Foiled Furler

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 12 Jan 2021 00:44
Noon Position: 46 02.7 S  170 32.9 E
Course N  Speed: 4 knots
Wind: NE F4  Sea: slight  Swell: S 2m
Weather: sunny, mild
Day’s Run: 90nm

We sailed for all of yesterday afternoon but at 2100 the wind failed us and we resorted to the BRM. I went to roll up the headsail but the furler was jammed.  Initial investigations failed to reveal any obvious problem so I took the old fashioned method of dousing sail by lowering the halyard then bundling and lashing the sail on deck. I was not about to attempt to pull the furler apart in the dark with a very high risk of losing some critical part over the side so left looking at the furler til the morrow.

We motored until 0200 when I started to feel the need for a rest. I don’t like trying to sleep while motoring when single-handing because, apart from the noise making it difficult to sleep, the engine noise also makes it difficult to hear alarms or other vessels. It is surprising how often you will hear a vessel before seeing it, especially in calm conditions, which of course is when one needs to motor. So, instead, I shut down the motor and drifted, getting up every hour to have a look around and to see if conditions had changed.

Well, conditions did not change all night or all morning, so at 0705 I started the engine once again. We have motored all morning in a calm sea though, as usual in this part of the world, a significant swell has been running. I took the opportunity of the calm fair weather to dismantle the furler and found that the screws holding the foil in place were loose and had allowed the foil to slip down an inch or two such that the bottom of foil was fouling on the forestay swage. This must have been the result of my not reassembling the furler correctly last time I serviced it a month or so ago. I am pleased to report that the furler is now functioning again and the headsail is back up on the foil.

And just in time, as some wind has picked up. From the NE, a headwind, but that is okay as it is only about 12 knots and it is not forecast to get much stronger (I hope). Now the tiller pilot is steering Sylph to windward and I have to say it is doing a pretty good job. If the NE’ly holds for the rest of the day we should be entering Otago Harbour later tonight.

All is well.