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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was out on Lake St. Claire today and the wind gusts were reaching 20 Knots and up. I came upon a 28 foot sailboat in distress with their roller furling line jammed and not able to retract it. They pulled in our marina with the sail in shreds under power. I've had mine jammed several times but was able to go forward and unjam it. Since then I was told to move the block feeding the line along the deck aft so as not to pull down on reel of line. Also, I tie off the line at the cockpit when under sail so it doesn't slacken and get jammed. It seemed simple but how many sailors foul up their roller furling when dousing the sail and get in a similiar jam. It sure ruined these sailors afternoon. They were American and ended up at our canadian marina luckily able to tie up at our gas dock. They had to unfurl their wrapped genoa under a strong wind before being able to take it down lowering the halyard. Their lines were shredded and even though they hoped to have their genoa sewn it looked to be a write off to me. Anyone have similiar problems with their furling system and any advise? Thanks.
 

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so what exactly jammed?

Looking at my furler for example, I don't see any place where a line could actually get stuck (though it probably could get loose or break).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The line gets stuck between the bottom of the reel and the plate over the line on older models. Also in this case the sail wrapped around the forestay and the rollerfurling line got tangled like fishing line on an open reel.
 

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back pressure, back pressure, back pressure..
I race on Wed nights on a 36 Bavaria and the only problem we have ever had on the boat is the jib stuck out.. you HAVE to apply a little back pressure to the furling line as the sail comes out, if not, it will make a giant sloppy birdsnest with overwraps on the outside...
 

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back pressure, back pressure, back pressure..
I race on Wed nights on a 36 Bavaria and the only problem we have ever had on the boat is the jib stuck out.. you HAVE to apply a little back pressure to the furling line as the sail comes out, if not, it will make a giant sloppy birdsnest with overwraps on the outside...
I will second that view. Always have a little tension of the furler line as it rolls into the drum. I have freed bird's nest by sweating the line. In a worst scenario I have used a winch.

Jack
 

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Overrides (birdsnests) as described are is just one potential problem, and can be avoided as explained.

Halyard wrap is another potential "jam" on a furling system - this can happen if the head of the sail is low down on the foil, (ie not full hoist) or if the halyard runs parallel to the foil for any distance. If this occurs on a regular basis you need a halyard restrainer - basically a padeye or a fixed block on the mast that keeps the halyard at an angle to the foil and headstay.
 

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Sounds all too familiar. I did have some problems on our own boat (Sigma 33 OOD) in the beginning but learned that the trick is to keep some strain on the control line when unfurling. This will cause the line to wind neatly and not cause any problems later.

My big adventure was when the car in the boom with a furling main (charter boat) decided to let go when furling the main (in 25-30 knot of wind) about two turns. Now this is nice, you cannot lower the main and you cannot furl any further with the clew a meter up from the boom. After some wrestling I caught the clew and was able to feed an extra line through it so i could get the clew back to the boom and managed to furl it furher neatly. No harm done but something I wil never forget. If I have the choice for mains: slab reefing!
 

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Another source of "jamming" (other than reggae) at the head of the foresail is the spinnaker halyard. If not tensioned well, it can catch on the swivel.

Been there, done that.

Jack
 

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Mine jammed when the top swivle failed with the sail 2/3 unfurled. With the sail still partly wrapped around the foil I could not lower it at all. Becuase the wind was light, I could untie the sheets and manually pull the sail around the forstay until it was fully unfurled then drop it to the deck. In a heavy wind one could untie the sheets and motor around in circles to accomplish the same thing. This would still be hard on the sail, but better than just letting it flail away for a long period of time.
 

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Been there and done that. The jammed furler was my first major mishap at sea. Wrestling a full genoa singlehanded in building seas and winds is NOT fun.

Since then I have learned an awesome trick for all renegade sails.

First attach a line to the clew of the crazed sail. Run that line back to the tack and thru the cringle or thru a nearby padeye. Winch in the line which will pinch the sail clew to tack. You should now have a large out of control oblong 'bag' of wind. Hopefully, everyone should have a extra masthead halyard... If not borrow one from the sail that is behaved. Attach a heavy item to assist with tossing the line (I use a medium fender). Take the halyard with the weight on the end and toss it around the offending out of control sail a few times. Take that line and winch it in too. You should now have a tight little sausage of sail that has been tamed against either the forestay or mast.

This works BEAUTIFULLY and is easy to do singlehanded. One word of caution... When you pull in the line connecting the clew to the tack be prepared for the sail to catch some serious wind. The rigging will be under significant stress. Have your halyard and weight ready to go for a rapid wrapping. Done properly you should be able to pull in the clew at the same time start throwing round the halyard to wrap. Even better if you have crew that can do it simultaneously.

If you have a couple lines aloft you can even do a quick sloppy wrap of 2-3 turns to get control and then with a different line do a tight 10-15 wraps around to give you a tight little sail package that would have only slightly more windage than a properly furled sail!:cool:

Hope this helps someone someday!
 

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Circling in less then 20 knot winds.

In a heavy wind one could untie the sheets and motor around in circles to accomplish the same thing. This would still be hard on the sail, but better than just letting it flail away for a long period of time.
I used this circling method for 'furling' an already tattered and shredded jib twice so far. The first time was when our RF unit was damaged when the boat left the mooring (chafed pennants) and found a dock to pound into that ruined the fore sail. Much easier then trying to get all the shreds of sail around by hand.
Another time I used this is when we mistakenly used the spin halyard to raise the jib and as the above posts say, you need a 10* angle from the halyard to the sail. This time we saved the sail without too much flailing and flogging. Much easier to handle the mess once the winds died down instead of trying something stupid like trying to cut the jib off with a knife (you can only cut it off up to about 8' above decks without heroics)!
The best way to deal with ****e like this is to keep a level head and realize that many of your 'best' ideas are impossible or stupid at best, and the simplest answer can be the best, and easiest to achieve.
Good for the OP for helping out a fellow boater in distress.
 

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Jammed Furler

Our mainsail roller furler jammed last year when the quadruple thick loop attachment of the sail to the furling drum became caught outside the (overly narrow) slot into which the sail furls. Extra force exerted on the inhaul made the furling drum pull out (in a rearward direction) of its attachment to the mast and the entire assembly caught up in other inward protruding rivets. The furler had made 1/2 rotation, and so it would neither furl, nor could we lower the sail to douse it. We were caught with the main sail up in 16 knots wind and a narrow and twisting channel go get back to our marina. With help we got back and the pull out was fixed, but it is a helpless feeling when you can't furl and you can't pull down the main either. Now, we watch like a hawk when we are pulling out the main with the outhaul to avoid pulling it out too much. Since then, no problems have surfaced, and we are happy to have in-mast furling of the main.
 

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Ok, so from my very limitted experience, after buying a 31.5ft as a first boat with delusions of grandeur I went out on my maiden sail and my furler jammed. Here is what happened. The line in the furler drum got caught just beneath the drum jamming it and i couldn't furler the sail back up. So, again, given my limitted experience I went to the bow and turned the sail around the foil manually. This of course accomplished the goal I wished for, getting the sail furled back up, but it also did what I did not want to happen....that is is stripped the forestay out of whatever it is that hold it insit the furler. And, as a consequence, loosened the forestay and the backstay - not good.....had to have the mast taken down and furler re-rigged. Pretty affordable but a real pain in the butt - and of course countless days not having a sail boat but rather an "assisted" boat.

Knothead had diagnosed this accurately before anyone else locally which was totally impressive!

So, if the furler gets jammed again, my rule will be simple.....don't re-furl the jib manually, just loosen the halyard and lower the sail as quickly as possible - i know this sounds daunting in the wind but just point to and secure yourself and drop it fast.
 
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