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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've searched through previous roller furling threads and I have an issue I could use some help with that I don't think has been addressed yet? I'm new to having a roller furling unit and sailing a new-to-me 1980 41' Formosa.

My core issue is that I cannot get the unit to unfurl - the leech tape of the jib fouled around itself to the point where you can unfurl maybe 5-10 feet of the sail before it starts to furl back on itself. I can roll the sail all the way in, but can't get it past that 10' point.

Photo is attached. Slightly longer story, my last sail was in 20 kt winds and the stitching on the leech started to come undone, and when tacking it would rub against the stays and fray the leech, leaving long strands of threads dangling from the stays and the jib. Apparently, when furling the jib in during those winds, loose sections of the leech where the stitching pulled away got tangled in the sheet itself.

It's a wonky problem - I unfurl the jib for about 10' and it gets stuck. If I manually try to unfurl the sail at the roller furling drum, it will start to furl, but after 5' or so will start to wind back on itself.

You can see in the pic where it is fouled up the roller furler and the wisps of threads in the stays. Those threads are stronger than they might appear, especially with a few wraps together.

I think what's happened is that some of the stray threads have basically tied themselves in a knot in the high winds when furling the unit in. I didn't know anything was amiss until I went for a sail today and couldn't get the jib out. :-/

Any thoughts on how to solve this? I have some, but none of them seem very good.I think I have 3 basic choices -
  • go back out when the winds are 15-20 and hope that the force of the wind will break those threads loose and the sail will unfurl
  • rig something to go up the sail at the dock and cut the threads free by hand
  • remove the roller furling unit - can I even do that without lowering the jib?
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    IMG_2321.jpg
 

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I think your analysis is correct. The frayed sail is knotted together. I think you are looking at your options 2 or 3. Going up in a bosuns chair you might be able to cut the tangled threads. If that doesn't work then removing the furler is on the menu. I see no reason why it can't come down with the sail on it. I suspect a new genny is in your future.
 

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Hmm.. I'm Trying to picture this. Do you have a spare halyard or two forward? Can you secure a halyard or two to a strong point on the bow, snug them up nice and tight. Then remove the drum and foil, forestay, and bring it to the base of the mast? find someone thin to haul up a chair at the mast and remove the snags as you go. ?
careful to not let the sail unfurl. I'm guessing that most of the snags are below the spreaders.
 

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Your first option,:
go back out when the winds are 15-20 and hope that the force of the wind will break those threads loose and the sail will unfurl
would be what I would try before anything drastic/expensive.

Although I have a feeling that if the leach / sacrificial edge is gone a new genny might be on the books.

gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hmm.. I'm Trying to picture this. Do you have a spare halyard or two forward? Can you secure a halyard or two to a strong point on the bow, snug them up nice and tight. Then remove the drum and foil, forestay, and bring it to the base of the mast? find someone thin to haul up a chair at the mast and remove the snags as you go. ?
careful to not let the sail unfurl. I'm guessing that most of the snags are below the spreaders.
Yes, the snags all appear to be below the spreaders. I thinking the same way you are - rig a line forward, parallel to the roller unit and take a strap around the jib to keep me snug to it as I climb up the halyard using jumars. Snipping snags as I go.

I would have had fun doing that in my 30's. Today...not so much. I'll do it if I HAVE to, but I was hoping for a different solution than that. :)
 

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To remove the R/F with the sail up you would have to take the forestay off. You'd then have to cut the threads and unroll the sail by hand, on the ground. After that you'd have to re-install the forestay. A bosun's chair and a pair of sharp scissors would be a lot quicker and easier. Maybe there's a friend or dockhand you can hoist if the idea doesn't appeal to you.
 

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You need to go up in a bosun chair with a sharp knife, shears, scissors to cut away the damaged part which has fouled the sail. You may be able to have the sail repaired... but if it is fraying it has to be attended to or replaced.

You don't have to or want to take the stay down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Looks like the consensus is...up the mast I go. Thanks for the input, everyone!

I think the sail itself is in good shape and will just need some leech tape reinstalled rather than a whole new sail, but I won't know that until I get this one out and down.

It's a 90% and I was thinking of changing it to a 110 that I have in the locker anyway. :)

It will take me a week to get back to the boat, but I'll let you all know how it goes. Thanks again for the help.
 

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What you really need is to go back to Gary's post and your own Option 1.

It may have sounded silly but it's not. I have a rule (I have many crazy rules!) Let The Wind Do The Work.
Go out on any day over about 15 knots, unfurl as much as you can, sheet in tight, go on a beam reach till it breaks out. A couple of waves might help, going hard upwind, crash gybe (no main up), flog it upwind or downwind.
I'm sure you'll break it out.
And when you do, lower the sail.

It's gotta be easier than anything else and can't do more damage.

And, no you don't need a new sail, nor a sail maker. Get a large 1 litre can of contact cement from the hardware store and stick the fabric together (after clearing off the loose strands.)

Mark
 
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I was waiting for Mark to suggest that there was no need for a sailmaker because the solution was to burn the sail after dousing it with a litre of lighter fluid or gasoline. Not yet, I guess.
 

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Hi Mark
I am the last bloke to rush up an buy a new sail.
If the edge is that frayed the whole perimeter will at the least need to be resealed with a hot knife or the OP will continue having the same snag up.

gary
 

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Good idea!

👍
 

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I'd try the wind approach. Can't hurt, as long as you can get it furled back up and motor back to the slip, if it doesn't work. Personally, my relationship with Murphy isn't that good. I had a buddy foul his foresail and could not get it back in, while the wind was blowing 20+. He had a real problem on his hands. I watched him try to get onto a mooring, with the harbormasters help. It was a ****e-show.

Unfortunately, he had to go up and cut away the problem and I'd take some odds, you'll do the same.

Good lesson learned. I find that 90%+ of my big problems aboard, began as a small one that I either ignored or didn't understand. Loose sail stitching or detaching fabric become big problems fast. Personally, I'd have a proper leach tape reapplied by a pro (not super expensive), unless it's something you've done before.
 

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Is your furling drum at the top of the mast turning? These tend to become dry of lubricant causing the bearings to freeze up if they aren’t lubricated/serviced annually. This would cause the problem you describe when the halyard begins to wrap itself around the top of the forestay. In order to remedy this issue, simply drop the sail, lubricate the drum, then hoist the sail and try again.

Simple.
 

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How high is the tangle? Could you lash a knife to a boat hook?
Unless the sail is worn out, you can fix it. Resewing the leach by hand isn't too hard, just slow.
 
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