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Test Sail with my new Roller Furler

I went to my Tanzer boat to check out the new sail and furler that had just been installed.

furled sail

Getting the boat ready to go sailing.

I'm still sorting out how to do this most effectively and particularly safely.

After uncovering the main sail and making sure the halyard was not twisted I went to the jib. Already this is shorter, There is nothing to do on deck! I take a look at it mightily pleased with myself.

I start the motor, cast off and get out into Humber bay.

My first step is usually to point the boat into the wind and put up the main sail. it's a bit tricky because it's hard to do quickly enough so that the boat does not turn. I guess a steering system would help but I don't have any.

I usually get the sail half way up before it turns and I have to get back to the tiller and re point the boat into the wind and finish putting up the main sail.

furled sail

This time I untied the furler line and pulled on a jib sheet. The jib or rather the genoa unrolled smoothly, flapped a bit until I released the opposite jib sheet that was too short, and cleated it. The boat immediately settled down and started mooving. (That's what it's supposed to do with a sail up!) It felt very controlled.

I don't have a lot of experience with my previous large genoa because it was so tricky to put up and take down dangling from the bow in largish waves.

With the genoa pulling I was able to find a spot where I could tie the tiller and the boat kept going. This gave me enough time to jump on the deck and quickly hoist the main. This changed the balance of the sail but the shift was gradual and I was able to get back down to the cockpit with no problem. I cleated the main and I was on my way.

The whole process was controlled and my boat felt docile for the whole set up, and I felt much safer. Having the genoa up stopped the boat from bucking and rolling as it does when it's not powered. Humber bay has waves going which way near the shore.

It is possible to set up the jib so that the halyard lead to the cockpit and another line is set up to pull down the sail. Having a furler makes attaching the sail, raising it and putting it away a matter of a few seconds. it's nice not to have to fight with the jib and surprisingly nice not to have to fold it.

un-furled sail

Not much difference when underway except that I was not worried about getting the sails down when I came back. This is another benefit that I did not expect. I was so focused on the safety issue that the convenience escaped me.

A surprise on my way back. I had the wind in my back with the 2 sails up. I pointed up as high as the boat could go, tied the tiller and went on deck and lowered the main. Again this felt controlled and safe. I started back home with just the genoa, the boat went better than with the 2 sails up. I was going faster than with both sails. That's a pleasant surprise.

When I got near the club it was a few seconds work to release the jib lines and roll up the sail. One of the jib lines got a bit tangled but the sail was well enough rolled to depower the boat. Once I have proper jib sheets this will not happen.

I still have to sort out where the various lines go, how to route them, and how to cleat and control them, but this is a vast improvement. I'm very happy.

It was nice not to have to struggle to fold up the jib and put it away.

One of the advantage of the furler is that I'm sailing faster because the set up is reduced.

<< Link to Installing a new Roller Furler on my boat

Ultra Marine Limited supplied me with my Ultra Furl Furler and installed it. Service was good and price was appropriate. Contact Heider 905-990-1227 if you are in Ontario, Canada and need a furler. They ship too.

UPDATE: I've had the furler for a full season now and I've figured out how to use it better. It is a much safer set up for me because I sail mostly alone. When I go out, I unfurl some of the genoa, tie the rudder so the boat is quite stable and go on deck to raise the main. I can usually find a spot where the tiller and the genoa are balanced and the boat keeps going without my touching it. It sort of zig-zags slowly but keeps going.

email me if you find mistakes, I'll fix them and we'll all benefit: Christine