Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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One problem with roller reefing a headsail is that on most headsail roller furling systems, the sail has pretty lousy shape after you've reefed about 30-40% of the sail. Once you've reached that point, the sail starts to lose its flat shape and generally, when you're reefing the sails, is when you least want the sail to have a baggy shape.
One reason you don't want to reef a sail on a strictly roller furling system is that the system usually isn't designed to handle the loads that are generated when the system is reefed. In many cases, this is because the headsail furling system doesn't use a rigid foil—being a wire-luff or rope luff system. The Schaefer 650 system is one like this, and I use one for my screacher. However, I can not reef the screacher using it, and wouldn't want to.
If you have a roller furling, but not a roller reefing, system, then the only way to reef the sail is to drop it and use a smaller sail or to lower it and use reefing points as described above. However, adding reefing points to a roller furling headsail is generally not a good idea, since the portion of the sail that is being reefed won't be attached to the boat in any way and is very likely to flog itself to pieces. A hanked-on headsail will still have the luff attached to the headstay by the hanks, unlike the wire luff of a roller furled headsail.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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