Preview: How to Furl a Sail, Part 2 – Gaff Rig on a Wianno Senior

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Long-time sailmaker (and sailor) Robin Lincoln shows how to furl a sail on her Wianno Senior.

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25 Responses So Far to “How to Furl a Sail, Part 2 – Gaff Rig on a Wianno Senior

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    Harry Bryan says:

    Thank you Robin.
    Here are a couple of things that we have found useful. Because most of the guests we have aboard enjoy being asked to help, but have never furled a sail, we mark the top of the gaff using a sharpie where each tie goes. I must admit that this also makes my solo furling neater as well.
    Many things work well as sail ties. Our favourite for many years has been the cover of braided rope. Pull the centre strands from 3/8″ or 1/2″ line and heat seal the ends. The result is a very soft tie that holds knots well.

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    andrew kepert says:

    I enjoyed your demo very much,as I look forward to my first season with my Marshall Sanderling.The filming was beautifully done.Thanks for a great show.

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    David Flanders says:

    I’d like to know what material is used for tying up the gathered sails. I see them a lot on your videos, To date, with my John Gardner-designed Swamscott dory, I’ve just been using bungees, with walnut ties through the bungee loops. I need something more substantial. Thanks,

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    John Schwartz says:

    It’s April 3 and we had 3 inches of snow this morning. The song birds are flocking back, there are geese and mergansers on the pond. May have been a pair of swans flying low. And there is snow on the ground, fresh snow. The videos of these classic boats in use in warmer weather and wonderful people is a real antidote to wondering if spring will really come.


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    David Strong says:

    I have hull number 150 now out in Northwest Washington. Perfect video. I am interested in her lazyjack setup. Looks very simple and easy to keep out off the way.
    Thank you

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    Peter Strock says:

    This is an essential skill for any one. Most of the comments by Robin were taught me 50 years ago by Mait Edey of Edey an Duff on a Marconi rig. to see them demonstrated on a gaff rig is special.
    I wonder if others agree with these observations from furling an H-12 1/2 for many years.
    Two big takeaways: 1) get the sail all on one side unless you have flaked it as it comes down. In order to flake it you will need to pull out the leech as it comes down in order to spread out the bulk of cloth. This usually will cause it to flake properly at the luff.
    2) Proper sail ties in proper locations. Those locations need to be learned. They don’t move. Note that the sail is basically gathered, rolled in a pocket, and suspended between the boom and gaff. Not too much tension around the sail: over time that is a strain on the cut and materials used now for sailcloth.
    3) A boat at rest with proper furled sails can be almost as lovely as under sail

    • David Tew

      David Tew says:

      It may also be desirable to roll the sail in a way that water sheds off it rather then into the ‘pocket’. That was certainly the way to prevent cotton sails from developing mildew spots back when and can help avoid dirt and dust from collecting in sails made of modern materials.

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    Hugh (Jock) Beebe says:

    Robin, I just discovered your delightful furling of the sails on your beautiful Wianno Senior. It was a treat to see your boat because I sailed a Wianno Senior built in 1932 by Chester Crosby for many years, even making passage from Boston to Rochester, NY to go to school.

    But it was even more fun to recall my introduction to furling properly as a young preteen, about 9, I felt like a real sailor when being sent by myself rowing out to our family’s 28 ft. sloop on her mooring with instructions to air the sails out and then “put in a real harbor furl.” . Since they were made of Egyptian cotton, the defense against mildew relied on a tightly rolled up dry sail with attention to a smooth outer layer drawn across with strong tension. Your fine video makes it seem cotton sail cloth might have been easier to roll into a true harbor furl than heavy dacron.

    Thanks for the memory jog.

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    Tim Healey says:

    My favorite part is the Uncle story and her copying the mainsheet method. Very cool.

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    paul barrett says:

    What a back drop sunset! I wasn’t as much interested in the lesson as the scene which you know and do so well.

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    Peter Paradis says:

    very helpful for a novice sailor.. breaks it down nicely.. would like to see something for a gaff rig.. thats what i use out here on the Chesapeake.. not very many of us down here.. keep up the great work.. photography is out standing..

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    Brad Wilkinson says:

    On my Friendship, with its huge mainsail, I stop at the end of the “pull aft” part. So no folding in. The result is a nicely flaked sail as seen on schooners. The sail ties are now permanently lashed to the gaff (a trick I learned from another OCH video) so they are always perfectly positioned and ready to go. They just loop around everything and I have become proficient at tying an upside down square knot! I have to spend a few minutes at the end tucking in the reef points which always elicits derisive accusations of OCD from my adult children.

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    Dick Galland says:

    I’ve struggled with the furling of Catbird’s sail. Now Robin has made the process so simple and the outcome so shipshape. And with the added benefit of having all the lines – the lazy jacks and halyards and jiffy reef lines – captured neatly within the roll.
    Thanks Robin. Great video!

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    Peter North says:

    Nice to know we we’re doing it right back when my family sailed #13A (not real number) and #80 out of Scituate Harbor, back when there was a fleet of about 6 boats that raced out of there every summer weekend. I still long for the Wianno on occasion. When I was a teenager we use to take my Dad’s boat out for those amazing night sails. I would sometimes whisk through the harbor on a breeze scaring those aboard and other boaters coming within a foot of moored boats as I zigged and zagged. Great fun! One time a squall came up from astern and the boat seemed to fly through the water leaving a huge wake behind. Good thing I had the sliding backstays in place.

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    Chris Powell says:

    Hi all, I am fascinated by what you folk are using for your running rigging-it appears to be common old nylon but surely the UV effect on this would be terrible.Here in New Zealand we have to use some form of braided line to protect the inner core from the ravages of UV.
    Can you let me know what you folk use and what sort of “mileage” are you getting from it.
    I notice nearly all boats on the OCH vids use what appears to be bog standard nylon rope,maybe the sun don’t shine in your part of the world?

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      Ben Mendlowitz says:

      The lines you see, both sheets and halyards, are three strand Dacron, not Nylon which has way to much stretch for those applications. Most of us here use New England Rope as the brand of choice, it lasts very well in this area, but will get a bit gray and hard as the years wear on. Three strand Nylon with its more elastic property is often used for anchor and dock lines where the stretch helps to absorbs any shock loads. These three strand lines have a more traditional look, are easier to splice and less expensive than braided cordage.

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    Sean Hogben says:

    There is a whole lot more going on here than just furling a sail. Nice work guys, wonderful on camera talent.

  • David Tew

    David Tew says:

    That brings back so any memories! Fifty years ago I had a Beetle cat and then crewed on Seniors and all those details of furling were EXACTLY the way I was taught to do it, right down to hanging the coiled main sheet. In response to the question about setting the gaff, I recall that the some skippers of the Seniors would slack the gaff outhaul so that there was three to four fingers of slack between the gaff luff and gaff track in most wind conditions, fewer fingers as the wind piped up. But that was in the days of very different sailcloth.

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    Jerry Rose says:

    Nice video Robin. You explained the furling process very well! A follow up video on gaff sail shape under sail would be nice. Learning how to set the throat and gaff for sail shape in various winds would be great to see on your boat! Your expertise would be greatly appreciated.


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