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post #5 of Old 10-18-2012
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Re: Reefing Roller furling jib

Couple of suggestions...

When sailing close hauled, I always bear off sharply to furl or reef. Reducing the apparent wind, even blanketing the jib in the shadow of the main, really eases the procedure, and is much kinder to the sail... Never ceases to amaze how often one sees people going head to wind to reef or furl their jibs, that can be a very cruel thing to do your sail, or sheets...

When unfurling, you definitely want to maintain some control over the furling line, and not just let it run free... Otherwise, you're likely to get a rat's nest of loose or untidy wrap inside a closed drum like your Harken, that can be a real mess to un-jam...

Whenever you're furling in anticipation of a real blow, or if the boat is being left unattended for any time, you want to ensure you get a nice tight wrap for the full length of the sail. In a big blow, furling jibs always begin to lift and unravel from the clew/sheets upward. To prevent this, when rolling it up, you must do the equivalent of moving the jib leads forward as you do so, to keep even pressure on both the foot and leech of the sail. Do this either by moving your leads forward, using a snatch block, or simply having your crew go forward to "guide" the sheets by the exertion of some downward pressure, to ensure the leech of the sail is being wrapped tightly...

Of course, when you're reefing under sail, you also need to move your jib leads forward as well, to maintain the correct lead angle as the sail is reduced in size...

Depending on how your furling line is led to the cockpit, the use of a ratchet block as a turning block can be very nice to have, they can afford a lot of additional control... Except in extreme conditions, you should be very wary of ever having to put your furling line on a winch to get it in. With properly sized furling gear, and a fair and friction-free lead of the line back to the cockpit, something is generally wrong, or undersized, if you should feel the necessity to resort to the use of a winch under normal conditions... (Don't get me started on those who use electric winches for this purpose (grin))

Check to see whether your Harken has some sort of locking mechanism to lock the drum (some older units did, haven't used a newer Harken lately) But, you definitely want to configure some means of locking the drum with the use of a shackle, or similar, when the boat is being left unattended for any length of time...

Enjoy, headsail furling gear is one of the greatest inventions known to man... (grin)
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