Latest News: Forums Technical Genoa roller reefing or jib, which?

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  • #3815

    I would welcome views on the relative merits of investing in roller reefing for our furling genoa, or buying a jib with wire luff. The former appears to be more expensive, but it could be tricky changing the genoa for the jib in strong wind and choppy water especially trying to change the clevis pins etc!
    Nick Giles


    You don’t change at the clevis pin. The jib should be already hooked on together with the Genoa (on the same pin) and ready for use on the foredeck. The traditional handles are a good point to tie the jib “sausage” to. Some use a cover that is easily opened from inside the cockpit (Velcro) but the arrangement is the same, the jib is carried as a sausage on deck. For a quick and safe sail change you only need to hook the top and sheets to the new sail. A task easily performed from inside the safety of the cockpit.

    A snap shackle may speed up things if you use, like most of us, a steel halyard. For the sheet a quick knot has been developed involving a helper line sewn to the sheet and a plastic stopper knot. Check out the third picture on this page:

    The best procedure is to change sheets first, before opening the sail. Once it caches wind it can be pretty hard to tie the sheet and worst case someone has to get out of the cockpit to catch the blown away clew. Before the new sail is hoisted the Genoa is turned into a sausage and tied to the handle as the jib was before. Leave its tack connected to the bow.

    Important: The crew stays in the cockpit during the entire operation!

    As for a reefing spar, check out this thread:

    BTW, this forum has a search function, may I suggest you use it? Several threads deal with reefing and some even with reefing a Genoa.


    Hi Swiebertje and Nick
    Swiebertje, that’s the answer to a question I’ve had in the back of my mind for ages and have hinted at in previous posts, so thanks for a really good description of the process. Roller reefing was not an option for my sailing budget.

    I would say I find it easier to simply trawl through old posts rather than use the search facility (I might not have mastered it). I would also say that the experienced cruisers that contribute here seem to go for roller-reefing (and there are a lot of old threads on it). However it really does depend what sort of sailing you are going to do, what sails you already have and budget.

    regards Dave


    Having thought a little more about it there is a detail that makes my life complicated, if I were to connect two sails to the bow. I use a roller furling system. Therefore I need to get sail selection correct as I cannot furl the genoa whilst having the jib attached to the bow, the drum would be in the way. In practice this has never been an issue and I get on with a furling system fine, it’s what a lot of Wayfarer day sailors use, probably mainly as a way of sail storage while at anchor as well as an instant way to reduce sail fast. Dave

    Dave Barker

    Hi Nick,

    There should be an article appearing on this website imminently discussing some of the points you raise and describing one of the roller reefing solutions currently available to us. For a sneak preview you could try:-

    I understand that there may be a more general article on reefing in Wayfarer News in the near future.

    Bob Harland

    There’s no doubt that changing headsails on a Wayfarer can be tricky;
    Use a snap shackle with swivel for the tack.
    Some sort of captive shackle for the head.
    A simple means of swapping the sheets.

    Personally I never bother to lash it in situ on the foredeck ready to changeover. The tricky bit is always getting the new sail hoisted, and I don’t think there is a substitute for strong arms and hands.
    If you have roller furling then that adds a bit of complication. The tack of the sail is already raised by the drum, add a snap shackle as well and it is getting a bit unwieldy. That’s the reason we don’t bother with roller furling.

    If you have any doubt about the weather then set off with the jib, if the wind proves to be light swapping up to the genoa is easy.
    Practice your routine for changing sails when the wind is light and under controlled conditions. Then you will know what you have to do and you can just get on with it.


    @Dave Mac wrote:

    I would also say that the experienced cruisers that contribute here seem to go for roller-reefing.

    I don’t think so. The majority of sea going cruisers use two head sails as I described. They don’t even use a furler in many cases. Their reasoning is “Why change if it works”. And they do have a point. Because the system is simple it is reliable and hence it is safe.

    However, if a reliable (mind the word “reliable” here) reefing furler can be developed it would be preferable to changing sails, sheets and halyard. A simple pull will make the sail smaller and from a safety perspective that would be preferable over fiddling with two (or three) sails. The reason you see so much posts about it should tell you there is a lot of discussion going on. Discussion about the development of the systems, the quality and reliability and so on. The traditional way of changing sails isn’t discussed much, not because nobody uses it, but rather because it is so well known, simple and easy that there is not much to discuss.

    AFAIK changing sails is still the most commonly used foresail reefing system used by the experienced, sea going cruisers. The second most popular system is probably a furl away (not reef) system. Reefing furlers are only just taking off in the Wayfarer community. There is still a lot of skepticism with the “ol’ hands” šŸ˜³ but I have a feeling they’ll come around pretty quick once they meet the Bartels system in real life, at one of the Wayfarer cruising events.


    I fully concur with the difficulty of changing sails with the fiddly clevis pin. It is possible to get a spring loaded drop nose pin that makes the task easier (mine is 6x25mm) as I discovered after talking to cruisers at the summer rally in the lakes. You still have to change the sails at the tack but it will work with a furler.


    Many thanks for all the helpfull advice from experienced Wayfarers. I’ve learnt much including the preferred knot for securing the sheets on my asymmetrical spinnaker. If suction is a big problem when recovering an inverted World propping open the transom flaps might help, but the experiment will have to wait now till next season!
    Dinghy Sailing Magazine page 101 seeks views on the best dinghy for a lapsed sailor with a slightly scared wife. There is only one choice, the “W” with an asymmetrical spinnaker, it’s triple F fantastic fun, fast and forgiving, or perhaps that’s 4Fs. A chance to make another convert? NickG.

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