The Case For Roller-Reefing
27 October 2009 | Atlantic Ocean
This is the first boat I've done much sailing on that had roller reefing (sails that roll in and out by pulling on ropes from the cockpit instead of going forward and raising and lowering them).
Previously, I did not think much of roller-reefing--it is expensive, complicated, adds windage and weight up high, and a big problem if it breaks. I discussed this with Yann, the previous owner, who said he wouldn't want to sail the boat without roller furling, due mostly to how wet one would have to get to handle the sails. At sea, you try to avoid getting wet as much as possible, because you often don't have dry clothes available to change into afterwards.
Now that I've sailed this boat a fair bit, I'm really glad it does have roller-reefing, despite the disadvantages mentioned above. Issuma goes to windward quickly enough that the foredeck (front of the boat) can be a very wet place, as seen in the picture, so being able to completely control the headsails from the cockpit is a really nice feature.