Main during motoring

Moderator: GreenLake

Main during motoring

Postby badgley » Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:21 pm

Hello,

Ever since we got our boat we have tried various ways of dealing with the main when it is not raised and we are using the motor (no wind, to/from dock, etc.). However, we haven't found one I'm thrilled with yet. We've tried:

1. Leave it in the boom bag, motor out, and unroll, bend, and raise main all on the water. This makes getting away from the ramp the quickest but is a huge pain on the water and not safe in any kind of gusty conditions.

2. Leave it piled in the boat, with the boom end laying in the cockpit to weigh it down. This is the quickest and easiest way for short trips - to/from the dock - but is a huge mess in the boat, obviously.

3. flaking the sail on the boom with the topping lift. We find this really difficult to do well without sail slugs, since the whole thing can fall out once you lower it and there is nothing to pull against to get neat flakes. It's also very difficult to do at all on the water if the boat is rocking at all, even with crew.

4. motoring with the mainsail up - really only done this out of laziness on no-wind days to get the last couple hundred yards back to the dock, but the sail flogs like crazy.

5. We have not yet tried - but I think I will - leaving it rolled around the boom, and then using the rolling gooseneck to let it out while someone else hoists. This seems like it would be the neatest and most controlled but might take forever, and I hate being caught for long periods of time with any sail only partially hoisted.

I tried searching but couldn't find any other articles about this, so I'm curious. For those of you that have motors, what do you do with the main when you're not using it? Any ideas welcome!
Brian Badgley
1982 DS II #10911 EGRETTA
Blacksburg, VA, USA
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Re: Main during motoring

Postby jalmeida51 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:57 pm

I don't know if this will help you? I roll my sail but not around the boom. I start at the head and roll it tightly and after the sail is rolled I tie it to the boom with sail ties. I tried flaking but it was a waste of time since I don't have slugs on my luff. I can roll it up fairly fast and if the roll is bad I can still secure it with sail ties. After the boat is secured at the dock I do a better job of rolling the sail. I do have an adjustable topping lift which is a big help. I sail mostly single handed and I just can't drop the sail due to the sail wants to be blown overboard and blocks my vision. Next sail will have slugs. I also use a tiller clutch to secure the tiller to keep the boat headed into the wind. I guess if you have a crew one could slowly drop the sail and the other could flake it. That way you could pull the sail aft and flake it. I have never tried flaking a sail this way. Maybe someone else will have a better way ? John
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Re: Main during motoring

Postby badgley » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:00 am

Thanks John,

Hadn't thought of that but might be worth a try. At least it sounds like it would stay 'packaged' better than flaking does. At least considering our flaking skills. After trying that only a few times, I decided it would become too expensive a method, if you factor in the cost of the couple's therapy that would obviously be needed soon...
Brian Badgley
1982 DS II #10911 EGRETTA
Blacksburg, VA, USA
badgley
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:33 am
Location: Blacksburg, VA

Re: Main during motoring

Postby GreenLake » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:45 am

I tend to motor primarily when there is no wind. That means I will generally leave the main up. At speeds up to 3kn there isn't much flogging.

If I drop the main just for the approach to the dock, I put up with piling it in the boat. The dock I use most often is sheltered by surrounding buildings and I don't have issues with the sail being blown about as long as I (1) leave the head in the mast slot, (2) make sure that all the folds are below deck level on the seat.

I generally sail away from the dock; I'm not afraid of short-tacking in the fairway, if I have to. The secret is to never let your CB or rudder stall.

I occasionally tie up at a dock at the destination. I used to attempt flaking the main, but now I dump it in the boat, take the halyard off to use as a topping lift, then I roll the main and secure it to the boom as described by @jalmeida51. I'm not totally consistent, it depends a bit on how long I plan to stay and whether the boat is in sight (plus expected range of wind conditions). For something very casual and short term, I may spill the sail onto the seat with the head still secured in the mast slot; leave the boom on the transom; and simply wrap the bulk of the sail a few times so it can't blow away. (For the jib, I simply cleat the sheet and use a long bungee to pull down the head. I lead it towards the foredeck cleat with one loop around the main part of the sail to keep it from blowing open - quick and efficient, again, mostly when I can monitor the boat)

If I do need to raise the main away from the dock, I tend to put it on the seat with head in the mast slot for immediate raising.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Main during motoring

Postby badgley » Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:12 pm

Thanks GreenLake - it sounds like your MO has pretty much been exactly the same as ours. I was hoping someone had some magic genius solution we had not yet thought of, but I think we'll stick with what we're doing for now. We may still try rolling it around the boom if we ever need to motor a long distance.
Brian Badgley
1982 DS II #10911 EGRETTA
Blacksburg, VA, USA
badgley
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:33 am
Location: Blacksburg, VA

Re: Main during motoring

Postby GreenLake » Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:34 pm

My sail is really stiff. Rolling it by itself will make a compact roll that's easily suspended from the boom.

For those of you that have softer sails, there was a suggestion some while ago on this forum to grab the first few feet of the sail from the boom and form a "pocket" into which to flake the sail, then fold over the pocket and tie everything to the boom. I think that would work well - just that I've never tried it, not wanting to put any creases in my sail. (The fabric is so stiff that it makes crinkling sounds even after a few years of use).

But I can totally see it as a useful technique for the sail I had before.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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