Ring Around the Headstay

The first bareboat I ever hired in the Virgin Islands, many moons ago, was from a small hole-in-the-wall charter outfit with a rather motley fleet of vessels.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The first bareboat I ever hired in the Virgin Islands, many moons ago, was from a small hole-in-the-wall charter outfit with a rather motley fleet of vessels. Much to my surprise, the old Cal 29 I was issued performed flawlessly until the very last day of my charter, when the headsail furler froze up solid with the genoa all the way out in a brisk tradewind breeze in the middle of the Drake Channel. After flapping my arms helplessly for a few minutes trying to get the furler unstuck, I arrived at a very elegant and simple solution. Instead of using the roller-furler to wrap the headsail around the furling rod on the headstay, I used the boat to do it.

This is easiest, of course, with an engine. In my case, I started up the iron genny, took the sheets off the real genny, and just drove the boat in tight circles until the sail was all rolled up. I then reattached the sheets, returned the boat to the charter company, and wished them luck with the repair. 

Without an engine, assuming you have a boat that can sail through the eye of the wind under main alone, you could do the same thing by tacking and gybing around in circles. It ain’t a pretty way to stow a sail, but it works well enough in a pinch. 

Related

NewBoatsTwitter

New Boats: A Mix of Speed and Smarts

While it’s safe to say that U.S. production boatbuilding is a shadow of its former self, one North American company that is still going strong is Rhode Island-based J/Boats. Not only that, but far from just surviving, the company continues to push the envelope, ...read more

01-LEAD-170914_JR_WCSEnoshima19_327556_0704

Enoshima Japan Olympics

If experience has a tone, it would sound like three-time Olympian and 470 sailor Stu McNay—steady, measured, with a positive, almost Mr. Rogers feeling. “Each Game has a unique flavor,” he says, the day before last spring’s 470 European Championships, one of the rare events he ...read more

Amel50-2048x

Boat Review: Amel 50

It is possible to cross an ocean in almost anything that will float, just as you could cross the United States on anything with wheels. But to voyage safely, swiftly and comfortably calls for a good deal more than the minimum. That’s where bluewater specialist Amel comes into ...read more

01-LEAD-lagoon46-ncz4503-a3

10 Places to Cruise With a Catamaran

Navel gazing doesn’t get much better than from the deck of a sailboat anchored somewhere exotic. You can think great thoughts staring up at the stars from a South Seas anchorage. It’s also better doing so on a catamaran. Full confession: I’m a cat convert, a cat evangelist if ...read more

Radome

Ask SAIL: Some Random TLC

Q: I recently removed my radar’s white radome, which covers the internal rotating antenna. I gave the radome a light sandblasting to clear it of years of grime and discoloring. Should I paint it, too? — B. Anderson, Aberdeen, MD GORDON WEST REPLIES Stop! First, make sure the ...read more

L42-Sea-Trails-3728

Boat Review: Leopard 42

Sticking with its proven design formula, but also cherry-picking popular features from its recent models, Leopard Catamarans has launched a “best of” package with this new boat that sold nearly 30 units before hull #1 even touched water. Like a greatest hits album, the Leopard ...read more

01-LEAD-Cut8

Know how: Reinforcing Engine Stringers

If I were to ask, “What are the top five parts of the engine you want to be able to easily access?” How would you respond? Would it be the dipstick? The overflow coolant? I’d wager the raw water pump and its impeller would also make the list. Am I right? The reason we want to be ...read more

Sail-VOE-4-a

Experience: Under the Eyes of the Bar Bunch

Sitting quietly at the bar of a local yacht club, I gaze out over a rambunctious Lake Michigan on a sunny but blustery spring afternoon. I am enjoying watching a small sloop approaching the marina and recognize it as belonging to one of our newest members. “Pretty little thing. ...read more