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Thread: Care and Feeding of a Roller Furled Headsail

  1. #1
    Principal Partner Kenneth K's Avatar
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    Care and Feeding of a Roller Furled Headsail

    I guess I should have asked this when I first got the boat.....

    What's the best practice on a roller-furled headsail, to release the halyard tension after every sail, or to just leave it taught and set all season?

    If the former, I'm guessing most would run the halyard to a clutch and winch. If the latter, maybe I'll just leave it unclutched and on a horn cleat.

    Thanks.
    Ken
    '85 E32-3 "Mariah" #641
    Universal M-25

    "Saltwater is the cure; sweat, tears, or the sea......"

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    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    The advice I have had from riggers over the decades has been to "relax" the stress on sail and rig when we return to the dock.
    I always ease the halyard a bit and take pressure off the back stay. It's quick to re-establish again next time we go out.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
    Sail # 28400
    Betamarine 25 (new 2018)
    Fresh Air
    Portland, OR USA

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    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    I don't ever carry much tension on the genoa halyard. Just enough to get the wrinkles out. Hard cranking on the jib luff makes the furler work harder.

    But then, I don't have a backstay adjuster and I'm not racing or trying to alter the headsail draft.

    So (ergo, consequently, thus, accordingly, on account of that, and because of the aforementioned), I don't usually bother slack off the halyard when leaving the boat.

    Also, lazy.

    (typed in unison with Loren, which will give you a good clue who to listen to)
    Last edited by Christian Williams; 11-18-2018 at 03:18 PM.
    Thelonious II, E381 hull 513 (1984) Universal 5432
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    Principal Partner Kenneth K's Avatar
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    Nice to know that I've neither caused irreparable harm to my ship nor that I'll be universally viewed as a poor sailor for taking the approach similar to CW. With my port winch removed, I haven't' been able to get all that much tension on the jib halyard anyway.

    Thanks.
    Ken
    '85 E32-3 "Mariah" #641
    Universal M-25

    "Saltwater is the cure; sweat, tears, or the sea......"

  5. #5
    Advanced Beginner bgary's Avatar
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    For what it's worth, I'm also of the CW mindset. Not racing, no backstay adjuster, I don't crank a lot of tension onto the jib halyard, and I don't generally bother to ease it when at the dock.

    $.02
    Bruce ("laziness is one of my core competencies...")
    "Makana" (ex-Thelonious)
    1985 Ericson 32-III #604
    Makana blog: here

  6. #6
    Principal Partner Kenneth K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgary View Post
    For what it's worth, I'm also of the CW mindset. Not racing, no backstay adjuster, I don't crank a lot of tension onto the jib halyard, and I don't generally bother to ease it when at the dock.
    So Bruce, when you re-rigged your cabin top, did you run the jib halyard through a clutch?

    Seems like a wasted clutch slot to me. I can just snug up my jib halyard (by hand, or by running it to the port primary) and cleat it off at the existing horn cleat. I could use the clutch space (in my triple) for something else.

    By the way, did you ever post pictures of the finished product of you re-rig? I'd love to see it.
    Ken
    '85 E32-3 "Mariah" #641
    Universal M-25

    "Saltwater is the cure; sweat, tears, or the sea......"

  7. #7
    Advanced Beginner bgary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenneth K View Post
    So Bruce, when you re-rigged your cabin top, did you run the jib halyard through a clutch? Seems like a wasted clutch slot to me.
    Yeah, I did, and yeah, it seems sorta wasted. I hoist the headsail at the beginning of the season, take it down at the end of the season to protect it from winter, and between those two events I don't fuss with the halyard much. It has occurred to me that I could easily raise it and tension it (using the winch), cleat it at the mast, and then free up the clutch for something else. It's even occurred to me to make it a two-part halyard (removable tail) so I don't have 50 feet of line hanging off the cleat for the whole sailing season, but... all of that is pretty low on my project list.

    In the meantime, I have triple-clutches on each side and it works for me. the three slots on each side are for spinnaker-halyard, jib halyard (or main, on the starboard side) and the two reef clew-lines. I use a removable tackle for the reef tack-lines, my mainsheet and vang are not led along the deck, so.... 6 slots works for me. The only thing I really wish I had a better solution for is the tack-line for the spinnaker - when I'm flying the kite, I run it back along the deck to the port-side cabin-top winch, but at some point I may re-install one of the horn-cleats to free up that winch when flying the kite.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenneth K View Post
    By the way, did you ever post pictures of the finished product of you re-rig? I'd love to see it.
    Yeah, I did a blog-post about it; part one of two here: http://www.ericsonyachts.org/infoexc...b-(part-1-of-2)

    Very happy with how it turned out. Let me know if there's something particular you want to see, happy to post other photos. Note that my layout was mindful of a possible future owner wanting to use a dodger, but not having a dodger gave me options that might not be optimal with an always-in-place dodger.

    Bruce
    "Makana" (ex-Thelonious)
    1985 Ericson 32-III #604
    Makana blog: here

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    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Question

    Bruce, in picture 4 on part 2 of the project you show the winches mounted behind the clutch stoppers. About how far are they forward of the front of each winch?
    I am designing an upgrade to this same area on our boat, and need to move the location of the clutch stoppers back some from the factory location.
    Yours look to be a bit less than a foot.

    Thanks,
    Loren
    1988 Olson 34 #8
    Sail # 28400
    Betamarine 25 (new 2018)
    Fresh Air
    Portland, OR USA

  9. #9
    Principal Partner Kenneth K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgary View Post
    my mainsheet and vang are not led along the deck, so.... 6 slots works for me.
    Yeah, that's the problem I am facing. Due to the dodger, the vang and mainsheet have to be run "off center," ie., through deck organizers and through the same "cutouts" in the dodger face that the other lines run through, whether they run to clutches or not.

    Cleating the jib halyard off at the mast is a somewhat brilliant suggestion! That's not a line that needs to run aft.

    Progress is slow here.......

    Your's look great!
    Last edited by Kenneth K; 11-18-2018 at 09:21 PM.
    Ken
    '85 E32-3 "Mariah" #641
    Universal M-25

    "Saltwater is the cure; sweat, tears, or the sea......"

  10. #10
    Advanced Beginner bgary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Beach View Post
    About how far are they forward of the front of each winch?
    It's less than a foot. I don't remember the exact dimension, I think it is about 7-1/2 inches from the back of the stopper to the working face of the drum, which means a little over 6 inches "clear" between the two pieces of hardware. For scale, the base of the drum is about 5-1/2" in diameter.

    There was a bit of juggling involved in picking the placement. I wanted to balance
    -- clutches far enough back that the handles would clear a dodger someone might want to add some day
    -- winches far enough back that the leads from the clutches would be good and within recommended deflections, and
    -- far enough back that I could use the winches as "secondaries" (spin sheets) without rubbing on the aft end of the cabin-top, but
    -- not so far back that getting a wrench on the fasteners underneath, at the turn of the cabin-top edge, would be problematic

    The photos are a little cockeyed, but I lined the winches up so that the line in the center stopper leads straight back to the face of the winch. the other two lines lead to the winch at about 5 degrees (well within the max - 10 degrees - spinlock recommended)

    I don't think there's a perfect placement, just a best (?) compromise between a bunch of conflicting factors.
    "Makana" (ex-Thelonious)
    1985 Ericson 32-III #604
    Makana blog: here

  11. #11
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by bgary View Post
    It's less than a foot. I don't remember the exact dimension, I think it is about 7-1/2 inches from the back of the stopper to the working face of the drum, which means a little over 6 inches "clear" between the two pieces of hardware. For scale, the base of the drum is about 5-1/2" in diameter.

    There was a bit of juggling involved in picking the placement. I wanted to balance
    -- clutches far enough back that the handles would clear a dodger someone might want to add some day
    -- winches far enough back that the leads from the clutches would be good and within recommended deflections, and
    -- far enough back that I could use the winches as "secondaries" (spin sheets) without rubbing on the aft end of the cabin-top, but
    -- not so far back that getting a wrench on the fasteners underneath, at the turn of the cabin-top edge, would be problematic

    The photos are a little cockeyed, but I lined the winches up so that the line in the center stopper leads straight back to the face of the winch. the other two lines lead to the winch at about 5 degrees (well within the max - 10 degrees - spinlock recommended)

    I don't think there's a perfect placement, just a best (?) compromise between a bunch of conflicting factors.
    Thanks! You have ID'd the compromises very well.
    We are close to replacing the factory clutches and relocating our housetop winches all the way to the rear of the cabin top. We really want to put a new full-width dodger on the boat and do not want the clutches under the front of the canvas base. Also, the winch will be easiest to get (most of) a turn on the handle if it's aft as far as reasonably possible.

    We have enjoyed our narrow "hatch width" dodger for over 20 years but the cloth is about worn out. Time for some real shelter when heading up the coast again. A bimini and connecting piece would be highly desirable also.

    As for parts, we will stick with the original Lewmar 30ST winches, but do plan to upgrade to the Lewmar clutches with their proven "falling rings" internal design. The original ones are badly UV-damaged and while they work pretty well, I am unsure what and whether they exist on the market today. I do know that a friend replaced all of his identical ones on an '86 E-38, when one of the handles broke off.

    Thanks again.
    Loren
    Last edited by Loren Beach; 11-19-2018 at 07:49 AM.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
    Sail # 28400
    Betamarine 25 (new 2018)
    Fresh Air
    Portland, OR USA

  12. #12
    Principal Partner Kenneth K's Avatar
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    Loren, I don't know how the coachroof is shaped on the Olson 34. As Bruce's pictures show, the E323 roof gets "longer" as you move inwards towards the companionway. Thus, one way to gain spacing is to move the clutches and winches in toward center as well as moving the winches aft. This also helps give the space required to spin a winch handle 360 deg inside the dodger.

    The other way to gain spacing is to use clutches where the handles open aftward. My Garhauer clutches open handles forward which required me to move them further aft about 4 inches behind the dodger.
    Last edited by Kenneth K; 11-19-2018 at 02:11 PM.
    Ken
    '85 E32-3 "Mariah" #641
    Universal M-25

    "Saltwater is the cure; sweat, tears, or the sea......"

  13. #13
    Advanced Beginner bgary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenneth K View Post
    the E323 roof gets "longer" as you move inwards towards the companionway
    It does, but that can have another complexity to consider. On my boat, if I moved the clutches any farther inboard, the inner-most line of the three would rub on the front corner of the sea-hood.

    The lead obviously depends on where your deck organizers are, but it's a possible problem to be aware of. One thing I did - maybe not the most elegant approach - was get a bunch of tag-line, tie it to the mast collar and then run it thru the sheaves of the organizer so I could "see" how the three lines would lead with the clutches in different positions.

    Bruce
    "Makana" (ex-Thelonious)
    1985 Ericson 32-III #604
    Makana blog: here

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