping Genoa were the only sail changes on the headstay that would have to be made. The staysail/Yankee combination worked up till I had to drop the Yankee which I left hanked on and gasketed to the stanchions and bow pulpit. Reefing the staysail took the place of a storm jib. I had very limited requirements to go forward as the wind piped up and no reason to go out on the bowsprit when the wind got serious. In any case, a sail with hanks is very easy to change single handed. The sail can be secured and contained while you are snapping on the hanks. Raising it, once it's hanked on is not a problem. That is not the case with foil and tape system.

Still might like to have roller furling on the headstay of a cutter. When the winds got strong enough that we had to douse the Yankee and leave the headstay bare, it cut our boat speed by at least a knot. The ability to reef the jib to maintain some kind of a slot between the staysail and jib would have kept up boatspeed and kept me off the bowsprit. An asymetrical spinnaker with a sock might the sail to handle the light air needs.

Aloha
Peter O.
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Old 10-08-2009, 22:45   #32
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This weekend we sailed for 9 hours. In the beginning we were in 10 knots close hauled with 150 of the genny out. An hour later we hit the main bay and had 20+ knots and furled in to 100%. We beat and pounded out of the channel and an hour later pulled in to 80% as we reached the current conversion zone and beat into 5 foot chop with frequent white caps. We contemplated a reef in the main but decided against.

30 minutes after that we had turned the corner and the genny went to 150% for the next 2 hours of reaching in 15-20kts. We turned for home after 4 1/2 hours and ran the genny on the reach and downwind in dying conditions at 150% until we reached home at about 12:30 am in about 5 knots.

We would have had 2-3 sail changes in the first 3 hours without the furler or we would have had to aggressively apply strategies to depower the boat or live with excessive heal and the additional discomfort of too much power in pounding conditions. Or we would have been lazy and run with too little sail in certain conditions.

Racing? Lot's of crew? No problem. Hank them on. Cruising and pleasure boating? Furling rocks.
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Old 11-08-2009, 03:00   #33
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Different strokes for different folk's boats. The sail you describe with my W32 would have involved one sail change and lot more reefing the main. We always reefed the main before reducing headsails. That's why a true cutter is such a great rig design if you don't want to invest in a lot of expensive hardware. You can sail them in almost all conditions with only four sails and sail them to their best with only 6 sails.

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Old 13-08-2009, 21:20   #34
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I had a roller furling pull out a pocket in a 60 knot wind in texas and alomst shook my rig off. I took off the furling after that and have been loving it ever since. Hank it!
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Old 10-09-2009, 13:01   #35
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Originally Posted by Brent Swain View Post
Build your own furler. It only takes a day and about $100 worth of material.You'll end up with a much simpler and tougher unit than most commercialy built ones . You can check the stay from time to time ,in a calm harbour ,every few years if you are worried, for far less trouble than changiing headsails at sea
Mine has been up for decades and three trips accross the Pacific with no problems.
Brent
OK, Give, I want details ; -)
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Old 10-09-2009, 13:40   #36
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Rebel:
There is also the option to have a furler for hanks on sails as this one:
Facnor
so you can furl or lower the sail depending on your needs and the weather conditions
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Old 10-09-2009, 13:42   #37
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Sorry,
In my previous post look for the SGT 4T - Structural Systems
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Old 10-09-2009, 14:23   #38
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The Facnor wire luff systems are furlers only. They aren't for reefing probably because of twist in the wire will result in truly crappy reefed sail shape and 'unlay' potential for the wire luff. Would be a good system for a reefable, that is a sail with reef points sewn in, sail like a staysail. Also would work well for a hank on storm staysail. Relatively easy to unbend the staysail and hank on the storm jib. Makes it real easy to store and furl a sail at the end of a jib. Question if it's worth the cost over a sailbag at the stay, however. If reefing is the light of your life, you need a luff extrusion to keep the head and foot of the sail furling at the same rate.

If you've had a problem with a roller reefed sail coming loose, you probably need more wraps of the sheets around the fully furled sail. I'd sailed with our 130 genoa for several years, reefed many times without a problem til one day when the winds kicked above 30mph. When I tried to furl the sail, it wouldn't furl completely leaving a significant portion of the sail unfurled. I'd reefed the sail down about 50% before I rolled it all the way in. The sail had rolled so tight reefing in those 30-40 knot winds that I ran out of furling turns on the drum before the sail was all the way in. I had to roll the sail all the way out in the calmer winds of the harbor and refurl to furl the sail completely away. As soon as a I got back in the slip, set the furling up so that I had at least 10 wraps of the sheets around the sail before I ran out furling line turns on the furling drum. No problem with it since.
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Old 10-09-2009, 18:15   #39
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Thanks to delmarrey for the roller_furling_headsail link (a very good read) and to jjt for pointing me to the Facnor headstay roller system. I have old Mariner roller furlers on my head stay and stays'l stay but they're getting up in years and need more frequent attention (read lubrication). I do prefer hanked on headsails and with a cutter rig don't feel the need to reef the Yankee - it's either all in or all out and like someone else said, the first reef is in the main. The Mariner lets me furl (not reef) the hanked on headsails but maybe I'm headed to Facnor if the bearings keep getting stiff. I don't need the fuss of threading sails through the slot in a foil when shorthanded.
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Old 10-09-2009, 18:17   #40
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For me single handing 45ft, a Furler was essential. Along with the autopilot. If conditions get ruff, I don't even consider going forward of the main. Infact, apart from an initial heavey reef in the main, I don't go forward of the pilot house.
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