Foresail Halyard Wrapping and/or Jamming



Recently there has been an Off-Group discussion between about 6 Amel owners regarding Foresail Halyard Wrapping and/or Jamming. All, except me, are A55 Owners, but this subject and discussion apply to all Amel owners. I totally understand the importance of avoiding halyard wraps on the forestay/furling foil and swivel. Considering the size of the genoa on any Amel ketch, this can be a very serious matter especially if you suddenly encounter high winds and need to reduce sail. One of the people participating had some serious halyard wrapping which actually caused the forestay wires to untwist.


I experienced this problem more than once on my Beneteau and it was caused by these things: 

1.) The first time it was caused by a slack jib halyard. 

2.) The second time by a jammed jib swivel. 

3.) The third time b a loose external halyard which wrapped itself around the swivel and forestay. 

After buying our SM, I began to appreciate the fact that many Amel models prior to the A55 included Amel-installed "anti-twisting" rods on the genoa swivel. However, I know that these rods will not prevent halyard wrapping or jamming caused by another halyard incorrectly secured, or a loose foresail halyard. This is one of the important messages I am attempting to remind everyone of. 


I decided to present this issue to 4 people for comments, some of whom are previous and current Amel associates. And, I sent an email to Reckmann regarding the issue with an A55. The following are some of the comments made by individuals I contacted:

· The most important thing about the Amel genoa halyard is to tighten it very tight. 

· In light winds, the genoa halyard can be eased but must be tightened when winds increase and before furling.

· The genoa on an A55 or any Amel model should never show wrinkles.

· I have never seen a forestay twisted because of the genoa halyard. I believe this was always due to another halyard or a spinnaker halyard that has become tangled with the swivel...This I have seen on other Amel models.

· All extra halyards should always be attached very tightly to the side of the boat so that they cannot interfere with the genoa swivel

· At AMEL, we advise the owners to store their spinnaker halyard behind the spreaders. 

· When I see the first picture with the halyards crossed, no wonder that something is going to happen.

· When the Gennaker is not used, it should not be left up, furled.

· Regarding the angle of the genoa halyard, the AMEL boats have always had almost no angle of the halyard with the forestay, and it always worked well. The Amel-added steel rods (horns) helped to have fewer halyards tangled with the forestay/swivel.

· I agree with Joerg about the dimensions of the sail, and if the luff is too long, the swivel hits the end of the foil and therefore you can't put maximum tension on the halyard. If there is no other solution (the sail's tack lashing being as close to the furler as possible), then shortening the luff is correct.

· In my opinion, the cause for untwisting the forestay is always a fault in the use, not a design fault. Otherwise, all these boats would show the same problems.

· The only design fault I see is a too long luff which I sometimes see on new genoas, made at bigger dimensions than the original (The sailmaker asks himself: "Why is there so much distance between the sail's top and the forestay's top? Let's make it a bit bigger!"). This is a redundant question of my clients buying an AMEL (Isn't the mainsail too small, its luff too short?) when they see the gap between the mainsail's top and the masthead.

· I surveyed a few AMEL 55s, and I have never seen an untwisted forestay.

Reckmann Response which applies to the A55 only:

"I agree with your suggestions. Our experience is that the angle of the halyard to the halyard swivel plays a big role in the function of the unit. So a halyard lead is an important part to ensure the functionality of the unit." ~Reckmann Support

We know that Amel's experience with the methods used to install the genoa is different and Amel believes that if you follow all of their instructions the angle of the halyard to the halyard swivel does not need to be equal to or greater than 10 degrees. This is a difference of opinion between Amel & Reckmann. Also, note that Reckmann agreed with my suggestions below. ~Bill Rouse


My thoughts regarding the difference of opinion between Amel & Reckmann:

  • Reckmann is not a boat manufacturer and never was. 
  • Amel is not a furling manufacturer, although they once were.
  • When Amel manufactured furlers they mitigated some halyard wrap problems with the “rods," but halyard wrap still happened with improperly secured halyards and extra halyards.

These suggestions are based on my opinions and certainly can be argued, but I want to offer them to you at face value:

- We all should be keenly aware of the possibility of a halyard wrap causing issues with any Amel model, including A55, A50, & A60.

- Inspect the forestay at its connection to the mast at least once a year.

- Before sailing, you should inspect all external halyards and ensure that none will interfere with any other rigging

- Store the extra halyards away from the forestay furler, on the sides very tightly (NOT ON THE PULPIT), and don't install too many halyards

- When sailing, always keep the foresail halyard very tight, except in light airs you may wish to loosen it slightly (but don't forget to tighten when the winds increase or you furl the sail)

- Store the gennaker/spinnaker halyard behind the spreaders and tightly to the rail.

- I have nothing against installing a halyard lead for the foresail halyard that Reckmann suggests for Reckmann furlers, but as I don't think this is the main cause, it probably will not solve the problem.



CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School
Address: 720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 
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