Head Foils or Hanks That Is The Question

BlackJack has Harken Carbo Foil which works great.

I’ve been considering switching to hanked on sails for single-handed sailing, though. The headsail for foil is prone to blow off the deck in the ready-to-hoist position if nothing is holding it down. It’s the same when we take down the headsail.

When single handing, you can’t be at the bow holding down the sail and hoist the sail at the same time. So there always is a brief period during headsail hoist or takedown where the sail is unsecured and vulnerable.

Mad Dash Not a Good Idea

For me, this results in a mad dash between the foredeck and the cockpit when raising and lowering headsails. Quite often, this ends up being several laps around the boat as things like halyard tail and rope clutches hang up on things.

I consider this a real risk. Sure, when it’s light you can run to the bow and back without much worry. In fact, you can get away with this most of the time in San Diego where the wind is light.

This is a really bad habit in the making, though.

When you sail single-handed, you need to move slowly and thoughtfully always. You don’t want to start learning how to move safely on the deck when it’s blowing 30 knots in 6ft seas.

Jack lines will help to stay on the boat, but why increase the likelihood of going over in the first place? Even in light air, you shouldn’t be running up and down the boat when you are alone.

Other Ways?

I suppose I can just do a tack change. With a tack change, the sail won’t go over the side of the boat as easily. On the other hand, it takes a lot of grinding on the halyard as there is a lot more friction.

I’ve done crewed tack change a number of times, but not single-handed. I suppose I should try it and see how hard it is.

There are other techniques I’ve read that makes this easier. I can rig a remote tripping line for the headsail-hold-down-bungee when hoisting the headsail. Along the same line, I can rig a line to remotely open the rope clutch when taking down the headsail. All this requires extra lines rigged from the cockpit to the bow. It’ll work great in light wind, I’m sure. They are likely to tangle and cause more problems in heavy air when we need it the most.

Only If I had Psychokinesis

I’m not too concerned about venturing out on the bow for headsail change in heavy air. It’s just that when you are single-handing, a non-hanked-on sail can blow off the boat when you leave the bow to release or tail the halyard.

If I could release or tail the halyard from the bow, this trip back and forth is eliminated. Aside from using psychokinesis power, I don’t see a good way to do this, however.

Hanked On A Good Idea

So the more I think about it, the more attractive the hanked on sails are. Hanked on sails stay attached to the boat even if it goes overboard after a drop. And hanked-on sails don’t require psychokinesis power from this single-handed sailor.

Fortunately, the wind almost never blows that hard around San Diego. I can get by with headsails on foils most of the time till my next set of sail purchase.

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