If you operate a larger sized or even a mid-sized cruising boat, then you may want to consider using roller furling jibs. While the much older hanked-on jibs are still commonly used today, especially on racing boats, the roller furling jibs are much more effective. And once you are sailing you can relax and listen to your marine stereo.
This is how to use roller furling jibs.
A furling drum is located at the base of the unit while above the unit is a foil. This structure is flexible and is situated around the forestay starting from the drum right up to a swivel located at the stay. You will hoist the jib while its leading edge is inside a groove at the foil.
Next, you will pull the furling line straight out of the drum. This action will cause the drum boat shoes to turn around and rotate while the jib rolls around the foil.
A roller-furling jib makes sailing easier as you will not have to bring down the jib or even take out the sail hanks after sailing. The furling jib will remain in place and ready for the next time that you want to sail.
Make sure that your boat has the best marine speakers to allow you to enjoy your time on the boat.
Always make sure you check the wind and that you wind the furling jib when there is less wind. This is much safer than when there is a lot of wind.
You can do this by reading the wind strength and direction or you can even make things much simpler by making use of a small wind meter.
With a tightly furled jib, the top protective clothing that is found at the edges of the sail is going to cover the sailcloth. This offers protection to the UV rays which could cause the sailcloth to break down.
A good pair of marine binoculars will allow you to spot other boats and objects from afar.
The Jib sheets
As for the jib sheets, they will remain shackled onto the jib’s clew. This will raise much higher onto the forestay as you roll the sail. Sometimes you may opt to tie the jib sheets to the bowline. This will allow you to use a soft shackle. In this way, you can avoid using large knots and heavy metals.
This could be particularly dangerous when you are fighting with a jib that is failing.
The furling line
Around the furling drum is the furling line. It rotates around the drum and then runs to the deck and the cockpit.
When you pull the furling line, the drum and the furling system is going to rotate. It then rolls the jib to the furled position.
When you want to bring the jib back to the dialing position, you will pull the jib sheet straight on the cockpit. Consider the side that you want to position the sail and then pull the jib sheet. This will be the side that is opposite the direction the wind is blowing from.
If for example, the wind is blowing towards the starboard side of the boat, then you will want to pull out the jib towards the port side of the boat.
As you do this always ensure you are wearing good boat shoes.
Keep in mind that you will need to release the furling line to allow the sail to unfold. However, it’s always good to maintain tension on the line. This prevents the line from snarling on the drum. Simply put, the snarling line should wind nicely around the drum while the sail is coming out.
This makes it simple to pull the line when you want to roll up the sail.
Maintaining tension on the furling line and the jib sheet.
While you are using the jib sheet to pull out the jib, you will get out enough sail to catch the wind. Remember to maintain your tension on the furling system and line as this prevents the jib sheet from coming out all at once in a rush which will then cause it to frail in the wind.
Make sure you keep your tension on the jib sheet to allow the sail to come out in the right shape. Sometimes you might find it necessary to add the jib sheet to a winch. Once the sail is out and is catching the wind, you are then going to start cracking the winch. This will allow you to pull in the sheet as the sail is unfolding.
You can enjoy your time at the deck chair after the task is done.
Once you have the roller-furling jib all out, you are going to need to cleat the furling line and then trim the jib. You will not need to fully unroll the jib when the conditions are windy.
How to adjust the jib sheet block
For many sailboats that have roller furling jib, the jib sheet will fold back to a block that is mounted on the deck. The block can easily be moved aft or forward to achieve the most optimum angle of the sail. It also allows you to take out different lengths of the sail.
It would help to have a good and reliable marine GPS.
When you move this block forward, you will bring the clew downwards more than back. This will also tighten the leech of the sail more than the foot.
When you move the block aft, you will pull the clew backward, more than downwards. You will also tighten the foot of the sail more than the leech. You can get the best position for the situation by keeping an eye on the bottom as well as the top of the luff. This will allow you to have both the bottom and top of the sail in good trim.
Consider installing a high-quality VHF marine radio if you are doubtful about the one you currently have.
Many sailors will often note the best position for the block of the sail when it is fully open and when it is partially reefed. You can easily move the block front and aft when there is no tension on the jib sheet.
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While it might seem complicated to use a roller furling system, often you will find that it is much simpler than the older hanked-on jibs. Once you get the hang of it, everything becomes much easier and it is going to become second nature to use the furling jib.
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- How to adjust jib sheet blocks, skippertips.com