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Old 06-17-2013
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Singlehanding- Flaking the Main

Took Sea Mist out on my own for the first time this past Saturday. I had my Dad with me, and we had a great time. Not too much wind, so I thought I would roll the dice and raise just the main. Hoping to get proficient with the main before I start using both sails. She moves great in light air- I love this boat!
After about an hour or so, I pointed into the wind, locked the traveler in the center of the cockpit, and went forward to lower the main. This is where it got tricky. Standing in front of the mast, I attempted to lower and flake a little at a time. Unfortunately, the wind kept kicking up and blowing the sail out to one side. I tried putting a first and second reef in, but the head of the sail still kept blowing out to one side. Am I doing something wrong? Should I just try to drop and flake it as fast as possible? Lazy jacks sure would be nice..
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Re: Singlehanding- Flaking the Main

When single handing drop it fast. flake it later or as you mentioned lazy jacks help allot. If you have someone on the helm they need to keep her into the wind. I love/hate Lazy jacks. The are great when dropping the sail but in the way when raising it. The happy medium of loose jacks and topping lift are usally enough to drop the main and tidy up later on my boat. Also running the main halyard aft helps allot.
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Re: Singlehanding- Flaking the Main

Thanks, and thanks for the picture! Is there a block at the base of the mast? I have the turning block like yours, but nothing but a cleat between the mast winch and that block.
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Re: Singlehanding- Flaking the Main

I have done a lot of single handing. I drop it and then flake from the aft end.
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Re: Singlehanding- Flaking the Main

Lazy jacks can be a curse when raising the sail, but that's only if you don't plan ahead.

Before you leave the dock/anchor/mooring, loosen them. After you raise the main, tighten them back up. Then when it's time to drop the main, just let it drop into the lazy jacks, and flake it out when back to the dock, or, if conditions permit while still under weigh, start at the back, putting on sail ties as you move forward. (I have a StackPak, so I just pull the zipper as I move forward)

Like anything you do singlehanded, planning ahead makes everything easier.
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Re: Singlehanding- Flaking the Main

First,
Sounds like you have a luff rope rather than slides on the luff of the main. Either way, drop if fast, flake later. If you have extra hands on board AND you have slides you can drop it part way and flake, put on the aft tie, repeat as you move forward. If you are considering jacks, look at easy jacks - a variation on lazy jacks.
Glad you are enjoying the boat!
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Re: Singlehanding- Flaking the Main

I guess I'm out of the norm, I flake it as I drop it, even when single handing.

If you have halyards run back to the cockpit then there is a good chance that the halyard is running along the deck at the base of the mast. You can use your foot on this exposed line as a brake.

So the process is:
* turn into the wind
* use the autopilot or lock the helm to keep pointing that way
* open clutch and quickly move to mast
* put your foot on the halyard
* flake the first few flakes that fell as you were moving
* release a little sail, flake, repeat until it's down

You have to keep an eye on where you are going of course, and be ready to run back to the cockpit if you need to steer.
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Re: Singlehanding- Flaking the Main

Thanks to all. I had no idea sailing would be that much more fun when you are in control of the boat.
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Re: Singlehanding- Flaking the Main

Head up drop the halyard a foot or so go back to cockpit tighten main sheet hard against topping lift. Correct course of boat back to head up ( if you don't have autopilot). Back up to mast take all but half turn off winch. Take line tail back to cockpit stand on cockpit seats flake as you drop from the back. Tie off the bulk of sail in the back. You can straighten out the luff at the dock.
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Re: Singlehanding- Flaking the Main

Heading straight into the wind, if your slides are lubricated the main should drop readily.. when I'm alone I flake the leech as it comes down, then pull all the slides down as far as they'll go when I've worked my way to the mast.

If it's a luff rope main then it's a bit tougher.. I'd drop at the mast as quickly as possible then deal with the sail afterwards. Much easier to flake a bolt rope main with two people, where you can have one forward and one aft, flake as you drop. Alternatively you can drop it, and roll the sail rather than fold it. Find the middle of the luff, and roll from there towards the ends then tie the 'tube' to the boom - but again that's a two+ person job to do neatly.
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