My experience is a carbon copy of Bob's except that it happened on a Catalina 36' while single handing. Prior to that the damn furler jammed twice and while attempting to fix it and motor sailing under auto pilot the jib sheet broke out of the cleat and ended up wrapped around the prop shaft! I use a downhaul line on my SJ23 and lead it back to the cockpit.
Chuck and Barbara Vande Wetering
"We can't control the wind, but we can adjust the sails."
Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 10:41:03
Subject: Re: Jib furlers
My experience with furlers is that you should buy a good metal one. I have been on several boats when the furler literally exploded after the furling line broke and the recoil forces broke the plastic drum, etc. Not a good situation in a storm. Now you have a flogging sail that has to come down and is difficult to manage. Of course it should go without saying that the sails should be reefed BEFORE the heavy winds hit!
I use a down haul line attached to the head of the jib and lead it back to the cockpit to haul my jib down from the safety of the cockpit. The limitation with this technique is that the boat should be pointed into the wind so the sail drops on the deck. This is not always possible.
Having said all this, the speed and convenience of a good furler is very nice. You don't have to jump in the water to clean your sweaty body afterwards.
(Always stay curious)
SJ23 - http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/2358/index.html
AOSA - http://www.geocities.com/alta_sailing/