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Is furling genoa worth it?

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James Chew View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote James Chew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Is furling genoa worth it?
    Posted: 17 Apr 2012 at 7:31pm
Hi, I've just bought a contessa (my first keelboat actually), and I have aquestion about the furling genoa.
On my first sail with the boat the furling gear jammed when I tried to furl it, and I had to untie the sheets and sail in circles for a while to roll it! Before I get to the question of how I might fix it, I'm wondering whether it's worth fixing. I generally sail with a crew, and I've made do quite happily the last week hanking a smaller jib onto the inner forestay. I've done some sums and estimating the sail and gear to be about 40kg, it reduces the righting moment from a 90deg knockdown by about 6% - it also gives a horrible baggy sail shape when part rolled. Is it difficult to just make do with a hanked sail?
 
If I do decide to fix it, has anyone else had this problem? It's the top set of bearings that has jammed, and I can't dismantle it. It's unbranded so I don't know where to get spare parts anyway. Also, someone who seemed knowledgeable said that the halyard was at too small an angle to the foil, and that I needed to put a fitting on the front of the mast to effectively lower the point to halyard exits the mast. Has anyone else done this?
 
Thanks in advance. 
 
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moongirl View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moongirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2012 at 10:13pm
A picture of the furling gear would help in identifying the manufacturer eg Profurl, Tuflex etc.
Whether you stick with furling depends on the type of sailing you do ie race or cruise although the rule change is going towards furling for racing with a sail which equates more or less to the current No 2 and can be held up to at least 25k true.
You are correct when describing your sail as being awful when partially furled - you will never get a decent set! If you normally sail with a Crew & are happy to have them on the f,deck when it puffs up a foil or hanked on set of sails would be fine. 
Come back with some more info & I can comment further
COLIN
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George Isted View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote George Isted Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2012 at 10:49am

Hi James,

As Colin has suggested it is really only a question you can answer but I would not be without furling system that I use for both cruising and shorthanded-racing as it makes life so much easier.   I have a hank on No4 that goes on an inner forestay for when it’s very windy.

 

If you are looking to replace the furler I would suggest you look at the Harken Mk IV that a lot of Co32’s have fitted (including my own) and JR Yachts now fits this as standard.   I have never had a jammed furling line (touch wood) but I do make sure that there is some tension on the furling line as the sail is pulled out  - this is important as a completely slack furling line will be too lose on the drum when you need to furl it back in.

 

Also, furling systems have come a long way, the Harken (and others) have a separate bottom swivel that is separate to the foil and drum and this help when sailing part-furled as the sail is rolled up from the luff (rather than the luff, head and foot) and this reduces the bagginess of the genoa.  Difficult to explain in words and easier to see in operation.

 

Hopefully you can find a manufacturers name on your system and get it repaired.   Is it possible to clean up the bearings that are stiff, sometimes people lube/grease bearings that are designed to run dry (rinsing occasionally with fresh water) so that could be the cause of the problem.   This has certainly been the cause of problems of a friend’s Rotostay furler that was gummed up with hard grease.

 

You should ideally have a small angle between the halyard and foil and some boats have an extra fitting on the mast to achieve this however if you have free-running (delrin?) bearings then it is less of a problem.  I don’t have a hallyard deflector fitted but others have.

 

Hope this helps a bit.  

George Isted
Contessa 32 "Concerto"
Co32 Class Captain and Measurer.
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waratah912 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waratah912 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2012 at 6:39pm
Hi James,
 
First, congratulations on your choice of boat!
Whether a furling genoa is worth it is a 3 cornered question : performance, convenience and cost!
Like all boats of it's era, the Contessa is primarily powered by the genoa, and if you want to avoid motoring in light winds then you really want to be able to set a No1. Although we mostly cruise, my preference for the last 10 years or so has been set the appropriate sail for the day, if it's light then it's a No1, if we're short handed and F4+ then it's a No2 or 3 depending on whether it's to windward or off the wind.
With increasing age and more time on the boat, last year we bought a 135%  furling genoa from Quantum, just to reduce the sail handling when we're on short passages around the Solent.
See http://www.co32.org/SECTION_Gallery/4OTH/GALLERIES/GALL_09/slides/45.html and http://www.co32.org/SECTION_Gallery/4OTH/GALLERIES/GALL_09/slides/42.html. http://www.co32.org/SECTION_Gallery/4OTH/GALLERIES/GALL_09/slides/55.html gives you a nice comparison of roller and No2. There's lot's of others in the same gallery with furlers in use.  Even so on our cruise to France in light winds we replaced it with a No1. You can get them to set well so long as you limit it to a few rolls, you're never going to be able to put a deep reef in and get a nice shape. All this is set on a Kemp Furlex twin groove roller with removable drum. We dumped the Rotostay - it was OK to use to stow the sail but useless for reefing.
The other consideration is your foredeck crew and their tolerance for getting wet!
 
Paul
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James Chew View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote James Chew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2012 at 10:03pm
OK, thanks for the replies everyone.
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GlennG View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlennG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2012 at 5:28pm
I'd definitely recommend the halyard deflector on the masthead.  My Rotostay IV furler was a complete cow,  catching the halyard and wrapping it around the forestay before jamming.  Fitting the deflector totally put a stop to this stunt.

Once I had problems with the furler jamming completely when the sail was fully out and I'd not locked the furling line properly and ended up with a complete birds-nest in the furling line.  Approaching port my only option was to drop the genoa.  I suppose this problem's unlikely to occur if you're reefed as,  but definition,  you've got tension on the furling line.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Galatea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2012 at 6:46pm
Originally posted by James Chew

Also, someone who seemed knowledgeable said that the halyard was at too small an angle to the foil, and that I needed to put a fitting on the front of the mast to effectively lower the point to halyard exits the mast. Has anyone else done this?


James,
Such a fitting to prevent halyard wrap is standard on all the modern furling systems that I have seen.  If you don't have one you should definitely retrofit one.

Speaking for myself, having sailed both with hanked on foresails and a furling genoa, the convenience of furling far outweighs all other considerations.  I have experience with both Profurl and Selden/Furlex and both are very good (I thought Profurl had a slight advantage in ease of maintenance and simplicity;  I found Selden customer support truly outstanding.)  The other two brands popular here in the U.S. are Harken and Schaeffer.  Both have excellent reputation for reliability and being almost maintenance free.
Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Richard Ritchie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 3:19pm
James,
Furling makes things much easier and safer for the cruiser.  (But my 21 year old foredeck hand would prefer the full-on action of sail changes)
My old Rotostay was sticky to hoist and hard to furl (and needed a diverter: essential to avoid halyard wrap) but the new Harken Mark 4 is brilliant.  Worth every penny. 

Be aware of the value of rope sewn into a pocket in the luff to take out some of the "bag" of the sail when well furled.

Also be aware of the need to set your heavy weather sails on a separate stay: the last thing you want to do is unfurl a great big sail in a gale to get it down so you can put up the small one.
Don't get the furler too big. 140% or 29m2 seems an accepted maximum to be practical.
And no, it won't set like a blade with 5 rolls, but you are unlikely to be pointing like a witch then either...
Richard.
Richard Ritchie
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