Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Check this sailing gear more often during the season

by John Jamieson on 4 Apr 2014
Off Cape Hatteras Captain John Jamieson http://www.skippertips.com
Master sailor, offshore racer, sailmaker and author Brian Hancock tells a tale of a transatlantic delivery that turned into a nightmare in his classic 'Maximum Sail Power'. The crew had checked their sailing gear, sails, and lines. And all looked under control--or so they thought.

Until...

...one specific vital line snapped. In a matter of seconds, their sail turned into a nightmare. Read on to discover how to avoid this common sailing situation with this simple sailing tip!

Beware of overconfidence on one of the most complex, sophisticated pieces of equipment on deck. Indeed, sailors often talk about systems. Sailboat systems could be defined as something that requires multiple pieces that work together to produce the desired effect.

Now, that could mean most anything, but in my mind, it means complex pieces of equipment, like your galley, your engine, your marine sanitation device. On deck, I would consider the roller furling unit to be a system. Why? This single system requires multiple parts to work together for the desired effect. A swivel at the hoist, drum at the bottom, fairleads, blocks, line and dozens of internal parts. If one of those fails, it could compromise this system.

Reliable? For the most part. Except for those 'weak links' we talk about from time to time. Each of your sailing boat systems has a weak link. And these gremlins are most often hidden, forgotten about, or those things that we sometimes say in a rush 'oh, I just checked it yesterday' or 'I'll get to it next month' or 'we'll do that later'.

So what was the culprit in the opening scenario? Furling line. It snapped and they were done for. In the blink of an eye, they lost control of the Genoa in those high winds. They needed it furled and they were stuck with no way to roll it up! That meant tons of time on a pitching, rolling foredeck doing the 'Bronco-Billy' to try to haul the sail down.

Friction fought them as they pulled and hauled to try to lower the massive sail inside the narrow furling extrusion tube. So here's the 'lesson-learned' in this sea story...

Check your furling line each time before you get underway from bow to stern. Any chafe means you need to change it out before you cast off. Also, you need to change out the entire furling line once a year as a preventative maintenance task. Remove and replace all of the furling line to give you more peace of mind throughout the sailing season.

But that's not all...
Do not leave the safety of protected waters without an alternate 'hank on' method to hoist a headsail. 'Hank-ons' are not some antiquated piece of equipment from the days of Bligh. They are a seamanlike sail that should be your primary means of headsail propulsion in case your furling unit fails. And if you need to claw off a lee shore to windward, you can bet a hank-on could make a big difference in your ability to do so.

Final Thoughts
Under no circumstance should you listen to any market hype that states that furling units are fail-free. They are not. I have yet to ever hear of a hank-on headsail that failed and could not be hauled down in a minute or two. They go up; they come down. Carry a hank-on headsail or two. Discuss rigging alternatives with your sailmaker or rigger (i.e. a removable inner forestay with proper mast support).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Use this easy sailing tip for safer sailing this sailing season. Keep your furling gear 'fit as a fiddle' for worry-free cruising on the waters of the world.

John Jamieson (Captain John) with shows you the no-nonsense cruising skills you need for safer sailing worldwide. Visit his website. Sign up for his Free, highly popular weekly 'Captain John's Sailing Tip-of-the-Week'. Discover how you can gain instant access to hundreds of sailing articles, sailing skills videos, sailing tips newsletters and Free sailing topic e-Books!
Zhik Yachting 660x82Fremantle to Bali Race 660x82navathome 660x82

Related Articles

Kids Polarised Sunglasses from Barz Optics
Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Each pair are supplied with a neoprene case and sunglass retainer.
Posted on 4 Aug
Reducing weight aloft with composite backstays
Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Every kilogram you take out of the rig is roughly equivalent to 4kg added to the bottom of your keel!
Posted on 26 Jul
Bavaria STYLE 46 Australian Premiere at Sydney International Boat Show
For everyone who appreciates luxury on the water, the STYLE package is now available for the Cruiser 46 and Cruiser 51?. For everyone who appreciates luxury on the water, the STYLE package is now available for the Cruiser 46 and Cruiser 51?. Making the most of your time on board, be it with family or friends, is becoming more important. Yacht owners want certain levels of comfort and an onboard living experience coupled with versatility.
Posted on 26 Jul
What to look for when buying a modern lifejacket
There is no doubt that modern lifejacket design has changed considerably. There is no doubt that modern lifejacket design has changed considerably and one of the biggest drivers of this change has been due to personal ownership. Rather than crew relying on lifejackets being on-board a boat, they want to own their own lifejacket as part of their kit bag.
Posted on 25 Jul
The New Bavaria Cruiser 34 - you won't believe this is a 34' yacht!
The Sydney International Boat Show sees the World Premiere of the Bavaria Cruiser 34 - 2 Cabin version. The Sydney International Boat Show sees the World and Australian Premiere of the Bavaria Cruiser 34 - 2 Cabin version. The new Cruiser 34 offers more space and more comfort than ever before with a bigger cockpit, dual helms and ergonomically designed seating. This is the first time the entry level Bavaria cruiser has been offered in twin helm!
Posted on 19 Jul
Navathome Australia brings RYA Theory to your door
The RYA Cruising Syllabus has been built up over years of best practice development in Sail and Power Boat skippering. The Royal Yachting Association Cruising Syllabus has been built up over years of best practice development in Sail and Power Boat skippering. Split into a theory and practical syllabus the training modules take you in steps from a Start Yachting orientation through to Yachtmaster for either power or sail.
Posted on 5 Jul
Free $US3,000 Carbon Vang with SouthernFurl boom orders in July
Southern Spars is giving a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July Southern Spars is giving away a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with all of their SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July. Carbon gas vangs make a great addition to the furling boom package, though if you’d prefer to keep your existing one, Southern Spars will offer you a 5% discount on the price of your boom instead.
Posted on 29 Jun
Newport Bermuda Race - High Noon takes honours
As the Newport Bermuda Race fleet rushed to the finish line on Monday in the wake of the first-to-finish boat, As the Newport Bermuda Race fleet rushed to the finish line on Monday in the wake of the first-to-finish boat, the powerful 100-foot grand prix Comanche, to the surprise of many they were led by an unusual boat and crew. High Noon, at 41 feet, is fully 59 feet shorter than Comanche and tens of feet shorter than many other entries.
Posted on 22 Jun
Platino recovery - Family confirms that tug has made rendezvous
Reports in social media say a salvage tug has made a rendezvous with the Platino earlier than expected. Reports in social media by family and friends of Nick Saull, the crew member killed during a catastrophic incident abroad the 66ft yacht Platino say the salvage tug which left on Tuesday night has made the rendezvous earlier than expected. The Facebook report says the tug, Sea Pelican, arrived on Friday morning, the weather in the area has eased and with a more favorable outlook.
Posted on 16 Jun
Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron to ban bottled water
Approval has been given to create a ban on bottled water that comes in plastic containers. The RQYS Management Committee has confirmed that approval has been given to create a ban on bottled water that comes in plastic containers. This will place the club as a leader in environmental impact management in Australia and around the world. The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club earlier this year did likewise. Who’s next?
Posted on 16 Jun