Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Virgin Islands
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How does your girlfriend feel about sailing these days etc
With your size boat and high winds, even if everything is optimum with your rig, the strength needed to pull in the jib can be more than one guy can handle. Blanketing the jib with the main always works, but as Faster mentions, in rough seas you're setting yourself up for an accidental jibe. Sometimes I put a reefed main up for a downwind run simply for that purpose - it'd be easier to run under jib alone, except when I have to get the damned thing in! I agree with Faster that
Generally if you need a winch to get the sail furled either you're doing it wrong, or there's a mechanical problem, or a substandard furler.
if we consider "doing it wrong" not having enough people-power to heave-ho the thing in when you need to. However, having to pull on the line with more force than one guy can muster is not necessarily indicative of a mechanical problem (although it CAN be.) Larger boats solve the problem with hydraulic furling.
The problem with the winch is that it exerts a steady pull, whereas the best way to get the jib in with minimum force is to haul in a lot at the odd times that everything lines up just right. If I need to use a winch I never use the little one we have for the furling line - I go for the unused primary. That way when the strain lets up I can get in a lot. And yes, be sure to have extra wraps on the furling drum - as many as it can hold. This not only prevents you from running out of line, but effectively increases the diameter of the drum and gives you more mechanical advantage.
Something no one's mentioned as yet- you can always DROP the jib instead of furling it. I've done this before when a furling line parted - it's no big deal. However, in your situation you were probably too short handed to keep everything under control.
And yes, how DOES your girlfriend feel about sailing these days?