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First, a thought on the Hinckley''s. The B-40 is one of the most visually apealing yachts on the water. I was using it as an example of boat speed. A nice B-40 is two to three times the target price range. The more modern Hinckley''s such as the SW-42 are three to four times the target price. The B-40''s suffer from low freeboard and lots of overhang. This makes a wet boat that has a slow steep pitch, with a tendancy to go though waves, not over them. They are also quite heavy, and require a good deal of sail up to get them to move. No faults in the construction, they are wonderfully built yachts. I also am not a fan of centerboard designs. Yes, they get you into shalower achorages, but I don''t like the extra mechanical complexity. They are a compromise, at best, not as good as a properly designed shoal draft and not as good as a good deep keel. It''s not much, but when Murphy is on board, your best defense is K.I.S.S.
Another wonderfully over constructed yacht series is any Nautor Swan. They just dont break. Take a read of "Force 10 at Fastnet" The Swan 47, "Toscana" that the author sailed on faired well. I helped commision her at Minnefords (sp) in Long Island and sailed quite a few thousand miles on her and can attest to the almost anal detail the Finn''s had in her construction. It''s a shame that most Swan''s have teak decks, I remember one summer after Eric asked us to oil the decks, I think we would have needed golf shoes to get any grip on the decks for at least a month. The maintenance of the teak is just not worth it, no matter how nice it looks. But again, the Swan''s are many times the target price.
As far as the hanks vs. roller furling is concerned, you have to take a moment and think it through. Yes, roller furling is a wonderful tool for short handed sailing in predictable conditions. But that''s the rub. The problem is that you are pretty much stuck with whatever sail you have bent on. If you have lets say a 135% genoa, you may be under canvased in lighter winds. But as the wind and seas build, you can reduce that to maybe 110% and still maintain some sort of shape. IMHO you just cant get a good shape on a furled genny, and it has a whole new loading scenario, and more quickly deteriorates sail shape, and then you have a sail that is underperforming in all conditions.
Now lets look at the storm conditions. You have been sailing and it looks like the wind will build to the point where you would have to reef the genny to an unusable size. You are making more leeway than headway and the boat is sluggish. Better put up a smaller jib. But wait, you will have to unfurl your genny completely, flogging the daylights out of it, and having it come off the the headstay completely, and you will be struggling with this beast in builing seas and increasing winds. You could use one of those storm sails that slips over the rolled genny. They sound neat, but once again, you have a lose sail you have to hoist in a blow on a pitching deck, not to mention the friction of the sleeve as it is pulled up. The other option is to roll the sail up and go by main alone. This is not only slow, but ruins you yachts balance and will give you weather helm you would just not believe!
This is not even taking mechanical failure (Murphy!!!) into the mix. In your haste to get under way, you didn''t mind your drum tension. As the wind builds, you have to put a lot of force on the line, and...it jambs! Now you have too much sail in a building breeze. What are you going to do now?
The lure of roller furling is speed and simplicity, as long as you can cover all wind ranges with just one sail, which of course could never happen.
For long distance cruising and trans-oceanic sailing, hanks have a lot to offer. Now, lets look at the scenario of the building wind and seas. As the wind builds, you can lower your headsail AND IT STAYS ATTACHED TO THE HEADSTAY!!!!! This is no small thing especially when short handed. Now you can stuff it in a bag and stow it below. Hank on the new sail, and hoist it. You can do this yourself, as you don''t need anyone watching the feeders. You now have the right size sail up! Yeah it takes more time, but think of the safety factor. Depending on the boat and sail plan, you can cover most wind ranges with three headsails. Since you are going to be out for weeks at a time, and are not in a heated contest with other yachts, who cares about the extra few minutes it takes to bend on a new sail. That and the fact you will have the proper sailshape for all conditions, you will be faster and more comfortable.
Sailing is both an art and sport. To do it well, you probably have to be a bit participatory and knowledgable of your intended goals. Sure, for coastal cruising and always being within hailing range of Sea-Tow, you can set yourself up with an automated boat that you will never have to leave the cockpit to sail. Pull on some lines and hit some buttons and away you go! But the added complexity these things add, and our pal Murphy will be lurking at the most uncomfortable of moments.
In our litiguous society, I can''t wait for the first lawsuit to come about from some poor soul who suffers catastrophe in his/her sparkling new CE-A rated dock-a-minium out at sea. Claiming that the manufacturers of all the boat''s systems didn''t protect them from their own short sightedness.
For the record, I have a roller furler, used for day trips and messing around. I strip the drum and use the twin foil when racing. If I ever decide to take Silmaril to sea, I will refit her with hanks.