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  #1  
Old 10-27-2007
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Heavy Weather & roller-furling

I've now read (in 2 books) that a heavily reefed roller-furling jib/genoa in heavy weather can lead to failure and that a staysail is far preferable.
I cannot understand how this should be, the forces acting on such a sail are still transferred at only 2 points. I understand that a headsail furled to the size of 2 beach towels isn't going to have an optimal shape or airflow but don't see how this suboptimal sail could cause damage or roller-fuling mechanism failure.

I'd be curious to get some opinions here - I'm sure there are going to be conflicting views but that is part of the fun of public forums.
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Old 10-27-2007
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Zan, in old type genoa tracks (where the sail slides up) once you reefed the genoa too much, it bent the track. Then it would be almost impossible to roll in or out the sail....

The solution is to tighten the genoa halyard as much as possible to avoid that.

If I need to reef my genoa, I do that, but that's just to prevent damage to the track.
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Old 10-27-2007
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First the material and construction of the cruising genoa is much lighter than that of a storm jib. A geno might use 7 oz. cloth while the storm jib is 10.5 oz, tripled stitched and well built up. The aft part of a genoa is not contructed to take the force and abuse of 40-60 know winds and may simply come apart.
If the sail does not fail, the force it is handling could break something in the furler, if the sail unfurls, the skipper is in a very bad situation.

Finally a storm jib set on a inner forestay will work aerodynamically with a trysail or tripled reef main to drive the boat, just as the genoa does in it's wind range. A small sail area on the forestay provides no drive benefit.
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SF...yes absolutely right...I understood he was mentioning failure of the furler unit, not the sail.
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Z, when a furler is reefed in heavy winds, there is a tremendous load on the furling line. If for some reason it breaks, or the mechanism for cleating it releases, your small sail becomes big very fast and can cause you to broach. This happened to me on my Pearson 26 when i was still learning the ropes (ha ha). It had a 150 geny and the furling line was locked in a cam cleat, or so i thought! I had it 1/10 of the way out and sheeted in hard when it released. 25knts of wind with the full 150 out...yikes! I learned a few lessons that day and now i have a cutter rigged boat...but i have a 150 for it too
When your headsail is all the way out on a furler, you will notice that the furling line is slack. They have no trouble this way, but once you start reefing them the line takes way more stress. The sound and feeling of my 150 releasing was like a bomb hitting the boat. I can't beleive something didn't break!
P.S Anyone ever thought of naming their boat " Marital tension "? Seems to fit the bill for me
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Ok, I see where the problems could arise; it is a matter of (lateral) force on the furling mechanism and the bending forces on the whole luff and jib stay. The latter makes sense to me - even though the total force in a reeefed roller-furling jib is going to be less than with a full 150% (since that is why I am reefing in the first place), it will be concentrated in something less then 50% of luff length and therefore cause higher loads and perhaps bend the mechanism sufficiently out of true.

I'll explore the web a bit more about how much torque a roller-furling mechanism can take - that would certainly fail before the rather oversized furling lines that I have on my boat would.

Thanks.
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Old 10-28-2007
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Not to Hijack.............

But this is a related question.

How significant is the windage created by a fully furled headsail in a major blow?

This is assuming you've fully furled the primary, and run up a storm jib on the inner stay.

For someone anticipating an extended blue-water cruise; is the convenience (safety?) of having you primary headsail roller furled offset by any disadvantage?

I have definitely mixed feelings on the whole roller furling question; and the books I have are old enough to make me think that there have likely been some major advancements since they were written.

not to liven this discussion up, or anything

Fred
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Old 10-28-2007
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Fred...no big deal. The advantages of furling far outweigh the disadvantages which is why even southern ocean racers use them.
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Most modern roller furling headsail systems are descended from the ones used in racing at some point... the main thing you have to do is to secure the sail to prevent it from unfurling. In heavy weather, when I'm at anchor or in my slip, I will put a 1" sail tie around the head sail, and wrap it around and through the clew of the sail about three or four times. Even if the furling line or jib sheets work loose, there is no way the sail can unfurl then.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Fred...no big deal. The advantages of furling far outweigh the disadvantages which is why even southern ocean racers use them.



How many headsails can you count?? I don't think their code 0 is used for a storm jib
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