Headsail difficult to hoist - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-09-2007 Thread Starter
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Headsail difficult to hoist

We were hoisting a new spare light Genoa on my C&C 36 at the weekend and it was unbelievably difficult to hoist after about the half way point. The track is a furler type and appeared to be clean etc so we put the difficulty down to the stupidly small winch that the halyard was run to. With about 2ft to go there was an almighty bang and the pulley that turns the halyard through 90 degrees at the base of the mast failed. Upon inspection it was clear it had been placed under a terrific load - obviously much more than it had been designed for.

We are at a loss to explain the difficulty in hoisting though. The track seemed good, the rope in the luff was not too large and ran quite freely etc. I can only assume a little resistance compounded by the sheer length of the luff was enough to cause the failure. Should we have lubricated the luff ?
We had a variety of lubricants on board but had no idea what long term effect they may have on the sailcloth. We had silicone spray, WD-40 and one of those dry stick things that is like a waxy substance. Someone suggested we use the latter.........is that correct ?

We rigged up the halyard through another pulley and got the last 2ft up ok but I would still like to know where we went wrong as the full time Genoa will be back from repair soon and it is much heavier.
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-09-2007
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Wondering if the sail itself might not have gotten caught in the track - a little fold close to the luff is not hard to miss when you're hoisting. Have you tried pulling it down a bit to see if it's still jamming ?
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-09-2007 Thread Starter
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No, we eventually got it up the final 2 ft and the sail seemed to set fine. Strange.

Should you ever lubricate the luff and if so with what ?
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-09-2007
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Hoisting a headsail shouldn't require that much force. Almost every time you have to force something on a sailboat, you're generally doing something wrong. You really need to take a look at the way the halyard is run and the way the sail is rigged. Heavy resistance on a sailboat is usually the boat trying to warn you of a problem. Bulling your way through is generally a really bad idea. You're actually fairly lucky that no one was injured when the foot block broke.

I generally recommend lubricating the sail groove or track with McLube SailKote, Boeshield T9 or some other dry film lubricant.

BTW, if a bit of the sail cloth got pinched and dragged into the foil groove, it might not affect the way the sail sets or appear to be a problem, but could easily jam the wire luff in the groove. It is like a zipper—a little bit of cloth caught in a zipper makes it almost impossible to open or close—yet might not be noticeable once the zipper is closed.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 07-09-2007 at 09:55 PM.
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-10-2007 Thread Starter
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For sure we were lucky that no one was injured.

In our defence, having only bought the boat 2 months ago and not having had to hoist the headsail before because of the furler, we had no idea of the difficulty factor because like I said, the winch the halyard is run to is ridiculously small. We put it down to a combination of new sail and small winch.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-10-2007
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Perhaps a slightly larger luff rope than the track was speced for.
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-10-2007
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Consider that the sail is not the issue but the the furler is the problem.
If the last 2 feet are the problem the halyard leading to the upper bearing may not be pulling stright up but at a slight angle toward the mast causing the upper bearing to jam on the foil. I've seen boats that put an extra block hanging at the to of the mast to allow the halyard to pull stright up the foil.
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-10-2007
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I've seen boats that put an extra block hanging at the to of the mast to allow the halyard to pull stright up the foil.
The risk in doing this, if the turning block is mounted too high, is the high possibility of the halyard wrapping around the furler head swivel.

A masthead bracket mounted sheave, or wrap preventer, should be used at an angle specified by the furler mfgr.


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The other issue could be that the top of the furling system foil was damaged by a halyard wrap, and that could be causing the difficulties in raising the sail.

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post #10 of 11 Old 07-10-2007
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I try to leave this type of thing to the experts of which SD is definately one BUT the other option is (speaking from experience). If the previous sail had been on the furler for an extended length of time then "crud" could build up in the furler track. With gravity assist, bringing down the old sail would be easy. Getting the new one up is another challenge altogether. You may solve the problem with something as simple as cleaning the track by grabbing the water hose..
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