Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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To make the headsail furl right along the foot of the sail, the geometry of the sail would be all wrong. To do that, the sail would have to be cut with the foot of the sail at a 90 degree angle to the headstay. The foot to headstay angle has to have an angle smaller than 90 degrees as the headstay angles back towards the mast and the foot roughly parallels the deck, except in the case of a high clew sail. So as the sail is rolled up, the foot of the sail slowly wraps higher and higher, as the sail is being brought in evenly at its top and bottom edges.
High-clew sails do several things. First, it does improve leeward visibility, and this is often important for a cruiser, who is sailing short-handed. Second, it reduces the chafe of the foot of the sail on the life lines, and reduces the sails tendency to catch on the lifelines when tacking or jibing. Third, it reduces the sails tendency to catch water when the boat is heeled.
BTW, most mainsail furling systems have to lower the main as they furl/reef the mainsail, as the foot of the mainsail is roughly perpendicular to the mast. If you roll the sail in either the horizontal (boom furling) or vertical (in-mast furling) planes, the area will move down and forward, as the mainsail is effectively a right triangle, and you're shortening on one of the two sides that are perpendicular to each other. On a headsail roller furler, you're rolling up the hypotenuse of a right triangle—not either of the shorter, perpendicular legs.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Last edited by sailingdog; 06-13-2006 at 07:29 AM.