Roller Genoa mishandling

machone

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What am I doing wrong?

I have twice hired a Bavaria with a big roll up Genoa. Both times it suffered a 'failure' in that it ended up strangely twisted with a flapping envelope. The most recent event turned into a nightmare when I tried to tighten the roll mechanism to tidy things up and the roll line broke, the sail half in and half out, flapping about in a strong f6. Luckily I had a good crew and they managed to free it and we got it off the roll mechanism and lowered it.

I have seen ripped sails hanging off roll mechanisms so I don't think I'm the only one but how can this be prevented? I kept tension(not that much) on the sheet when rolling in, vessel into wind but on the last few rolls it got twisted up and became impossible to unwind.

Another question on the same topic - are these roller systems meant to be roller reefing or are the sails only really designed to be fully in or fully out?
 

Tranona

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The mechanism needs to be greased regularly and the furling line in good condition and the right size. What you have described suggests that the line is probably kinked and not rolling away properly. It is a Selden gear, arguably the most popular type and it should work easily. It is also worth checking the lead for the furling line as many Bavarias have poor quality little sheaves which are OK when new, but wear. I can furl mine (admittedly smaller sail) easily by hand. They are designed to be used with the sail in a reduced area, but obviously not as good as a same size hank on sail. Much depends on the cut of the sail, and of course the age - baggy sails are even baggier when partially rolled. Many sailmakers use foam or graded rope padding in the luff to improve shape. My last boat had this and it is very effective, particularly with larger overlapping genoas. My new boat has a smaller jib with less overlap and the luff is cut hollow to achieve much the same effect when partially rolled.
 

lpdsn

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What am I doing wrong?

I have twice hired a Bavaria with a big roll up Genoa. Both times it suffered a 'failure' in that it ended up strangely twisted with a flapping envelope. The most recent event turned into a nightmare when I tried to tighten the roll mechanism to tidy things up and the roll line broke, the sail half in and half out, flapping about in a strong f6. Luckily I had a good crew and they managed to free it and we got it off the roll mechanism and lowered it.

I have seen ripped sails hanging off roll mechanisms so I don't think I'm the only one but how can this be prevented? I kept tension(not that much) on the sheet when rolling in, vessel into wind but on the last few rolls it got twisted up and became impossible to unwind.

Another question on the same topic - are these roller systems meant to be roller reefing or are the sails only really designed to be fully in or fully out?

You should keep a resonable amount of tension on the sheets to make sure it rolls up tightly. I tend to keep a bit of wind in the sail rather than letting it flap too much. Are you used to these systems when crewing for others or is it your first exposure to them?

I've chartered a boat where the furling line didn't have enough wraps on the drum, so I had to re-run it to get a few more wraps before the sail would completely furl up. Maybe that was the problem when your line snapped. If any such system jams in the future, worth checking there are still wraps on the drum before pulling harder Always worth checking out a charter boat in a bit of detail unless you really trust the company to have checked what the last charterer messed up.
 

RichardS

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My Profurl roller manual says not the grease the swivels or drum with anything. Just wash them down with clean water.

Sometimes the furling line can be routed incorrectly. I once noticed on my boat that the furling felt harder to pull than it should. There are a pair of parallel "guides" either side of the Profurl drum and it always looks as if the line should exit through the guides. In fact, this is incorrect and the yard had assembled it incorrectly. Once I had re-routed it everything was smooth again.

My genoa has red tape vertical lines on the bottom edge pointing upwards marking the 1st and 2nd reef furling points although it is easy to overshoot when letting the sail out so it's best to let it out and then furl back in to the reef mark.

Richard
 

Tranona

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My Profurl roller manual says not the grease the swivels or drum with anything. Just wash them down with clean water.
The Selden Furlex fitted to Bavarias does need grease. Easy to do following the instructions in the handbook. Makes a difference.
 

William_H

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I am an anti furler (hank ons for ever) however I do wonder if the OP needs to move the sheeting point further forward to provide a correct pull direction on the sheet for that light load as the furling line is pulled. A fully aft sheeting point (as set for full sail) could allow the clew to rise as it is furled possibly causing a twist tha the describes. good luck olewill
 

machone

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The furling system was Furlex on this one, maybe a replacement. I had the same problem with rolling away on a previous charter. We fixed the mechanism and put a few more rolls on the furling line than had been there before. Moving the sheeting angle might have helped but isn't the easiest thing to do with tension on the sheets. This last problem could easy have turned into a ripped sail or worse, the forestay took a battering.

I love the convenience of these systems but this is the second time I've had a problem in strong winds, where you really need them to work properly. I am renovating a boat and had assumed I'd fit one, I like the look of the small Selden electric roller which has a backup winch handle fitting. After these experiences I am having doubts. It looked correctly fitted, I don't think there were enough turns on the drum but that wouldn't have prevented the initial twist problem. We had plenty of tension on the sheet but there was some thrashing, it was too windy to furl with power in the sail.
 

jdc

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There's very little chance of furling a big foresail with it full and driving, so some flapping while furling is inevitable. However as others have said, if well set up and lubricated it's a lot easier which allows most of us to just pull it in as quickly as possible wile keeping a modicum of sheet tension. This way flapping is minor and of short duration.

However if the system is rather stiff and/or you've left it a bit late to reduce sail area (F6 with a big genoa is quite a lot) and the resulting flogging would be too much to bear, what you probably need to do is take some drive out of the sail. Two ways have worked for me: (i) heaving-to and easing the sheet while pulling on the furling line and (ii) by going onto a run so the mainsail blankets the genoa.
 

Stooriefit

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Beware of assuming the system needs lubrication. It depends on the make - my Harken only requires periodic rinsing with fresh water (and this summer the rain has done the job!). Not every system needs grease.
 

jac

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Also note that you were head to wind. if moving forward much you can really add load to the line. I know Saint Tom mentions furling in the lee of the mainsail ( obviously whilst running) but haven't done that myself but is usually ok as I tend to reef early with kids aboard - ease the sheet till the sail start to lose drive and boat slows but before it's flogging to death - winch in and keep easing so that the sail is just on the edge of flapping / drawing.
 

eddystone

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As well as all the other things suggested, I had the Furlex jam up completely recently - going forward found the self feeder had dropped down and tangled itself round the drum - it needs to be tied back to prevent that - maybe just worth checking.
 

Danny

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...and (ii) by going onto a run so the mainsail blankets the genoa.
+1. If you bear away until the main just blankets the genoa you may well find that there's enough wind left in the sail to provide some tension but, because the apparent wind is considerably less than if you're close hauled or head to wind, it's easier to roll away. It's worked for us a few times.
 
The furling system was Furlex on this one, maybe a replacement. I had the same problem with rolling away on a previous charter. We fixed the mechanism and put a few more rolls on the furling line than had been there before. Moving the sheeting angle might have helped but isn't the easiest thing to do with tension on the sheets. This last problem could easy have turned into a ripped sail or worse, the forestay took a battering.

I love the convenience of these systems but this is the second time I've had a problem in strong winds, where you really need them to work properly. I am renovating a boat and had assumed I'd fit one, I like the look of the small Selden electric roller which has a backup winch handle fitting. After these experiences I am having doubts. It looked correctly fitted, I don't think there were enough turns on the drum but that wouldn't have prevented the initial twist problem. We had plenty of tension on the sheet but there was some thrashing, it was too windy to furl with power in the sail.
In a strong wind, as you get to the final quarter or third of the sail to be furled, you can bear away and furl the remainder without flapping.
 

Elemental

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I'm of the opinion that a correctly set up furler should not need winching - let alone enough power to break the furling line. On my 35' Ben., which has a big genoa, I can furl the sail by hand in all conditions, and my partner only resorts to the winch in strong wind. It sounds like the furling line had jumped off the drum on the way out and then, of course, is jammed. On most roller furlers it's important to keep some tension on the furling line whilst unfurling and not to just let the sail race out. As noted above, correct placement of furling line fairleads and general condition of the bearings can make a big difference.
 

Jungle Jim

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I crew on a Bavaria and at my first attempt at furling I suggested head to wind (I'm a dinghy man dontcherknow) and the skipper said no, bear away a little and ease the sheet. We have one on the furler and one easing the sheet to keep just a little tension on the sail and it works a treat. It requires a bit of grunt to start it and then it runs easily.
 
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