Join Date: May 2002
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Re: Flaking the Main Sail
First, I hang all the sail ties around my neck. I ease the topping lift, to lower the boom enough so that I can reach it comfortably from the cockpit. Then I tighten the mainsheet, to limit the boom's ability to swing. Then I release the main halyard and let the sail drop to the deck. Then I stand on the cockpit seat at the aft end of the boom and pull the leech of the sail aft, and lay down a flake across the boom. It doesn't matter which side is flaked first. Then I pull the leech of the sail aft and lay down a flake on the other side of the boom. I lay flakes on alternating sides of the boom until about mid-boom, when I tie a sail tie, to hold it in place while I flake the rest of the sail. Occasionally, on a big boat, it is difficult for me to lay flakes on alternating sides by myself, because of the weight of the sail. In that case, I might lay 2-3 consecutive flakes on the same side. Alternating them isn't really that important, if the result is a neat, smooth sail.
I usually am singlehanded, and it only takes a couple minutes. I prefer to flake the sail before entering the marina, because it is usually cooler out on the water than in the marina. Also, if the sail is flaked neatly, it is much easier to move about the decks without trip hazards, when entering my slip. I have ez jacks, but usually don't use them, unless conditions are especially choppy. My boat is 35' masthead-rigged, and I have no difficulty doing the same on 40 footers.