One of the reasons we’ve been in Vero Beach for so long is that we decided to switch back to a roller furler. Yes, I finally agreed to give up my beloved hank-on jib.
Little Bristol came with a furler and so did Pegu Club, but a few years ago we decided to remove it and switch back to a hank-on jib. We tend to be a bit old-school and liked the simplicity of a hank-on with the added bonus of better pointing ability into the wind. It was great while we were sailing on weekends and vacations.
However, what we discovered while cruising over the past almost-five months was that the hank-on jib wasn’t really working for us any more. Jeff did NOT like me going up to the foredeck when conditions were sporty, and the jib bag was taking up valuable foredeck space making anchoring more of a hassle than it needed to be.
It took awhile for Jeff to convince me. Changing back was going to be expensive, and I still preferred the romantic feel of the hank-ons. Jeff and I had many conversations about it (“Oh, is that what you call them?” said Jay from S/V Minx, prompting much laughter) but slowly I started coming around.
What finally tipped me over the edge was motoring behind another sailboat one day down the ICW, and watching them roll their jib out when the wind was in the right direction for motorsailing, and then roll it back in when the wind disappeared. The wind came back again – they unfurled the sail. It disappeared again, along with the sail. Here we were, motoring along, and I wanted to unfurl our jib too. Not go to the foredeck, unclip the bungees, raise the sail, then drop it and bungee it up again when the wind disappeared, then wrestle with the foredeck bag at the end of a long day. I finally agreed. We would get another furler.
Luckily for us, our rigger Chuck (who owns Sound Rigging Services) spends much of the winter in Florida about an hour south of Vero Beach. I sent him an e-mail to see if he did rigging work in the winter or if it was vacation-time for him, and he e-mailed right back saying that he’d be happy to install a furler for us.
Last week we hopped off the mooring bright and early, motored into a slip here in the City Marina, and spent the day with Chuck helping him install our Schaefer 1100 furler. Pegu Club had come with a Harken which is cheaper, but I hadn’t been crazy about it. Little Bristol had a Schaefer which was great, and S/V Minx sang the praises of their Schaefer, so going with it was an easy decision.
I hoisted Chuck up the mast while Jeff tailed the line so the forestay could be dropped, and then the furler was put together on the dock. To bring the furler back up we decided it would be easier for Chuck to hoist me up the mast, then Chuck and Jeff raised the furler and I pinned it back in on the top. Voila. We had a furler again.
Since we had purchased new sails this past winter from Mack Sails, we dropped off our 110 hank-on jib there (less than an hour from Vero Beach) so they could convert it to a furling jib. We picked it up a few days after the furler was installed, attached the sail to the furler, and Pegu Club was complete again.
We are VERY much looking forward to shaking out the sails when we leave Vero Beach, even if it’s simply to motor sail. Motor sailing will also result in Pegu Club being a bit faster, saving us time and diesel. It’s a win-win all around. It was far from cheap, but given our circumstances it was definitely the right decision for us.