Originally Posted by JonEisberg
I've always thought a good 'marker' for determining boat size relative to one's personal strength, is the ability to furl a headsail by hand. I'm of the opinion that I should be able to furl the jib in 'normal' conditions without having to resort to the use of a winch... If I cannot, it means either that the furler itself is undersized, or the furling line leads are not sufficiently fair, or I've waited too long to reef, or I'm simply not strong enough to be sailing that particular boat... Having to take a furling line to a winch - particularly a powered one - can be a very risky practice, as so clearly demonstrated recently by Stanley Paris when he destroyed one of his furlers aboard KIWI SPIRIT...
I don't get that one. I never sailed on any 40ft boat (or bigger) where it was possible to reef an headsail on strong winds downwind without a help from a winch. It has nothing to do with the furler but wind wind power on the sail, the size of the sail and with the impossibility to take the wind out of it (upwind it's easy).
Well, perhaps it's just me...:-)
In any amount of fresh breeze, a always try to bear off when reefing or furling, and maybe try to get the headsail in the shadow of the main, if possible... I generally find heading down, instead of heading up, to be far easier, and kinder to the sail... Again, with with a good furler, fair leads and a ratchet turning block, I should have no trouble on a 40 footer in moderate conditions...
One other "cutoff point" I forgot to mention, for me... I would never, ever want to own a sailboat that required a 50 amp shorepower cord... After as many years as I have running motor yachts and sportfishermen, I am SO done with those freakin' things... :-)