Downhaul and Tuff Luffs? - SailNet Community

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Old 03-20-2001
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Downhaul and Tuff Luffs?

I often sail single-handed on the Columbia River here in Oregon. I couple of times last summer as I came around a bend I would get a wind gust upward of 20 knots. Rather than take a reef, I found it better on my Capri 25 to douse the jib. This required moving to the foredeck in a somewhat bumpy and very cold river. I ran across a jib downhaul design in one of Don Casey''s [101 Boat Improvements] books for a hanked on sail. The downhaul and the halyard are connected to the head of the sail. The halyard is connected with the shackle and the downhaul connect via a loop around the head and the forestay tied off with a bowline. The downhaul weaves through the hanks and runs back to the cockpit along the toe rail. When a heavy wind hits and you have a 130 genny up you release the halyard and PULL on the down haul to quickly douse the jib, once you turned into the wind. This prevents you as a single handed sailor from having to leave the cockpit and go to the foredeck and pull the jib down. Significant safety issue particularily when the water temp is 45oF. I was wondering if this would work on a tuff luff sail track? On all of the sails in my set the head is 6 to 8 inches higher than the bottom of the luff tape on the sail. I am afraid the design would set up a tearing force in my jib. Has anyone had any experience with this?
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Old 03-20-2001
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Downhaul and Tuff Luffs?

A jib downhaul works only on hanked on sails. When pulling the jib down the hanks will slide down the forestay. The hanks also keep the sail from blowing over the bow when the sail is pulled down. You still need to go forward to gather and secure the sail, but you can do it at a time that is better for you. This arrangement has worked well on my Ranger 26 for many years.

With a tuff luff you are out of luck, since the sail has to be continuously pulled from the bottom. Even if a downhaul did work in pulling the sail down, the unattached luff of the sail would probably fly around like crazy, forcing you to go to the bow immediately.

You might look into removing the tuff luff and having hanks added to your sails. As far as I know the only other option is roller furling, which, in my opinion, only has benefits when the headsails get too heavy for one person to handle.


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