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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 08-29-2009
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Roller Furling Foul Up

I was out on Lake St. Claire today and the wind gusts were reaching 20 Knots and up. I came upon a 28 foot sailboat in distress with their roller furling line jammed and not able to retract it. They pulled in our marina with the sail in shreds under power. I've had mine jammed several times but was able to go forward and unjam it. Since then I was told to move the block feeding the line along the deck aft so as not to pull down on reel of line. Also, I tie off the line at the cockpit when under sail so it doesn't slacken and get jammed. It seemed simple but how many sailors foul up their roller furling when dousing the sail and get in a similiar jam. It sure ruined these sailors afternoon. They were American and ended up at our canadian marina luckily able to tie up at our gas dock. They had to unfurl their wrapped genoa under a strong wind before being able to take it down lowering the halyard. Their lines were shredded and even though they hoped to have their genoa sewn it looked to be a write off to me. Anyone have similiar problems with their furling system and any advise? Thanks.

Last edited by ahab211; 08-29-2009 at 08:54 PM.
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Old 08-29-2009
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so what exactly jammed?

Looking at my furler for example, I don't see any place where a line could actually get stuck (though it probably could get loose or break).
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The line gets stuck between the bottom of the reel and the plate over the line on older models. Also in this case the sail wrapped around the forestay and the rollerfurling line got tangled like fishing line on an open reel.
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back pressure, back pressure, back pressure..
I race on Wed nights on a 36 Bavaria and the only problem we have ever had on the boat is the jib stuck out.. you HAVE to apply a little back pressure to the furling line as the sail comes out, if not, it will make a giant sloppy birdsnest with overwraps on the outside...
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Thanks, I heard that works.
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Old 08-30-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WheresTheBrakes View Post
back pressure, back pressure, back pressure..
I race on Wed nights on a 36 Bavaria and the only problem we have ever had on the boat is the jib stuck out.. you HAVE to apply a little back pressure to the furling line as the sail comes out, if not, it will make a giant sloppy birdsnest with overwraps on the outside...
I will second that view. Always have a little tension of the furler line as it rolls into the drum. I have freed bird's nest by sweating the line. In a worst scenario I have used a winch.

Jack
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Old 08-31-2009
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Overrides (birdsnests) as described are is just one potential problem, and can be avoided as explained.

Halyard wrap is another potential "jam" on a furling system - this can happen if the head of the sail is low down on the foil, (ie not full hoist) or if the halyard runs parallel to the foil for any distance. If this occurs on a regular basis you need a halyard restrainer - basically a padeye or a fixed block on the mast that keeps the halyard at an angle to the foil and headstay.
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Sounds all too familiar. I did have some problems on our own boat (Sigma 33 OOD) in the beginning but learned that the trick is to keep some strain on the control line when unfurling. This will cause the line to wind neatly and not cause any problems later.

My big adventure was when the car in the boom with a furling main (charter boat) decided to let go when furling the main (in 25-30 knot of wind) about two turns. Now this is nice, you cannot lower the main and you cannot furl any further with the clew a meter up from the boom. After some wrestling I caught the clew and was able to feed an extra line through it so i could get the clew back to the boom and managed to furl it furher neatly. No harm done but something I wil never forget. If I have the choice for mains: slab reefing!
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Another source of "jamming" (other than reggae) at the head of the foresail is the spinnaker halyard. If not tensioned well, it can catch on the swivel.

Been there, done that.

Jack
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Mine jammed when the top swivle failed with the sail 2/3 unfurled. With the sail still partly wrapped around the foil I could not lower it at all. Becuase the wind was light, I could untie the sheets and manually pull the sail around the forstay until it was fully unfurled then drop it to the deck. In a heavy wind one could untie the sheets and motor around in circles to accomplish the same thing. This would still be hard on the sail, but better than just letting it flail away for a long period of time.
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