Traveller plus furler

Anyone have experience with using a traveller and roller furler combination? I trying to divide between a reefing structural furler (with aluminum foil) attached to the jib stay, at the end of the bowsprit. Or flying sails on a furler on a traveller. I’ve run across three BCCs that have the traveler arrangements. I’ve exchange mail with one of the owners, who was helpful, but sailing under different conditions than I, so was looking for other opinions.

The advantages that I see:

  1. The sail can be furled and retrieved without going out onto the bowsprit. (I’ve had a furler jam on me, so though not common it does happen)
  2. I can use the same furler for multiple sails.
  3. Could possibly fly my drifter or “code zero” using the same arrangement, though maybe with a top down furler, as the case may be. So one traveller for all my jibs and light sails.
  4. Less windage if a storm pops up, even at anchor, I can just stow the sail.


  1. No roller reefing, so the sails are all in or all out. That makes it harder to balance the boat without committing to changing the jib as opposed to rolling it up a little. This is probably my biggest argument against, I really don’t want to be changing sails all the time. I have a cutter, so could I alternate between full jib + staysail, jib by itself, staysail by itself? Is that enough to play with, or will I have still have to own, and change, multiple jibs?
  2. Not totally sure I can fly a drifter or code zero without interference from the jib stay… especially any curved luff sail.
  3. Need lots of tension on the luff of the flying sails, mainly jibs, so block and tackle on halyard + winch to get to high tension. Need to make sure the bowsprit can take it where the traveller ends up, the traveller itself can take, etc.

I should mention that I sail on off the coast of Oregon & Washington and up into the Salish Sea, so I deal with a good range of wind speeds.

There’s a bloke over on the SamLMorse BCC forum by the name of Gary Felton ( who rerigged his boat with dyneema and went to a traveller for his headsails. There’s a good write up on his blog (he’s also an amazing photographer so worth a visit anyway)
I think he furls the jib at around 16 knots and just sails with his staysail after that. That wouldn’t work on my boat, I need the jib to make much ground to windward until 20-25kts when things are very comfy with staysail and 2nd reef
My sailmaker told me that the traveller arrangement wouldn’t work with a code zero which needs to fly ahead of the head stay. A straight luffed drifter might work though and would make a very versatile sail plan
If you are around the Port Townsend I’d be talking to Carol Hasse or Brion Toss.
Good luck

I’ve talked to Gary. He sails in an area with fairly consistent winds and his setup work well for that, but it’s not clear to me that I can simply roll up the jib and get along with just the staysail. As with your boat, I’m thinking there’s going to be a gap in the wind range where the boat won’t perform well. I guess that’s the main drawback to the whole approach.

Though maybe I could be looking at a larger overlapping staysail? and either reef, or replace that, when the wind gets up.

What size is your staysail?

I live in Oregon, but I do occasionally get up to Port Townsend… so talking to Hasse or Toss is an option.

I’m a new member but thought I would add my thoughts . We have the fairly standard jib on a furler and staysail hanked on. Carol Hasse made us a new staysail our 2nd season out. We chose to build it reefable rather that bigger. I find like many others the need to carry lots of head sail until the wind really builds, reefing the main down to a second reef before we begin to take in headsail. An overlapping staysail would be a mistake in MHO. Never seen the traveler set up. We fly an asym. off the sprit with a sock ( no drifter ) and that adds great light air power as well as down wind options and is easy to control. Lots of ways to go. It has taken me several seasons to realize how much she wants that sail area forward up to 20 knts or so. Builds weather helm as the wind builds unless we shorten the main. We sail in Alaska and don’t have too many miles under the keel yet but wide range of conditions.

So how do you like your reefable staysail? My sailmaker is advising against it, his argument being that it would have to be made of stiffer cloth than it would normally need for it’s un-reefed state, and that it won’t set as well when it is reefed. I like the idea of reefing the staysail and not having to replace it, but what’s your experience with it?

How do you get your asymetric out to the end of the bowsprit, where is it attached out there?.. and how is it attached at the top of the mast? I assume you fly it outside the head/jib stay? (if I go with the traveler arrangement, I’d be flying it inside the head stay.)

And lastly, how often do you adjust the size of you roller furled jib… in other words reef it… and how big is the jib? a smaller yankee cut high clue, or something larger?

The staysail is great and if I recall Carrol did make it our of slightly heavier cloth. We have never flown it reefed yet.The cut and shape seem fine. We store it bagged on the stay. We use it mostly reaching above 6knts but I do sometimes think it helps upwind too. That boat has lots of room between each sail and I never feel like Im shutting down the slot by flying it.The asym. I have added a swivel block out at the end of the sprit and a run a tack line back to the deck at the bow. I gybe the sail inside and once you get the feel of the timing its works well. I do sometimes have to walk it through. With longer sheets I don’t see why it couldn’t be set up outside. With the sock it’s super easy to launch and douse. I often fly it in moderate wind by myself. The Jid is a high cut Yankee so the staysail helps to fill in the foot. I can’t roll it more than 15% before the shape gets terrible. More and more I don’t bother to reef it. The boat just doesn’t seem that sensitive to the amount of headsail I can reef. Or better put I need to carry the jib up to !5knts to keep the boat powered up and tacking well. I may look for one with a foam foot or a larger sail when I go to replace it.
I find I take a first reef in the main, then a second before I roll up the jib and go with just the staysail at around 20 knts.

So, if you’re tacking the asymetric inside the jib stay, where do you attach the head of that sail? on a masthead crane, or something below? And the swivel block is also inside the base of the jib stay? aft of the cranse iron?

I’ve been thinking about flying the asymetric inside, with an attachment below the mast head and on the bowsprit aft of the cranse iron… and I’d use the same arrangement to fly a drifter, so double duty for one setup.

I just use a spinnaker halyard and attach the swivel on the cranse iron . mine has some additional holes off to the side of the jib stay and since there is a tack line it can be eased a couple inches to let everything set evenly. When we are sailing deep I can also easily ease the tack to bring the sail more forward.

And your spinnaker halyard is in on a crane on the masthead? Thanks for the answers Roger!

The spinnaker halyard is on an internal sheave. It’s not the ideal set up but with the sock hauled up to the top of the mast the sail is already sort of emerging from the fiberglass dousing “cuff” so we lose a bit of sail area at the top but the shape still seems fine. This sail was given to me by a friend who bought a larger boat and a new spinnaker. If I were starting from scratch I might look into a top down furler for the spinnaker too, and have it made to fit the boat better, although the one I was given works remarkably well. It’s so easy to douse !! Makes me fly the spin more and motor less because it’s so easy.