Furling Sails

Often, particularly in inclement weather (although it will be a primary objective aboard Sister to avoid bad weather), it's a pain in the butt and somewhat dangerous to have to get out of the cockpit and onto the foredeck to manage the sails. Managing the sails, in this case, means to reduce or increase their effective size or even to remove them altogether, according to changes in the weather.

In many boats both the jib (the foresail) and the mainsail must be raised and lowered by hand which, in a strong breeze and/or rough seas can be perilous. For some twenty years now it has been common for cruising sailboats to sport a furling system for the foresail (the "jib"). Rather than slide up and down the forestay, the jib wraps (or furls) about an assembly which includes the forestay. To set the jib one must simply unwrap it from the furling system. To strike the sail means that you wrap it back up again. Finally, to reef the jib, which means to partially set it, you simply unwrap a portion of the sail.

Click here to read more about the furling jib.

There have been furling systems for mainsails available for years as well. For various reasons, probably mostly because the early systems were somewhat unreliable, Mainsail furling systems haven't caught on nearly to the extent that jib furling systems have. Recently significant improvements have been made in these furling systems. Given these improvements, the obvious safety advantage in not having to go on deck to handle the main and, a small lazy factor, we decided to have a self furling mainsail system installed on Sister. Check it out.

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