Now, when I found out that we need to replace the furler as well, Iím started to think more out of the box. Rather than replace with (more robust and new) same for same, why not go completely different?
handed and small crew offshore racing
with big boats and smaller sport boats and dinghies have been using structural furlers for years and years. Of course, with a structural furler youíre either fully furled or fully deployed; there is no reefing. Good for racing when you can choose from among 3 or 4 sails
, each on their own furler, but not so much for offshore
cruising where you have only one or two. Or is it?
We have a relatively small 35 sqm self-tacking jib
. Our reefing guide shows a full jib to 27 knots (AWS), 70% to 32 knots, 50% to 37 knots and 20% to 50 knots. Above 30 knots (which upwind can be as little as 25 knots TWS) the 50% furled jib is not particularly efficient for upwind work, so we tend to reef the main more and hang in with the larger jib at 70% until we must reef below 50%.
So, what if we rig a 60% staysail (21 sqm) inside the jib? Then we sail full jib to 27 knots, furl it completely above that and have the staysail up to 40 knots (it will have a lower centre of effort and more efficient and less draggy shape than the 70-50% furled jib so should handle higher winds safely). Weíll reef the main a bit earlier to allow for the higher sail area at the crossover points and go main alone above 40 knots. Or explore using an over the furl (of the staysail) storm jib
if really needing to sail rather than bare poles in a storm.
Each sail can be specifically designed for its wind
range, which means the jib will be lighter and smaller on its furler. The staysail will provide us with a much more efficient sail upwind in 25 knots (TWS) and above.
Thoughts? Am I totally crazy thinking along these lines for cruising? The lack of the ability to furl the jib really small for extreme weather
is a concern. This option, using our existing jib and not including the staysail system, is 50% more than the traditional forestay and drum furler, so thatís an issue too.
The two main options are ProFurlĎs NEX 6.5 (or 8.0) or Facnorís STK 9T. The NEX use a traditional torque rope
, while the STK have a moulded Aramid torque stay and offers a discontinuous line drum as an option. With the STK I think we could unroll just a small amount of sail and have the drum hold it to take care of the running across or downwind in a storm scenario. Maybe, need to check with them.
Colligo also have their ELHF system, but that only goes up to 52 foot forestay length. Iíll ask John Franta if they can make it bigger, but of course itís their hardware
components (upper and lower swivels) that determine the working loads.
Itís further complicated on our boat
due to not having a structural beam running fore and aft, so the staysail tack fitting will either be scrunched right up against the jibís tack fitting on the front beam, or floating and in the way of the anchor
and possibly overloading the bow pole whiskerstay fittings. Also, due to the 2:1 self tacking jib sheet, thereís not a super easy way to get the jib sheets
out of the way of the staysail, nor to sheet the staysail. And of course short tacking with the full jib will be impossible without removing the staysail and tacking it somewhere else. All solvable, but not necessarily easily or without spending way too much money