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Old 02-24-2010, 09:09 PM   #21
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Hey, many thanks everyone for all these thoughts. Will take all of it into consideration, as with every opinion I read here in our forum.

When we finally set sail I´ll have to make a list of all the decisions that were positively informed by our friends here!

All the best,

José & Nalu

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Old 02-26-2010, 07:02 AM   #22
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Vessel Name: Westerly Serenade
Posts: 115

OK so I am a day late and a dollar short yet again....

I wouldn't have a roller furling main ( boom or mast ) on a boat in a purple fit.... more string more stuff to go wrong... maybe Ok for the Solent set.

Being in early middle age myself... 64 in April.. I find it no big deal to slab reef a main as long as you follow the maxim.. reef early reef often. Lazy jacks are also a must IMNSHO..

Speaking of a 39 foot boat here where I have to go to the mast to reef ... this in an area where the weather is best described as 'changeable'.

Roller furling jib? Now that is a different story.... I wouldn't go to sea without one

= Chile,
I've Contributed to the Cruisers Wiki: Chile
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Old 02-26-2010, 03:40 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Frank View Post
Roller furling jib? Now that is a different story.... I wouldn't go to sea without one
It IS possible to safely trice and douse a regular hanked on jib from the cockpit, you know. You can even set up multiple reefing lines which can be used to reef a large jib rather than changing it out for a smaller sails in heavy weather.

Our hanked on jib which resides 11 ft forward of the stem (wayyyy out there on the bowsprit!) is rigged with a tricing line that can be used from the cockpit to de-power the sail in an emergency. The jib halyard end is also rigged through a block at the tack and up to the head as a downhaul so that we can pull down the jib and keep it down from the base of the foremast as well. Before doing any serous offshore work, I will sew a reefing cringle and change around the lines so that we will have a reefing point on the jib rather than just the ability to trice and pull down the entire jib.
"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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Old 02-27-2010, 04:44 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Gallivanters View Post
I'm certainly no expert, but...

We spent nearly seven years berthed right next to a charter base in St Thomas and I saw at least two boats per season return to base with shreaded mainsails. I saw a slightly bent 70 ft mast complete with rigging and knotted bits of sail, laying in the weeds near the dock in the Grenadines with a tale of a rich guy who'd dumped the rig and had a new mast & rig shipped down from Miami. The sail had apparently been taken down with a knife! The biggest mess was when I saw a new Swan motoring into a Greek port with a mast broken at the spreaders, streaming ribbons of torn sail from the mast slot. All had in-mast furling... and none of the skippers were happy with the system.

I once made a cheap living as a pro skipper for a charter fleet that only used Island Packet yachts and every one of them were equiped with in-mast furling. They worked okay in fair conditions but my biggest concern was that they always required heading up into the wind to be able to reduce or furl the sail... and that can sometimes be difficult to down-right dangerous when out on the high seas and you're forced to come about and head-up to just reduce sail!

Me? I'm a conventional slab reefing & lazy jacks kinda sailor simply because it's next to impossible to jam and it ALWAYS works... even when I'm trembling with fear I can pull in a reef, at all points of sail and in the dark. Ease the halyard, hook the reef tack, pull in the aft reefing line, harden the halyard... done.

One thing that makes it easier is I rig a piece of line with a small loop tied through the fwd cringles (with a Reef Knot, naturally) with enough line left dangling to easily grab and pull the reef point down to the horn. Then I simply loop the loop over the horn. I have three reefs and the next cringle line is always within reach... which is a lot easier than trying to pinch the sail between your finger-tips and wrestle the cringle down and around the horn! Newer versions can do all this with just one line!

In my opinion, nothing beats the convenience, reliability and ease of handling of a conventional track-mounted main with simple slab reefing, lazy jacks & pack system... a proven method that always works in all conditions.

Maybe they're alright but, personally, I'd be reluctant to purchase a boat with in-mast furling.

Keep it simple.

To Life!

Ya, I agree. A slip mate of mine has a 40' Wauquiez with in-mast furling. I admit a bit of jealousy as he can solo sail-just push a button. But I don't like the heaviness aloft and plus just plain don't like the look of it. Also very damned expensive. Having said that, I do like my slab-reefing, simple hoist/drop main too, but I am looking for ways to make it easier if I would like to solo sail. My boat is not rigged too well for solo sailing. Wondering what to do.....

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Old 05-29-2015, 03:05 AM   #25
Join Date: May 2015
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I'm a little late to the party :-) But here is my take on mast roller furling:

Why risk your life on a system that has its roots in the marketing "profession's" thrust to "product differentiation", and the development of niche markets, when YOUR concern should be the safety of your ship, yourself and your crew?

I have recently come into a forty year old thirty footer retrofitted not too long ago with a famous and expensive French-made mast roller furl. That rig is gonna go tout de suite in favour of old fashioned slab reefing.

In my youth I skippered and taught sailing in a 65 foot ketch which, given that my crews were always lubbers with a maximum of 7 days experience at sea, I essentially single handed except for the intrusion of my teaching duties on my skippering responsibilities. The main was about four hundred feet. Slab-reefing I'd have her down to any one of the three reef lines in about two minutes. As someone said: "Do it early". A harbour furl would take about five minutes.

Heads'ls and mizzen were equally easily handled.

In my present thirty footer, the equivalent of a harbour furl (full retraction) of a main of less than 300 feet takes TWO people and about ten minutes. ONE person simply cannot do it because the tack out-haul MUST be held counter by one person while the other heaves hand over hand on the furling lines. Failing to hold counter on the out-haul, and failing to hold you tongue just so while you do it, inevitably results in a jam. Unjamming takes God knows what amount of time. Harsh language has sufficed so far, but then, here in my local waters, 15 knots is a stiff breeze.

If the fat were ever really in the fire, there would be NO option but to take a knife to the out-haul and let rude Boreas shred and dispose of the sail.

Similarly, making sail is a two-person job due to the need for simultaneous winching of the our-haul and ensuring that the endless furling line runs clear. If the topping lift isn't set JUST so, a jam will result. To alleviate that problem, the boat has been rigged with a STANDING topping lift!

Since I'm now in my dotage, I'd much prefer to have a running topping lift so that weak and decrepit as I am, I could use the boom for a cargo boom in case someone goes over the side. I doubt that on my lonesome I could haul so much as a wet miniature poodle back aboard without mechanical help.

As MySaintedMother used to say: "If you can't fix it with a knife and a bit of cod line, don't go to sea in it" :-)

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Old 06-01-2015, 04:21 PM   #26
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My wife and I are 72 and we’ve been sailing for over half a century.
I’ve handled everything from slab reefed sloops to hydraulic in-mast furling on a 77’ ketch, and as fore-deck officer on a three masted square rigged tops’l schooner—amongst others.
Many things can influence your choice of rig and sail system, not least age and the size of boat.
This is one reason why I changed the rig of a 45 foot ketch I bought five years ago, to a staysail schooner/brigantine. My boat now has a jib, two staysails and main, all roller furling and all controlled from the cockpit. The square sail is also roller furled from the cockpit.
The maxim, “keep is simple” is a good one, but should always be tempered by functionality, which in turn is effected by personal considerations, including cost.
All the experience we have had, and all the issues, are exemplified in my rig, and would take far to much bandwidth to explain here.
If you are interested in an unusual rig, visit my website.
Who would be mad enough to convert a perfectly good ketch to a Brigantine? Find out at https://www.schooner-britannia.com
Including items for sale.
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Old 06-01-2015, 06:22 PM   #27
Join Date: May 2015
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Thanx Roger :-) I've sculled around your site and found many wonderful insights that I'll make due note of. I'll be returning to your site often in the next while.

As it happens, I'm a few years older than you, so all I can realistically hope for is another two or three decades of cruising the Wet Coast - the coast of British Columbia. It will be long time yet, I trust, before I become too decrepit to singlehand a 30-footer. :-)

Single handing it will be, because MyBeloved is completely green, and unlike many of us Scowegians she didn't emerge from the womb rowing a skiff.

So simplicity and reliability will be the watchwords. Le Trente Pieds (as we will call her to protect the guilty) has been through a succession of owners, and she lay on her mooring for some years before we bought her last year for not much more than the cost of a coupla boggles of good wine. No doubt she had lain ignored by prospective buyers mainly due to her mast-furling main, for the builders of this vessel are of good repute.

Boats are like shoes, of course. You have to wear them for a number of months before you can be comfortable in them. But MyBeloved was comfortable in Le Trente Pieds from the moment we stepped aboard (at MyBeloved's urgent behest) for an initial look-see. So who was I to grumble about mast-reefing, under-dimensioned wiring, over-dimensioned running rigging and all the rest? "Happy wife - happy life", eh? :-)

But like other forty-year-old boats that have been through four or five owners, Trente Pieds bears the scars of each successive owner making "improvements" while being even more unclear about the fundamental concepts than was his predecessor!

If you have ever cruised the Salish Sea, you will know that wind can be a scarce commodity in High Cruising Season. You will also know that the topography of the coast generates Lord knows what number of micro-climates. And that's where your topsl comes in. No more will I be dragging a boat along behind an unruly chute. What is likely to happen is that Trente Pieds will get a "raffee upside down". Nothing too big. A yard of perhaps fifteen feet hoisted on a track on the foreside of the mast, and configured to stow on the same track (sans canvas, of course) when not in use. A hoist also of fifteen feet or so, for a modest 110 feet of area. About the same projected area as the genny wung out on a pole. Braces to the transom corners.

It is well known, I believe, that our word "yacht" derives from the Dutch word "jacht". It is less well known, I believe, that in my native Danish "Jagt" means a single-sticker with a squaresl in addition to the fore-n-aft sails. So there is precedent.


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Old 06-02-2015, 01:25 PM   #28
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In all my years of rolling sails in and out of their respective grooves I have never managed to jamb one, even when furling on a run. I have however had problems with mechanical winding methods, both electric and hydraulic. I have also found, when these systems break down, the manual override is a “never needed” type of device, which takes ages to wind at the mast.
I would therefore always advocate a line winding method, of which there are different types, because you can always see the wear and are not relying on batteries or hydraulic motors.
Like most things on boats, there are pros and cons. One of the cons here is winding the darn winches to furl the sail—which applies to roller headsails as well.
We now use the “Winchrite” furling motor, which we have found to be both effortless and quick. It only works properly on self tailing winches, which you don’t need to tail, but another advantage is you can wind the sail up tighter, because you can hold more pressure on the sheet. This is helpful in winding our rolling main and square sail inside their tubes, which have never jammed.
By the way, I have no affiliation whatsoever with the makers. It’s just marvelous watching the wife wind in one of our five sails, as I sit with a beer at the wheel.

Who would be mad enough to convert a perfectly good ketch to a Brigantine? Find out at https://www.schooner-britannia.com
Including items for sale.
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