In the recent (late December and January) storms we have seen many furled genoas here on the river Hamble (river and marina berths) shake themselves loose and literally flog themselves to pieces. It might be great for business but much of the damage is preventable with a few precautions:
- Firstly, make sure that the genoa is furled away tightly. You can achieve this by keeping just a little load on the sheet whilst it is being furled away.
- The sail normally starts to unfurl in the upper half of the sail as this is where the furl is loosest. You can counter this my moving the genoa sheet cars further forwards than their usual sailing position to maintain some tension on the leech when it is being furled away.
- Wind on an extra couple of turns after the sail has been furled so that the sheets wrap around the sail. Snub up the sheets nice and firmly and make sure they are well cleated.
- Tie a sail tie or spare piece of line firmly around the furled sail at clew height as an extra guard against the sheets shaking themselves loose.
- Wrap a spinnaker halyard around the furled sail so that it forms a spiral and tie this down firmly at the bow somewhere. If this is nice and firm it will help prevent the wind from getting into the sail and gradually working it loose.
Perhaps the best advice though, especially if the boat is being left unused for any period of time is simply to take the sail down. This will be the ideal time to have the sail serviced and laundered if necessary so that it is in the best condition it can be for the start of the new season. Leave the sail up in damp conditions and you run the risk of finding the sail covered in mould, mildew and green algae when you unfurl it in the spring.