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Old 13-05-2016, 07:32   #1
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Furling Lines

I'm well sick of my headsail furling lines, which I replaced when I replaced all my standing rigging 3 years ago.

The running rigging I got from Spencer Rigging has all turned out to be poor. The halyards I bought at enormous expense are "cruising" dyneema which is like a loose polyester tube over the dyneema core, and don't work well in the clutches.

The 12mm polyester double braid furling lines have swollen up to the extent that they can't be used in the clutches any more, and they pile up and jam in the furling drum. Ick! What a disappointment! Only three years of poor service and now they will be tossed, compared to the lovely ropes supplied by Moody which lasted 10 years. All this cordage looks worse at 3 years than the original Moody stuff looked upon retirement at 10. Boo!

I cannot furl my large yankee by hand. The forces are just too huge, and the large Selden Furlex drums require a lot of muscle just by themselves. So this is always done on an electric winch, and so I question the necessity of 12mm cordage for this.

I am thinking about using some more of the lovely 10mm Marlow D2 Racing 78 dyneema rope I had my new preventers made out of. Great hand, and the cover fits tightly. This will occupy far less space on the furler drum than the original 12mm and should eliminate the jamming, I would think.

Dyneema is overkill for this, but if I'm going to downsize them, I don't want to introduce a lot of stretch. Stretch in the furling line doesn't matter except when you are reefed, which I avoid as much as possible, but the few occasions may be important ones.

Any flaw in any of this logic?


I could taper them for even more saving, but this seems to me to be entirely superfluous if I'm going down to 10mm anyway.

I am aware that I will have less mechanical advantage when the sail is out, when the roll of rope is smaller due to smaller diameter cordage, but I don't think this makes a great deal of difference -- the rope is plenty strong and I'll be using an electric winch with plenty of power.
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Old 13-05-2016, 07:52   #2
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Re: Furling Lines

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post

Dyneema is overkill for this, but if I'm going to downsize them, I don't want to introduce a lot of stretch. Stretch in the furling line doesn't matter except when you are reefed, which I avoid as much as possible, but the few occasions may be important ones.

Any flaw in any of this logic?
Sorry to hear that you got hosed on the expensive high tech line.

Yup, overkill. Stretch in the furling line, to me, IMHO, my opinion, etc., is that it simply doesn't or shouldn't matter. There is little way even with a mark on the foot of the jib that one could get such an exact position and that even 2% to 5% stretch would make a difference since the furling line is wound around the drum.

Good luck.
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Old 13-05-2016, 08:14   #3
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Re: Furling Lines

My boat isn't even long enough to notice furling line stretch!!!!


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Old 13-05-2016, 08:19   #4
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Re: Furling Lines

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Sorry to hear that you got hosed on the expensive high tech line.

Yup, overkill. Stretch in the furling line, to me, IMHO, my opinion, etc., is that it simply doesn't or shouldn't matter. There is little way even with a mark on the foot of the jib that one could get such an exact position and that even 2% to 5% stretch would make a difference since the furling line is wound around the drum.

Good luck.
I agree in general, and besides that, I really avoid reefing the jibs as much as possible. Lately I even just sail on jib alone and get rid of the main entirely, in order to avoid reefing (works great by the way).

So it's a fairly theoretical question, but it is true that a stretchy furling line will allow the jib to "pant" when reefed which is not good -- energy wasted.

I don't have any great aspirations to reduce stretch, but I don't want to increase it, which I would do by downsizing the line and sticking with polyester. The Dyneema maintains the strength also (even increases it), despite the downsizing.
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Old 13-05-2016, 08:23   #5
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Re: Furling Lines

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Sorry to hear that you got hosed on the expensive high tech line.. . .
I got hosed altogether by these guys.

This is one of the most famous riggers in Europe, based in Cowes, who do all of the Discovery new builds and lots of famous racing boats. Has existed for many decades.

All the craftsmen in Cowes are so good, and charge so modestly, and do such great quality, that I just didn't imagine that it might turn out like this. I should have gotten references. Not only was the running rigging poor (and expensive), but they made different mistakes in the standing rigging, including leaving out cotter pins (!!!). I'm wiser now. I've since heard that this is typical of them lately when dealing with individual cruisers, as they are entirely concentrated on large volume jobs.
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Old 13-05-2016, 09:25   #6
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Re: Furling Lines

Have you thought about a dyneema blend line? I am about to fit my boat with a new harken MKIV Unit 3 furler which I think would be the size for your boat too? and a Arco Hutton 4800 furler for the staysail. I am thinking of a blend, Just not sure yet as I'm not at that stage.

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Old 13-05-2016, 09:33   #7
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Re: Furling Lines

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Have you thought about a dyneema blend line? I am about to fit my boat with a new harken MKIV Unit 3 furler which I think would be the size for your boat too? and a Arco Hutton 4800 furler for the staysail. I am thinking of a blend, Just not sure yet as I'm not at that stage.

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Not a blend, but double braid with Dyneema core and polyester cover. I am not aware of ropes with actually blended fibers.

That is the standard type of Dyneema rope. The difference is that the "racing" types have larger cores and higher modulus Dyneema (SK78 usually), and better covers.

My experience with the "cruising" type is not good, but it was only one type so I don't assume that they're all bad.
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Old 13-05-2016, 09:46   #8
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Re: Furling Lines

Your going to like the smaller diameter line. Much less friction in the system. Easier to keep clean. My mizzen is out of the boat right now and new halyards are being installed. In the case of halyards I kept the large diameter line for the psychological comfort when going aloft but absent that I would go with a smaller size on that as well. Like you I am disgusted with the life of my sheets...2 years? Not okay...all being replaced.
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Old 13-05-2016, 10:55   #9
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Re: Furling Lines

Dock head,

There are a couple of blended lines. Salsa being the most common example. It's really designed for hand worked main sheets and has one of the best hands of any line I have ever used. I probably wouldn't use it for a furling line brought to a winch however.

For your furling line I would probably use a pretty small diameter endurabraid. You could taper it if you want to gain room on the drum but if you aren't worried about space there is no need to do so. The other option is to splice amsteel into a tenex cover. The amsteel carries all the load, and the tenex just adds to the size. In my case the run between the drum and the last block is raw amsteel (when fully reefed). So you ever touch just the dyneema.
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Old 13-05-2016, 12:13   #10
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Re: Furling Lines

The answer to your problem is simple: Reckmann hydraulic furling system.
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Old 13-05-2016, 12:32   #11
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Re: Furling Lines

I see no reason for high tech line on a cruising boat. Reliable old school easy-on-the-hands is bulletproof.
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Old 13-05-2016, 12:57   #12
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Re: Furling Lines

I use 1/4" Amstel blue for my furling line. Added a cover on the end that I handle, just before the clutch. I used to use smaller, but it was too small to work well in my winch. Didn't really think it was that expensive. Plus, I use low friction rings lashed to my railing as fair leads. Way strong, but that last thing I want to worry about is my furling line parting when reefed down.


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Old 13-05-2016, 13:00   #13
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Re: Furling Lines

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<SNIP>Like you I am disgusted with the life of my sheets...2 years? Not okay...all being replaced.
Interesting. I bought New England Rope's simple Stay Set, bottom of the line stuff. Of course, not available in Europe, but just to show that less expensive stuff sometimes works just fine. Running rigging is over 10 years old on mainsheet and other lines. The jib sheets are over 6 years old, no signs of wear. I don't hide 'em either. Good luck.

DH, I don't reef my jibs either. Summer high wind is an 85%, winter 110%. I think in the past 18 years I've reefed my jibs twice, and once for practice --- just to show it don't work!
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Old 13-05-2016, 13:20   #14
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Re: Furling Lines

I changed furling lines in January and went from a standard double braid to superbraid from Southern Ropes that I bought from Island Water World in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia.

The superbraid is lower stretch than double braid, but I was really after the extra strength so I had a line I was confident in while the genoa was reefed in high winds.

The superbraid is nearly 3 times stronger than the double braid.

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Old 13-05-2016, 13:28   #15
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Re: Furling Lines

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The answer to your problem is simple: Reckmann hydraulic furling system.
I totally agree. Except probably I would do Selden electric ones. But furling lines are basically wrong for sails of this size.
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