I've been meaning to report back to the forum on this post. So we did speak with Harken and they confirmed that it is crucial to align with the notches so that the furling
mechanism can't slip over the mechanical fitting on the forestay and potentially cause a rigging
failure. We weighed the options and ultimately decided to take the entire assembled furling
system back down. This decision was made easier because we found a third person to help. Getting it down was of course easy. Once down I shaved a piece off of the top foil and we were ready to put it back up (quick note: my earlier suspicions about Harken's diagram seem to be correct, i.e. the piece that I shaved off was almost exactly the same length as the bottom toggle that they include in the diagram where you calculate the total length). In any case, the part that we were dreading was now upon us. With three people this took a couple of hours and a lot of frustrating coordination. The method that worked had two key components. The first is pretty simple - as you push the foil up onto the stay twist with the direction of the wire rope
twists. This really seemed to help - probably reduced friction just enough to help the momentum that you build pushing it over the stay and through the foil connecting holes. The second thing that really seemed to help is a little harder to describe. You can get the first few foils on without a problem but as it starts to get high up the stay the flexing really takes hold and the spreaders start to get in the way. At this point we found that we needed two people on deck
and a "pusher" on the dock
. The pushers job is obvious but it's important for the pusher to continue twisting while they push. Then one of the people on deck
has to guide the foil up and on the forward side of the spreaders (needs to be a fairly strong person - long torque arm = lots of force). The third person needs a 14 foot dock stick which they use the hook to twist and grab the forestay and pull it down into the hole on the top foil while the pusher is pushing up. Doing this you cant get over that critical spreaders point and then with a bit more futzing you can then slip it up to the top. This method worked for us and we've been using the new furler with great results. Probably the most important lesson here is that all of this can be avoided if you do NOT include the length of the very bottom toggle (the one that attached the bow chainplate) in the length calculations.