Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Arlington, VA
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I sailed my 42' sloop with hank-on headsails for years, including 8 years in the Caribbean. Often sailed alone, so I feel your pain :-)
It was common practice in the islands to roll the headsail nicely along the top lifeline and secure it there with rope or nylon stops. This position is easy to work with, and keeps the sail off the deck. This works very well, even with a large headsail (including my 180% drifter!).
Often, you would see two headsails furled along the port and starboard lifelines.
Very simple system to use: just drop the sail, pull the clew aft pretty tightly, then furl the rest of the sail along the upper lifeline.
I used sunbrella covers to protect the furled sails from the tropic sun. I believe I still have one in pretty good shape, and if you'd like to try it I'd be happy to send it to you. Just let me know (PM me or email bill at wdsg dot com).