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Furler or sock?

Laser_310

Active member
Joined
6 Oct 2019
Messages
269
I'm refurbing a 27-foot 'last-century' long keeler, including sails.... one of which should be an A-sail on a shortish jib-boom, probably of about A2 calibre. My arrangements are for single-handing ease-of handling - especially avoiding foredeck work in rising breeze and gathering night - and I had it in mind that certainly included having the A-sail on a decent furler.
I think many people might agree that while an A3 can work fine on a furler, a true A2 is not as easy to get working well.

personally - i hate socks.., but for A2's on large boats with limited crew, it might be the best option

your boat is not very large, and probably the best choice for a true A2 runner would be neither sock nor furler - just douse the old fashioned way. But you have indicated a desire to avoid this.

I would just note that the letterbox douse is a nearly foolproof douse that doesn't require wrestling with the sail on the foredeck - i do it when i'm out with my wife on my 30fter with a masthead asym. the main downside to the letterbox is that it is a pain to relaunch the chute - you need to re-run everything.

your other option would be to go with more of an A3, and get a furler. The A3 will behave better than a true A2. Yes, you give up a bit of down wind VMG, but unless you are racing..., it's probably better to have a system that you can depend on when it counts...
 

zoidberg

Well-known member
Joined
12 Nov 2016
Messages
3,841
your other option would be to go with more of an A3, and get a furler. The A3 will behave better than a true A2. Yes, you give up a bit of down wind VMG, but unless you are racing..., it's probably better to have a system that you can depend on when it counts...
Thanks for that perspective..... :)
 

Birdseye

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Joined
9 Mar 2003
Messages
23,011
Location
s e wales
I spent half a morning today, in a frontal-rainy Plymouth, inquiring about 'A' sails' shapes and gear.... from two very local sailmakers. I got two very divergent, honest views. Am I surprised? I am, however, confused.... So let me throw open the question to this congregation.

I'm refurbing a 27-foot 'last-century' long keeler, including sails.... one of which should be an A-sail on a shortish jib-boom, probably of about A2 calibre. My arrangements are for single-handing ease-of handling - especially avoiding foredeck work in rising breeze and gathering night - and I had it in mind that certainly included having the A-sail on a decent furler.

"OK", said the one s'maker. "Roll it up, and drop it - rolled - onto the deck. Deal with it easily, then."

"Not happy with that", said t'other. "You'll still need to go on the foredeck to sort it all out - frequently. You'll end up removing the furler kit and selling it on YBW...... What you want is a snuffer."

Now, I'm no longer agile enough to be wrestling with exhuberant wet sailcloth., up to my armpits in intermittent green stuff, solo. Been there, done that, got the torn fingernails and broken nose..... I've already sold the provided spi-pole and bought beer. That bridge is burnt behind me. It so happens I already have a decent Bartels Gennex continuous-line furling kit for a larger boat, and I also have a sock of sorts. One of them has to go.

So what's the consensus?
Three things occurr to me. First you talk about your agility and secondly you have a smallish boat which will inevitably move about more and then lastly you have sold the pole which says a lot about your style of sailing.. In that situation, not much different to my own, I would not consider anything that had me leaping about the foredeck in rising bad weather. My own experience of a sock is that it involved me in going forward , messing about with self tangling ropes whilst hanging on to the mast with one hand. Its stored in the loft now and has been for 9 years or so. I would rather tackle my symetrical spinnakers without it.

Where is your forestay attached? Is it back from the stem head? Do you have room for a dedicated A sail stay and furling system? Thats the best solution for cruising. If there isnt room for an extra stay the a well cut genoa with a padded luff an d decent sail cloth will furl respectably to anyone but a dead keen racer. Sure it will be heavier in light ewinds than a desicated A sail but lets get real - presumably you have an engine.

Are you a racer? If not go for common sense and a decent furling well cut genoa . If you are a racer you will already have ignored all I have written.
 

zoidberg

Well-known member
Joined
12 Nov 2016
Messages
3,841
Hello, 'birdeye'
Thanks for your thoughtful response - among others.....

I'm not a racer, not now. My racing was always on others' boats and the last RORC Series I did, in an all-carbon trimaran, resulted in 4 Firsts and a Second. The boat I'm 'fettling' now is an elderly Cutlass 27 with a longish keel - so no racer. These days, it's about the journey.....

I'm fitting a jib-boom similar to the Selden system, and that should provide a suitable tack-point for an A-sail on a furler ( which I already have ). I've added an inner stay for a Solent-type sail ( also on a furler, like the genoa ) and there's also facility for a small, proper storm jib set from half-mast height, on a small furler - akin to the A-sail. That's necessary to balance the deep-reefed mainsail, so the windvane gear can work well,.....and I've discussed it with three sailmakers and riggers, who reckon it is viable.

Should I encounter conditions requiring dropping all sail entirely, then the storm jib can be rolled up from the cockpit.....
....in such conditions I would want to cower down below , prostrate on the smallest strip of cloth in the boat - my 'prayer mat' - and pray the boat has more seamanship than I.
 
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