Latest News: Forums Technical Jib Furling Systems – an enquiry!

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  • #4343

    Folks
    I’m new to wayfaring and the forums, and have just bought a wonderful Woodie from Jackie Dobson. The boat is beautifully set up to race, but I’m looking at reefing options for the jib/genoa when sailing with my kids (particularly my 12 year old daughter!).

    I’ve used jib furlers on other boats – mainly for keeping the sail quiet whilst launching, but also to depower the boat in more boisterous conditions – so I’m interested in this option but can’t find anything on the forums about the best systems to use.

    I’d love to hear of any cautionary tales or helpful experinences or recommendations!

    (bear in mind I’m a relative novice and may easily get overwhelmed by technicalities!)

    “Boris” W6330

    #10258
    tempest51
    Member

    Andrew,
    Look in the cruising section and under Helyar reefing

    #10259
    Bob Harland
    Participant
    #10266

    thanks chaps – really not sure how I managed to miss that article!

    Having read this, am I right to conclude that the issue here is that a simple drum and swivel system without the furling spar is unstable when sailing partially furled? I’d be interested to know how likely this upper genoa unfurling is to occur in practice. I hadn’t really appreciated that the drum and swivels are really just a quick and convenient way of getting the jib/genoa out of the way completely (which is still very handy when dealing with kids who may be choosing launching and landing times for a spot of intense family dynamics)

    I’ll need to chew this over since I can’t really afford this very expensive bit of kit just now! I can see that when cruising there is an option to swap sails reasonably easily, and on our club reservoir situation you can pick your sail to suit the situation before setting out.

    #10268
    tempest51
    Member

    Andrew, when you say very expensive bit of kit, I am assuming you are referring to the Bartels system as descibed in the article link supplied by Bob Harland? I too thought it was very expensive when I did my research some time ago, which is why I bought the Helyar system at a fraction of the price. The system works perfectly well and provides great peace of mind in that reefing can be handled from the cockpit in an instant. The other benefit is that when mooring up for a bit of a rest the sail can be fully furled and left on its Highfield lever ready to go, so eliminating potential damage to the genoa from luffing.

    #10270
    Swiebertje
    Participant

    Also keep an eye on the Aero luff spar, recently discussed here. I think it is a promising new technology by Ralph Roberts, and much more cost effective then the Bartels system. But, unless you go for Bartels (ludicrously strong), you need at least a Harken High load drum and swivel. The standard Harken version and all other popular brands just don’t furl under full rig tension.

    BTW, you save on the costs of sails if you decide on a ‘reef-able’ system. You don’t need a separate Genoa, jib and storm-jib. When you look at it this way, a reefing system isn’t as expensive as it may seem.

    I sail a lot on the river Meuss. This is a river lined by big oak trees. These trees let the wind slowly increase when you approach one. Then the wind suddenly drops to zero when you pass it, only to hit you at double force again when you have passed it, then the wind goes slowly down again until you get to the next tree. Before I had my reefing system a partially rolled sail would unroll at each and every tree. A fully rolled head sail at the third or fourth tree. If it happens you are stuck with a blob of cloth at the drum and a full sail above it. By now it has become all but impossible to get it down while you are screaming along, straight towards a professional barge. 👿 Having experienced this, I want the best, most reliable, reefing system available, just for my peace of mind. In my view that is any system that has a rigid connection between the drum and the swivel with a minimum of twist. The system should be strong enough to void the use of a secondary fore stay because it always gets caught by the sail when it is rolled, even with the use of (Mickey Mouse designed) stand-offs, bungees and what not. A head sail should furl around the stay .

    #10274

    Thanks for your useful replies everyone!

    I realise now that I was labouring under a confusion between FURLING systems (for simply quickly getting the sail out of the way) and REEFING systems using furlers as part of the mechanism (for safely reducing sail whilst out on the water). This is obvious to me now … but then I am a great beleiver in the maxim that “the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask”.

    So there is a nice choice of modest cost solutions: between the helyar and aeroluff systems combined with a high-tension furler. Interestingly the helyar system (mk1) comes out little more expensive than a quote I had for a new “yankee” jib. For anyone looking at this in the future here are the relevant links: http://www.aeroluffspars.co.uk, and http://www.flexible-reefing-spars.co.uk.
    Then there is the sightly (havent’ been able to find out quite how much) more expensive “cadillac” system by Bartels described in bob’s link, for which I can’t find a sales link in English just now.

    Sadly a reality check with the bank balance indicates that I did indeed fall in love with a more expensive boat than I intended to buy, but I’m absolutely sure its a good purchase in the long run, so plan B is to ask around in the club for an unwanted enterprise or mirror jib which I can hoist should unpleasantness arise, go ahead get the reefing points put into one of my mains and start putting money in the piggy bank.

    cheers for now

    “Boris”

    #10277

    A couple of Wayfarer jibs recently went on eBay for about £15 a pop. Mainsail reefing will cost a bit more but you need that anyway.

    At risk of confusing the issue, it can be argued that hank-on sails set better than furling ones, and have less moving parts to go wrong, as well as being cheaper. I continually remind myself of these factors to justify not upgrading to a furler!

    #10278

    Yes, sadly not there when I started looking this week, but I will keep looking. I noticed on some of the photos I looked at last night that some are cruising with a furler and a spare jib to hoist should the reefing furler fail. This seems like a good Belt and Braces approach.

    With the furling reef versus the substitution technique I suppose you are swapping that “as cut” set and the lower centre of effort for convenience and adjustability.

    #10279
    Swiebertje
    Participant

    Yes, while rolling (reefing) a Genoa the centre of effort goes down a bit but not as much as you may think. While rolled the foot of the sail goes up as well. Now have a look at a storm jib and notice that it is cut with a lot of clearance between the sail and the deck. This is to allow water coming over to drain quickly over the side rather than being led in to the cockpit by the sail. Because of this the centre of effort can’t be as low as we might wish it to be. You may find that a rolled Genoa actually looks a bit like a storm jib. Given, the Genoa’s foot is up in the air front to back while a storm jib is simply cut high and its foot still ends at the bow. It is not so much lowering the centre of effort but de-powering the sail and allowing water to drain.

    With the main you are right, there the centre of effort clearly goes down.

    An advantage of a roller reef is that it allows continues adjustment and hence allows very fine tuning of the balance of the boat. But most of the power comes from the main, a fore sail only makes the main more efficient. Try sailing with and without your Genoa, didn’t you ever wander why the combined centre of effort doesn’t move much? Taking the fore sail away seriously de-powers the boat and may be the safest and cheapest option.

    Bottom line: If the going really gets tough, you only want to get home safely and on a Wayfarer that can be done with any configuration. A furler is only a convenience, it is not money but common sense that brings us home safely. Did I just hear someone say a boat is as seaworthy as its skipper? 🙄

    #10280

    @Swiebertje wrote:

    Yes, while rolling (reefing) a Genoa the centre of effort goes down a bit but not as much as you may think. While rolled the foot of the sail goes up as well. Now have a look at a storm jib and notice that it is cut with a lot of clearance between the sail and the deck. This is to allow water coming over to drain quickly over the side rather than being led in to the cockpit by the sail. Because of this the centre of effort can’t be as low as we might wish it to be. You may find that a rolled Genoa actually looks a bit like a storm jib. Given, the Genoa’s foot is up in the air front to back while a storm jib is simply cut high and its foot still ends at the bow. It is not so much lowering the centre of effort but de-powering the sail and allowing water to drain.

    With the main you are right, there the centre of effort clearly goes down.

    An advantage of a roller reef is that it allows continues adjustment and hence allows very fine tuning of the balance of the boat. But most of the power comes from the main, a fore sail only makes the main more efficient. Try sailing with and without your Genoa, didn’t you ever wander why the combined centre of effort doesn’t move much? Taking the fore sail away seriously de-powers the boat and may be the safest and cheapest option.

    Bottom line: If the going really gets tough, you only want to get home safely and on a Wayfarer that can be done with any configuration. A furler is only a convenience, it is not money but common sense that brings us home safely. Did I just hear someone say a boat is as seaworthy as its skipper? 🙄

    Difference between a rolled genoa and a storm jib is, of course, that the rolled genoa has a much fatter luff and is likely to be baggier- both of which hamper windward performance.

    I should mention that I regularly sail a yacht which has a furling genoa, and I thnk it’s great, but on the Wayfarer I don’t see the necessity unless singlehanding. I have frequently changed headsails underway on the wayfarer (when I have proficient crew) and don’t see it as a particularly difficult task.

    Just dropping the headsail to reduce power is not always a great option, IMHO, as windward performance suffers as a result. This might mean a much longer trip home or, at wost, becoming embayed (not that a good sailor should ever let themselves into such a situation).

    Of course you can avoid a lot of hassle by making sensible plans: on a day-sail, always try to head out upwind and have a broad reach back home. When in doubt, reef to suit the gusts, even if you end up underpowered in the lulls.

    #10281
    tempest51
    Member

    Yes No Disgrace, but you forget that Andrew was inquiring about reefing with his children on board. I have children too and would not expect them to be taking any chances on the foredeck in a breeze. The reefing genoa is a wonderful safety feature, especially when sailing alone or indeed with minors, and I feel that your advice does not consider that fact.

    #10283

    Wow I seem to have started a pretty interesting discussion here!

    It is so helpful to see how a topic develops when you start from one point and learn a lot of other things on the way.

    At present “The Reefing Issue” for us is to ensure that I’m not prevented going out on breezier days by the inability to power the boat down for my young crew. Also I want to maximise days when they can practice helming. I made the mistake eariler in the summer of setting off with my daughter in an unreefed RS Vision and it took me a couple of weeks to get her back in the boat. My technique has improved a lot since then, as has her enjoyment of hiking out and whooping, but it was a salutory lesson! I could easily have put a very promising young sailor off for life. Silly Daddy.

    Currently I’m not going to be doing anything very advanced, but I have a tendency to think ahead about what kit will be best. I have found this approach works well with power tools – I’m always glad to have got the good tool for a job I didn’t yet have in mind! However, I dont’ think it will be long before we are wanting to tackle day sails and maybe cruises, or maybe races (this is why we bought a Wayfarer!).

    By the way, Swieibertje, what does your “sign off” say – I’m guessing its ” with friendly greetings ” or something of the kind.

    cheers folks.

    #10295
    westwoop
    Member

    We use a furler and it seems pretty good (have to check the make, but low cost I would say). We have had it jam, which was annoying, but user error on my part (drum compressed by forestay that was too tight). It makes the handling easy and tidy. For cruising it seems very good as it takes up no storage space and is always ready.

    You might find the following of interest too:

    http://www.wayfarer-international.org/WIT/useful_skills_of_all_kinds/Reefing/genoa_reef_Helyar.pdf
    http://www.wayfarer-international.org/WIT/useful_skills_of_all_kinds/Reefing/genoa_reef_Bartels.pdf

    On the question of the ‘Swiebertje sign-off’ I rather like Google’s attempted translation of “Kind fruit” 🙂

    Peter.

    #10297

    I’m liking this fruity idea. we are now well off the original topic, but my mac’s translator widget gives the following rendition of Met vriendelijke groenten:
    “with pleasant vegetables”.
    the mind boggles.
    This could form a very interesting forum thread on how to carry fresh provisions for cruising, and certainly sounds better than cruising “with weevily biscuits” which was the order of the day in the ‘golden age of sail’.

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