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We've got hank-on-headsails on our 30 foot new to us boat. The sails are nearly new and I'm not interested in a furler at this time.

One thing I'm dealing with is the sheer size of the sail after it's been removed from the headstay. I'd like to take care of the sails as much as possible, and neatly fold/roll to put each back in the bag. However, doing so up on deck (as opposed to my back yard) is proving difficult. It's just so much material, that's stiff and slippery. I'm beginning to think this is a lost cause? Anyone have any tips here?

One thing I wonder about is the best way to preserve the sails. Lightweight tent manufactures advise people not to neatly fold up the tents, just to stuff them. The problem was that users tent o develop patterns, the cloth gets folded at the same place every time, which prematurely wears those points. Loosely jamming a tent back in the bag randomly folds the fabric every time. Sail manufactures don't recommend this, as far as I know?

Anyone use headsail bags that allow the sail to stay attached to the stay, yet packaged in a bundle on the deck? My buddy does this with the head and stay sails on his friendship sloop and it seems to work well.
 

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I did the same on my Friendship. On my current boat the staysail is on a boom, and I cover it like a mainsail. My buddy has his jib hanked on, brings it down, pulls it staight with the sheet, and covers it. I used to unhank mine and stuff it in a bag, then lash it a bit off the deck so it didn't stay wet.
 

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I sailed my 42' sloop with hank-on headsails for years, including 8 years in the Caribbean. Often sailed alone, so I feel your pain :)

It was common practice in the islands to roll the headsail nicely along the top lifeline and secure it there with rope or nylon stops. This position is easy to work with, and keeps the sail off the deck. This works very well, even with a large headsail (including my 180% drifter!).

Often, you would see two headsails furled along the port and starboard lifelines.

Very simple system to use: just drop the sail, pull the clew aft pretty tightly, then furl the rest of the sail along the upper lifeline.

I used sunbrella covers to protect the furled sails from the tropic sun. I believe I still have one in pretty good shape, and if you'd like to try it I'd be happy to send it to you. Just let me know (PM me or email bill at wdsg dot com).

Bill
 

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My previous boat had hanked-on headsails, and I would drop it along the gunwale, inside the lifelines, and then pull it aft, so that it was flaked down in neat folds. Then I folded the aft 1/3 of the sail forward, and folded that over the forward 1/3 of the sail. The result was a fairly neat bundle, that was approximately 1/3 the length of the foot of the sail. Every time I folded it, it flaked a little differently, so I didn't get significant creases. The size of the bundle was too large to fit into the factory-supplied sailbag, so I made a bigger bag out of Sunbrella. Overnight, I would leave the bagged sail on deck. For longer periods of time, I stored the sail in a locker.
 

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I follow the same basic procedure as Sailormon6 in folding the hanked-on headsails for my 30-footer. My sails do fit the the bags after folding and a bit of stuffing. New stiff sails are tougher to work with and will need more carful folding to reduce the volume.
 

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killick, in the best of all worlds you are right, you don't fold sails. You do like the racers with high tech sails and roll them.

But in our world, you take the jib hailyard forward with you, and lower the jib while you work up the leech, flaking it as the sail comes down. When you are done it is flaked on deck against one of the rails, and all you need to do it tie it.

If you have the luxury of time and space and hands, you can unhank it and then roll it up into a sausage, then stow that below or against the rail. If you're planning to leave it hanked on or to be able to hank it back on in a hurry, you leave it flaked, and just don't squeeze too tight on the folds.

Everything is a compromise.
 

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Hello Killick (a friend of mine's boat carry's that name and he's Scottish)

I actually prefer and have hank on sails. The folding of them is partially an art and partially a science....especially if you want to fit them into the factory supplied bag.

Leaving the sail hanked on, you pull from the clew and flake and walk on the sail up the side of the boat making it as flat as possible.

Then, go back to the clew and fold it forward approximately the length of the sail bag.

Then, remove the hanks from the headstay folded and make that the last fold into what you have already folded with the tack on top of all the folds.

Now, this whole mess should go into the bag. If the bag has a pull tie, I put that on top so the next time I use it, I know how to open the bag so the tack is on top ready to hook to the tack of the head stay.

I know this sounds like too much trouble, but it makes the flying of the jibs/genoa's a lot easier. Also, I do not throw the bag below, I tie the pull string of the empty bag to the hatch before closing it so I don't have to go fetch it when the sail is lowered.

A couple other points, I tie the end of the jib halyard to a handhold so when I pull down the jib, the halyard won't go to the top of the mast in the event that a knot develops in the process.

I really like hank on sails. You can much more easily match the sail to the conditions. People with roller fullers end up flying that 130 all the time...regardless. I made the decision to buy an auto pilot instead.

Moe
Apache 37 S&S Sloop
 

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As I daysail more then I do overnighters. I just open the forward hatch and as the headsail comes down I remove it from the forestay and feed it down into the forward cabin. Never gets folded the same way twice and being "rumpled" it allows it to air much better then if it were folded or put in a bag.
If I'm planning on a trip with overnighting then I'll pack the unused headsails better and hope I don't need to make a sail change.

Mychael
 

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Excellent information everyone!

Henry, those sail covers look short..do you flake the sail down, then fold it into thirds?

PS. Looked at your pictures, love the woodwork, and your headsail sheet attachment!
Thanks for the compliments. Chiquita is the perfect boat for us in the waters we sail but I do lust after a boat like yours for bigger water!

I made the covers with Sailrite materials and sized them to just fit the sails. I just stuff them in whichever way they will go. The individual headsails on this cutter are much smaller than the jib would be on an equivalent sized sloop. I just got a new suit of sails that are much stiffer than my old sails. It's a real challenge to get the bags to encase them.
 

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I do much the same thing with my hank-on headsails as Sailormon et al. (flake down on deck by pulling from the clew, then fold). However, I do the folding part slightly differently, and I think this way is faster and safer if you're doing it in any kind of seas.

Instead of folding the flaked sail from the clew forward, you just sit on the foredeck next to the sail (while it's still hanked on). Say the sail is flaked down on the port side deck; you sit to starboard, facing the sail, about a sail-bag-length away from the tack. You put your right hand under the sail in front of you, reach with your left hand one sail bag length towards the clew, and sort of sweep the sail with your left hand under your right, all the way up to the tack. Repeat until the sail is all folded up; each fold goes under the previous one.

I like this because it doesn't require walking forward with sail in hand. The sail seems to fit much more easily into the bag than when it is haphazardly stuffed, yet it definitely doesn't fold in exactly the same place every time. Also, it leaves the sheets sticking out from under the folded sail; if you pull the sheets, it automatically unfolds the sail, sort of like a poor man's furler. The result fits neatly within the confines of the pulpit.

I started using this method on an overnight trip in April with our 135%; every night I'd fold it up this way, leave it hanked on, and pull the bag over it (sheets sticking out of the top of the bag). Next morning I'd get up and pull the bag off and be ready to hoist right from there.
 

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I should add to my previous comment that, when I made the larger sailbag, I installed a zipper the full length of one side. After I folded the sail, I unzipped the bag all the way, and pulled the open, flat bag under the sail. Then I zipped it up around the sail. It was easier to zip the bag around the sail than to stuff the sail into the bag. The bag also had a drawstring on the open end, and a D ring on the other end, so the sail could be lashed on deck if necessary.
 

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Sailormon: that sounds like a good idea. Did you come up with any way of keeping the bag+sail suspended above the deck, or did it rest right on the deck?
 

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The bag laid on the deck. It was made of Sunbrella that matched the boat's other canvas, and looked good. I never stored it there long-term, so moisture or mildew under it was never a concern.
 

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" Did you come up with any way of keeping the bag+sail suspended above the deck,"
The jib halyard? :)
 

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We've got a Pacific Blue sunbrella foresail bag that holds a 155 and a 180 Genoa that we bought at Minney's Yacht Surplus. It's got overlapping twist grommets on the front (which snap around the forestay), a nylon mesh bottom that can sit on the foredeck and drain, and a sewn "D" ring at the aft end of the top zipper that takes the jib halyard to hoist it off deck ( good for drying and access to the hawse pipe for the chain locker).
Keeping it hoisted means you have to secure the bitter end of the halyard to the lifeline gate to prevent "halyard slap" and an insurrection by your dockmates. Otherwise, you have the convenience of a hanked on sail ready to hoist and run the sheets (which we keep coiled in the bag as well) and one less bag to store below in a locker.
We see alot of shredded headsails on roller furling because of the UV exposure and alot of them inadvertantly unfurl in a strong blow.
I think replacing the sail bag is probably cheaper, or just leave bare poles if you're not going to be around for a while.
 

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" Did you come up with any way of keeping the bag+sail suspended above the deck,"
The jib halyard? :)
I tried that but didn't like the way it put strain on the seams of the bag (which btw is not a Sunbrella bag but just a nylon sail bag).
 

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Adam-
You can probably come up with something simple to releave the strain. Maybe take a loop of tubular webbing, or 5/8" line, with an eye in each end. Then simply loop it around the sailbag, pull one eye through the other, attach the halyard to the top eye. Now the load becomes a compression cord around the bag, squeezing it shut while lifting it, instead of pulling the seam apart.
Or you could simply loop the halyard around the bag and clip it back on itself.
Or have someone sew a piece of tubular webbing into the sail bag, giving you a strong supporting strap to hook onto.
Whatever floats the boat.

I confess, I like the idea of being able to stow sails quickly (no matter which method) and securing the boat in a trice. Of course since that's "boat work" even a trice takes ten times longer and costs four times as much, right? :)
 
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