How to reef/furl a genoa/jib - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 08-22-2006
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How to reef/furl a genoa/jib

I have noticed that over the years that I have used a furling system on my boat that there is no written guidance as to how one should reef/furl while sailing. So I will put this question out there. What is the proper way to reef/furl a genoa/jib while sailing and the wind condition is getting worse?
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Old 08-22-2006
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On my boat, which doesn't require that I head to wind to furl my genoa, I simply pull in the genoa with the furling line (the line that attaches to the drum of the furler) until I am satisfied with the balance between it and the main sail, then I cleat the line. The goal is to keep sailing while reducing weather helm. You may have to make a number of adjustments until you're happy with the balance.
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Old 08-22-2006
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A few thoughts we use:

1) We mark our reefing lines. Red, Blue, green: (100% FT, 75%, 50%). THese are color coded and matched with the main. This should be done in controlled conditions where the jib matches the main. I feel it is very prudent to do this ahead of time so that when the storm comes you are not guess working.

2) The book might say you can just pull in a reef. Depending on the sail area of your boat, you might be able to just pull it in anytime. However, if you have a lot of sail area and the winds jump into the 20s, 30s, or more... just grabbing that line and pulling in a reef will be an exercise in futility. Head into the wind some, ease off the sheet, pull in the reefing line and cleat it off. Ease out, pull it in more, then fall off again. The point is to keep forward movement while pulling in a reef or risk an accidental tack/loss of control of the boat. Note: When you start pulling the reef in on the jib, your boat will likely head up/point.

3) We always reef the jib first (but I do not know if there is a good reason for this... just years of doing it that way). If the main is also neccessary, we typically have cranked the engine (on our older boat with traditional main) to head into the wind. We never got it to drop right/easily otherwise. Other people may have had different experiences. I understand that Batt Cars make it easier to put a reef in. On our current boat with in-mast, we simply follow the same steps as the Jib (in general).

4) I always hated it when people said this to me, but it is SOOOO true: The time to put in a reef is BEFORE you have to. It is wayyy easier to take a reef out than put it in. When in doubt, put it in.

Just my thoughts. Fair winds.
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Old 08-22-2006
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Three additional points: 1) I find I have to coordinate pulling in on the reefing line with letting out a bit on the jib/genoa sheet, though still keeping enough tension to enable the jib to furl fairly tightly--easier to do than to describe! 2) Usually a furled jib requires that the cars be moved forward a bit on the jib track to get the right angle for the sheets coming off the clew (someone else can probably explain this better as well). 3) The jib will furl more easily if the headsail halyard is tensioned correctly--to tight and the whole system can be too stiff to furl easily; too loose and it will flop around and not furl smoothly either.
Frank.
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Old 08-22-2006
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I would also mark the jib furling line with the typical points that you use to balance the boat against your mainsail reefing points.

BTW, if you've tensioned the backstay to flatten the main, the jib halyard will often be too tight to furl the jib easily.
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Old 08-22-2006
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It is been my experience thus far that if the jib is let go and you then start furling it in, then in strong winds the jib will flog badly and will even twist the jib sheets. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was caught along with another sailboat by a line squall with over 50knts of wind, and we had full sails up. This squall knock the other boat down (C&C 30) and mine heeled over badly. I was able to control the boat by letting the main go out as far as it could and then I was able to ease the jib and furled it to about half it's size and cleat the furling line. When I did that the boat took off and sailed very quickly through the squall. Unfortunately I could not reef the main as there was no time. The other boat had its jib and boom end in the water. As soon as they let go the jib entirely the boat stood up but the jib sheets twisted and they had to essentially sail with the main out of the squall. This entire incident lasted about 15 minutes. After which I posted a weather advisory through coast guard on the VHF. When I return to my home port some 10 hours later, I noticed that the lower section of foil was twisted. That is why I posted the question in this thread. Did I do anything wrong, or did I do it right, and what could have caused this twisting of the foil?
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Although I can appreciate the urgency of your described situation,
I think it's rarely good to let go completely of the jib sheet and have the headsail flogging as you describe, especially in those strong winds.

That's why in my earlier post I suggested a coordinated process of pulling in on the furling/reefing line while slowly easing the jib sheet, to enable the jib to furl tightly and avoid it flogging and causing damage.

Frank.
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Old 08-22-2006
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That is the way that I furled the jib and in my view thus far seems to be the best way to do it, however I can't explain why the foil twisted.
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Old 08-22-2006
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The jib furler line on our boat goes through a cam-cleat at the cockpit. Sometimes when I can't furl the jib by pulling on the line as it comes out of the cleat, I can pull the line sideways in front of the cleat, and then while retaining tension, pull the line through the cleat. It's slow, but in combination with the other technics already mentioned, it seems to work.

Also, sailing down-wind and shielding the wind from the jib with the main also seems to help.
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