in mast furling issue - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
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in mast furling issue

I am trying to find a thread to deal with the following:

I have in mast furling that has worked well but last Sunday the main refused to unroll after only a few feet. I notice that the sail bulges out next to the portion under tension being rolled out, about 7 feet up from the boom for a stretch of about 10 feet. The winch simply cannot pull it out - and it should be pulled out by hand, ideally. The mast is slightly curved, but not too much to accommodate the furling system and has not malfunctioned before. I suspect the sail may have been reefed the last time with insufficient tension, but that is just speculation.

Can anyone suggest how I may unfurl the sail and/or how much stress I should tension I should ever apply?

BTW I cannot quote the brand of furling gear (forgot to note when on board) but it is for a Catalina 36 MkII of 2001.

Many thanks for any suggestions...

Flandria
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Re: in mast furling issue

You will need to get the boom height/angle so the pull on the sail is equal on leech and foot, first. Then I would roll the sail out very slowly a few inches at a time. Each time you come out, holding the out haul tight, furl the sail as much as you can, like rolling a chart tightly. Keep doing this until you have tightened the sail to the point it will roll all the way out. I believe your sail may be developing a belly and you will either need a new one or a sailmaker to flatten it out a bit. We are just trying to get one more year with a pretty worn out main, so I understand exactly what you are describing. It is just something you will have to be very careful about, pulling it out a little bit at a time (we actually use the wind to help, sometimes), but it should be manageable once you get the hang of it, for the rest of the season, at least.
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Re: in mast furling issue

Loosen the vang if you have one. A winch shouldn't be needed to unfurl as you stated. See what you can discover by pulling on the clew by hand. It's often a WTF moment. And then it the geometry of it all will make sense. Or...you have a bellied out sail as mentioned.
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Re: in mast furling issue

Try working the inhaul and outhaul lines alternately.

I had this happen last month.
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Re: in mast furling issue

Ditto what Jackdale said. Use a light touch.
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Re: in mast furling issue

I have exactly the same problem on occasion (same boat). I fix it by alternating between inhaul and outhaul as Jackdale suggested. I believe it is caused by multiple issues - one being that it wasn't furled tightly. I also have a lot of issues getting the sail car to come out the last 3 or 4 ft on the boom. Often times I give up and move the car by hand after slacking the outhaul. I believe that the car and the way it is rigged causes issues because it can pull hard on the leech and very little on the foot. I might be completely off on that though - it's my best guess. I have been tempted to add some sort of line that pulls the car straight horizontally to the boom end.
A belly in the sail is another cause as already mentioned. I am also thinking that tensioning the main sheet to prevent the boom swinging back and forth while the sail is furled and trying to unfurl in that configuration could contribute to the problem (another guess on my part)
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Re: in mast furling issue

When all the above advice fails get in your bosuns chair and go up to where it's jammed. Pull and tug until your fingers are bloody, use a plastic spatula to help get the sail out. You will have to do it an inch at a time, going up the mast as it slowly unfurls. In all probability you will have to go nearly to the top before the sail is free.
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Re: in mast furling issue

Thanks for all the advice, folks... including that last one with the bloody fingers, since I was contemplating that fate already. Since there is a slight curve in the mast (not so much as to prevent the furling rod from turning, of course), I think it would not hurt to let the rod stand up straight for a change.

While the sail is now 13 years old, it has not seen a lot of service up here in Georgian Bay, but when I will take it in to the sailmaster I wouldn't be surprised to get a "belly" diagnosis.

I will try to get things figured out on Saturday and will post an update on how things turn out (could be a couple of weeks, though, since we hope to be out there, without internet).

Again, thanks to all, and additional advice is still welcome!
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Re: in mast furling issue

Check out that mast bend. I have a Charleston and it is very specific not to bend the mast. I believe that Sheldon has the same instruction. That might be a significant issue for you.
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Re: in mast furling issue

Thanks, Scotty... I am allowed a small degree of bend in the mast which has not been an issue thus far, but I may just straighten out the mast in hopes it will diminish tension and facilitate turning the furling rod...
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