Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Misty gets naked...

After watching a neighbor's roller-furled jib flog itself to shreds last week, I decided it was time to take my own sails off the boat.

I enlisted the help of my ever-happy-to-help friend Andrew. Hi, Andrew! (He agreed to help AND to let me take pictures for my blog -- what a sport!)

Anyway, I was a little uncertain about taking the sails off by myself. Mostly because it is shockingly difficult to brick up sails (i.e. fold them into brick-like blocks) on the dock by yourself. And by that I mean that I don't think I could do it since the marina is so exposed to wind. It would have to be a really calm day.

Now, where was I? Oh yes. Flogging jib = bad. Taking sails off for winter = good.

So Andrew comes over and we start with the jib, also known as "that little sail on the bow of the boat." On Misty Rose, the jib is roller-furled, which means that it has a mechanism that rolls the sail around the a line that runs from the top of the mast to the deck so that you don't have to fold it every time you use it. Therefore, the sail must be unfurled from the forestay, dropped with the halyard, unclipped at the tack and the head, and the sheets must be untied and coiled.


I unfurled the jib and released the halyard. We then discovered a need for pliers to get all the shackles undone. Is it just me? Or does the rest of the world have the same shackle woes as I? I pulled out my giant tool bag, which, someday, I shall photograph the contents of for you all. Tool kits of sailboats are truly strange things filled with everything from electrical tape to plumbers' wrenches to sailcloth needles and joker valves. After much rummaging, I found a suitable pair of pliers and we set about removing the sail. At this point I also remembered to take pictures.

I found some line and tied the roller furling mechanism to the base of the forestay so that, in a storm, the car attached to the halyard wouldn't work its way up to the top of the forestay. I am not actually sure if that's possible (wouldn't it just slide back down?) but the charter boat captain I work for does it on his boat, so I figure it's a solid bet.

We carried the sail off the boat to brick it up. Misty's jib is easy to brick because it has no battens (fiberglass sticks sewn into one side to help the sail stay flat).

Luckily, the marina has a very wide dock, so we were able to flake and brick on the dock and we didn't have to carry the sail to the parking lot. Andrew took the head (top) of the sail and carried it up the dock, while I stretched out the foot (bottom) of the sail.

Then we flaked it. To flake a sail, two people get on each side of the sail and pull folds of the sail toward the foot until it looks just like this:

Then you simply fold it into a brick. Misty's jib will spend the winter in the dock box.

The main sail was a little harder to handle. Since the main has battens, you have to be very careful when you flake it so be sure that the battens are exactly parallel. This is how we accomplished that:

The main is much heavier than the jib and doesn't fold up as small (battens don't bend), so we tied a neat little handle to it. I used sailor knots. Andrew insisted his were climbing knots, though I think they closely resemble sailing knots...

And voila! The finished product:

And now Misty Rose is shockingly nude... Hope she's not too cold!


  1. Removing the battens will allow you to fold the main sail smaller. Come help take down Condor's main and I'll show you what I mean.

  2. But then I'd actually have to... I dunno... remove the battens? Honestly, my main isn't much larger than my jib... Condor's must be huge. Where did you all decide to keep her for the winter? Not here, I suppose? Text if you want sail-removal help. Not like I'm super busy. :P

  3. Climbing knots, sailing knots...it's all the same, pretty much.