Sailing Tips – Furling Behind Main

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 134,313
    Kevin Wensley, Director of Operations with Offshore Sailing, provides tips and techniques for furling behind main.

    Kevin Wensley: My name is Kevin Wensley, I'm the Director of Operation at Offshore Sailing School. And I'm here today at one of our beautiful Southwest Florida location of South Seas Island Resort. And today we are going to talk a little bit about Furling Systems. Most boat cruising yards will have jib or genoa furling sails. Some even have furling main sails that go in to bottom more into mast. The jib furler is a very simple piece of equipment usually robust enough to handle usually some of the worse weather. However, continuous use in stressful conditions will lead to excessive wear and ultimately gear failure. Not to mention increasing the work load of the crew member designated to operate the system. Here are a couple of tips for ensuring your crew and equipment are not overly worked. When I am furling the jib, try and do this on a reach, it allows to winds help bring the sail out. Keeping a little tension on furling line will also reduce the risk when an override. This is where the furling line binds on itself and makes further unfurling difficult and furling away of the sail impossible without clearing the override. Keeping tension on the furling line by creating a little friction on a wind shore around the cliff will make it a lot easier to control when you only want to partially pull out the sail on a breezy day. Here is a technique for rolling up the jib that I often see go unused which will significantly reduce the wear on equipment, impact on the rig and generally allow your crew to roll up or reduce sail area without resorting to wind change.

    The key is to take all the power out the jib by blank tear behind the main sail. This is done by the sailing the boat on the deep broad reach until you see the clue of the jib start to collapse behind the main. Once you've done this the helm's person has a study course, it should be possible to start furling the jib with little effort. Keep the jib sheets under minimal tension to allow for a nice even furl and avoid running out of furling line caused by the lapse becoming to tight which results in the candy stripe look and that can alternative leads to UV deterioration of your sails.

    Best of all using minimal tension on your jib sheets causes no stress on your crew or equipment. It is a good policy to wrap two or three extra turns of the jib sheet around the furl sail in case of sudden scroll. You will of course need some sea rim to execute the maneuver, so a little pre planning will help. Don't worry that you have to let out the main sail to turn down wind, as you can easy pull it back in as the boat is turned back up towards the wind. And there you have a great technique for furling away your jib or genoa making sure that it's nice easy on the crew and its looks great when it's finished.