I prefer hanked on headsails to roller furling
. A few points you might want to consider:
1. Most roller furling
headsails are relatively light weight genoas designed to be furled into a smaller jib in moderate conditions--giving you a range of sail options for a day of bay sailing--but they don't become "storm sails" because you roll them up even further. Storm sails
are made of heavy weight fabric
and are much more heavily constructed. Use a roller furling
genny as a storm sail in high winds and you risk shredding the sail and fouling the sheets
2. Roller furling headsails can become fouled in various ways that range from inconvenient to disastrous, depending on conditions. On a 30 foot boat, the clew of the sail furls in at a point well above the deck
and likely well out of your reach. If the jib sheets
get fouled up there in high winds--and I've had that happen--you won't be able to furl the sail the rest of the way in or unfurl it in order to lower it to fly a new sail. It's also common to see a reef line released too quickly by a shorthanded skipper
trying to handle the reefing line and the helm
at the same time. As with a fishing
reel, sometimes the only way to solve the resulting rat's nest in an emergency
is to go forward with a rigging
knife and cut the line off the drum. (Been there, done that.) Once that happens, you've got no way to furl the sail until you respool a new line--no easy feat in heavy seas and high winds, in the dark.
3. The idea that a roller furling headsail spares you the ordeal of going forward to shorten sail in heavy weather
is a dangerous fable. This implies either that you can furl the genoa into a storm sail (false for reasons noted above), or that you don't need a storm jib
because you can just use the reefed main. If you are clawing your way off a lee shore and lose your engine
(been there, done that too), your storm jib will be needed to point upwind. So, whether you have roller furling or hanked on headsails, you're going to need a storm jib, and you're going to need to go forward to deploy it. With roller furling, you're going to want a Gale Sail, and I don't know of any way to deploy a Gale Sail without first completely furling the headsail and going forward to attach the Gale Sail.
4. Because people have bought into the idea that with roller furling they don't need storm headsails, you often see these boats flying way too much canvas
when the winds get high, because they have no other option in order to maintain upwind performance. Wait too long, and pressure on the unfurled sail can prevent you from furling it the rest of the way without enormous effort. This explains why so many bay boats suffer dismastings when they head offshore
for the first time. The rigging
is not meant to handle a 35 knot
wind on a 180 genoa that no one has the strength to furl.
5. Being prepared for offshore
conditions means having the ability to bring a headsail down in high winds. Your roller furling headsail may be torn, and you may need to get it down when winds and seas are up. To lower a roller furling headsail, you have to first unfurl the sail completely. Unfurl a 180 roller furling genoa in a 35 knot
gust, and I can promise you it's not coming down without a fight. The luff doesn't just fall through the extruded aluminum--it has to be pulled down. And when you've got the pressure of a lot of wind on a sail that's out of control, it can be nigh impossible to pull that sail down.
6. The notion that you're never really going to need a storm jib is wishful thinking. I have made multiple offshore passages of up to 17 days at a time, down the East Coast
, in the Bahamas
, along the DR and Cuba
, and out to Bermuda
and back. On every passage
I had winds above 28 knots for some period of time. In the Caribbean
winds are steady at 20 knots and regularly stronger. On every passage
I had to shorten sail. On those passages made aboard sloops, I had to fly a storm jib or a storm trysail or both at some point, and I was mighty glad I had the ability to do that rather than having to sail on my ear for days on end.
I have owned a Cape Dory
30 and would encourage you to consider that boat over the 28. They're both beauties, but with the 30 you have the option of the ketch
rig (if you can find one). The beauty of a ketch
is that you can fly the working jib and mizzen (jig and jigger) in conditions ranging from 20 to 35 knots without having to change sails, and still have a comfortable and safe ride.
S/V Prodigal (1965 Allied Seawind