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preservedkillick 06-27-2009 07:05 AM

Dealing with hank-on-headsails
We've got hank-on-headsails on our 30 foot new to us boat. The sails are nearly new and I'm not interested in a furler at this time.

One thing I'm dealing with is the sheer size of the sail after it's been removed from the headstay. I'd like to take care of the sails as much as possible, and neatly fold/roll to put each back in the bag. However, doing so up on deck (as opposed to my back yard) is proving difficult. It's just so much material, that's stiff and slippery. I'm beginning to think this is a lost cause? Anyone have any tips here?

One thing I wonder about is the best way to preserve the sails. Lightweight tent manufactures advise people not to neatly fold up the tents, just to stuff them. The problem was that users tent o develop patterns, the cloth gets folded at the same place every time, which prematurely wears those points. Loosely jamming a tent back in the bag randomly folds the fabric every time. Sail manufactures don't recommend this, as far as I know?

Anyone use headsail bags that allow the sail to stay attached to the stay, yet packaged in a bundle on the deck? My buddy does this with the head and stay sails on his friendship sloop and it seems to work well.

WanderingStar 06-27-2009 07:37 AM

I did the same on my Friendship. On my current boat the staysail is on a boom, and I cover it like a mainsail. My buddy has his jib hanked on, brings it down, pulls it staight with the sheet, and covers it. I used to unhank mine and stuff it in a bag, then lash it a bit off the deck so it didn't stay wet.

btrayfors 06-27-2009 07:46 AM

I sailed my 42' sloop with hank-on headsails for years, including 8 years in the Caribbean. Often sailed alone, so I feel your pain :-)

It was common practice in the islands to roll the headsail nicely along the top lifeline and secure it there with rope or nylon stops. This position is easy to work with, and keeps the sail off the deck. This works very well, even with a large headsail (including my 180% drifter!).

Often, you would see two headsails furled along the port and starboard lifelines.

Very simple system to use: just drop the sail, pull the clew aft pretty tightly, then furl the rest of the sail along the upper lifeline.

I used sunbrella covers to protect the furled sails from the tropic sun. I believe I still have one in pretty good shape, and if you'd like to try it I'd be happy to send it to you. Just let me know (PM me or email bill at wdsg dot com).


Sailormon6 06-27-2009 10:46 AM

My previous boat had hanked-on headsails, and I would drop it along the gunwale, inside the lifelines, and then pull it aft, so that it was flaked down in neat folds. Then I folded the aft 1/3 of the sail forward, and folded that over the forward 1/3 of the sail. The result was a fairly neat bundle, that was approximately 1/3 the length of the foot of the sail. Every time I folded it, it flaked a little differently, so I didn't get significant creases. The size of the bundle was too large to fit into the factory-supplied sailbag, so I made a bigger bag out of Sunbrella. Overnight, I would leave the bagged sail on deck. For longer periods of time, I stored the sail in a locker.

JimsCAL 06-27-2009 11:01 AM

I follow the same basic procedure as Sailormon6 in folding the hanked-on headsails for my 30-footer. My sails do fit the the bags after folding and a bit of stuffing. New stiff sails are tougher to work with and will need more carful folding to reduce the volume.

hellosailor 06-27-2009 10:45 PM

killick, in the best of all worlds you are right, you don't fold sails. You do like the racers with high tech sails and roll them.

But in our world, you take the jib hailyard forward with you, and lower the jib while you work up the leech, flaking it as the sail comes down. When you are done it is flaked on deck against one of the rails, and all you need to do it tie it.

If you have the luxury of time and space and hands, you can unhank it and then roll it up into a sausage, then stow that below or against the rail. If you're planning to leave it hanked on or to be able to hank it back on in a hurry, you leave it flaked, and just don't squeeze too tight on the folds.

Everything is a compromise.

heinzir 06-27-2009 10:56 PM

mgiguere 06-27-2009 11:10 PM

Hello Killick (a friend of mine's boat carry's that name and he's Scottish)

I actually prefer and have hank on sails. The folding of them is partially an art and partially a science....especially if you want to fit them into the factory supplied bag.

Leaving the sail hanked on, you pull from the clew and flake and walk on the sail up the side of the boat making it as flat as possible.

Then, go back to the clew and fold it forward approximately the length of the sail bag.

Then, remove the hanks from the headstay folded and make that the last fold into what you have already folded with the tack on top of all the folds.

Now, this whole mess should go into the bag. If the bag has a pull tie, I put that on top so the next time I use it, I know how to open the bag so the tack is on top ready to hook to the tack of the head stay.

I know this sounds like too much trouble, but it makes the flying of the jibs/genoa's a lot easier. Also, I do not throw the bag below, I tie the pull string of the empty bag to the hatch before closing it so I don't have to go fetch it when the sail is lowered.

A couple other points, I tie the end of the jib halyard to a handhold so when I pull down the jib, the halyard won't go to the top of the mast in the event that a knot develops in the process.

I really like hank on sails. You can much more easily match the sail to the conditions. People with roller fullers end up flying that 130 all the time...regardless. I made the decision to buy an auto pilot instead.

Apache 37 S&S Sloop

Mipcar 06-28-2009 04:32 AM

As I daysail more then I do overnighters. I just open the forward hatch and as the headsail comes down I remove it from the forestay and feed it down into the forward cabin. Never gets folded the same way twice and being "rumpled" it allows it to air much better then if it were folded or put in a bag.
If I'm planning on a trip with overnighting then I'll pack the unused headsails better and hope I don't need to make a sail change.


preservedkillick 06-28-2009 06:28 AM

Excellent information everyone!

Henry, those sail covers look you flake the sail down, then fold it into thirds?

PS. Looked at your pictures, love the woodwork, and your headsail sheet attachment!

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