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Unfurling The Head Sail

  • Sailing-tips-in-the-whitsundays-Unfurling-the-head-sail-400x258Now that you are underway with the mainsail, you can unfurl all or part of the headsail. Note – Do not turn into wind to unfurl the headsail but rather maintain the course you wish to steer. Have sheet ropes ready and furling line ready. The sheet rope will pull the sail out. Make sure the opposite sheet rope is free to run.
  • Once again assess the wind strength and decide how much of the sail you need to use. Too much headsail in strong winds will be detrimental to the sail and limit your control of the boat.
  • Maintain your course.
  • Make sure that you keep light tension on the furling line as the sail is pulled out by the headsail sheet, so that the furling line wraps around the furling drum neatly. (There is nothing worse than a tangle on the drum!).
  • By keeping one hand on the furling line or one turn around a cleat or spare winch you can control the amount of sail that unfurls. Only allow experience crew to operate as pressure may result in rope burn or injury.
  • When the sail is all the way out to the desired position lock off the furling line securely. (So it doesn’t unfurl when you least expect it.)
  • Adjust the sheet position for your course.
  • Always tie the furling line tight, even if all the sail is out the full length so the line does not fall off the furling drum and tangle at as you are sailing.
  • If you are only using part of the head sail make sure that the furling line is locked off properly so the sail doesn’t unfurl itself when you least expect it. It is good practice to not only use the rope jam cleat to lock the furling line, but if possible tie the furling line around a suitable cleat.