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To furl or hank

  • Keep the hank on style using full inventory?

    Votes: 11 47.8%
  • Convert to furling style having my sail cut and stitched?

    Votes: 8 34.8%
  • Buy new furling system and new sail to match?

    Votes: 4 17.4%
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First String
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So if anybody has been reading my post in the last 2 years you know that I'm green at big boat sailing. I have learned how to sail the C&C30 MK1 using all hank on sails. that's a:
115%
135%
155%
and a 170%
We just got back from a bare boat charter in the BVI. I sailed 7 days on a Jeanneau 36i with a roller. Man what a dream that roller furling system was. How much trouble will it be to convert my boat? Could I use one of the head sails to convert or do I have to buy a new sail? Will all my head sails become un-usable at that point? It may not be worth the money or the wast of the old sails? Please comment on this if you k now cost of a conversion or advice in this process.
Thanks so much for your help.
LT,
 

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You can convert existing sails, but it is rarely worth it unless they are in near new condition. A new luff tape will need to be sewn on, and you'll need to add a UV cover to sails that you plan to keep on the furler, or you'll need to add a sock that covers sails while the boat is at dock.

A good furler for a 30' boat is $1500 to $2500. A cheap furler (Alado or CDI) is a little cheaper (around $1000), but makes sail changes difficult and doesn't allow you to get sufficient luff tension for good sail shape in higher winds.

I put a new furler on my Pearson 28-2 (and had new sails made) and 18 months later I regret it. Hank-on sails make sail changes much easier and allow me to sail with the best sail for the conditions. A sail bag that allowed me to keep one sail hanked on and above deck was almost as quick to use as the furler. Reefing sails through partial furling works okay if you are sailing at a beam reach, but the reefed sails hurt my pointing angles and the sails built for reefing are heavier than what is ideal when completely unfurled.

If I always sailed in 10-15 knots the furler would be great, but for sailing across a wide range of wind speeds it is suboptimal.

My opinion is in the minority.
 

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Unless you have a like-new sail don't bother recutting the sail. Look for either a used sail or go all-in for a new one.
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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If you're into having just the right head sail for every condition, stick with hank on. If you want to maximize performance, stick with hank on. If you just want to sail and make things a bit easier, go roller.

I have a masthead rig with a 110% head sail on a roller. I chose that because as a singlehander, I don't want to fight with a large genoa. I can still get the boat up to hull speed, though I sacrifice some light air capability. To me, the trade off is worth it. YMMV
 

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I installed a CDI on my Oday 23. I had my existing 100% jib repaired (the sail was about 15 years old at the time but in great shape) and installed a luff tape and a foam foot. Best investment I've ever made on the boat. I sail singlehanded quite a bit, and the roller furling has made a quantum difference. As others have said, if sail shape, speed and the ability to quickly change sails is important to you, then stay with the hank on system. But if you cruise, or just if high performance is not your primary concern, then I can't stress enough how great roller furling is. As for the question of whether you should buy a new sail or refurb your old for the roller furling, I don't think the presence of roller furling makes a difference. If you need a new sail, buy a new sail. If you can repair or refurb your old sail, then do that. It makes no difference if you hank on your sails or if you have roller furling.
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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You don't need one roller you need two.

A code zero on a furler up front. It will save you diesel and give you much peaceful ghosting.

A 110% or similar on a reefer.
 

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My furler cost me under$100. I sew the luff rope to the head and then cut and heat seal the end of the luff rope then pull that into the slot of the furler . Been doing that since 1980, no problems. 1 1/4 sch 40 aluminium pipe with a saw cut sanded smoothly makes a good extrusion for a furler. We used to be able to get it with the slot already extruded in the pipe . May still be available in some places. Then you weld the drum to the bottom and put a halyard block on top and you have your furler
 

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Plastic bearings keep it centred on the stay. You drill your pilot hole for the hole saw , in 3/4 inch poly sheet, then hole saw half way thru, then drill the hole for your luff rope , then use the hole saw from the other side . Flat head screws hold one every 2 ft.
 

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This library computer keeps randomly deleting sentences, like all Vancouver Island library computers
 

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You put your headstay thru it , then put the bottom eye on. You hoist the sail on a 1/8th inch wire halyard , tie it off and take the rope tail away, then tighten it with a down haul. Halyard and all rotate, eliminating the need for a halyard swivel.
 

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It also depends on what type of sailing you normally do. Quite often I'll meet the wife and kids at the boat after work, and we'll head out for dinner on the water, not even knowing if we'll put any sails up at all (we're on a tributary with nice anchorages on the way to the big water.) If the wind is favorable I can roll out the jib. Five minutes later the kids want to swim and I roll it back in, and I never did any wrestling on the foredeck.
 

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Old as Dirt!
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So if anybody has been reading my post in the last 2 years you know that I'm green at big boat sailing. I have learned how to sail the C&C30 MK1 using all hank on sails. that's a:
115%
135%
155%
and a 170%
We just got back from a bare boat charter in the BVI. I sailed 7 days on a Jeanneau 36i with a roller. Man what a dream that roller furling system was. How much trouble will it be to convert my boat? Could I use one of the head sails to convert or do I have to buy a new sail? Will all my head sails become un-usable at that point? It may not be worth the money or the wast of the old sails? Please comment on this if you k now cost of a conversion or advice in this process.
Thanks so much for your help.
LT,
Not long ago, I helped a slip neighbor convert a Cal-29 to roller furling for his cruise to the Bahamas. Like you, he had a good collection of hank-on sails that he didn't want to give up on. The furler he used was a Harken ESP Unit 1 from Defender (currently priced at about $1600). For his furling sail he selected a 110% jib out of his inventory and had a #6 luff tape sewn to it and a mid-weight Sunbrella UV cover added to the leach of the sail. While it was somewhat older, the sail adapted without re-cutting or any of that baloney and flew quite nicely. For for the rest of his sails, we had a #6 luff tape sewn over a length of 4" black webbing with bronze grommets set in the tape/webbing at intervals matching the intervals on his other sails. With this, the sails can be hanked onto the luff tape/webbing in the traditional manner and hoisted on the foil. (One could probably even furl these sails with this arrangement although, so far as I know, he didn't do so.) They reportedly did work reasonably well although I understand that after some while he had several of his other sails fitted with luff tape as well.

FWIW...
 

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A good question to ask yourself is how often you change sails out on the water. Because a furled sail must go on a foil the luff is not captured as you raise and lower it. As a result it is hard to manage the sail in a blow bouncing around in chop, although at the dock it is no big deal. My boat is of the large jib small main era with a 130% working jib that is hard to manage on deck, so for me a furler is great.

Sail shape has been mentioned as an issue, but I am not sure why. Many race boats have jibs on foils even if they do not have a furling drum. Some furlers have strange halyard set ups, but most use a standard set up same as hanks, so adjusting halyard tension is not an issue.

I have a sail made for the furler, and one converted from hanks, both are fine. Becuase of the top swivel and drum a furling sail may need to have a slightly altered or shorter luff. Get a quote from a local loft for the conversion, it may be quite cost effective to convert several of your sails. I agree if they are near the end of their life spending your money on one good new sail would make more sense.

Finally keep in mind some fulers are made with removable drums, allowing you to cruise with a heavy duty reefable uv protected sail, and race with a full hoist deck sweeper. I agree with Alex that a reefed jib will not point as well as a smaller storm jib, but mine will still point well enough to head upwind and keep me out of trouble. Most C&cs are upwind machines so the difference might be small.
 

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I mentioned sail shape of a partially furled shape as being an issue. When the sail is fully deployed it is no problem, the foil is a bit more aerodynamic than hanks (which is one reason why race boats use them). This is why I think a furler is great if you are always sailing in "perfect" wind conditions.

The only other sail shape issue with a furler is that it is harder to get a full deck sweeping sail (unless the furler has a recessed drum), but most cruisers aren't interested in that anyway.

My boat points (with reasonable VMG) about 5-8 degrees better with the properly cut 105% jib than with the 135% genoa rolled up to 105%. My genoa has luff foam and my furler has an independent swivel at the tack, both of which are supposed to help performance of a partially rolled sail. For sailing around here that is significant. If you sail in a region where your average point of sail is a beam reach (not upwind) then it's less of a concern.

As an example last Sunday's day sail was 6 nm of beam reach, almost 15nm close hauled in a <1nm wide channel (against a minor current for about an hour, then with the current in our favor), and about 10nm on a deep broad reach using the spinnaker to come home. It was my favorite sail of the year (having gone out 30-40 times so far). If all of that tacking sounds miserable to you then sail shape close hauled won't matter as much.

I mostly do my sail changes at the dock, using the forecasted weather to select the right sail for that day. If there will be sustained >10kt winds the 105% jib is the better sail, the boat stays on it's feet and is faster.
 

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Alex - as usual, I agree with you on almost all points.

To the OP - I have done the conversion on my old S2 8.0 - 26 footer. We put a Harken roller furling on, and had our moderately used 150% recut, luff taped, and UV-protected. It was BY FAR the best modification we made to that boat - which was used primarily for cruising.

The previous year, we were crossing Lake Erie in moderate winds, and my wife had stitches in her abdomen - they pulled out mid-cruise because she was wrestling with the headsail as the boat bounced around.

The shape of a partially furled headsail is NEVER any good for pointing - BUT - if you're short-handed, in the dark, after a long day in tough weather, you'll be more thankful for the furler than anything else. It also allows you to sail the boat much closer to the dock, before turning on the iron genoa.

Now, I have a 35 footer that I race regularly, and cruise frequently. I have a heavy, 'mid-cut', all-purpose sail that I leave on the furler any time we're not racing, but I have 7 or 8 other sails that all have luff tape, and I make sail changes as often as anybody with hank-ons.

So - my opinion? Put the furler on, and have 2 of your sails re-cut. I'd start with either the 150 or 170, depending which is in better shape, and the 115. (you need a backup sail, no matter what...)
If you're happy with the result, pay to have the other 2 converted as you can afford it, but you may not want/need to worry about UV protection. Only the sail that stays rolled up when you're at the dock needs that extra weight.

I suspect you'll find that you'll want to change sails just as often with the furler as you do with hanks - but it's not avoiding the sail changes that make the furler worthwhile...it's the ease of handling when you're on the water.

Cheers!
Andy
 

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and I make sail changes as often as anybody with hank-ons.
I'd love to be able to say this, but I don't.

In fall/winter/spring I make sail changes about every other time out (there is roughly a 50/50 chance at this time of year that the mounted sail is the right sail for today's conditions). However I rarely make sail changes underway with the furler. Even with a pre-feeder and smartly routed halyards (so I can do the sail change solo) it is slower to do a sail change on the furler than with a hank-on sail. That means that I rarely do a sail change while underway, even if it is advisable.

How often do you change sails under way? Do you have any tricks or advise that have made it easier for you?

I also find it easier to flake hank-on sails while on the boat. The hanks make for very natural flaking points.
 

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Hi Alex;
Based on the very little I know about you, I suspect you are a much more experienced sailor than I am, and if you've taken care of good halyard angles and a pre-feeder, I don't know any good 'tricks'. I make sail changes RACING as often as anyone - when I have crew aboard. When I'm out on a weekend sail with my family, I'll just roll up part of the genoa, and performance be damned.

Andy
 

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This is a good point, if you have enough crew the sail changes are not an issue, but single or sort handed a jib on a foil is a handful to change out. I like the idea of one all purpose cruising sail set up to go, and sails without UV protection and extra reefing gear (foam luff etc) for days with extra crew on board.
 
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