Last weekend, at the end of our 2 week vacation, we finally got the right wind conditions to test out the asymetric and furler. It took a few minutes to get it set up, but once it was ready to go it deployed beautifully, and we were off! We were doing a solid 7.5kts with bursts over 8kts. We let the auto pilot do the steering and we had lunch laid out on the cockpit table! It was all very civilized! It must have been quite a spectacle as we theaded our way through a big fleet of sport fishing boats at speed!
When it was time to douse the spinnaker it furled up beautifully without leaving the cockpit, and we left it up in case we wanted it again later.
We have yet to try a gybe so that will be the next test, but so far I am loving it! More importantly, the wife, who was apprehensive about flying such a big sail, loved it too!
Yes, you can do it that way, or if you are short handed you can just leave it up for the upwind leg, although it will mess with your a ability to point I would think. I guess it depends how serious you are!
With the Harken furler you can have multiple sails, Asyms, and code zero, all loaded on their own torque ropes, that will snap into the same furling unit.
Well, we took Azura out for a fun race and got a chance to play with the furler. We were short handed and racing in cruiser mode, and it was blowing under 10kts, so we just put the furler on the sprit and left it up the whole time.
The sail unfurled nicely on the first leg, and the gybes went pretty well. We decided to do outside gybes, because there is not a lot of separation between the torsion rope and the forestay. Because the wind was fairly light I found going up to the bow, grabbing the clew and running back with it was the quickest way to gybe.
When we furled at the bottom mark we already had the jib out, so I could not see the spinnaker as it furled. Afterwards I saw that the lazy sheet had wrapped quite a few times around the bottom of the sail. Because the sheet had been resting on the drum I think it might have fouled the tack swivel and caused the bottom of the sail to furl early. This ended up making a fine mess when we tried to unfurl at the top mark, because the top unfurled before the bottom. It took a good portion of the downwind leg to get that mess sorted out!
Lesson learned...make sure the lazy sheet is not laying on the drum when you furl. Unfortunately with the sheet is not laying on the drum it will likely fall under the bow, so sheet management will be important. Perhaps some kind of hook or batten off the end of the sprit to catch the sheet.
Next time I think I will try inside gybes, with the sheet run between the torque rope and forestay. That is the configuration I will go with for cruising, and if conventional jybes don't work, we will just furl to gybe.
I still have lots of experimenting to do, but I suspect that if I were to do any fully crewed buoy racing I might be inclined to take the chute off the furler and handle it old school.
We had fun, even though we were well off the pace, and couldn't keep up with most of the fleet in the light air. I even got beat by my old boat! We did have one little victory...another member just got a Beneteau 36.7 with carbon sails, and we managed to stay ahead of him for the whole race, even with our dirty bottom, fixed prop and cruising sails!