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Old 06-12-2014, 09:29   #1
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Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall

Hello everyone,

I will be buying my first sailboat soon and have a question regarding the safety of a Roller Furling system in heavy weather. The boat at the top of my list is a mast-head sloop with a roller furling Jib (Cape Dory 28). If the wind gets so severe that a partially furled head sail is still in danger of tearing, what would be the process of raising a storm jib? Or would such conditions just necessitate heaving to or lying ahull? It seems very dangerous to try to detach a roller reefing system, then hanking on a storm jib, but I don't know how else to fly a storm jib on a sloop. Obviously a cutter rig would simplify things, but that is not in my immediate plans. So any comments on how to handle this situation will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a bunch,
Dave
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:43   #2
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall?

Here is one option
Storm-Bag, Storm Jib for Furlers
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:06   #3
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall?

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Anyone with personal experience of use ?
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:10   #4
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall?

Personally on that size boat I would probably go hank on sails, but roller furling is convenient on any size I suppose.
If the headsail is furling, One option would be a solent rig for a working jib/storm jib inside the main headstay.
In theory you should be able to change headsails on a furler just like a hank on sail, in reality the luff tape seems to stick in the furler quite well. The answer may be to remove the sail often to keep things clean and lubricated.
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:12   #5
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall?

Hey, 37' boat here with hank-on headsails. Hank-on is fine for a 28ft boat, but almost all of the small cruising boats I've seen lately have roller furling anyway.

We got caught by a squall ("wind event" really, no lightning, 4AM, super dark night and didn't see anything coming) a month or so ago. We've been looking at rigging a downhaul since then. Haven't figured it out exactly just yet, but is something to think about.

Depending on where you sail, you will usually see weather coming way in advance, giving you time to change sail. We have a cutter rigged yawl, so have more options than changing the sail every time the wind changes, and don't really see roller furling as a must-have for us.
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Old 06-12-2014, 12:47   #6
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall?

Your overthinking it. Almost no one ever needs a true storm sail, and they certainly aren't needed because of a squal. Just drop or roll the sail and muddle thru it with the main. Storm sails get broken out when off shore and it isn't a squal but a massive system that you will be stuck in for days.
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Old 06-12-2014, 13:42   #7
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall?

C'est la Dave,

Stumble has the right of it.

When Jim and I sailed SF to HI and return in his 30 foot S&S, we did carry a storm jib, did not have roller furling. The frequency of squalls depends a lot on where you're sailing. Places that get afternoon thunderstorms frequently, you'll come to love furling that sail, rather than having to go forward, claw down the about-to-be-too-large headsail, secure it on deck, and hoist the new, smaller one. You'll just wait them out, squalls usually go by pretty quickly. If you are in an area of severe thunderstorms, then consider taking down your main first, when you see the black/green clouds.

Ann
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Old 06-12-2014, 16:46   #8
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall?

Interesting advice Ann. We (with a cutter rig- jib roller furling) almost always take the main down first, esp if offshore and shorthanded. The staysl and jib can come down almost as soon as we think about it, and yet provides us with alot of sail until that need arises.
If I am into the wind almost constantly, then I will just shorten the main, but with the wind at my back, I often do not put up the main all day.
I did not address the OP concern however. We roller furl our jib in severe weather, not take it down. We have had over 70k winds without it unfurling.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:26   #9
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall?

We used to use the stay-sail stay to put up a #3 or a storm sail, Kept us trucking right along on a Viking 33.

Les
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Old 07-12-2014, 12:09   #10
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall

If you like going forward in rough conditions and carrying 2-4 bags of sails in the boat, hank on sails work just fine. Roller furling is just so easy. Pull on a line and the sail is reefed or furled and you only have to carry one sail. If you feel you want to take a storm jib, there is the above storm bag or ATN's Gale Sail ATN Sailing Equipment | The Gale Sail | Easy Handling Storm Jib Haven't used either system so can't vouch for their viability in high winds.

I would not want to change a roller furling sail in nasty conditions. The luff of the sail is loose as soon as it comes off the furler which could result in the sail going over board held only by the halyard and tack. Raising the new sail could be a problem as the sail is often difficult to get to feed up the slot in the foil in good conditions even using a feeder.
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Old 07-12-2014, 13:25   #11
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall

C'estlaDave,

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.

Ann
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Old 07-12-2014, 13:42   #12
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall

C'estlaDave,

I've been thinking about hank on sails and your boat, and here's my suggestions if you go that way.

1. Use lifeline lacing to help the sails fall on deck when dropping them.

2. Have sail ties already ready for the sails before you drop them.

3. Come almost head to wind or slightly back the headsail so that it falls on deck, not in the water.

4. Tie the tack down, and the clew when you flake it on deck.

5. If you're so inclined, you can make acrylic canvas or WeatherMax sail bags to accommodate the sails so they can be contained on deck. Ours were attatched to the toe rail, and had perforations to allow the sail ties to be attached to it separately, and they zipped closed. The zipper should be protected from the sun by a zipper flap.

Ann
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Old 07-12-2014, 14:00   #13
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall

The OP already has roller furling, and on a CD 28 we're not talking about a huge genny with the commensurate loads. His roller furling jib will handle 99% of the conditions that he's likely to encounter, as is, in and of itself, a safety feature given how quickly you can shorten sail or take it in entirely on short notice from the safety of the cockpit.

I've hove to in +50 knots sustained with a roller furler, mostly furled. My main concern was chafe of the jib sheet against the forward lower shroud, given the pressure and sea state. One benefit of heaving to with a furler is the ability to tune exactly how much foresail you're carrying to best balance the boat.

Of course, you need to be vigilant about the maintenance of your furler, furling line, and means of securing. This is sadly a part of running rigging that is often neglected until it becomes a real problem at precisely the wrong time.

If he wants a storm jib, he can get one with a bolt rope in it. Switching jibs on a roller furler is actually just as quick and straightforward as with hanked on sails if you're used to it...probably even quicker if you know what you're doing and are practiced at it. I know that from racing on a racer/cruiser in windward/leewards. You get snappy at it when you're changing jibs constantly all afternoon.

Squalls are not always so predictable. Along the line of certain fronts, they can appear out of nowhere, seemingly materializing right on top of you. Yes, you know you're in an area where that might happen at that point, but you can still find yourself in circumstances where time is of the essence in making changes to the sail plan.
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Old 07-12-2014, 14:42   #14
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall

Dear Saila Dave (Clever) - No question in my mind. Keep the roller rig on your big jib. It will serve you well in normal weather, and if you finish furling with one or two turns of the sheets around the headstay, it should stay put. This assumes that you use back tension on the outhaul as you furl to ensure a neat tight wrap. Trying to leave a three or four foot piece of it out for a storm jib is a really bad idea - too high and too far forward. When winds get up to gale force and beyond you will want a real storm jib on a baby stay tacked to a strong point (pad eye) on deck about halfway back to the mast. This gives you a fall back after your deepest reef on the main is still too much sail, and it can also work well WITH your reefed main earlier.

I abhor hanked-on storm sails, and have spent many hours on foredecks big and small with every third wave coming over the bow and trying to take you aft. It takes two hands to open most hanks and you need two more to control the sail and still have one to hold on with. (Legs sometimes can be used to keep you in position, but not reliably, especially when you drop off a wave and have momentary negative G.) It is one thing to hank on a jib on a level dry deck. It is something else entirely when you are over-canvassed with a 20 degree slant and water on deck.

I would have a storm jib with a built-in wire forward and a custom bag so I could attach the tack, halyard and sheets first, then unzip the bag and hoist it. Remember that when you need it, you will very likely have wind velocity which is a problem. I can't remember ever being really ready for a squall before it hit. Usually when you spot that rapidly approaching white fuzz blowing the tops off waves, you don't have much time.
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Old 07-12-2014, 15:12   #15
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Re: Roller Furling vs Hanked On Headsails in a Squall

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Fred View Post

...


I would have a storm jib with a built-in wire forward and a custom bag so I could attach the tack, halyard and sheets first, then unzip the bag and hoist it. Remember that when you need it, you will very likely have wind velocity which is a problem. I can't remember ever being really ready for a squall before it hit. Usually when you spot that rapidly approaching white fuzz blowing the tops off waves, you don't have much time.
Fred, I suspect that you have never actually done what you suggest above. Hoisting a storm sail, in storm conditions, with no attachment except halyard, tack and sheets is a disaster waiting to happen. The sail will immediately blow off downwind and flog unmercifully until you get substantial halyard tension on it. This sounds sorta doable, but with very strong winds, lots of boat motion and lack of control, it is a daunting task to say the least. I can say this from personal experience. At a minimum, a hank at the head and a couple down the luff are really required for decent control, and also to help with maintaining shape. A sagging luff is the last thing you want in a storm jib.

For the OP, as others have suggested, an inner forestay for a hank on storm jib is a good and practical idea. The stay can be Dyneema and left near the shrouds for most sailing, then attached and tensioned when conditions and locale suggest the possibility of needing it. 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).

Finally, for the typical squall, which is a short lived event, simply rolling up the genoa and reefing the main will get you through just fine. It is only at sea where one experiences long lived storm winds that the exercise of setting a storm jib becomes a useful practice.

Cheers,

Jim
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