Friday, 4 March 2016

Springtime - bending on a furling genoa

It has got to that time of year again when boats are eagerly being polished, antifouled and readied in every other way for the new season. For some, fitting the sails back on to the boat is a straight forward enough job but for others it can be a little daunting. Here’s some tips for bending on a genoa.

First, if your sail hasn’t been serviced by a sailmaker check the sail over to make sure that there are no outstanding repairs or service issues from last season that need addressing. Check the luff tape itself for nics & tears and check that the stitching itself, particularly in areas that stay exposed such as the leech tape and webbings in the corners, isn’t rotten. You can do this by rubbing a finger nail over the stitching; if it breaks it needs to be re-sown! It will be easier to address any issues now than find out about them after the sail has been fitted!

Similarly, check that the furling gear is all working nicely, it is easier to check the top swivel before it is hoisted! If the sail has been down all winter there is a good chance that the groove in the foil has accumulated wind blown dust and salt so try and flush this through if possible with fresh water. You could even try spraying some ‘lube’ or Teflon spray into the groove and wiping this through with an off cut of a suitable sized luff tape.

Next, check that a sufficient length of the furling line is wound onto the drum and that it is wound on the correct way round. If the UV strip on the sail is on the starboard side then the furling line needs to exit the drum on the port side (and vice versa).  With the sail laid out on the foredeck, attach the tack of the sail to the drum and the head of the sail to the top swivel. The sheets should also be attached. Now the sail is ready to hoist which will be a lot easier to do if there are two of you, one to pull the halyard and the other to feed the sail carefully into the feeder in the luff foil. The person winding the halyard should pay careful attention to what is happening to the sail as it goes through the feeder in order to stop winding if there is any hint of a snag, this is the most likely cause of any damage. Once the sail is fully up take care not to over tension the halyard, there should be just sufficient tension to remove the wrinkles in the luff of the sail without the luff of the sail appearing taut. Then furl the sail away, double check that the UV strip is on the correct side and you should be set.

Top Tip: It will be a lot easier to bend your genoa on when there isn’t too much wind. This also helps to minimise the risk of damaging the sail as you hoist it. You will also find it easier to do if the wind is well forward of the beam. 

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