Furling to Hank-on?

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  • January 22, 2013 11:04 AM
    Message # 1186049


    Is there anyone out there that can support the thought of converting the jib sail from a roller furler to a hank on sail?  What are the pros & cons of both?  Which do you prefer?  Is it really that much less convenient to have a hank-on?  I'm redoing the rig anyhow with soft rigging (Colligo Dux).  If there is a strong case, I may have a nice used Harken to sell. 


  • January 22, 2013 11:15 AM
    Reply # 1186058 on 1186049
    Our boat has hank on sails, but we race and sail on friend's boats all the time that have roller furlers. 

    The hank on head sail has never given us problems with hoisting or dousing but it is a much bigger inconvenience when you have to tie it on deck or take it down in a ruckus.  We store our jib in a bag we had custom made on the deck.  If you're going to take it below all the time its going to be a royal PITA.   The up side of the hank on is that it sets very well and we get excellent shape out of it.  There is also nothing to go wrong and no "extra" rigging to run, like the furling line on the roller. 

    All in all, I can see where having a roller makes it a lot easier to get underway and to reduce sail, but you give up a tad of performance and some simplicity.  Oh and more $$$.  
  • January 22, 2013 2:39 PM
    Reply # 1186214 on 1186049
    I had a hank on headsail, but ended up going to a roller furler. I simply roll out the sail when I need it and roll it back up when I'm done.......great!
    A foam luff means you can reef the sail and still get good shape.
    When its nasty out, I don't have to go out on the end of the bowsprit to pull it down ... a big plus. I wont be going back.
    Its great to go to the boat after work and not have to get a sail out, hank it on, put covers away etc.
    The biggest benefit for me is just the ease of using it...cuts the time to get ready to go and put the boat away down a bit.
    my .02c
  • January 22, 2013 6:21 PM
    Reply # 1186370 on 1186049
    Deleted user
    Hi there TJB, Colligo Dux !!! Man I just learned a new word(s) . On my boat lil ol,  Patrica A
    we went from hank to furl on both head and club . For the head I have a Pro Furl .
    For the club I had a older furler because that rig let me reef the club the way it should be reefed,
    like a main. I have never reefed the club, and that rig did not work well, because the furl line
    got bunched up in the drum. I know I could have fine tuned it, but I just didn't want to, so I got rid of it.
     What I have now is, roller furl head and hank club, and I 'm fine with it.
    Now enough about me, let talk about Dux. I guess, and I'm guessing you can't use the
    Dux with a furl spar ?? Assuming that is the case why not do the wire rope for the furl rig
    and the Dux everywhere else.
    PS. I'm a big fan of using high tec. stuff , but making it look right on our type of boats.
    IE. Carbon fiber Mast, paint it to look like wood.

  • January 23, 2013 7:41 AM
    Reply # 1186844 on 1186049
    I have hank on yankee & staysail.  I occasionally consider roller furling until I'm on a boat with roller furling and (maybe I've just been unlucky but) it seems like every time some line gets jammed up in the roller, or the sheet parts or gets jammed in the leads, etc..  Then what do you do? And of course it always seems to happen at the worst possible time.  And there you are, in worsening conditions while a manic headsail is snapping around your head and you are trying to figure out how to get it under control.

    I single-hand so I ascribe to the K.I.S.S. methodology.  When the weather hits the fan I really don't want to be fighting both the weather and some piece of equipment at the very end of the bowsprit as well.  For me it's those times when something goes wrong that cancels out whatever convenience it might offer 'most' of the time.

    I don't find hank-on headsails a problem.  When I want to douse I just head up, let loose the halyard, the sail falls on deck and I lash the length down the deck to three/four stanchions with sail ties. When I want to put it back up I just remove the sail ties and haul away.  I DO find netting from the bow pulpit back to the 2nd stanchion (or so) keeps the sail on-board.  It's no fun trying to drag a sail that has dropped in the water back on board.
    Last modified: January 23, 2013 7:42 AM | Anonymous member
  • January 23, 2013 8:07 AM
    Reply # 1186865 on 1186049

    I have hanked on headsails and roller furling (NOT roller reefing).  The headsails are either all the way deployed, or completely rolled up (furled).  I don't normally consider reefing headsails on a cutter rig to be called for but it sure is nice to be able to furl without dropping the sail, and to change headsails without fooling around with the slot  in a foil.  There is an excellent roller furling system for hanked on sails but can't remember the brand at the moment -- but it has a good reputation.


  • January 23, 2013 9:57 AM
    Reply # 1186990 on 1186049
    Mike, I was worried about the furler getting fouled up as well, but that has proven to be unfounded. I did pay attention to the routing of the furling line especially how the fair leads are set up and I'm careful to have a little tension on the furling line when rolling the sail out..so far no problems.

    Consider this: If you have a problem with the furler, you can still drop the sail just like you would a hanked on sail. Also, with a hanked on sail you have to go out there every time..not so with the furler.

    I guess if you really wanted to keep the hanked on sails and not have to go out on the end of the sprit, you could rig a downhual of some sort back to the cockpit...but now you have a sail blowing around on the deck/lifelines.

    To me its really a no brainer.
  • January 23, 2013 1:13 PM
    Reply # 1187190 on 1186049
    Deleted user
    The first ten years we had hank on sails and no doubt they worked fine.  Then we went to a Profurl 32, what an improvement.  After talking to Dave King I decided to change to a 42 as the drum is larger making it easier to furl.  Since I'm not a fan of the club foot staysail, I put the 32 on the staysail since we had it.  It turned out to be a good decision.  Sail management is so much easier and all done from the cockpit, gives us an almost infinite number of head sail combinations.  I sleep easier knowing my wife doesn't have to go forward when it starts to blow to reduce sail. As for performance, you won't be able to tell the difference. It probably will improve overall as you will be more prone to make adjustments not having to go out on the bowsprit. Dave King is the most performance oriented Westsailor I know and he has roller furling. 

    Our kern Super Yankee can be furled @ 60% of area and still has decent enough sail shape for the conditions.  Also Kern's sails are well cut and need no foam in the luff. Even with the pole out we just furl in the head sail from the cockpit. Not only does it make sail handling easier, it tidies up the fore-deck which I especially like  when anchoring.  In ten years of having them we have never had a problem.  The only repair we have done is the repair of two set screws from hurricane damage. Actually I warped magic tape around them and they lasted another 2000 miles until we got home. 

    Then there are other cruisers. All our friends out cruising have roller furling.  Two couples who have become great friends are "hard core" cruisers.  That is they don't own homes and rarely if ever get a slip. One couple built there own boat and have been cruising over twenty years, currently in New Zealand.  The other only in their forties have crossed the equator 6 times, have just returned home from the So.Pac. and are planning to go again soon. I mention them because of their vast experience and that they have both said they wouldn't be without roller furling. 

    As for ourselves we WOULD NOT go cruising without at least a roller furling on the Jib and preferably both. The fact that the furler might fail at some point in time doesn't outweigh the overwhelming benefits they offer.



    Last modified: January 23, 2013 1:22 PM | Deleted user
  • January 23, 2013 3:06 PM
    Reply # 1187315 on 1186049


    If you go to the Colligo Dux website, they have a PDF of a Westsail 32 they rigged for the Annapolis Boat Show.  They did everything, but the roller furling fore stay.  It looks very salty (and sexy on a W32), and in my opinion it is a very cruiser friendly alternative to wire rope rigging.  It is commonly used in commercial fishing, so has proven to be durable.

    Storytime:  I was sailing on my friends cutter/ketch one evening, and upon returning to harbor the staysail furler fouled at 1/4 rolled and would not furl.  Mind you, it is very breezy and very bumpy.  I had to try to keep the boat pointed into the wind so the skipper could furl it by hand.  He couldn't even pull the sail down b/c of the partial furl.  It took 20 minutes to get it to a mostly furled state, which the sail kept flogging and beating all the way to the slip.  Now, if he was single-handed then he may have been in trouble.  In his defense, he recently stuck ~$6000 into his new Schaefer furling units, and they are admittedly smooth and undeniably convenient.  These furlers work too good now because they unfurl so fast that the furling line jams, and jams hard. 

    Another friend's racing yacht: on several occations the furling line jammed at 3/4 un-rolled.  The pitch point and load on that line makes me shutter just thinking about it.  It is tough to undo, and very inconvenient. 

    I am attracted to the hank-on option for the simplicity.  I understand the short-comings, and I know a little extra effort will be needed.   I think a properly rigged down haul could douse a sail just as quick, but still one would need to walk up the foredeck to stow the sail in a bag or remove all together.  Thanks to everyone for the wide spectrum of feedback.


  • January 24, 2013 5:16 AM
    Reply # 1187682 on 1186049
    Gary & Jim,

    I have a ton of respect for both of you, your knowledge & experience.  You both almost had me thinking about roller furling again until I read TAB's post and remembered having to deal with a partially furled jib that had jammed hard on a Gemini 32 cat. The skipper went to deal with it first but a flogging sheet gave him a nasty cut on his cheek.

    Again, maybe I've just been unlucky in my experience... the others not maintaining their gear properly, old lines, I just don't know.  And I do 'wistfully' think of the convenience of sitting in the cockpit and just pulling on a line to shorten/furl the headsails.  But I also do not *even once* have to crawl out to the end of my bowsprit in (likely) worsening weather and deal with a piece of broke gear while the sail flogs around my head.  As a singlehander that just scares the bejeezus out of me.

    That said, I wasn't aware of any roller furling for hank on sails.  How does that work?  If the sail is partially furled can it still be easily dropped?
    Last modified: January 24, 2013 5:19 AM | Anonymous member
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