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Old 22-01-2016, 09:45   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Tromsø, Norway
Boat: Långedrag steel, 1988, 40ft
Posts: 86
Roller furler with turning forestay

Hi all,

We have a 40ft steel boat with a set of good hank on sails in all shapes and sizes. I really love those sails, however, am getting a bit tired of the hassle when changing and hoisting them (and storing on deck). Also, being able to both quickly and potentially single-handedly furl the sail in and out can be a great safety issue.

We are planning a long cruise coming summer including blue water passages and though of upgrading to a furling system but were put off by the prices of the big brands with foils/ extrusions spinning around the standing forestay.

There are a couple of local producers in Scandinavia and Germany that make furling systems where the sail wraps around a turning forestay. These are comparatively VERY cheap and have the advantage that we don't need to install a luff tape, i.e. can keep and change all our hank on sails as before.

The main disadvantage in everyday life compared to the expensive extrusion systems I can imagine is the fact that you cannot reef the sail, but only roll it in completely (the forestay is seems to be too thin to be a good core for a half rolled sail and would destroy the sail under heavy loads), which in our case is not so bad since we most of the time use the big 150% genoa, anyway, and will keep the option of changing to other sails.

One thing I'm more concerned about is the stability of these systems. A forestay that's attached to moving parts sounds a little unsafe in extreme conditions. Also, what about the furling functionality under heavy loads/ heavy winds? Will be difficult to spin the system when there is a lot of load?

Does anyone have experience or opinions on these systems? Can you recommend going for it as a cheap trade off to the expensive fancy ones and thereby saving us enough money to finance a few months extra cruising? Or do you think it's a bad idea and we should rather keep what we have and maybe find a used furling system on the way?

Any opinions appreciated!

Cheers,
Phil
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