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Old 20-04-2010, 12:26   #1
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Roller Furling in a Squall

What is considered the correct way to furl in a sudden squall? If I slack off enough jib sheet to be able to pull in on the furling line by hand, the genoa flogs fit to bring the mast down. But I believe that I shouldn't slack off just enough to winch-in on the furling line. Comments please.
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Old 20-04-2010, 12:27   #2
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If you think the genoa is flogging too much, turn downwind and blanket it with the main while you roll it in.
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Old 20-04-2010, 13:02   #3
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I'll say this and regret it later.........Searoom permitting always turn off the wind, sail deep and furl with the least pressure possible on the sail. do this even for a routine furl and you'll almost never need a winch to furl.
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Old 20-04-2010, 13:31   #4
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If it is a true squall, wouldn't the best advice be to lower the sail with the jib sheet? I think that is what I would do....That would be if I couldn't furl it without damaging the jib. I have been broached by turning downwind with the gusts up around 50 knts.
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Old 20-04-2010, 13:50   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
If it is a true squall, wouldn't the best advice be to lower the sail with the jib sheet? I think that is what I would do....That would be if I couldn't furl it without damaging the jib. I have been broached by turning downwind with the gusts up around 50 knts.
that's why we've deciced to switch to an inventory of hanked on sails, the luff tape makes lowering the sail with any load at all near impossible
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Old 20-04-2010, 13:57   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
If it is a true squall, wouldn't the best advice be to lower the sail with the jib sheet? I think that is what I would do....That would be if I couldn't furl it without damaging the jib. I have been broached by turning downwind with the gusts up around 50 knts.
here lies the argument we went thru before on roller furling. a big genoa could easily broach a boat .. but what if you can't roll it up either? that was my dilemma
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Old 20-04-2010, 14:03   #7
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G'Day Holmek,

Don't know what size sail we're talking about here, and it does make a difference.
But, we've shamelessly used a winch to furl the genoa under such conditions on both our Insatiables. The sails are both around 500 sq ft, and the furlers have included Reef-Rite, Schaeffer, Furlex and Facnor. None have seemed to suffer from this treatment.

I agree that if you can turn down it will ease the process, but sometimes this is not an option. And the idea of lowering the sail... doesn't make any sense at all. Not feasible, not neccessary -- ain't this why you bought a furler in the first place??

Cheers

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Old 20-04-2010, 15:55   #8
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Really, a squal should never be a complete surprise.

Honestly, you did not have 2 minutes warning before it got to 40+ knots? While I got nailed a few times in my youth with sails up, I could never honestly say it was a surprise.

Often, after a windless day, we just don't have the heart to pull them down in time.
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Old 20-04-2010, 16:01   #9
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Jim, herein lies the danger in roller furling. If it gets stuck out in a blow, it can really cause problems. I still feel that it is a danger that is real, although some will tell you that it does not happen that often. Well, maybe it doesn't , but it happened to me. Once is enough.
And if you are prone to sail through stuff (or get caught in bad weather) I guess you should prepare for it.
And I have not had a problem lowering the jib when I have had too. Maybe it is the adrenaline. As I read the Harken manual, that is what they suggest.
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Old 20-04-2010, 16:38   #10
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Quote:
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Jim, herein lies the danger in roller furling. If it gets stuck out in a blow, it can really cause problems. I still feel that it is a danger that is real, although some will tell you that it does not happen that often. Well, maybe it doesn't , but it happened to me. Once is enough.
And if you are prone to sail through stuff (or get caught in bad weather) I guess you should prepare for it.
And I have not had a problem lowering the jib when I have had too. Maybe it is the adrenaline. As I read the Harken manual, that is what they suggest.
G'Day Newt,

The issue of furlers "getting stuck" may be a finite worry, and certainly seems to be a real one for you. But, in our experience it has remained theoretical. We've done a bit over 120,000 miles since we left San Francisco in 1986, and over half of those miles were with one brand of furler or another. So far, no getting stuck issues have occurred (touch wood!). One must balance the risks associated with having to do foredeck work (even with hanked on sails) under nasty conditions against the possibility of firler failure. For us, and many others, the balance is pretty clear! The issue is even clearer when one gets a bit long in the tooth. Ann and I are both in our seventies and still enjoy passage making, but the physical abilities to deal with foredeck gymnastics in big seas and winds have withered with the years. The enthusiasm for such activities has withered even more! So, I guess that we will continue to furl the genny for squalls using a winch on the furling line, and unfurl the staysail when appropriate. If we eventually get a stuck furler and loose a sail as a result, harsh language will be employed!

And as to taking down a sail from a furler when conditions are severe... that's just plain silly. What is fairly easy with hanked on sails is an arduous task with a sail attached only with a luff tape. The chances for a short handed crew (2, typically, on cruising boats) to get a 500+ sq ft sail down and secured without injury or loss are pretty slim in, say, a fifty knot wind with the accompanying seas. Even with a full racing crew, sails are lost overboard under such conditions (see the blog for the Clipper Cup RTW race for examples). I wonder why Harken is advocating this practice?

I have nothing against your decision to use hanked on sails -- we all know the arguments for doing so. But, I think that the OPers question deserves a direct response, not an admonition to change his sailing choices.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Lake Macquarie NSW Oz
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Old 20-04-2010, 16:43   #11
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I don't think the Harken manual says to lower the sail.

http://www.harken.com/pdf/mk3-1-4863.pdf


Unless the furler had failed in some way, I would avoid pulling my 500 ft^2 sail down on deck that has no hanks to keep it on deck, especially in a blow cruising short handed.

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Old 20-04-2010, 17:01   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post

I agree that if you can turn down it will ease the process, but sometimes this is not an option. And the idea of lowering the sail... doesn't make any sense at all. Not feasible, not neccessary -- ain't this why you bought a furler in the first place??
Not unless your furling line has an over-run in the drum!

SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS....

Last April I took my boat out on Galveston Bay. A cold front had moved through and it was blowing like stink. This was my second time out on my new-to-me boat, a Hunter 36. It has a 130 genoa, and an old Hood Seafurl II. I had 3 crewmembers-my kid brother who had never seen the boat before, a friend who helped me move it to my new marina after the purchase, and a friend of his...first time on the boat as well but experienced sailor.

Once out of the channel, we unfurled the genoa all the way. No need for a main, as the rail was in the water, and we were flying. Well, the sailing was great, and couldn't figure out why there were maybe only three other boats out that day. Perhaps it was the 25-30 knot winds with gusts up to around 40. We were getting pretty wet despite the dodger. This, my first sail without the PO...

So, things were going ok till it was time to come in. I fired up the diesel and went to furl the genoa. That's when things went bad. I had not instructed my brother to hold tension on the furling line as we let the sail out....because I didn't know that was necessary. So there was no way to furl the sail. To make matters worse, there was an 8' dinghy on the fordeck, making it a bit tricky working around the furler. It took two of us to get that sail down, as waves were spashing over the deck.

I will say, other than flogging sheets...which I now know-hurt like heck-no one was injured, and we got back safely. I did have a $200.00 repair bill for some ripped up Sumbrella.

We should have gone out with a reefed main, and let some jib out if needed, but in a way the Furling Sail makes you lazy, perhaps?

I made many mistakes that day, but fortunately am a quick learner. None of these mistakes will be made again. There will be more lessons of course. Can't wait...
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Old 20-04-2010, 17:03   #13
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I've been able to reduce pressure enough to furl it up by hand by pinching into the wind but never tried it in a squall. I'm a chicken sailor and it doesn't take much to get me to reduce sail .
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Old 20-04-2010, 17:09   #14
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Honestly, you did not have 2 minutes warning before it got to 40+ knots? While I got nailed a few times in my youth with sails up, I could never honestly say it was a surprise.

Often, after a windless day, we just don't have the heart to pull them down in time.
I've seen it go from 5 to 45 in seconds, like you said, its hard not to have all
sails up when you have light winds. I would turn into the wind and roll like a
mad man ;-)
Tom
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Old 20-04-2010, 19:00   #15
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I've been able to reduce pressure enough to furl it up by hand by pinching into the wind but never tried it in a squall. I'm a chicken sailor and it doesn't take much to get me to reduce sail .
Reef early and reef often is my motto. It depends on where the wind is from and where the shore is but we usually will bear away to a broad reach if we have room. We let the genny flog a little but we furl quickly - maybe 10 seconds. We marked the furling line at about 130, 100 and 80 so we know exactly where to put it.

@RTB - If you are sailing with one full sail and flying becuse of conditions you definitely need to be sailing with 2 reefed sails. But you know that now, of course.

20 kts we start shorting sail. The worst stuff we sail in is thunderstorms of approximately 30G40 for 30-45 minutes. When we know we are going to pentrate a cell we are usually 80% or less on the (150) genny and first reef in the main. We've never had the second reef in and the third reef is not even rigged. Once you are going hull speed there is no need for additional sail IMO.
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