Outhaul Problems w/Roller Furling Main

I have a Hughes Northstar 80/20 ketch with a roller furled mainsail. This is obviously an aftermarket modification, and it is extremely difficult to unfurl and furl. The outhaul and furling lines by necessity are each routed around several blocks (around the boom, down the mast, across the deck, through a block, then to the cockpit) which greatly increases the mechanical
effort required to move the sail. At times we have had to use our large winch and are putting a lot of (hopefully) unnecessary strain on the lines, deck organizers and blocks. Our best efforts have resulted in still about a foot of slack in the outhaul line at the clew. This is my first experience with such a mainsail arrangement and I have no idea what is considered "normal" operation or configuration. In addition, the car to which the outhaul line is attached moved freely on the boom track until I hit on the idea to lock it in place using a second, locking slide. By keeping the car stationary, sail management improved a bit but it still seems to be much harder than it should be and requires two people pretty much dedicated to the mainsail during furling and unfurling. My original plan of sailing the boat shorthanded or singlehanded is now in question until I can resolve this problem.

Hi Rick, It's pretty hard to tell what's going on by the description. The best place to turn for help sorting out the system would be the manufacturer of the furling gear or a rigger. With a purpose-built, in mast furling mainsail, it is possible to get the outhaul as tight as you care to. For sure you can pull the foot very tight. Since you indicated that your outhaul system has a lot of friction in it, the easiest change to try would be going to a smaller diameter line. If your current outhaul line is made with a polyester core, switch to a Spectra core line and you will be able to drop down one or two sizes. Regards, Dan Neri

Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)

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