Page 1 of 1

Freedom 40/40 roller furling jib forestay tension

Posted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:34 pm
by TomTrovato
Hi All,

I am the new owner of Tatanka - 1994 Freedom 40/40 sailing out of the Port of Rochester on Lake Ontario. The boat is rigged with a jib furler and what looks like about an 80% jib. The forestay as delivered is VERY loose. I was out last weekend and when the wind kicked up over twenty with 4'+ waves the furler and jib flopped around violently. I'm new to this rig - and am coming from a C&C 38 with rod rigging that was tuned like a guitar - so, does anyone have a recommendation for forestay tension? I want to be able to point optimally, but don't want to stress the mast. Any advise is appreciated...


Re: Freedom 40/40 roller furling jib forestay tension

Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:33 am
by Riki
Congratulations on your new boat! We have a 1997 40/40, but we have the jib with a camberspar, so I have no advice I can give you. You might want to post this into the Rigging section of the board. Good luck!


Re: Freedom 40/40 roller furling jib forestay tension

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:41 pm
by Paul Langevin
Tom, we have hull #11 a 1995 Freedom 40/40. We also have a camber spar jib so my advice for a fix may not be helpful. However, from everything that I have read getting the forestay too tight can cause major problems for the mast in violent winds and a seaway. The over tight forestay prevents the mast tip from bending back which would be the effect of cranking down on a main sheet and from my research cause the mast to actually crack. I would suggest that you contact Paul Dennis at Warren River Boatworks in RI (401-245-6949 or He is the expert on all things Freedom and actually ran the plant when Freedom was in business. He is most helpful and I doubt that there is anything that he has not seen or fixed when it comes the Freedoms. Best, Paul Langevin

Re: Freedom 40/40 roller furling jib forestay tension

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:17 pm
by Hans
Tom, I agree with Paul completely. Freedom masts are quite different from 'normal' aluminum masts. The latter needs a rigging to constrict almost any movement like the rod rigging on your C&C 38, the former needs room for movement. Constricting this room leeds mostly to problems. Four friends bought a 40/40 with a roller fuller jib, a couple of years ago in Florida. They asked the yard ( this yard had no experience with Freedom's) to prepare the boat for a cruise to the Virgin Islands, not having time to do the trip themselves they hired a crew to deliver the boat, crew hadn't sailed with Freedoms before.
They made the obvious mistake to take the slack out of the forestay, thinking it was way to loose. During the crossing of the Gulf Stream on their way to Nassau they got into some serious choppy seas, almost like hobby horse riding. This resulted in a jerking movement on the forestay, resulting in ripping of the whole shooting match from the foredeck.
As I experienced myself: it's impossible to completely restrict the movement of the mast, even with running backstays as I have on my boat. This I found out in the same Gulfstream on my first trip with my 45: the running backstays were made of a non stretch material, in 12 hours the pretty heavy blocks were ripped apart. My running backstays are now made of good old fashioned nylon; enough stretch to leave everything intact while still controlling most of the movement. But the longer I sail with the boat the less I use them. ( They are not in the sailplan as designed and added by the first owner)
Which leads me to a remark on your roller furling, and I know I am walking on thin ice here. But in my opinion a roller furling has no place on a Freedom.
They were originally designed with Camberspars for very good reasons. And what I remember from sailing with boats with a roller furling: you really need a tight forestay otherwise they won't furl. Esp in windy conditions. Well realizing a tight forestay on a Freedom is just not possible. The only reason I can think of: having a Freedom and only sail on flat water, and not in windy conditions. Not my kind of sailing, but.. why not. Then a furler can come in handy.
Contacting Paul Dennis is really a good advice, he is around Freedom's a long time an has seen probably most of the mistakes but also solutions which has been made by Freedom owners.
I know there are Freedom's out there which has been changed from a Camberspar to a roller furling, I am open to any feedback from a owner who actually sail with a furler and I am open to change my opinion. But so far I am still a Camberspar fan, although they have there negative points also.
But lets not forget what is most important: you've bought a wonderful boat and I wish you every joy in sailing her.

Re: Freedom 40/40 roller furling jib forestay tension

Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:36 am
by TomTrovato
Hi Paul, Hans & Riki,

Thanks for your thoughtful responses (and well wishes). I told my wife when contemplating the move from a C&C to a Freedom that the boats are opposite in almost every respect. I am very interested in 'learning' the Freedom and am not trying to impose my prior sailing experience. I will contact Paul Dennis for his input and in the interim will keep my furler foil loose. I have the camber spar itself, but none of the rest of the rigging. I also do not have the original sail or the sail pattern. Any thoughts on this are welcome. My plan is to sail the boat as is for the summer to get the 'Freedom feeling' and research the options for next season...


Re: Freedom 40/40 roller furling jib forestay tension

Posted: Mon Mar 29, 2021 2:01 pm
by TonyB
I am going to kick this up again! I have had Circe, a 40/40 for two years now. The headstay seems to be getting longer! She has roller furling and I think the bolt is unscrewing under the drum of the roller furler. But before I attempt to fix it I was hoping someone might have input on how tight it should be. Right now it is clearly too loose with the serious arc when sitting at rest.

Re: Freedom 40/40 roller furling jib forestay tension

Posted: Wed May 12, 2021 2:29 pm
by Camino
TonyB - I’ve been following this interesting thread. Specifically head stay tension with roller furling. I have F 35 (P) 1999. Roller furling. Had the boat 4 years now. I had zero problems or concerns with the operation of my roller furling until a few months ago. I had replaced the jib halyard and thought tensioning that would be good - not paying attention to the tension before replacing. In March, on the sf bay, sailing in 34 kts aws I tried to furl the self tending jib. Going upwind and tacking to get luff in the jib I tried to furl and couldn’t. In fact I ended up causing a slight tear in my meniscus, tweaked my back, and groin all in one :D I headed downwind and managed to furl- but only just. Back at the dock I loosened the halyard- no real visible slack or bend in the forestay - but furling was easier. I then installed two harken 35.2 winches to (1) help with the asymmetrical and (2) help with furling the jib in similar conditions in the future

So the problem is not the same - my forestay seems right and has never bucked the mast (yet). My problem was over-tension in the halyard. I tested the new winches out Saturday-

Too breezy for asymmetrical I unfurled the jib, and wrapped the furlor line to the port winch and so easily rolled the jib in in a breeze - wow it was easy and light feeling. So all good here. When the wind pipes down in the sf bay I’ll try the asymmetrical out with those winches.

. [attachment=0]

Re: Freedom 40/40 roller furling jib forestay tension

Posted: Thu May 13, 2021 4:16 pm
by TonyB
Hey Camino,
thanks for the info, sorry you hurt yourself! Yes we have played with halyard tension to assist with furling and there is definitely a sweet spot that helps!
Further investigation has shown a number of issues with our set up. The forestay seems to be bottomed out. As tight as it can get. And yet it is incredibly long, and truly seems like it has gotten longer! Also it turns out the top section of foil has become disconnected from the rest of the foil, so it doesn't play nice when trying to furl. This is probably the main culprit in our difficulties furling. You cant' really notice it until you drop the sail and then spin the drum, the top foil section doesn't spin with the rest, it just kind of does it's own thing.
My plan is to go to the camber spar once I have a sail built for it. But it would be nice to know the recommended starting tension for the forestay. I mean how loose is loose! :-)


Re: Freedom 40/40 roller furling jib forestay tension

Posted: Sat Jul 31, 2021 10:58 am
by FelicityFree
Interesting discussion! I once for a very short period considered the possibility of a a roller furling setup on for the jib on my Felicity Free my 1992 Freedom 38. As I thought about the possible issues that would arise if I made such a change. I quickly concluded that the ease of roller furling would be quickly out weighed by the inability to properly adjust the forestay tension. Also it would be difficult to retain the self tacking characteristics that is so much enjoy while handling my boat in challenging conditions.
After 11 years of sailing Felicity Free, I really appreciate the simplicity of the design. It is almost maintenance free while being docile and easy to set as I tack or jibe. I really do not pay much attention to forestay tension when the sail not in use or on the deck. As long as you have a light to moderate amount of tension on the forestay while not using sails, the camber spar and halyard tension automatically place the proper amount of tension on the forestay when the jib is hoisted.
I have to say I love sailing this boat! I single handed a lot on the coastal waters and inside passage of British Columbia from Victoria to Alaska and Haida Gwai. She is very forgiving and responsive, a perfect coastal cruiser.
The Camberspar gets a big thumbs up from me