Letting out a reef in high wind with furling mast - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 05-08-2006
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seabake is on a distinguished road
Letting out a reef in high wind with furling mast

I'm new to furling mains, and looking for advice on how to keep control of the mainsail when letting out a reef on a furling mast rig. Not sure the brand of rig, but furling mechanism has "ratchet" and "free" settings for deploying, reefing and retracting the mainsail. "Free" allows the mechanism to spin freely, and "Ratchet" prevents it from spinning backwards and letting out sail. The mainsail is usually deployed with the outhaul when in the "free" position and retracted with a circular line running aft to the cockpit that spins a winch mechanism mounted on the mast under the boom ("ratchet" position).

Scenario: you want to go essentially from a "double" or more-reefed mainsail to a "single" or less-reefed one, and wind is high enough that you don't want to let the whole sail deploy, if you can help it.

The mechanism appears to require switching from ratchet to free, and with enough wind, the sail will invariably fill and catch enough air to fully deploy - sometimes with great force. It's simple enough to re-reef back to the desired point, but would like to know if there's a technique to "let out" the sail in a controlled manner to the desired point without letting the sail out fully - as could be done with the furling jib. And if it could be done single-handed (all lines are led aft), then all the better

Thanks,
Chris
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Old 05-08-2006
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rower is on a distinguished road
Belay the in-haul to prevent the sail from completely unfurling

This sounds like the system on my Hunter 33. Try putting a few wraps of the in-haul (the circular line you mention) around a winch. Ease the line to allow the wind to fill the sail causing it to unfurl then cleat it off and winch in the out-haul to obtain the desired sail shape.

Regards,

Rower
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Old 05-08-2006
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seabake is on a distinguished road
Thought of that, but wasn't sure it would work

I'm not sure, but I think the in-haul (wasn't sure it was called that, but makes sense) was locked in the clutch when I switched from ratchet to free, so not sure the in-haul has any effect when not in ratchet mode.

Mine is a Hunter 33 as well.

Thanks for the suggestion - will try it next time I'm out.

Chris
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