Originally Posted by tdw
Paulo, to be honest I am not absolutely certain as to the correct procedure. Is it a hanked on reefable staysail, a heavy duty furlable staysail, a purpose built storm jib or a storm trisail ?
No, they are two separated sails. The reefed jib on a stay will do the same job as your furled jib, only better and yes, it can be reefed from the cockpit if needed.
A storm front sail is a complete different sail and a much stronger one, not only reinforced but made with a different fabric.
The difference is that with a furler system it is very hard to take the sail down to put on the furler a storm sail.
With an hank-on stay sail is relatively easy to take the reefed jib down and put the storm sail. This guy explains it better than me:
The makers of furling sails suggest that headsails can be “reefed” by rolling them up part way. The reality is that doing this creates a “bag” affect with increased draft towards the aft part of the sail. And in heavy winds, you want less draft, a flatter sail. So reefing a furling sail does the opposite of what you want to achieve...
You may be thinking that you can just change your roller furling head sail, and you would be right. However, the difference between hank-on and furling sails is that in order to change a furling headsail, you must first fully unfurl it. In a rising wind that can be dangerous to the sail, the vessel and to you.
To further complicate the changing of furling sails, as you let off the halyard, your (jib) spills out the bottom of the furler and is loose all over the foredeck. That may present problems if you are offshore in a wild sea (which is generally when you will try to change head sails).
On the other hand, dropping a hank-on sail is fast and easy: By turning your course downwind and blanketing the headsail with the main, you can simply walk forward to the mast and release the halyard. The sail drops like a rock on the foredeck (most of the time) and is always attached by the hanks to the head stay, so it cannot fly off the foredeck.
Originally Posted by tdw
Offshore I am willing to believe that a furling staysail of heavy cloth and heavily reinforced clew might just do the job up to the point where bare poles is all I am likely to be considering. The issue of chafing through sheets and furling lines is to me something that should have been considered before setting sail. Would you set off with sheets showing signs of chafe ? I doubt you would and in the instances that I have come across of furled sails unfurling in a big breeze the boats concerned have been left moored unattended for months on end. I don't doubt that on well maintained vessels equipment can and does fail but hopefully far less likely an event.
Of course, you can have a storm sail on your second furler, I mean and highly reinforced heavier and smaller sail that can be slightly furled, a sail that you will probably never to use or use one or two times, at the cost of losing a much more flexible sail for medium to strong wind. No sailor will want to do that and highly reinforced storm sails is not what you will find on the second furler of cutter rigs. That would be a sail of little use most of the time.
Regarding the problem with the furler line it is not about chafe that I am talking about. I am talking about a line and a system designed for a given force, not storm force. The furling line has to be thin to be rolled on the furler. On a really storm those design limits can be surpassed.
Originally Posted by tdw
Now yes, the heavyweight staysail may not be up to comparison with a lighter sail but once the wind is heading up over 25 - 30 knots then I'm not so concerned about outright performance and above 35 - 40 then windward is not where I want to be going. ...Over 50 knots ? I have never been there and sincerely hope I never do but my tactics in such weather would probably be to curl up in a tight ball and call for my mother. Hell, I might even give god a go.
Most certainly I would not be concerned with windward anything.
The problem here is not performance, as that sailor that I quoted explain: when you furl a furling sail it "creates a “bag” affect with increased draft towards the aft part of the sail. And in heavy winds, you want less draft, a flatter sail. So reefing a furling sail does the opposite of what you want to achieve"
meaning that in high winds to stand up to the wind you want a sail as flat as possible to offer the least resistance and to not heel the boat.
On other hand in bad weather the best thing you can do is to keep your boat moving and in control (not too fast) and close to the wind, with a small angle to the breaking waves is a good idea. If you have the right sails (and if you get 50, 60 or 70K of wind you will need a storm sail) and have the boat balanced.
Then you can put on the autopilot and curl inside
Of course, you may say that you will never find that kind of winds but that means only that you are not going to cross an ocean. I am talking about a boat prepared to go offshore, far away, and for that I am afraid a storm sail is of the essence.
In fact I am trying to find out if I can get away with only a storm sail and without a trysail.