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Old 09-07-2015, 07:24   #1
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Furling line length/size

I need a new furling line for an older harken unit.
My boat is 28' and I use a 135 and a 85 for headsails, seems like their are a lot of opinions on this as far as length and line size.
Is there a simple rule for figuring this out.

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Old 09-07-2015, 07:54   #2
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Re: Furling line length/size

A new Harken furler for your boat would probably come with 5/16 line. The length is up to you. I like to have enough line on the drum to make 4-5 turns around the big sail when furled. Also, think about "fuzzy" rope. Some rope has more texture in the cover and is easier to hold onto when wet. All the rope companies make this type rope.

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Old 09-07-2015, 09:40   #3
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Re: Furling line length/size

I have used 6, 7 and 8 mm dia (1 inch = 25.4 mm) on sails that were about 400 sq ft. and I found 8 mm best by a huge margin. 6 mm was useless: hard to grip. So I say go for the highest dia your drum capacity will allow.

The length is up to you, you can always cut when you think the tail is too long. It is roughly your foot length plus the deck length plus a margin.

If the drum is small and you want higher dia to get better grip, you can get quality braid on braid and shed the fore portion of the jacket (splicing a short length of the trimmed jacket back into the core). This gives a variable diameter rope that has a fatter working end and may still fit onto a smaller drum.
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Old 19-07-2015, 06:22   #4
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Re: Furling line length/size

After sewing the 2 components together, I remove the core section which would be on the drum. Has worked well for years.
so many projects--so little time !!
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Old 19-07-2015, 14:22   #5
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Re: Furling line length/size

Originally Posted by Blue Stocking View Post
After sewing the 2 components together, I remove the core section which would be on the drum. Has worked well for years.
I've done the same thing for years. Run your furling line onto the drum ensuring you have a few extra turns around the drum and fully extend your headsail. Mark your furling line at the drum. Now furl your headsail and remove the furling line from the drum. At the mark on your furling line put several stitches through the cover and core so the core can never creep. Remove the core to that point. Now reattach the furling line to the drum with several extra turns and unfurl your headsail. With the core removed you'll never have your furling line jam within the drum as the core will always lie flat in the drum, and yes, the cover has ample strength, the core is not needed. The tail of the furling line remains full sized since it still has the core and is easy on the hands and/or the furling winch drum.
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Old 19-07-2015, 15:12   #6
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Re: Furling line length/size

One caveat re stripping either cover or core from the furling line: this leaves whichever portion you decide to use exposed to the sun and UV, and this leads inevitably to degradation of strength. We occasionally hear of disasters when the furling line breaks in a squall and the sail is either reefed or being furled, and I suspect that these events are usually using stripped cordage.

So, if one goes this way, more frequent replacement will be required.

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Port Cygnet recovering from the excesses of the Cygnet Regatta
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Old 19-07-2015, 22:05   #7
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Re: Furling line length/size

Make sure you allow for a *tightly* furled sail when you are figuring the line length. If you measure it to give you a few wraps when furling it at the dock in light wind, when you eventually try to furl at sea in heavy wind you will probably run out of line before the sail is completely furled. I would add at least several feet to what you think you will need, then trim it later if you need to. Better too long than too short.

Also, give yourself enough line to be able to start furling from the far side of the cockpit. Sometimes, especially when shorthanded, it's more convenient to work from the other side of the boat.

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furling, size

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