Latest News: Forums Cruising helyar mark 1 roller reefing

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  • #4084

    Hi All,
    I am going to fit roller reefing and wondered if anyone has the helyar mark 1 system fitted and would like to make comment on its performance and reliability.
    I am in contact with Rob Helyar but would like some independent opinion.
    Thanks
    Vince
    W7584

    #9623
    tempest51
    Member

    Hi Vince,

    I fitted Rob’s reefing spar this year to my Mk1 and find it works perfectly. The system relies heavily on the ability to tighten the forestay with sufficient tension for everything to work smoothly, otherwise the forestay wire will twist around the spar and sail. Bear that in mind if you intend to do any mast lowering before bridges. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I also chose the Harken drum. You will also have to have your genoa adapted with a sleeve sewn to the front of the luff. It’s a great and simple piece of kit. The best part is that you can take it off, coil it up and take it home.

    #9625

    Do you mean Mk 1 or Mk 2?
    I think Tempest’s reply refers to a Mk 2.

    The Mk 1 uses a genoa fitted with the conventional luff wire which is threaded into a split flexible plastic spar. On the Mk 1 inherited with my boat the top swivel was linked to, but seperated from, the forestay by a short S/S strut which kept spar and stay apart and prevented the halyard rotating as the genoa was rolled up. The spar is needed to ensure the genoa is rolled up evenly along its length. I found the Mk1 worked reasonably well but, because the spar was split, its torsional rigidity was not that great and the top of the sail tended to open out, reducing effectiveness and pointing ability. Doubtless compounded by the fact that my genoa was not cut as a reefing sail (needs to be flattter, to reduce the mid luff “bag”).

    As I needed a new genoa anyway I invested in a Mk 2 in which a similar, but not split, flexible plastic spar is threaded through a luff sleeve (no wire). The fact that the spar is not split seems to make it torsionally much more rigid. Combined with a sail cut for the purpose I have found the Mk 2 to perform impressively and I am very pleased with it. How much of the improvement is because of the unsplit spar and how much the sail is difficult to know, but I suspect the spar is the more important.

    I didn’t chose the Harken high load drum because I do not have a system for tensioning the halyard sufficiently powerful to require it. That is about to change and I am expecting to have the choice of releasing halyard tension before reefing (each time) or upgrading to the Harken system.
    There has been a previous thread on this in the technical section which can be found by typing “helyar” into the search box.

    #9626
    tempest51
    Member

    Yes Charles is correct in that I have the MK2. I just assumed that the Mk 1 had been discontinued and that the Mk 2 was the improved version.

    #9627
    Dave Bevan
    Member

    I also have the MK2. Limited use so far, but very pleased with it, and compared to temperamental roller-furling which never seemed satisfactory, it works! Mildly concerned about the ability of the spar to handle the same tension as a luff wire though?

    #10096
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Just wondering if anyone has tried the AeroLuffSpars reefing system, must say I like the idea that theres no slot to reduce torsional rigidity and its very small diameter preserves most of the luff shape although it will mean a new genoa to stop any bagginess when part reefed so presumably doesnt develop quite as much power from the sail as a normal shape would.

    #10097
    Dave Bevan
    Member

    I see they do a carbon fibre version 😯

    #10208
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi,
    I have an Aeroluffspar and have been very pleased with it. It rolls very neatly and when not furled it has a nice fine entry which means the genoa doesn’t lose any power. Another big advantage is its flexibility which allows for easier transport.
    Matt

    #10209
    Dave Bevan
    Member

    @matt773 wrote:

    Hi,
    I have an Aeroluffspar and have been very pleased with it. It rolls very neatly and when not furled it has a nice fine entry which means the genoa doesn’t lose any power. Another big advantage is its flexibility which allows for easier transport.
    Matt

    Any pictures Matt? Their website doesn’t show any details.

    Our Helyar MK2 performed well during a week’s daysailing on the Western Solent, but when used in 30mph winds for a club handicap race we couldn’t get enough rig tension due to the longer length of the luff/furler combination – this is a setup issue rather than a design flaw!

    #10214
    Swiebertje
    Participant

    Maybe this link helps?
    (PDF allert!)

    Meanwhile Ralph has improved the design. The clamp (fig 5 #7) has gone. He now uses a direct crimp technique to connect the eye to the carbon tube. also he has moved from longitudinal fibres to diagonally crossed fibres in the carbon tube. The original tube could theoretically break under high torsion stresses, not the new cross grain one.

    Correct me if I am wrong but the only down side I saw was the use of the 2.5 mm SS wire, though it was 1 x 19 which is already stronger then the normal Wayfarer luff wire (7 x 19). This size of wire still forces us to use a stay with ‘mickey mouse’ gadgets to keep it from getting caught by the sail when it is rolled. A 3 mm 1 x 19 wire (or better, a 4 mm one, like my Bartels furler) would void the need of a stay all together. Except perhaps a short one, running from the mast to the top swivel as a safety wire. The wire luff, drum and swivel would then be 4 times stronger then an original luff wire (or the stay) and the only thing that can break is the Genoa halyard.

    Having said that, the aero luff is a great improvement over existing systems and it is much more cost effective then the Bartels system that I still use with great pleasure. Even with the added costs of a Harken heavy load drum and swivel it is cheaper then the Bartels solution. If I were to do it again I would choose the Aeroluff spar without hesitation.

    More information to be obtained from Ralph Roberts, inventor, intrepid Wayfarer sailor and UKWA exec.

    Some info:
    Bartels drum and swivel: MBL 20 KN SWL 10 KN
    Harken High load drum and swivel: MBL: 8.9 KN SWL: 4.2 KN

    2.5 mm SS wire (7 x 19): MBL: 3.2 KN SWL: 0.54 KN
    3 mm SS wire (7 x 19): MBL 4.7 KN SWL: 0.79 KN
    4 mm SS wire (7 x 19): MBL: 8.3 KN SWL: 1.4 KN

    2.5 mm SS wire (1 x 19): MBL: 5.2 KN SWL: 0.86 KN
    3 mm SS wire (1 x 19): MBL: 7.4 KN SWL: 1.2 KN
    4 mm SS wire (1 x 19: MBL: 13.2 KN SWL: 2.2 KN

    SWL = Safe working load
    MBL = Minimum breaking load

    #10236
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    A 3 mm 1 x 19 wire (or better, a 4 mm one, like my Bartels furler) would void the need of a stay all together. Except perhaps a short one, running from the mast to the top swivel as a safety wire. The wire luff, drum and swivel would then be 4 times stronger then an original luff wire (or the stay) and the only thing that can break is the Genoa halyard.

    I like the asthetic idea of a clean non-forestay system but there are a couple of serious downsides: the short ‘safety wire’ you suggest would prevent the mast being lowered without detatching the luff wire from the drum first and if I’ve understood correctly would also mean the sail would have to stay on the boat in the furled position permanently so one would also need sacrifice strips as per a yacht foresail to prevent UV damage to the furled sail if left outside for prolonged periods. Even without the safety wire, lowering the mast would require the sail to stay in its furled position during the lowering with an increased risk of damaging the cloth.

    I prefer to be able to lower the mast by releasing the halyard ( with the option of taking the sail in completely) and then releasing the forestay which in my case is rigged back to the cockpit on a 3:1 system so that it can be easily lowered/raised for servicing or shooting bridges etc without having to go forward. The forestay has no negative impact except that it is necessary to tension it sufficiently so that it doesnt sag and get caught in the furling. Tensioning the forestay after tensioning the jib halyard for the prevailing conditions pretty much eliminates any such sagging issues. To my mind the advantages of retaining a forestay far outweigh any advantages of not having one.

    #10237
    Swiebertje
    Participant

    @winsbury wrote:

    I like the asthetic idea of a clean non-forestay system but there are a couple of serious downsides: the short ‘safety wire’ you suggest would prevent the mast being lowered without detatching the luff wire from the drum first and

    I only use a safety wire at sea and I have never had a need to shoot a bridge at sea. Inshore I use no safety wire but I make sure my halyard is in mint condition. And also, I seldom lower my mast. Most bridges out here open for any sailing vessel or are high enough for a Wayfarer to sail under.
    @winsbury wrote:

    if I’ve understood correctly would also mean the sail would have to stay on the boat in the furled position permanently so one would also need sacrifice strips as per a yacht foresail to prevent UV damage to the furled sail if left outside for prolonged periods.

    The sail stays on the boat, yes, but under a covering sleeve that is closed by velcro and hoisted by the spinnaker halyard. The sail has been out there for 5 years now without any damage other then normal sailing wear and tear.
    @winsbury wrote:

    Even without the safety wire, lowering the mast would require the sail to stay in its furled position during the lowering with an increased risk of damaging the cloth.

    I am not following here? IMHO A flogging sail damages much easier then a rolled sail while lowering the mast. Or do you mean to lower the sail before lowering the mast? I have never damaged my sail while lowering the mast. How could it damage? What can go wrong?

    @winsbury wrote:

    I prefer to be able to lower the mast by releasing the halyard

    You can, just don’t use a safety wire. I see no reason to use one while sailing rivers and canals and shooting bridges. But if you insist,you could use the spinnaker halyard, or a similar but separate construction as a safety wire.
    @winsbury wrote:

    ( with the option of taking the sail in completely)

    No need to take down, no need to change sail to a (storm) jib, just roll. That is the sole reason why I have the system installed, safety, simplicity and reliability.
    @winsbury wrote:

    and then releasing the fore stay which in my case is rigged back to the cockpit on a 3:1 system so that it can be easily lowered/raised for servicing or shooting bridges etc without having to go forward.

    You are missing the point, you currently have two fore stays, one inside the luff and one outside the luff. The one outside the luff is actually a safety wire in case the other stay breaks. If you look at other boats, they have only one fore stay and the sail furls around it. They just make sure the stay is strong enough so a safety stay isn’t needed any more. I am doing the same by increasing the diameter of the stay inside the furler. Then the stay is attached to the halyard to allow rig tensioning, a safety wire is optional, unless you are racing.
    @winsbury wrote:

    The fore stay has no negative impact except that it is necessary to tension it sufficiently so that it doesnt sag and get caught in the furling. Tensioning the forestay after tensioning the jib halyard for the prevailing conditions pretty much eliminates any such sagging issues. To my mind the advantages of retaining a forestay far outweigh any advantages of not having one.

    And you call all that “no negative impact”?
    What advantages are you referring to? Having to tension it? Having it caught by the sail? The Mickey Mouse equipment at the top?
    I repeat my question: Why use a double stay where one stronger one suffices?

    BTW have you read the essays by Dave Barker here? There was also a good essay about the system by Rob Helyar but that has been published in the magazine only, not on the web site AFAIK.

    BTW2, maybe a forum search would help. I seem to remember having had a similar discussion before. Not sure it was here though, it could also have taken place on the Wayfarer Institute of Technology. There is other interesting reefing stuff there as well.

    #10239
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I prefer to bring my sails home and dry them before storage to avoid the potential for mildew / rust etc. Even if storing the sail furled damp from sailing was not an issue I would not want to leave it on the boat for security reasons and prefer to inspect them so any other issues such as a loose stitch or two can be spotted and fixed promptly.

    My boat is stored in a dinghy park rather than a mooring so I want to be able to remove the sail without lowering the mast hence a separate forestay to support the mast between sailing sessions and a flexible reefing system for ease of transport in the car are both required.

    When touring with the boat I want the flexibility to lower the mast while underway and switch to using the Seagull outboard for shooting bridges. As a regular visitor to the Norfolk broads, low bridges are a common issue there, and even getting though the Great Yarmouth port out to the North Sea requires several low bridges to be negotiated. In less familiar inland waters and rivers in particular its not uncommon to find a bridge in the way. You can of course still shoot a bridge with a reefing system without a forestay by releasing the halyard however if a safety was attached from the mast head to the swivel it would not be possible to do this while underway unless of course this extra safety line was brought down the mast to the cockpit; in fact this arrangement would solve some the issues in my previous post although I note in your reply that your sailing is mostly at sea where these issues dont arise.

    Also I take the point that lowering the mast with the sail furled is unlikley to cause any damage to the sail but there is an increased risk of treading on it or getting it caught on rigging or something else. One of the key reasons for me to use a furling system is not to have to carry three headsails ( genoa / jib / storm jib ) which in turn necessitates taking greater care of the one sail I do have on board, particularly when touring or cruising away from home. Hence I prefer caution and would aim to stow the sail prior to lowering the mast in most situations.

    In summary, the removable nature of the reefing system without lowering the mast is important to me and tensioning the forestay is a minor inconvenience although I totally accept that leaving the sail in situ makes for getting on the water a few minutes quicker and the alternative is a tried and trusted approach for many much larger vessels. It seems to me to be a personal issue that depends on ones intended use as to which system is preferable.

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