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Old 16-03-2018, 21:37   #1
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Pipe recommendation please for DIY roller furler

I have to create with locally available materials and am building a DIY furler.

My plan is as follows and comments and suggestions welcome.

I am replacing the forestay with a 5/8" galvanized wire connected using Crosby fittings which will be potted.

The wire will be fixed and the idea is to have a pipe spin around the wire to wrap the sail.

The pipe also serves to spread apart upper and lower drums to which the foot and head will be attached.

For drums I am using heavy duty aluminum motorcycle hubs.

I have figured out a way to attach the jib to Tees using softshackles. The Tees will are schedule 40 plastic and not the concern. The Tees will travel up and down the pipe.

My concern is the pole. On most DIY applications people are just using a PVC pipe. My concern is there would be too much luff tension and the pipe would soon break.

#1 Aluminum here is not very good quality. It is not available with a thick anodized coating. This said I may be able to get a Schedule 80 aluminum pole.

#2 One thought I have is to go with a bronze pipe. Perhaps copper may do?

.....

Another concern is whether I should try and sheath the galvanized wire within a PVC tube. The purpose is to prevent it from touching the outer metal pipe. However, the fear is this may collect water and lead to the forestay corroding quicker than if no sheath was used.
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Old 17-03-2018, 00:43   #2
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Re: Pipe recommendation please for DIY roller furler

Look up the reefurl and alado units for some examples of effective and simple units. A pvc liner made from electrical conduit is a very good and cheap way to make a bushing that lasts well. Add some sort of simple hdpe bushing at the bottom and you are set.

I'd have no problem using a non anodised aluminium extrusion. My old reefurl was not anodised and it still looks fine after 15 years or so. Otherwise I'd go for stainless or galv tube.
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Old 17-03-2018, 01:08   #3
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Re: Pipe recommendation please for DIY roller furler

i'd definitely use the aluminum pipe. Schedule 80 is pretty beefy, don't you think it will take the load OK?

Regards protecting the galv wire, you should definitely paint it. If you can get it where you are the ideal paint is coal tar epoxy, for several reasons: 1. It will adhere very well to slightly oily surfaces and the wire may well have some lubricant applied to it, 2. coal tar epoxy is about 10 times more flexible than regular epoxies which is very good on wire rope, 3. coal tar is less permeable than standard epoxies. If you can get coal tar epoxy, an ideal corrosion protection is to first paint the wire, let the paint cure, then wrap the wire tightly with a cloth tape (strips cut from yardage are fine) and then saturate the tape with more coal tar. This is a lifetime set up if done well.

If you can get it plastic tubing is an ideal sheathing for the galv wire. it won't matter whether water gets inside the tubing or not, especially if the galv is painted. The tubing will protect the galvanizing from being worn off the wire from friction with the roller. Much tubing is made from plastics which are naturally lubricious.
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Old 17-03-2018, 18:56   #4
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Re: Pipe recommendation please for DIY roller furler

Other tricks are some old school ways of making a track of some sort. Ideally you could rivet a track section on, but they can be hard to find in the right profile. Try searching for annex track.

Ive seen a few very old units that use split 12mm tube welded to heavier pipe to make the foil sections. This seems like a simple and effective way to make a furling unit from simple parts.

These halyard return systems greatly benefit from a halyard lock of some sort. Or even having the halyard snapshackled to the top with an on deck release line. This halves the compression in the spar and eliminates halyard stretch and the bowstring effect that both result in a poorly setting sail.

The sails luff rope needs to be loose so that minimal halyard tension is needed to draw the draft of the sail forward. These units are best with a cunningham or adjustable tack to increase halyard tension in strong winds. And relax it for storage and light airs.
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Old 17-03-2018, 22:42   #5
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Re: Pipe recommendation please for DIY roller furler

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Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
Other tricks are some old school ways of making a track of some sort. Ideally you could rivet a track section on, but they can be hard to find in the right profile. Try searching for annex track.

Ive seen a few very old units that use split 12mm tube welded to heavier pipe to make the foil sections. This seems like a simple and effective way to make a furling unit from simple parts.

These halyard return systems greatly benefit from a halyard lock of some sort. Or even having the halyard snapshackled to the top with an on deck release line. This halves the compression in the spar and eliminates halyard stretch and the bowstring effect that both result in a poorly setting sail.

The sails luff rope needs to be loose so that minimal halyard tension is needed to draw the draft of the sail forward. These units are best with a cunningham or adjustable tack to increase halyard tension in strong winds. And relax it for storage and light airs.
Yes I see two flaws in my plans so far.

Agreed, unless there is a locking mechanism to the top drum, or unless the sail is attached by hand to the top drum by going up the mast, compression on the middle pole will be doubled. Further, something needs to be done to keep the halyard neat at the bottom drum after the sail is hoisted.

Secondly, while my idea of using softshackles to slide up/down the pole when raising/lowering the sail works. It doesn't help the middle of the sale furl.

I do like the idea of welding a 1/2 section of a smaller pole onto the larger pole, and then splitting that down the center and using sail sliders.

Question: I don't really intend to use the furler to reduce sail. It is in practice only going to be full in or full out.

With about a 40 ft luff, the sail should still furl eventually even if the middle didn't wrap up until several turns later.

...

Based on feedback I am thinking of going SS with the inner forestay protected within reinforced tubing. The galvanized wire would be coated at least twice with synthetic linseed oil. That is something locally available. Coal epoxy sounds nice but have never seen here.

I may also go Aluminum.
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Old 18-03-2018, 01:28   #6
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Re: Pipe recommendation please for DIY roller furler

One experimental idea would be to use square section tube, then make up square 'sliders' that match the OD and the sail could be lashed onto these. The 6 meter section joiners would need to be internal so as to not impede the sliders as they go up. Square cutting board internal bearings could be made for every meter of wire and lightweight poly pipe would do for spacers. A good dollop of grease on the wire would go a long way to preserving it and a wedge fitting or bulldog grips at the top or bottom would make it easy to inspect the wire.

I think it is well worthwhile having the reefing option, it really increases your options in heavy weather and reduces the head and foot loads on the sail when you start rolling it up.
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Old 18-03-2018, 13:33   #7
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Re: Pipe recommendation please for DIY roller furler

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbmaise View Post
...I have figured out a way to attach the jib to Tees using softshackles. The Tees will are schedule 40 plastic and not the concern. The Tees will travel up and down the pipe. ...
But later you mention: "Secondly, while my idea of using softshackles to slide up/down the pole when raising/lowering the sail works. It doesn't help the middle of the sale furl."

I don't see the second method working, I fear it might ruin your sail.

Many moons ago I used a piece of plastic pipe cut lengthwise and prised over the jib luffrope to help it furl more evenly; the jib was free-standing (not attached to any forestay), fixed to a drum at the foot only, with a halliard swivel at the head, and it would furl along the foot but not at the top (no way could it be partly furled for reefing). That length of cheap plastic pipe fixed the problem, with almost no added weight aloft.

To drop the sail I had to lower it to the deck on a calm day.

I like the idea of coaltar epoxy on galvanised wire. I've also heard of old-timers soaking the wire in lanolin but haven't tried it myself.
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Old 18-03-2018, 13:47   #8
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Re: Pipe recommendation please for DIY roller furler

I've used a fair bit of galv rigging over the years. On yachts and square riggers. I don't bother coating it with anything. Think of it like galvanied chain.

If the wire is class A galv it seems to last 7-10 years or more. Currently some that is 15 years old on my last boat still looks good and has had no special care.

Use 1x19 or 7x7 to minimise stretch and make sure the wire is class A rated.

I used korean wire and it has been excellant.
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Old 18-03-2018, 14:23   #9
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Re: Pipe recommendation please for DIY roller furler

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...If the wire is class A galv it seems to last 7-10 years or more. Currently some that is 15 years old on my last boat still looks good and has had no special care....
... and it's Korean! I used what I thought was good quality Australian galvanised wire rigging on my last boat across the ditch and in less than a year it looked like crap - half of it showing surface rust. I thought it was my fault for not protecting it in some way - sounds like it was poor quality wire.
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Old 18-03-2018, 15:51   #10
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Re: Pipe recommendation please for DIY roller furler

*If you are not using the furler to adjust or reduce sail--what is the point of fitting one? Hanks are fine--and the sails are easily removed and stowed.

The only reason I would use a furler is to take in sail.
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Old 18-03-2018, 16:35   #11
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Re: Pipe recommendation please for DIY roller furler

Regarding galvanized wire lasting, there are 3 classes of galvanizing on wire rope. The classes refer to the thickness of the galvanizing. The thickest galvanizing lasts a lot longer. The galvanizing thickness is part of the spec of the wire rope, its certainly worth paying attention to.

Well painted galv wire far outlasts bare wire. Coal tar epoxy, or any epoxy for that matter, will break down eventually from UV. The thin wall plastic tubing acts as a UV barrier. Done properly it is a lifetime rig.
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Old 18-03-2018, 17:13   #12
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Re: Pipe recommendation please for DIY roller furler

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Originally Posted by NevisDog View Post
... and it's Korean! I used what I thought was good quality Australian galvanised wire rigging on my last boat across the ditch and in less than a year it looked like crap - half of it showing surface rust. I thought it was my fault for not protecting it in some way - sounds like it was poor quality wire.
Interesting. As far as I know no wire is made in aussie, but I suspect a few aussie companies are importing cheap Chinese stuff and reselling it as the good stuff. Mine came with a korean certificate and has been excellant. I hope the latest stuff I have bought will be as good.

A bit of surface rust is Ok. Ive used fishoil and linseed oil to treat it on square riggers, though it can stain sails if it doesn't dry properly.

Who did you buy the wire from, and what type? Ive got some of my latest 7x7 from Nobles, but I must say it doesn't look anywhere near as good as the last stuff I bought, but it was so cheap ($150 or so) that if I need to replace it every few years it's not the end of the world.
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Old 18-03-2018, 18:40   #13
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Re: Pipe recommendation please for DIY roller furler

If you are not going to REEF the sail, but have it all the way out or completely rolled up, there is no reason to have a foil, the sail can be hanked to the forestay, a drum on the bottom, with the forestay attached,takes care of rolling it up, but a top swivel is required, attached to the halyard, something like a heavy duty anchor chain swivel,regarding KOREAN wire, if you ask the rigging shops what they use, you will find out most of it is KOREAN, they have been manufacturing wire for donkeys year's in good quality.
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Old 19-03-2018, 05:03   #14
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Re: Pipe recommendation please for DIY roller furler

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*If you are not using the furler to adjust or reduce sail--what is the point of fitting one? Hanks are fine--and the sails are easily removed and stowed.

The only reason I would use a furler is to take in sail.
Probably a good idea. I can just replace the Dyneema line which started me down this road and buy three Crosby Open Spelter Wire Sockets. If in future I decide to add reefing on the roller furler, I can just cut the line, slot in the roller and pole.

Of course it still means before putting the sail in the locker I have to freshwater wash it and dry.

Thanks to all that answered.

Summary:
1. Will replace Dyneema with galvanized and unfortunately don't have a great selection. One firm sells what they call double galvanized solid core wire. But I am 99% sure it is Chinese.

2. Synthetic linseed oil to coat wire.

3. Install plastic tees over wire and loop soft shackles to attach sail.

4. Wash sail before stowing.

....

If in future want roller furler.

5. 1-1/2" stainless steel pole. Well on 3/4" pole split down middle. Then slice a slot in 3/4" pole to make a sail track.

6. Install sail on sail track with sliders.

Thanks all.
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Old 19-03-2018, 12:30   #15
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Re: Pipe recommendation please for DIY roller furler

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...Who did you buy the wire from, and what type?
Short answer - don't know. 10 years ago, went to nearest rigging shop (cranes and slings and stuff), probably not 7x7 as it bent around the thimbles with ease (19x7?). Stainless rigging was shot and funds were non-existent - wrong answer?
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