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QUESTIONS:  from Farrier racer and composite boatbuilder …                                      from Andrew-J, West Germany



QUES: Been reading your Reefing article, and like your idea of using a shock chord. At the moment I use lazy jacks that work if pulled in enough to hold the unused part of the sail, but do not always work well so need to be frequently adjusted.

Yes, lazy jacks are the common solution without boom furling and I had this on 'Magic Hempel'. Better than nothing for sure, but furling is neater with less sail abrasion.

QUES: On some Farrier boats, I see they reef while furling (rolling) the sail back on the boom. Is this practical?

Yes, but only if the mast tiller control line is not attached to the boom.    So YES for my W19 and W22, but NO for the W17.    I have managed to occasionally lash the tiller line around a furled W17 sail, but it's not ideal and would probably damage the sail in that area over many uses as the load on the tiller line can be very high.   

In this 2 minute video of the W17 scooting along with 1 reef, the sail was rolled down under the shock cord and lays very neat above the boom.       W17 with single reef in Fresh Breeze       

Incidentally, while looking at this, please note how little spray there is from these hulls ... and what there is, goes horizontal --- far less vertical than on most vee'd hull boats at a similar speed.  Vertical spray implies higher boat resistance and it’s also what makes you wet !!  So the W17 is surprisingly dry, even at speed.  Never needed either a wet or dry suit, but to be fair, I've also stopped sailing below 10C  ;)   

QUES: I imagine that it might be quite a job to lower the sail and then roll it back on the boom. And one needs to detach the line from the mast tiller also.

Typically (like on the W19 & W22), the mast tiller points forward and then has control lines P&S, so any reefing issues are totally independent and unaffected by the tiller.    But on the W17, that would affect access to the deck hatch.    But re-rolling the sail around the boom after being reefed. is no harder than any other 'wrapping up of the sail'.

In practice, I seldom need to do this.   After sailing reefed ..I leave the lower sail in a roll with the shockcord and just roll up the upper part on top, and finally throw the cover over the whole sail and boom.  Then, when I sail again, I simply re-hoist the sail and IF I do not need a reef, I just remove the shockcord from the clips, re-feed the bolt rope into my SeaSure roller feeder and hoist the sail.  It’s really quite easy.  Hoisting IS a heavier load than lowering though .. due to sail and batten weigh plus some inevitable resistance at the feeder.   Personally, on the W17, I use a snubbing winch mounted below the mast to hold the tension while I sit astride the main beam and pull the halyard away from the mast in a series of hoists.  I have a video of this ‘somewhere’ so if I find it, I will post a link here.

QUES: I understand it this way.  That you have your sail furled on the boom at first, use the pre-feeder for hoisting but do the reefing without furling the boom. When you store the sail do you lower it first and then roll it or do you furl (roll) while lowering?

If not previously reefed, it furls while lowering, and very easily too.  In fact, I typically need to pass the fall of the halyard either between my legs or under a foot, as otherwise the sail actually 'comes down too fast' .. faster than I can turn the crank .… it's really that easy!.   Say on average,  2-3 secs per meter of luff, with the upper part faster as the roll increases in diameter and the friction falls.

QUES: A sailmaker from Hyde Sails - Germany, also recommends a luff groove for my new wing mast, but I am nervous about ending up with an untested set up without personal experience with such an arrangement.  Perhaps you can help close the gap on this.   

Secrets for the bolt rope groove are two-fold.  One is to run this in a tube, such that the contact is as square to the sail as possible.   The typical Vee'd space on a tapered alloy mast, is what jams many sails, especially when non-rotating  The other thing is to specify a hard bolt rope that's not easily compressed.  The old soft 3-strand ones are the worst.   I make sure that my sails are set up like this plus I always recommend to send them a 10cm length of your mast tube to make sure ALL parts slide through it readily.   A little silicone added later on is then all that is required ... and I personally recommend this system up to at least a 12m rotating wingmast.   Above that, it’s more of a trade off, as a long boltrope will generally have more friction than batt-cars.   But there's a heavy trade-off.

Of course, I am not going to get much support from any 'battcar pushers' on this, but the luff groove solution IS clearly lighter, simpler, more aero-dynamically efficient and cheaper .. and in my experience, up to certain limits, works well enough to justify all those wonderful perks, if done right.  PLUS, it further allows you to furl your main around the boom in just seconds, which adds significantly to sail life, not to mention 'sailing pleasure' ;)   After getting used to this, I suspect you'll soon be saying "why did I not try this before?"

QUES: I have some questions about the boom and handling of the sail.

Can I use the W17 cruciform boom shape with CF also?  ( as I do like the idea that all tackles are easy to attach and visible).     But of course, a simple CF tube can serve well as a boom.

Yes indeed.    If you want a CF finish.  I'd round off and then cover 3 wood strips with whatever cloth you choose and then bond it like building a wood one, with one piece added to each side of the main vertical 'plank'. Probably still less work and cost than building a regular tube.

QUES: How can I use the clew reef tackle for the second or third reef?  Do I use another tackle or do I need to pull out the line from the first cringle?  

That would not be very efficient as you know.    You can either reeve separate lines, but I prefer to use one line with a reefing hook and single block attached.  This hooks into your reefing cringle on the leech (from one side).  I then reeve one line from a cleat midway on one side of the boom, back through a side block at the rear of the boom, up through the block on the reefing hook, then down to another side block on the other side of the boom, and then forward to another cleat on the other side.    I also try to design my sails so that the leech is fairly vertical up to the first reef and not too much shorter for the 2nd one.  This way, I avoid needing multiple fixed sheaves on the sides of the boom for the various reefs.  (As they say, 'the devil is in the detail')

While the above allows for tensioning or releasing from either side, I would probably only arrange this on one side for a boat under 7m. to further simplify things.

QUES: Regarding the Cunningham tackle,  Farrier recommended to put an additional line around the mast at the luff cringle to prevent the boltrope being pulled out of the luff groove. Some strong velcro straps may serve this purpose.

Here, I go a different way than most others.   I personally find that many get too concentrated on powerful outhauls that are really not required if the sail is cut right and eased off when adjusted.  IF the mainsheet is first slackened off, there’s little tension on the leech, and little on the outhaul or reefing lines.     This way, I find I seldom need more than a 2:1 outhaul.   The main load 'by far' is down the leech, though only after the mainsheet is fully tensioned.     There should be very little load in the sail foot, as even in a high wind, at the BOTTOM of the sail the air flow IS slower so justifies at least a little camber.  Cranking out the outhaul attempts to remove ALL camber .,and could also pull the sail away from the mast ...hence the need for a Farrier-strap   Please check out what I've written here re sail camber.   Sailing Tips part 2.    It’s just my personal view of course .. and you are quite free to have another one, especially if you are racing against me ... haha ;-).

With my sails I do not need any lines around the mast. I also cut the mast slot quite high, so that I have 500-800mm of free height (depending rig size) between the base of the slot and the boom and that assures that there is no pulling on the boltrope there. The Cunningham takes good care of the tack and I often have a 4:1 there as the sail sewn around the hard bolt rope can take it.  (see photo above at right)

QUES: For storing the sail for trailering I want to detach the gooseneck and transport the boom with furled sail on it so it must be light enough to carry. I hope it will not be too heavy.

This will totally be a function of the sail/boom materials you choose.    Being as my sails seldom attach to the boom (free foot), it’s very easy to roll them up with their battens staying in place (with the cover over them) and then the boom can be handled separately.   To hoist, I just lay the roll in the cockpit to leeward and hoist the sail without the boom .. only attaching the clew when it’s about 600mm above the deck.  

As I have said above, ALL the main load comes down the leech from the halyard at the mast-top.   For this reason, on cross-cut sails, I always specify a fairly wide doubled ply over the leech to help carry this without prematurely distorting the material.  Without this, a cross-cut sail will typically soon over-stretch the leech and be all out-of-shape in just 2 seasons.  

If you see this Video of the W22, < W22 in Portugal >,  you will clearly see this doubler when the sun is behind the sail.   This way, even with the outhaul a little slack, the sail is still flat and effective behind the wingmast.. Also check out this photo showing the leech on my boat ’Magic’, seen at the base of this article:   Sailing Tips Part 3

Hope this covers your concerns ok.                                                                                         Mike… Feb 2021


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