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post #5 of Old 07-23-2004
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roller furling vs hanked on headsails

I think JeffH stated recently the advantages/disadvantages under the discussion of furling vs. hank-on. At the risk of repeating, my preferences and observations are:
1. Genoa furling - the genoa will typically only decrease by about 30% to a 100% (with ''marginal'' shape) on even the very best sails ''cut'' for furling. Above those conditions the windage of the rolled sail becomes apparent, especially if you need to heave-to - as it will require a larger exposed cross section of the mainsail to balance. In full gale conditions you know that the huge ''wad'' on the furler is affecting trim, but its usually now too late to do anything about it. I try to get the genoa completely off long before such conditions occur and replace with a smaller sail.
For my furling attachment I have cut/sliced the luff tape at the head and foot so that I can get an extremely tight roll ... as only the ''middle'' of the luffl is connected to the foil.
Especially when shorthanded, when stripping from a furler, you dont want to be ''dancing'' with a heavy, wet, monster on a bouncing foredeck.

2. I prefer hanked-on staysails (with reef points). This is a bombproof & least complicated attachment system that is simplistic to the extreme & will allow the stays''l to be dropped without blowing overboard. (I prefer a boomed/vanged staysail - but lets not go there).
When feeling lazy, I use just a mainsail/staysail combination .... and simply make the main as flat as necessary to balance with the staysl. My staysl is self tending on a boom so I can short tack until the cows come home and wont be exhausted.

3. Regards tacking, I prefer a tricing line that bunches the foot of the genoa towards the luff and makes it pass quite easily between the forestay and the jibstay. I usually fly the staysail under the genoa. When tacking during long beats, I usually run the sheets "outside of everything" including the forestay and simply gybe through a 270 in the fashion of the old ''square riggers''.

For travelling I really now prefer a cutter for its ''versatility''. Most well thought-out ''travelliing'' is essentially tacking downwind anyway, so for me a cutter works best.
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