Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Code D Conundrum

On Facebook, I've been whining lately about our Code D problems.  The Code D is a small (65 m2) furling spinnaker that we’re having custom made for Mareda, which will allow us to have sail power in light winds from about 60° off the bow to full downwind sailing with a spinnaker pole.  The problem is not with the sail itself, but in choosing an appropriate tack point.

The Sun Odyssey 379 comes with a reinforced tack point designed for an asymmetrical spinnaker.  Perfect for the Code D, right?  

Right”, says the rigging specialist.  

Wrong”, says the sail maker. 

The furling line, the line that goes around the furler drum of the Code D and allows you to roll up the sail, is the problem.  It’s called a “continuous line” because it’s a single closed loop.  It is typically very long to allow you to reach back to the cockpit, but can quickly become a gnarly mess.  According to the sail maker, the line must be 1) perfectly straight with no angles between the drum and the cockpit, and 2) under permanent light tension to avoid kinks in the line.  This all makes good sense.  The problem is that the tack point on the SO 379, like most boats, is directly in front of the genoa furler, and there is no way to lead the Code D furling line from the drum to the cockpit without going slightly around the genoa furler, creating an angle. 

A furler drum and continuous line.

Herein lies the rub.  Literally.  The sail maker says the friction associated with such an angle will cause the furling process to become too difficult.  He says we must have a new stainless steel tack point soldered onto the secondary bow davit, which will place the Code D to the side of the genoa, rather than in front of it, and give us a straight angle-free line between the furler and the cockpit. 

The rigging specialist says that this is baloney. (Oh, alright, he’s French and he didn't say “baloney” but that’s what he meant.)   According to him, there are simple ways to reduce the angle and pieces of rigging to reduce friction, such as the fancy little thing called a double fairlead, made specifically to keep furler lines from tangling and kinking.  When placed on one or more well-chosen stanchions, the angle is minimized and the lines stay separated.  In addition, a couple of cam cleats can be used to block the line in place and to keep it under tension.

Double fairleads on the stanchions to avoid tangling.

Cam cleats to block the line and keep it under tension.  Photo from Doane's Sail Magazine article, 2012.

We mentioned this to the sail maker.  He said “I’ve seen it a hundred times and it never works.”

I've searched the sailing forums in both French and English to find threads that discuss problems with gennaker furlers and haven’t been able to find anything that suggests people are having difficulties with the continuous furling line.  I've looked at videos showing furling spinnakers, gennakers, and code sails, and they all seem to use the system described by the rigging specialist.  The principle rigging companies, Selden and Facnor, both suggest using double fairleads and jammers. 

We sent a video to the sail maker.  He said “I don’t trust videos.”

And no one seems to be able to show us an example of this set-up that either does or does not work. 

Anyone out there have experience with this ???  Charles Doane has a nice article in Sail Magazine from 2012 that addresses many of these issues, but I’m sure our sail maker would simply say “I don’t trust magazine articles.”


The Cynical Sailor said...

Yikes sounds like a bit of a nightmare :-(