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Old 07-12-2014, 14:40   #16
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall

I have a Columbia 41 and the working jib is fairly good sized. I also have a 150 genoa. Both are roller furled. I would not want to handle either if they were hank-on jibs. However, rolling up even the working jub is not an easy task even in a calm. In a blow it could be a real problem. So, I roll up the jib completely at the first sign strengthening wind. Even though taking a reef in the main is also hard, it can be done close to the cockpit where one has lots of things to hold on to. And no, I would not go with a furling main. If something jambs you can be in real trouble.

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Old 07-12-2014, 14:42   #17
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall

We used to have a hanked on storm jib/staysail. We were caught out once underway from Cartagena Spain to Ibiza. A storm hit us, and we were sailing on storm jib and 3 reefed main. The wind speed was over 60 because our instrument stops there. A 140' boat to the north of us said it was gusting over 70, and they were hove-to.
Point is, in those winds, it does not matter how tight you make the sheet, the stay itself lays off in a curve and the leach and foot of the sail WILL flog. No chance of going on deck in those conditions, so the top 3 hanks and the bottom one wore right through on the stay.

Go with a furler, and a bullet proof sail to wrap around it.

the story is on our web page under 2003 > Sta Pola (Not allowed to post a link you see)

Tight sheets to ya.
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Old 07-12-2014, 15:03   #18
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall

Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
The idea of changing from a roller genoa to a roller storm sail at sea is a non-player. Changing hank on sails under those conditions is bad enough (the racing experience quoted above isn't really applicable to a short handed cruising boat IMO).
It is if you are practiced at it and know how to pack a jib so it goes up through the prefeeder. It's not a lot of jib to begin with, and while it's optimal to have someone on the halyard and one at the sail, I've done it without in storm (not gale) conditions, unfortunately.

That said, I will agree that a separate forestay is ideal, and certainly makes things easier if you get caught with conditions unexpectedly increasing beyond what your standard canvas can accommodate if for no other reason than you don't have to get the genny off the foil to begin with.
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Old 07-12-2014, 19:18   #19
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall

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, trade 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.

Good luck!


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Old 08-12-2014, 03:56   #20
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall

Keep the roller head sail as is. Rig an inner forestay (a bit oversize wire is best) along with running back stays. These can be stowed when not in use. A hanked on storm staysail made of heavy cloth will do well. Also, the ability to reef the main while running downwind is very important. If you can't reef down wind you end up having to reef even before you think you might have to but usually it's already too late. Slippery mainsail track is a must.
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:58   #21
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall

Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
... Squalls do give warnings of their approaches:
1) the dark, darker grey than surrounding clouds, particularly if it looks like a huge grey cigar (look up roll clouds);
2) ripples on the water coming from a different direction to the prevailing wind at the time, foretell a wind change;
3) as mentioned above, if there is weird slightly pale greenish tone to the color of the cloud, beware.

With your boat, if you claw down and secure the main, you can run before the wind using just enough of the headsail to provide steerage, or go faster if you want. One lets the snot go by, then resume whatever one was up to before it came. But, honestly, they give you plenty of warning if you're paying attention, lots more time than a rattlesnake's warning.
Evans Starzinger posted a great tutorial - “Playing with Squalls: Essential passagemaking skills”

At ➥


Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Mike (ragbagger).
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"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 08-12-2014, 05:11   #22
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall

You want an inner forestay to fly a smaller storm jib. It is a benefit if this stay is set lower (inner). It helps heaps but it is not a must.

You can sail on with the furling sail furled very deeply, if the sail was cut flat for deep furling. We have foam luff sail that furls very well. Also, this can be done if your furling sail is made out of heavier cloth. A light sail may snap and it will de-form.

Your last resort, upwind, may be to furl or drop the fore sail completely and continue with deeply reefed main.

Off the wind, the main goes down and gets secured and you may be forced to sail under bare poles.

A furling fore sail does not limit your storm sailing options, except if you have a light and deep genoa sail on the furler.


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