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mikebikeboy 25-06-2020 17:11

Warped furler foils --- fix?
Hi everyone! I've been working on the furler of a boat I purchased recently. Upon taking it all apart and inspecting the foils, most are warped, I am guessing from sitting horizontally for 2-3 years, outside:
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Questions are:

1) Do I need to fix this?
2) If so, how? I tried bending them back by hand but they spring back to their warped position. I do not want to push too hard and risk them buckling.
3) Is it possible that they will straighten by themselves once rigging is taught, sail on, and time goes by?

Thanks in advance for advice!

steve77 25-06-2020 18:23

Re: Warped furler foils --- fix?
I’ll take the easy answers.

If you don’t fix this you will continually have trouble furling the sail. It makes more difference than you would think.

No, it won’t fix itself.

I wish I could tell you how to straighten the foils but I don’t have an answer. But I think you will be unhappy living with the foils as is.

Best of luck!


mikebikeboy 26-06-2020 07:38

Re: Warped furler foils --- fix?
Thanks Steve, is the trouble furling caused by the chafe of the foils against the stay, causing resistance? or something else.

Orion Jim 27-06-2020 05:55

Re: Warped furler foils --- fix?
Just think of a window shade. If the foils aren’t straight the sail will not roll properly and friction will make furling difficult. If the furling unit is recent replacement foils should be available from the manufacturer. Ir the whole unit is questionable just replace. They are simple to assemble if you follow the directions to the letter. I have assembled and installed two Harken units for my boat since it is a cutter.

bobnlesley 27-06-2020 06:17

Re: Warped furler foils --- fix?

Originally Posted by Orion Jim (Post 3173147)
...will make furling difficult...They are simple to assemble if you follow the directions...

Contrary as usual: It might make furling difficult, but it sounds like a new boat to you and that you've not yet tried it? Give it a go and see.

Soon after buying our boat we discovered that the foil-sections on one furler were curved/warped, much like those appear but it never seemed to make any difference to the rolling action. The deformation wasn't so noticeable once it was reassembled and on the forestay and disappeared completely when the sail filled.
As Jim notes, they're easy enough to assemble (we've done two, both whilst afloat) so put it together as is and check the rolling action, if that's OK then give it a go under sail; hopefully all will be fine and if not then buy/fit new then; no need to throw money at it until you know for sure that you've got a problem.
PS: Measure the precise length of the assembled foil before refitting, that way, if it doesn't work to your satisfaction and has to be replaced, you will be able to do much of the fiddly, time-consuming part of the replacement job before you take it off again

Jim Cate 27-06-2020 17:30

Re: Warped furler foils --- fix?
Hi again Mike,

I'm outside my personal experience here, but I'll offer the following:

First, remember that you will be installing the foils on a very tight stay, and that will straighten them to some degree. How much ? Well, depends somewhat on the internal bearings in the foils, but I'd be surprised if there was perceptable curvature once the headstay is properly tensioned. The downside of this is perhaps more internal friction when furling... dunno if it would be an issue.

Second, I can't tell from the photo just how big the bends are, nor if all the foil sections are bent. If it is just one or two, replacing them alone is a possibility. It is also possible that a local rigger could help in straightening them... maybe!

So, in your place I would reassemble the furler and have a good look up it once the stay is at full tension. Perhaps a photo looking up the stay would be useful. Then, no matter how ugly it looks, I'd put a sail on it and go sailing. See how it looks under load, and how the furling action is in reality. Those two observations will clear up a lot of hypothetical worries! Photos looking up the luff of the sail under way would be useful, too. With unlimited budget, immediate replacement would be the choice, but in the fiscal world we have to operate within, sometimes that ain't on tap!

Good luck with it... I think it will likely work out OK.


barnakiel 27-06-2020 18:25

Re: Warped furler foils --- fix?
I have some less than perfect extrusions here. They tend to wobble the furler when turned.

I would then try to fix the curve up before fitting the whole thing.


steve77 28-06-2020 04:43

Re: Warped furler foils --- fix?

Originally Posted by mikebikeboy (Post 3172354)
Thanks Steve, is the trouble furling caused by the chafe of the foils against the stay, causing resistance? or something else.

Our staysail has warped foils, and it is probably about the size of the foresail on your Cape Dory. I believe the foils were warped while stored off of the boat for the winter, but I did not realize this until we had left the country (Portugal). I have lived with the problem since we don't use the staysail all that often. I did n to notice that they were warped during reinstallation.

I can't say for sure where the friction occurs. On our boat the sail unfurls unevenly. When you pull on the sheet, It will rotate easily half a rotation, and then require a real tug to get it turning again. The friction makes it a chore to unfurl until you get enough sail out that the wind takes over.

If the boat is new to you, then perhaps it would be okay to try it and see how bad the problem is. If it is too much friction there are a lot of second hand shops that may be able to get you a few sections of your foil to replace those that are warped.

Best of luck!

Paul J. Nolan 29-06-2020 02:28

Re: Warped furler foils --- fix?
A simple solution: piston hanks. Your sailmaker can help you.

Sailmonkey 29-06-2020 04:12

Re: Warped furler foils --- fix?
I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

You’ve already gone through the exercise of disassembly, when you re-assemble just grease the wire as you shove it through the foils, friction will be minimal.

mikebikeboy 30-06-2020 11:43

Re: Warped furler foils --- fix?
I've ordered a new forstay as insurance.

I was also playing around with the foils last night and seemed to figure out a way to correct them somewhat.

barnakiel 30-06-2020 11:59

Re: Warped furler foils --- fix?
I believe the easy way is to build a rig.

Place the foil on a cardboard, take down the shape of the inner curve. Use the cardboard to make a rig out of a rigid plank (held on the edge). Use LESS of the curve. Now fix the foil onto one end to the plank (in 'reverse') and start 'unbending' the element. Stop. check. Move ahead. Add more curve in the rig if required.

Alloy will spring back, how much, hard to say. You will likely need to adjust the rig and step lightly to avoid pressing the foil to far.


mikebikeboy 11-07-2020 18:27

Re: Warped furler foils --- fix?
I ended up figuring out how to straighten them. I'm sure your rig idea woulda worked but I'm not ambitious enough to make a rig.

Heres what I did in case anyone wants to know:

Put end of foil on the ground, and vigorously pump the foil dozens of times in the desired direction. Prop it against your leg, you'll figure it out. It seems like this vigorous pumping is what causes the foil to bend in tiny increments and not at a single point which could cause a kink.

I got them not 100% but I'd say 99%. If you eyeball you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and appears to be lined up great. Before, you couldn't see the light at all.

Jim Cate 11-07-2020 19:58

Re: Warped furler foils --- fix?

Well done! You should now be about ready to assemble and test it out. Good luck!


mikebikeboy 11-07-2020 20:07

Re: Warped furler foils --- fix?
Thanks Jim, will report back with more information once I do!

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