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Old 02-10-2019, 10:58   #1
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Building stainless steel roller furlers for cutter ketch

Hi Cruisers,

Iím looking for some advise on building 2 stainless steel roller furlers for my cutter ketch 37.5ft. I want to keep the design as simple as possible, I was just wondering if anyone has any experience doing this and the parts needed.

Thanks
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:10   #2
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Re: Building stainless steel roller furlers for cutter ketch

SS is a terrible material for this type of thing. It is non lubricating and galls readily. Too heavy for the parts aloft also. Maybe more info on what parts you want to build from SS?
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:31   #3
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Re: Building stainless steel roller furlers for cutter ketch

Aluminum. Check out Alado Nautica furlers. You would need a mill and a lathe.
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Old 02-10-2019, 14:49   #4
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Re: Building stainless steel roller furlers for cutter ketch

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
SS is a terrible material for this type of thing. It is non lubricating and galls readily. Too heavy for the parts aloft also. Maybe more info on what parts you want to build from SS?
Hi Cheechako,

I didnít realise stainless wasnít any good. Iím not sure what Iím doing to be honest but I know I donít have a few Thousand for furling systems and I really donít want to keep getting the headsail out of the cabin all the time. I just want something cheap, simple and effective.

I have a fabricator doing some work on my boat at the min and he can make whatever I need cheap so just need some advise on what to get him to build.

Thanks
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Old 02-10-2019, 16:39   #5
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Re: Building stainless steel roller furlers for cutter ketch

A stuck furler is a nightmare. These are tough things to get right.

It would be much easier to have your guy modify or repair one than start from scratch.

Look for wrecked and abandoned boats at the back of boatyards. $100 might do the trick.
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Old 02-10-2019, 17:14   #6
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Re: Building stainless steel roller furlers for cutter ketch

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Originally Posted by JimMann View Post
Hi Cruisers,

Iím looking for some advise on building 2 stainless steel roller furlers for my cutter ketch 37.5ft. I want to keep the design as simple as possible, I was just wondering if anyone has any experience doing this and the parts needed.

Thanks
As noted by others, stainless would equate to just too much weight aloft, among many other problems.

Older second-hand furlers are not too hard to come by, and all that I have met can be easily shortened, so don't be put off by something that is too long.

All seem to have different ways of handling the problem of rotation, with everything from space-age bearings to the nylon block mine uses. Just have a look at what you are considering buying and you'll soon figure out how it works.

For the record, I am a VERY DIY guy, I build most stuff when I can for myself including wind-vane, autopilot, davit cranes, staysail tensioning system... you name it. But I really could not see any cost advantage in trying to make a furler myself when I briefly considered it a while back. Honestly, I could not buy the materials for what I would have paid for a decent secondhand furler.

(Full disclosure, I was fortunate that I was gifted a furler in exchange for helping a couple get cruising. In exchange I fabricated a few things for them including bits for their autopilot and a kedging anchor bracket that I was so happy with that I am thinking of starting a small business making them and selling them to cruisers.)

If you are looking for how simple the design can get, have a look at one I was gifted. There are pictures I posted recently on converting my staysail to furling.

Furler using a conventional bolt rope, not a luff tape.
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Old 03-10-2019, 07:42   #7
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Re: Building stainless steel roller furlers for cutter ketch

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Hi Cheechako,

I didn’t realise stainless wasn’t any good. I’m not sure what I’m doing to be honest but I know I don’t have a few Thousand for furling systems and I really don’t want to keep getting the headsail out of the cabin all the time. I just want something cheap, simple and effective.

I have a fabricator doing some work on my boat at the min and he can make whatever I need cheap so just need some advise on what to get him to build.

Thanks
You don't have a few thousand dollars but you want to make a stainless steel furler? I think you are in for an unpleasant surprise when you start pricing out raw materials.

If you "don't know what you are doing", you probably shouldn't be manufacturing your own sailing gear.

Man my marina has like a half dozen abandoned masts with abandoned furlers, as does the marine consignment shop down the road. I think in your position, with neither the money to buy one nor the skills to design one, your only option is to find a used one.

Well, the other options are to either find the money or find the skills. I suppose maybe you are trying to "find the skills" right now. Some folks have indeed made some (pretty hokey!) homemade furlers, some with PVC pipe, etc.

I'd say, stick with the hank ons and save your pennies for something well designed. If you've reached this point in your life and can't find your own way on this project, you likely don't have a natural inclination toward such projects and you'll just be unhappily making a furler you won't be happy with. On the other hand, maybe it'll tickle a new fancy.

Good luck! Some folks who have DIY'd this will hopefully chime in.
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Old 03-10-2019, 09:25   #8
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Re: Building stainless steel roller furlers for cutter ketch

Factory built time tested roller furlers are not that expensive. I experiment with tons of things from natural curiosity, but this sounds like an expensive proposition fraught with a long unpleasant learning curve and most likely a final product less desirable than you want. 2 or 3 trips up the mast, including initial measuring, are usually all that is required to install a store bought roller furling system, but I foresee a person living up there like a Redwood tree sitter for an extended time getting the bugs out. But I am a natural optimist.
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:12   #9
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Re: Building stainless steel roller furlers for cutter ketch

There are a number of boats sailing with home made furlers as shown in a book about origami boat building. A relative of mine circumnavigated in a BS36 and the furler worked well. The book is by Brent Swain, google it.
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:25   #10
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Re: Building stainless steel roller furlers for cutter ketch

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There are a number of boats sailing with home made furlers as shown in a book about origami boat building. A relative of mine circumnavigated in a BS36 and the furler worked well. The book is by Brent Swain, google it.
**** Brent Swain Says - Sailing Anarchy - Sailing Anarchy Forums
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:36   #11
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Re: Building stainless steel roller furlers for cutter ketch

@SwellGuy
A debate about Brent Swain's shortcomings have nothing to do with the OP's question. I assume he wants to build a couple of furlers to either save money and/or for the satisfaction of doing it himself.
Brent's book shows how to do it and the furlers work.
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:56   #12
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Re: Building stainless steel roller furlers for cutter ketch

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@SwellGuy
A debate about Brent Swain's shortcomings have nothing to do with the OP's question. I assume he wants to build a couple of furlers to either save money and/or for the satisfaction of doing it himself.
Brent's book shows how to do it and the furlers work.
You recommended Brent's book.

I think it's entirely appropriate to inform the OP that in the (imperfect) court of public opinion Brent is not considered a reliable source.
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Old 03-10-2019, 14:06   #13
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Re: Building stainless steel roller furlers for cutter ketch

The early furlers were very unreliable, while today's mature designs generally work quite well. Given the lack of experience the OP seems to have, the odds of getting it right the first time seem low IMHO. If one simply must have a roller furler then pick up a good used one - it will be less expensive than a DIY and it will almost certainly work better.

I question the "need" for roller furling on the headsails. Yes, it is a nice convenience, but certainly not a necessity (I have done all of my cruising without furling). And since the OP apparently has hanked-on sails already, the cost of the furler must also include the cost of either converting the sails to furling (possible but not optimal) or buying new sails cut for furling. That is going to add up.

The alternative does not have to be "getting the headsail out of the cabin all the time". When cruising I leave my headsails hanked on, flaked and folded, with sail covers. It is much less work.

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