Product Reviews

Harken Roller Furlers

Tending headsails from the cockpit

From Issue   February 2021

T here’s no easier way to douse a jib than with roller furling, and Harken, with a line of small-boat furlers, has brought the ease and convenience normally employed by larger boats within reach of small-boat sailors. Unlike furlers on larger boats, which use a rigid foil that spins to furl the sail, Harken’s small-boat series uses stainless wire for the forestay, simplifying the setup and lowering the cost. These small furling drums are available in both conventional single line and the newer endless-line style.

small sailboat roller furling

This hoistable swivel, used here with the conventional furler drum, is installed over the forestay for a regular hanked-on sail to be hoisted and furled. In this picture, the peak of the sail is attached via a pendant—the gray Dyneema and red lashing line—to set the jib peak below the jumper stays, so they do not interfere with it. The sail will be hoisted with the blue halyard attached to the swivel.

With the conventional furler, pulling on a jibsheet unfurls the sail and pulling on the 4mm furler line furls it; the latter doesn’t spool line, so the line can be thicker and easier on the hands. While the conventional drums work perfectly fine, the endless-line type can handle a larger sail and provide finer control over the rotation of the tack, allowing one to fully unfurl the sail without relying on the sheet tension, and helping to overcome any curl that may be induced into a sail that has spent significant time tightly rolled on the furler.

small sailboat roller furling

This endless-line furler on a bowsprit will be attached to a straight-luffed code-zero spinnaker. The peak of the sail will be equipped with a swivel. This type of furler isn’t limited by the amount of line it can coil, making it more versatile for larger sails than the conventional furler.

The endless-line type can also be used to furl some of the more straight-luffed flying sails, such as code-zero spinnakers or gennakers common on beach cats and multihulls, and would be more suited toward jib setups under less tension, such as jibs used on traditional rigs with unstayed masts.

These Harken furlers employ the drum at the tack, a wire installed into the sail’s luff, and a swivel at the head of the sail. The luff wire becomes the forestay, and this combination is spun to furl the sail. This configuration is ideal for smaller trailerable sloops (where the mast is removed for trailering) and boats with traditional unstayed rigs, but makes it impossible to change or remove the sail without disconnecting the forestay on boats that rely on forestay tension to support the mast.

On these boats with tensioned standing rigging, a slightly more complicated setup can be used to enable sail changes without disconnecting the forestay. In this configuration, the furler is installed at the base of the forestay and a swivel is installed at the top. The forestay connects these, and a sliding hollow swivel is installed over the forestay. When installed in this manner, the tack of the sail is attached to a fitting at the furler drum, and the head is attached to the hollow, hoistable swivel. The sail is hanked onto the forestay as usual, and the hoistable swivel is hoisted by the jib halyard. While slightly more expensive and complicated, this setup enables sail changes and allows you to set the jib halyard tension independently of the forestay tension.

One important thing to note is that these furlers do not enable roller reefing as there is nothing to prevent the head and tack from furling and unfurling unequally and, therefore, sail shape cannot be maintained on a partially furled sail. Modifications may be necessary to your sail in the form of a different luff arrangement that incorporates a stainless-steel wire or high-tech Dyneema line to strengthen and stiffen the luff. If the sail will be left furled and hoisted for extended periods, UV protection to the sail’s foot and leech is a recommended addition.

small sailboat roller furling

Robert Hodge lives aboard a 42′ sailboat in Seattle, and cruises Puget Sound on his 1960s wooden Lightning that has been restored and extensively modified. He works seasonally in commercial ship repair in local shipyards and in the retail store at Fisheries Supply. He is a veteran of two first-leg Race to Alaska attempts and has plans to compete in the full R2AK in 2021.

  Harken’s full range of small-boat furlers is available in individual pieces and in kits. A basic setup for a low-load application runs a little over $300, and the more heavy-duty ones come in at around $750.

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Comments (5)

Great article. We have several small-boat furlers but weren’t familiar with the hollow sliding swivel or continuous-line furler. And while our Drascombe Lugger or Day Sailler rigs are not set up for “roller reefing,” no one has told Skipper, she always uses the furler to reef the jib out and in as we depart and return to the boat ramp, pretty as a picture. Once we crawl away from the dock under a scrap of jib on the Lugger I can raise the main, and she uses the jib furler like a throttle as we glide back in, having it perfectly furled when she stops the boat one inch from the dock. Magic! We really enjoy the peace that a jib furler provides, no jib flapping at the dock, and the peace of mind of not having to go forward to tend the jib. Our friend Webb says he considers a jib furler an essential piece of gear when singlehanding small boats. Thanks for the great bit of knowledge. Cheers, Kent and Audrey

I am interested in learning why reefing the jib is difficult. I have a 16′ sloop nearing completion and would love that feature as the jib is a pretty large overlapping size (120%).

Thanks for information

I installed my first jib furler on my little 21′ cutter. To use it, I couldn’t hank the Yankee jib to the headstay, so it had to be free flying. Luff tension came from winching the halyard with a “handy billy,” or little portable block and tackle. With this arrangement, you have to remember not to furl–or rather try to furl–while you are headed down wind. The jib wants to wrap itself around the headstay, which can lead to exciting moments if you do this in a rising wind.

I loved that Yankee jib, by the way. As soon as it started flying, you could feel the added power, and the instant increase in speed. It was the most powerful sail on the boat (which also had staysail and main).

Not having enough experience or good enough balance tend the jib on my CLC Passage Maker dinghy, I made my own roller-furling thingee from a wire spool and some swivels. This is a 12′ pram, sloop rigged. One swivel above the jib and a plastic spool mounted below, with the other swivel below the spool. Pull the jib sheets to set the sail, pull on the spooled line to furl it, make fast with a jam cleat. I have no other product to compare it to, having never used one before, but it works fine and costs less than $25 total.

I would like to attach a self furling jib to my Lightning. Looking for advice on what type and best way for mounting on the deck. Any other advice would be helpful. Thanks

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Sailing made easy: Everything you need to know about roller furling systems

Sailing made easy: Everything you need to know about roller furling systems

What does a furling system on board sailing yachts do? A furling system allows you to set, recover and partially reef your foresail (genoa or jib) conveniently and practically from the cockpit. These systems are now fitted as standard on most sailing boats thanks to the ease and effectiveness of the system and greater safety when furling and setting. Find out everything there is to know about roller furling systems in this SVB guide: what they are, the main differences, features and advantages, which ones to choose, how they work and why to have them on board.

Roller Furling Systems for Sailboats

  • Advantages of a furling system
  • How it works
  • The ideal furling system

Installation and Maintenance

  • Retrofitting
  • Maintenance

Ultimate sailing convenience: The advantages of roller furling systems on sailboats

The use of furling systems has undoubtedly revolutionised cruising and regatta sailing since they first became available some years ago. These practical systems allow the sail to be furled without time-consuming hoisting or lowering each time you go sailing. Using a practical furling system, the foresail can be easily furled from the cockpit, without you or your crew risking life or injury on deck, as it eliminates the need for a crewmember to manually change or reef the jib or genoa. A furling system is certainly an efficient, easy and enjoyable way to deploy or stow sails on a yacht. However, whether or not such a system is appropriate for you largely depends on the size of your vessel and the sort of sailing boat you own.

Nevertheless, the obvious benefits outweigh the disadvantages, which is why a furling system is now standard equipment on almost all sailing yachts. The convenience of not having to recover, set, change or stow your sail is a big advantage! A roller furling system minimises or eliminates the need to carry additional headsails, resulting in not only increased room below deck, but also the removal of the laborious task of lowering and removing your jib or genoa after each voyage.

Roller reefing is useful when overlapping genoas obscure visibility. By reefing the genoa a few turns you can have a clearer view ahead leeward, which shortens the sail and increases visibility - important for safety and peace of mind. A furling system allows you to reef the headsail completely or partially. This way, even if you don't have experienced crew members on board, you can still safely manoeuvre your boat and cope with any wind gusts.

Advantages of roller furling systems

Roller Furling

Image of Furling System

How does a furling system work?

Roller furling - how it works.

A roller furling system allows you to roll or wrap your foresail around the headstay. This not only makes sailing easier, but also improves safety by allowing reefing without the crew having to go on deck in bad weather. To understand how to use a roller furling system, it's first important to know how it works, what specific steps to take when using it and to observe important safety measures. Using a roller furling systems is a relatively straight forward affair, but correctly furling the staysail is not as easy as it may first seem!

The setup of a roller furling system consists of a wire, foil, or spar around which the sail is spun. This is controlled by a furling line that is pulled or released from the cockpit. The foil is actually an aluminium track, up which the sail is fed all the way to the top. At the top of the track and at the bottom, the sail is on a swivel, which allows the sail to spin out while a drum rotates. The drum takes up the extra slack from the furling line as the sail is opened by pulling gently on the sheet and is furled by pulling the furling line. It is advisable to keep slight back tension on the sail while furling by leaving one wrap of the sheet on the winch. Pull the furling line to wrap the sail tightly around the forestay/headstay. To partially furl (reef) the sail, pull the furling line until the desired size of the headsail is reached, then belay the line. The headsail can thus be continuously adjusted to any size.

During furling or unfurling you should maintain a light pull on the sheet and furling line at all times. This keeps the furling line neatly spun and unspun around the drum and reduces the risk of an "override", where the furling line binds on itself and makes further unfurling difficult. Take special care that the furling line is of the correct length. It should still be able to make about 3 to 5 turns around the drum after the sail is fully furled and pulled tight. Generally, the optimum length is between one and a half and two times the length of your boat.

Ensure that the foresail halyard maintains an angle of 5° to 10° to the forestay when the sail is set on the furling system. To ensure proper reefing system function, the halyard must not run parallel to the forestay. Pay particular attention to the specifications in the assembly instructions. Alternatively, special fairlead blocks can be installed to allow the desired angle.

If the drum of the roller furling system gets in the way of manoeuvring the anchor at the bow, it can be raised with an eye/fork extension or two stainless steel chain-plates attached via a hinge to the mainsail at the bow.

How do I choose the right roller furling system for my boat?

How do I choose the right roller furling system for my boat?

If you want to install a furling system on your boat, there are a few things to consider first. This includes the size and weight of your boat, the area of the headsail and the diameter and length of the forestay. In order to find the right furling system, most manufacturers offer general guidance based on a boat’s overall length and class.

Having instant control of the sail with maximum surface area, as well as the capacity to navigate larger boats with a high level of safety and control, especially while sailing solo, are strong reasons that have impressed boat owners all over the world for many years. A clear view ahead, as well as the ability to recover and set sail fast, add to the appeal of furling systems.

Roller furlers are safe and convenient, but they are also heavy systems that can inevitably cause forestay sag. If sag is too much, it will affect sailing performance, especially when the wind picks up, but also in particular when sailing upwind. In addition to adjusting the backstay, some rig types also allow the tension of the upper shrouds to be increased in order to influence the leeward slope.

How can I retrofit a roller furling system?

The first thing to do before you start to fit your roller furling system is to familiarise yourself with the installation manual. It contains detailed and illustrated instructions that will enable you to assemble a roller furling system correctly. It should be noted, however, that the assembly steps may vary depending on the model and on the profile configuration and the number of parts to be installed.

The manufacturers PROFURL , NEMO and FURLEX offer comprehensive instructions on how to install a roller furling system. Take a good look and then decide for yourself whether you think you can install the system on your own. If in doubt, please get help from friends and/or boat neighbours who have already carried out such an installation. Local sailmakers and service providers in the harbours are also happy to provide guidance and tips. Please also bear in mind that the existing headsails must be adapted to the requirements of the furling system. This work can only be carried out by a specialist company (sailmaker). Although some manufacturers allow upright mounting as an option, we always recommend that you mount your furling system in a horizontal position. Do this especially if your vessel is in winter storage, as it ensures better stability and potential loads on the mast can be reduced.

Does a furling system require regular maintenance?

Furling systems are designed to minimise the need for maintenance and servicing. Nevertheless, this does not mean that maintenance is totally unnecessary. If you want to maintain the functionality and efficiency of your furling system, regular maintenance should be carried out.

To maintain full functionality of your roller furling system, you should clean it regularly with fresh water to remove salt deposits and dust from the drum and the inside. Some roller furlers require additional lubrication during operation. Be sure to follow the instructions in the user manual.

Further reading: Roller Furling Systems, Jib Furlers and Accessories

Don't compromise on the quality of your new foresail furling system. Even if you are on a tight budget - SVB has the right product for you! Discover our selection of NEMO , PROFURL and FURLEX foresail furling systems in various sizes - all available for you to select according to boat type, forestay diameter and length. In our categories Roller Furlers, Jib Furlers & Accessories you will not only find high-quality furling systems, but also matching accessories, such as drums, swivels and profiles from brands like PFEIFFER , TOP-REFF , BARTON and OLEU WATERSPORTS all at unbeatable prices! Are you looking for individual spare parts for your FURLEX roller furling system? No problem! Check out our spare parts finder for FURLEX furling systems !

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Harken Small Boat Furlers

Small Boat Furlers Harken® Small Boat furling systems allow the trailerable cruising or dinghy sailor to set and furl the jib from the cockpit. Drums and halyard swivels feature multiple stacked races of Delrin® or Torlon® bearings for smooth rotation under load. Small Boat units are for furling only, not reefing.

Hoistable Swivels An optional hoistable ball bearing halyard swivel can be installed on your headstay so you can raise or lower the sail without removing the headstay. Swivels are independent of the headstay, allowing you to tension the luff separately from the mast rake.  Hoistable swivels work along with your standard Harken Small Boat furler.  The high-load Small Boat furler with hoistable halyard is available as a kit.

Use for: 434 Dinghies under 16 ft (4.9 m) 435 Dinghies to 20 ft (6.1 m) Catamarans to 18 ft (5.5 m) 436 Cruising boats to 25 ft (7.6 m) Catamarans to 23 ft (7 m)

Harken Hi-Load Smallboat Furling System

P2 Marine 306 S Lake Dr Stevensville, MD 21666 USA

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How to Choose a Furling System for Sailboats

We tell you how to choose a furling system for sailboats , what types of such systems exist, what are their advantages and disadvantages.


What are two types of furling?

What size are furling lines, what is a top-down furler, can you reef a furling mainsail, sailing problems.

On a cruising yacht, the number of "working hands" is normally limited: there are usually no more than two crew members on watch. But there are yachts on which the entire crew consists of four or even three people, not to mention those desperate brave men (or madmen) who take on long voyages alone! Meanwhile, working with sails takes a lot of time and effort.

How to Choose a Furling System

Any significant change in the speed and direction of the wind or the course of the yacht forces you to change the sails. If you, for example, will not be able to finish cleaning a huge genoa on time, not have enough time to reef or remove the mainsail, then a wind flurry flying in could rupture the sail or even break the mast. Couldn’t lay down and fasten the lowered mainsail on the boom in time - the wind will ruffle it, part of the sail may end up overboard and then it will be difficult to “tame” it.

If you add that at the same time, sometimes for a long time, crew members working with sails have to be outside the cockpit, on the open deck, often during a large heel and roll, that is, in far from always safe conditions, then we can safely say: any improvement aimed at speeding up and simplifying sail operations will be useful, save time and effort, and most importantly - make sailing safer.

What devices for facilitating the setting and cleaning of sails and reducing their area can be offered to yachtsmen sailing on cruising racers and tourist yachts?

One of these devices is the sail furling system.

small sailboat roller furling

Who Solved the Problem and How

The glory of the invention of the first furling system belongs to the Englishman (who would doubt it) Major E du Boulay, who lived at the end of the 19th century. For the reliable operation of the staysail, he sewed a wooden rail into the luff, which later became known as the headstay pier. It rotated, winding the sail over itself, with the help of a line wound around a cylinder. At the beginning of the next century, Wykeham-Martin, a compatriot of Boulay, included roller bearings and a drum with cheeks in this spinning system. By the middle of the century, such a twist was already on display on many cruising yachts. After some improvements in the 60s, the furling system acquired the form familiar to modern sailors.

The very idea of changing the sail area due to the twisting of the sail was received with a bang by marine engineers. In modern yachting, the staysail furling system has spread to other sails: gennaker, mainsail, and even straight sails. Devices appeared that retracted the sail into the mast or into the boom.

Benefits of a Furling System

As far back as the 19th century, sailors of sailing ships appreciated all the advantages that this invention of Boulay provided them.

Modern yachtsmen know from their own experience that properly selected sail furling systems allow:

  • promptly reduce or increase the sail area in accordance with the meteorological specifics in the navigation region;
  • significantly simplify the management of sails, reduce the physical effort expended;
  • reduce the number of crew members involved in the management of a sailing vessel;
  • it is easy to manage a small sailboat on a voyage by yourself;
  • significantly increase the comfort and safety of sailing;
  • reduce the overall load on the spars in dangerous situations.

Types of Roller Furling Systems

The roller furling system makes it easier to control the front sail, its deployment and tension adjustment. The furler for the staysail is an example of the most common type of this system. It allows the helmsman to adjust the sail from the cockpit without the need for a large crew or excessive fuss on deck. At the same time, the skipper, using the furling system, can quickly reef the front sail in bad weather.

How to Choose a Furling System

A roller furler is a system of spindles that can be rotated through a cable to achieve the furling of the sail around the halyard. Modern yachts no more than half a century old do not even require forestay upgrades to install a roller furling system, the most common types of which are:

  • with the head swivel - ideal for universal use, the most popular;
  • with the wire luff - ideal for headsails, cheaper than the head swivel;
  • with the internal halyard - the most resource efficient.

Let us dwell in more detail on these three main types of furling systems for sailboats.

The Head Swivel Furling System

This is the most popular one because it is easy to install and operate and it’s quite reliable. The installation is standard with fastening immediately behind the stay and using a staysail halyard.

The head swivel includes a drum that sits at deck level and a smaller diameter spindle that attaches behind the top of the staysail. Ball bearings provide easy and smooth rotation.

The sail is attached to a wire halyard and then to a larger spindle - a drum at the base of the system. A cable is connected to the drum, which goes from the eye placed on the deck to the cabin.

If sailing conditions require the front sail to be unwound, untie the staysail hoist and pull the staysail sheet to turn the sail. To reef the sail, do the opposite: pull on the staysail, releasing the staysail sheet.

With the help of this system, you can act very quickly, moreover, it is intuitive and simple. Therefore, the system head swivel is often used on racing and cruising sailboats. The only downside of this product is its price, but as they say, you get what you pay for.

small sailboat roller furling

The Wire Luff Furling System

This furling system is most suitable for small sailing craft such as coastal cruisers. The installation of this type of furling does not impose requirements on the type of sail, since the system is universal, it can be used on a yacht with several types of front sails.

For offshore navigation, it is not reliable enough, especially in strong winds - it is impossible to reef the staysail. In addition, the sails sag a little, because the wire luff does not provide the necessary lateral support.

They are also not suitable for racing and offshore cruising, as they cannot withstand the loads. In other conditions, they can be successfully used.

Boaters appreciate this furling system for its ease of installation and operation. Installing this system does not require any changes to the sails and rigging.

Another important advantage: the wire luff models are half the price of the head swivel.

The Internal Halyard Furling System

To install this system, an existing forestay is used – that’s where it’s unique. The spindle drum, through which the forestay passes, belongs to the bottom-up furling system. Due to the location of the drum on the forestay, the deck is more convenient for movement, even though in this system the drum is larger than in other systems. The fact is that, compared to the wire luff and the head swivel, the spindle drum system of the internal halyard model is located further.

Advantages of the internal halyard system are the reliability and at the same time smaller price compared to head swivel ones. They do not overload the space on the boat, you don’t have to pick up special sails for them. They are simpler in design, have fewer parts and rarely break.

All of the above explains their popularity among skippers who equip the yacht for offshore navigation.

But keep in mind that with this product it is difficult to reef the sail in strong winds, as is the case also with the wire luff. The skipper will need to be able to handle standing rigging and manage tension on the halyard.

How to Calculate Furler Size for Spinnaker and Code 0

The choice of the furler for the so-called flying sails depends on several parameters: the length and type of boat (single-hull or multi-hull), area and type of sail, displacement. Depending on these parameters, the maximum working load in kg that the spinning system can withstand is selected. You can use a ready-made table.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

Initially, all spin systems were ascending, that is, directed from the bottom up. In modern times, this system is perceived as traditional and is often used for the staysail and genoa. In such a system, the drum is spun at the base of the sail. When folding, the sail begins to twist also from the base.

The top down furler is a more recent development for the Code 0 and asymmetric spinnakers.

Usually, you want the cable with anti-torsion and the correct length - the quality of the twisting system depends on this. To get the number, you should accurately measure the length of the luff of your sailboat, as well as the height of the lower reel and the upper swivel with a carabiner. Add 0.6 m to the total sum for clamps and thimbles and you get your size.

A furling system for more efficient placement of Code 0 sails and asymmetric spinnakers that has recently been developed. With this system, the winding of the sail starts from above and goes to the base, which is not connected to the drum, but is constantly in a free state.

The furling mainsail reefs even easier than the furling jib because it has no carriages. It also has reef markers that you can follow to reef the mainsail to the first reef, second reef and so on. To go on reef up, wind the mainsail furler and release the mainsheet until you are satisfied with the result. To go down a reef, you need to follow the reverse process: wind the mainsail and release the mainsheet until the mainsail covers the area you need.

Another thing is that the leech of the furling mainsail is not shaped as a sickle, since it cannot be equipped with non-furlable battens. Therefore, for the convenience of sail control, you have to pay with losses in aerodynamics.

If you have any questions about furling system for sale, contact the marketplace experts. The topRik team are practicing yachtsmen and ardent sailing sport lovers. They will help you choose the ideal furler for your type of sailboat.

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Furlex jib furling and reefing system – For carefree sailing

Furlex jib furling systems.

Furlex is available for dinghies and yachts up to 80’. You can chose between on deck or through deck installation as well as manual operation with a furling line or electric or hydraulic drive. You have the option of installation on an ordinary 19-strand wire, a Dyform® wire or a rod forestay. If you want to be able to adjust the forestay length, an integrated rigging screw can be provided.

If you want carefree sailing, Seldén’s got you covered.


The S-series is Seldén’s traditional jib furling and reefing system. Operated by pulling a furling line and fitted above deck, the S-series has been seen on boats worldwide for decades. The basic concept behind Furlex remains – a complete and reliable jib furler supported by professional sailmakers and riggers. Over the years the product range has expanded and Seldén are now offering Furlex S for dinghies, keelboats and yachts up to approximately 65’.

FURLING SYSTEMS FOR DINGHIES The smallest furlers in the Furlex family are used as standard equipment on numerous dinghies, small catamarans and keelboats. They feature stainless ball bearings for long life, composite components for low weight and clever designs to reduce friction. Properties that have made Furlex the world’s best-selling furling systems since early 80’s

FOR Ø4-Ø5 MM FORESTAYS, 18-26’ BOATS The Furlex 50S is the perfect choice for every sailor who wants a compact, low weight furling system. It shares many features with the larger members of the world-famous Furlex family. The patented load distributor in the halyard swivel and the full length distance tubes for smooth rotation are the same as on all the other Furlex models. Furlex 50S is supplied as a complete kit including forestay wire, halyard lead, stanchion block, pre-feeder and furling line. Easy to order and easy to install.

FOR Ø4 – Ø14 MM FORESTAYS, 25-65’ BOATS The fourth generation of Furlex is an uncompromising evolution of the world’s best selling jib furling and reefing system. Proven design blended with innovation is our way to maintain the iconic heritage of Furlex. The 104S-404S systems ranges from ø4 to ø14 mm forestays and are delivered as complete kits by professional riggers and sailmakers.

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  • Furlex 20S 30S 40S
  • Furlex 104S-404S
  • Calculator – Righting moment at 30° heel (RM)
  • Calculator – Cut lengths of luff section and wire
  • 20S, 30S & 40S – Technical details
  • 50S – Assembly and Operation
  • 50S – Spareparts list
  • 204S, 304S – Assembly, Operation and Spareparts list
  • 204S/304S – Luff assembly for rod forestay
  • 404S – Assembly, Operation and Spareparts list
  • 404S – Luff assembly for rod forestay
  • Installation video



Sailing by pushing a button.

Once you have experienced using a Furlex you will not want anything else up front. Jib furling is all about convenient sail handling from the safety of your cockpit and with the Furlex Electric a new dimension is added – ease of use.


The MkII version of Furlex Electric, launched 2018, is a compact and weather proof aid to handle your foresail and smart enough to under­stand how much power to use. It works fast or slow at your command, it consumes a minimum of your power supply and it’s built to last. Lean back and let Furlex Electric do the hard work.



Furlex Electric is designed around a highly efficient 42V electric motor. A DC/DC converter (PSU, Power Supply Unit) converts the boat’s 12V or 24V to 42V which allows for thin cables to the motor unit, easy installation and a compact unit design. Power is transmitted to a self-locking worm gear to rotate the luff extrusion at a max torque of 60Nm (204E), 90Nm (304E) and 135Nm (404E). These high torque levels mean that you can always rely on being able to furl your foresail – even when the wind and sea are doing their worst.

The motor uses only 10-25 amps at normal load and it takes 25-30 seconds to furl a genoa. When sailing with a partly reefed genoa, the worm drive provides a mech-anical lock. In order to prevent accidental overloading, the system comes with a built-in current limiter adapted to the type of Furlex, 204E, 304E and 404E. If you attempt to furl the sail without first releasing the sheet, the torque is immediately limited to a safe level. This safety feature is automatically re-set a few seconds after the control switch is released.

In the event of power failure, the sail is simple to furl manually. An emergency line-driver system is included as standard and can be used for both on-deck and through-deck installations. An emergency handle with ½” socket is available as an option.

Press one button and you will run the sail, in or out, at low speed. To double the speed, press the other button simultaneously.

Furlex Electric is available for either on-deck or through-deck installations. The main advantage of a through-deck installation is better sailing performance as a result of a longer luff length. More space on the foredeck is an added bonus!


Push-button performance is an easy upgrade for anyone who already has a manual Furlex 200S, 300S or 400S series (production year 1997-2015) or the current models 204S, 304S or 404S on their yacht. The furling line, drum and the line guard assembly are simply replaced with a Furlex electric motor unit. No sail conversion is required as the luff length of your existing sail is unaffected.

  • Furlex Electric
  • Furlex Electric – Assembly and Operation
  • Furlex Electric – System Installation
  • Order guide – Seldén Power Supply and SEL-Bus system
  • Questions & answers



Tacking the sail at deck level allows for a longer luff length of your foresail. You will improve sailing performance without compromising the convenience of the jib furling system. The bow will also be less cluttered as the line drum is hidden below the deck.

The free turn of the tack swivel is the same as in all other Furlex models; a necessity to reduce the furling resistance and to flatten out a reefed genoa.

The MkII version of Furlex TD (Through Deck) has all the benefits developed for the standard 4th generation Furlex, such as, smooth furling with roller bearings combined with stainless ball bearings for the drum and an optional rigging screw to adjust the forestay length. In addition, the outside diameter of the line drum is smaller than on earlier TD models which simplifies installation in narrow anchor boxes and allows for installation further forward.

  • Furlex TD mk II
  • 204TD/304TD – Assembly, Operation and Spareparts list
  • 204TD/304TD – Luff assembly for rod stay




A hydraulic powered Furlex system enables you to reef, furl and trim the sail area to suit the wind conditions at the touch of a button. The patented, built-in motor has a direct drive to the worm gear, to keep moving parts to a minimum and increase power, efficiency and reliability. The worm gear, which is self-braking, locks the sail in the required position. In an emergency, the foresail can also be manually furled and unfurled with an ordinary winch handle.

The Furlex Hydraulic is designed to provide a harmonious visual interplay of stainless steel and aluminium. The hydraulic motor is located inside the worm gear and the positioning of the motor contributes to the compact design of the Furlex Hydraulic.

A Furlex Hydraulic is typically combined with a hydraulic driven furing mast. The complete system includes a hydraulic pump, valve units and drive units, all connected by hydraulic hosing.

The system is operated from the cockpit by control switches connected to the system through a control box.

  • Furlex 300H/400H – Assembly and operation
  • Furlex 500H – Assembly
  • General conditions of sale >
  • Product recalls >

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Four small boat pvc-foil furlers.

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The development of reliable headsail furling must rank high on any list of devices that have significantly changed the way boats are sailed in the past two decades. Hanked-on sails, while having certain advantages, are disappearing in favor of roller furling jibs and genoas. Furlers keep the crew off the bow and reduce time spent sail handling. And thanks to improved designs, the sight of a tattered furling genoa flogging itself to death also is disappearing. Jams, once the bane of furlers, are much less frequent.

Four Small Boat PVC-Foil Furlers

Practical Sailor has tracked the evolution of headsail furling for many years. In 1988 we undertook a comprehensive evaluation of available models and followed that in the May 15 and June 15, 1995 issues with a follow-up evaluation backed by a reader survey, which showed marked improvement in performance, reliability and customer satisfaction. At that time, 77% of all survey respondents said they would buy the same furler again, led by Cruising Design Inc. (CDI) and Famet (an older system) at 100%, followed by Profurl, Schaefer, Harken and Furlex.

In the November 15, 1997 issue, we again updated the group, highlighting the new Hood SeaFurl 5 and redesigned Furlex.

The Small Boat Market Average boat size in the 1995 reader survey was 32′. The number was drawn down a bit by the 25′ average size of boats equipped with CDI Flexible Furlers. Indeed, CDI has made a living selling furlers to owners of smaller boats, especially so-called “trailer sailers.” And while the other major manufacturers, such as Profurl, Harken, Hood, Furlex and Schaefer, have long offered their standard furlers in small boat sizes, and even some simplified models such as Hood’s Line Drive, none tried seriously to compete with CDI’s PVC luff extrusion.

The advantages of the plastic luff are several. First, unlike rigid aluminum luff extrusions, which are shipped in lengths of about 6′, and must be connected with splices or link plates and fasteners, pliable plastic extrusions are one piece and require no assembly. More and more boat owners are buying furlers from mail-order houses and doing the installation themselves. Secondly, the PVC can take a fair amount of abuse and is not as easily dented as rigid aluminum extrusions, an important consideration for any owner when stepping and unstepping the mast. It is of particular concern to owners of trailerable sailboats who handle the mast a lot. Thirdly, cost is less, making furling more affordable for owners of small boats.

Plastic won’t corrode, of course, but is subject to ultraviolet attack. Nevertheless, the addition of UV inhibitors should give them adequate life spans.

Three years ago, CDI’s dominance seemed about to change when Harken announced its first Heli-Foil, which used a PVC luff extrusion with an inner polypropylene sleeve over a braided stainless steel core. There were problems with it, however, and they took a long time to solve. Undaunted, Harken persisted and the new Heli-Foil is now available.

Not to be outdone, Hood Yacht Systems introduced its economical Sea Flex and Schaefer developed its SnapFurl.

We obtained furler kit packages of each, roughly sized for boats up to 24′ with maximum headstay lengths of about 30′ and maximum turnbuckle pin size of about 3/8″. Exact specifications are given in the table on p. 14.

Considerations All four foils come tightly coiled with warnings not to start cutting the bindings willy-nilly. There is a lot of energy packed in these foils that could cause an injury if handled carelessly. Most tell you to make sure the air temperature is at least 70°F and to uncoil outdoors; if it’s colder than 70°F, warm the foil indoors. CDI urges installers to uncoil within 24 hours of receipt so that the foil doesn’t take too much of a set. Observe directions regarding which end of the coil to start cutting free first as there will be a feeder near one end.

While all are flexible, they should be stored flat in the off season (assuming you’ve unstepped the mast). Allowing them to droop deeply also can cause them to take a set. They can be removed and coiled again, but Harken cautions that repeated tight coiling can reduce the life of the foil.

Because PVC is temperature sensitive, the manufacturers warn against exposing the luff extrusion to high heat—around 130°F-140°F. Such temperatures might be found under a boat cover in hot climates.

Presumably to reduce costs, only one of the four offers a line guide attached to the drum; that’s Schaefer and it’s a $23 option. This makes proper placement of the first lead block critical so that the line doesn’t chafe on the cage as it exits the drum.

Four Small Boat PVC-Foil Furlers

The luff tape sewn to the jib or genoa will be #5 for Harken, Hood and Schaefer, #6 for the CDI Flexible Furler 2.

Ease of furling is affected most by the bearing surfaces, but also by the ratio of the foil diameter to the drum diameter; after all, the difference in the two is what gives you a mechanical advantage. The higher the ratio, the more advantage. We measured all four and developed these approximate ratios: Harken 2.5, Schaefer 2.14, Hood 1.65, and CDI 1.45.

Installation for any system will be easiest with the mast down but because you won’t have to completely remove the headstay for shortening the wire it is possible to do with the mast stepped. Nevertheless, you will have to unfasten the forestay from the stem to slide on the luff extrusion and torque tube/furling drum. Take a halyard forward to a strong attachment on deck, such as a toerail, to hold the mast while you work.

All four systems are fairly simple, with few pieces. The average do-it-yourselfer should be able to install his or her own with basic tools. The one critical job is cutting the luff extrusion to the right length. All manuals give explicit instructions—measure twice, or three times, and cut once.

Halyard restrainers may be necessary with any furler (except CDI with its internal halyard) if the angle of the halyard to the upper swivel is less than about 5°. A restrainer is a simple fitting that is screwed to the mast and through which the halyard is led to increase the angle. This is to prevent “halyard wrap,” in which the length of exposed halyard between the mast and the swivel wraps around the headstay as the sail is furled. You don’t want this!

Compared to larger boat furlers, these—especially the CDI and Sea Flex—are simpler and lack such features as integral adjusters.

CDI Flexible Furler 2 Joe Dahman bought CDI in 1984. At that time, Dahman said CDI was building furlers “on the floor” with metal luff extrusions and plastic links, which had a tendency to break. His first idea was to switch the materials. In the course of investigating and testing plastics, he came upon the idea of making the luff a continuous length, thereby omitting the link plates that trouble nearly every furler. If made of the right material, this single-piece luff extrusion would be much less resistant to damage when raising and lowering the spar, and enable CDI to ship the extrusion coiled in a box. He sold his first Flexible Furler in 1987 and since has delivered more than 10,000. He holds a patent on the flexible luff for which Schaefer is licensed by CDI; Harken and Hood are not.

Price is $515 list, and discounts through Defender Industries (800/628-8225) to about $300.

Unlike most furlers, the CDI uses an internal halyard, which eliminates the halyard swivel at the masthead. This places the furler in compression, not tension, and so the bearing is under less load. The halyard runs up inside one of two opposing grooves in the luff extrusion, through the Halyard Top Fitting, then back down to the head of the sail. The luff is not tensioned by this halyard, however, but by a short length of 1/8″ line seized in two to three parts between the tack of the sail and the downhaul shackle on the spool flange.

The standard furler comes with a UHMW polyethylene bushing as the bearing surface, though an optional bearing race is offered for $70 list. But instead of lots of small bearings, the FF2 model has seven 1/2″ Torlon bearings in a small race. Dahman says that a few large bearings work better and are more reliable than lots of small bearings, which have a greater tendency to get hung up on dirt or other debris in the race. The bearing kit is available as a retrofit; you can do the job in about five minutes.

Four Small Boat PVC-Foil Furlers

Dahman has refined the system over the years, adding a few parts here and there. In 1990 a thrust bearing was added and in 1994 he replaced the aluminum cup or cage with stainless steel. For 2000, he enlarged the center hole to accept 5/16″ turnbuckles, crimped a ferrule to the halyard to secure the core to the cover where the line has been decored, and uses a larger 1/4″ braided halyard. Because the 42″ x 40″ coil size of the FF2 requires some straightening of the luff, CDI now offers a 6′ large hoop that is slightly less expensive but costs $60 to ship air freight. It does not require straightening.

There is no stainless feeder, like the Schaefer and Harken, just a slot in the foil, same as the Hood Sea Flex.

The manual with photos and drawings is adequate, if a slight bit confusing to follow at a few points.

The 3/16″ furling line is small to handle; we’d upgrade to1/4″.

In answer to criticisms that plastic luffs twist more than an aluminum luff, Dahman counters that aluminum twists more than people realize, principally at the section links, and that some twist is beneficial in spilling air in gusts.

CDI makes eight sizes of the Flexible Furler, from the FF1 to FF8, which is for maximum headstay lengths of 47′, 5/16″ wire and 1/2″ pin size.

CDI offers a lifetime warranty to the original buyer.

Bottom Line: The least expensive of the four, the Flexible Furler is simple and has a good track record with PS readers. It would be our choice among non-ball bearing models.

Schaefer SnapFurl Schaefer Marine has been making headsail furlers longer than just about any other company, dating to the 1970s when it made simple upper and lower bearing swivels for use with wire luff headsails.

Schaefer entered the modern era with its 1000, 2000, 3000 line in the early 1990s. It has since refined those models and more recently added its SnapFurl small-boat furler. It discounts to about $365.

SnapFurl’s single-groove foil is made of round, extruded PVC in two parts that snap together and interlock, which probably helps it resist twisting. The opposing forces of this joint also help the PVC straighten itself; Schaefer’s Fred Cook nevertheless recommends laying the PVC out in the warm sun for a while before assembly. The foil coils in a 34-1/2″ box.

The torque tube and drum are also injection molded plastic, a “long-grain nylon composite with UV inhibitors.” Bearings are Torlon, with two races in both the head swivel and drum. The two-part cage is stainless steel as is the sail feeder. The fasteners are captive so they won’t fall out if you have to disassemble the feeder.

The six-page manual with drawings is adequate.

Cook said that his company’s intent was to design a furler that was price competitive with CDI but retained some of the features of its other furlers, such as Torlon ball bearings and the ability to fit over the existing turnbuckle. It was also advantageous to use the same foil material as their Tuff Luff racing foil. They also wanted to price the SnapFurl lower than the Harken 00 Heli-Foil. About half of all SnapFurls are sold in Europe—France, England and Germany—Cook said.

Bottom Line: Innovative snap-together foil; stainless cage, feeder and aluminum upper swivel, and ball bearings make this a premium system at a low price.

Harken 00 Heli-Foil The Heli-Foil uses a PVC foil but with a polypropylene interior for what it says is an improved bearing surface. The PVC is cored with braided stainless steel for greater torsional rigidity. Of the four examined, Harken’s looks like it will resist twisting the best. Also, Harken’s foil is the only one of the four that has double grooves; this enables you to hoist a new sail before completely dousing and removing the existing sail.

With racers in mind, the two-part drum also may be removed as well as the halyard swivel, though the latter is probably more trouble than most owners will want to endure (you must rig a temporary headstay and disconnect the turnbuckle).

Discount price is about $700.

The drum is made of plastic while the cage, torque tube and halyard swivel are black anodized aluminum. Double races of Torlon bearings are used in each bearing. A torque tube key locks the foil inside the torque tube. A special clevis pin is required for your turnbuckle, available from Harken when you order your furler. It is longer than your existing clevis pin and locks the lower bearing fork to the turnbuckle and stem fitting.

Like Schaefer, Harken manufactures a complete line of accessory hardware.

Harken’s manual is excellent, with clear step-by-step instructions and accompanying photographs—the best of the group.

Bottom Line: The most expensive of the four, the Harken 00 Heli-Foil is also the most sophisticated with its stainless braid-reinforced PVC foil and aluminum parts; it’s also more versatile, should removing the drum for racing be of interest. Ideal for a J/80 or F/24.

Hood Sea Flex Sea Flex’s one-piece PVC foil is flat, like the CDI Flexible Furler, but has only one slot as it does not employ an internal halyard. It is reinforced with a 1 x 19 stainless wire running its length. This is supposed to help keep the foil from twisting but probably won’t be as effective as Harken’s larger diameter reinforcement.

The torque tube and upper swivel bearing are injection molded parts. The upper bearing has two races of Torlon ball bearings. The lower bearing is simply the stainless steel fork (which attaches to the turnbuckle with a clevis pin) turning inside a Teflon-impregnated Delrin insert in molded grooves in the lower end of the torque tube. Obviously this isn’t going to be as friction-free as one with ball bearings. However, it turned fairly easy…until we assembled the cage.

Like Harken, Hood’s lower bearing fork fits over the turnbuckle so that the clevis pin locks both to the stem fitting. On CDI and Schaefer, the pin simply passes through the slot in the turnbuckle body, which could cause it to unthread if sturdy cotter pins are not used to prevent the studs from turning in the body.

The fork has a second set of holes in case one wants to raise the unit with link plates.

The torque tube is cast in two pieces with threaded brass inserts for the six fasteners. The top and bottom of the drum are also black plastic and snap into grooves in the torque tube. They are easily removable for racing. The cage looks just like those on the SeaFurl 5; it is stainless steel. Assembly is quick, intuitive and actually quite clever.

The cage is held stationary by two pins snapped into the fork and also fits into grooves in the top and bottom cage parts. Thus, the plastic top and bottom cage parts revolve around the stainless, creating what we felt was excessive friction—certainly the most of the four furlers examined. When we queried Hood Yacht Systems’ Mike Haber, he admitted it turns roughly at first, but said that as the system wears in during actual use, there will be no problems furling.

Like the CDI, there is no metal feeder, just a slot cut in the foil.

The 8-page manual has drawings and is adequate.

Bottom Line: Hood Yacht System’s aim was to price the Sea Furl close to the CDI FF2, and it has done that—$311 at discount. While cleverly conceived, friction is a concern.

Conclusion Between the two least expensive—Hood and CDI—the latter has a bushing bearing at the bottom, with optional ball bearings. Hood does not. In addition, CDI’s internal halyard reduces friction. While we like Hood’s clever design, the CDI is a bit less money and has a long track record of customer satisfaction. At least until more experience is gained with the Sea Flex, we’d go with CDI. Owners of the Sea Flex are invited to give us their comments.

Schaefer prices out not much above CDI and Hood. It has just about everything Harken does—ball bearings top and bottom, many stainless parts, and what appears to be a good two-part luff extrusion—at a much lower price. It rates a Best Buy, hands down.

The Harken Heli-Foil is top quality and its split drum and excellent double-groove foil makes it the clear choice for performance sailors.

Contacts- CDI, 100 Cummings Center, Suite 106F, Beverly, MA 01915-3056; 978/922-5936; Harken Yacht Equipment, 1251 E. Wisconsin Ave., Pewaukee, WI 53072; 262/691-3320; Hood Yacht Systems, 7712 Cheri Ct., Tampa, FL 33634; 813/885-2182; Schaefer Marine, 158 Duchaine Blvd., New Bedford, MA 02745-1293; 508/995-9511;


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Shop / Headsail Handling / Small Boat Furling

Continuous Line-Drive Furler

Harken Continuous Line-Drive Furler (Part number: 1134)

Part No. 1134

Maximum working load (kg) 431 kg

Maximum working load (lb) 950 lb

Drum Ø (mm) 73 mm

Drum Ø (in) 2 7/8 in

Maximum luff wire Ø (mm) 3 mm

Maximum luff wire Ø (in) 1/8 in

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small sailboat roller furling

The continuous line-drive furler is the perfect solution for high-performance skiffs and dinghies that use oversized jibs/gennakers and for staysails on larger boats. Unlike conventional furling drums, the low-profile line-driver never runs out of line, and can completely furl any sized sail. Offset holes in the drive sheave grip line securely, with the stripper arm and feeder working together to prevent line from jamming. The line guard adjusts in 90-degree increments to accommodate attachments to the boat.

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I''m relatively new to sailing (have only owned a boat since May of this year) and I have discovered that I would really like to spend more time on my boat. However, my first mate isn''t always as ready as I am so I would like to find a good headsail furler for my 23'' boat that would make single handing safer. Can you more seasoned sailers give me your opinions on the (best yet easiest to install myself) furler on the market?  


I have to strongly disagree that a roller furler makes single-handing a 23 footer safer, especially if you now have a hanked on sail. The problem with roller furlers is that the jamb and they tend to jamb at just the moment when their inoperation adds to the danger. You are far better off rigging a downhaul on the jib on a boat that size that allows you to reliably bring the jib to the deck. Jeff  


I''ve had a Harken system on my 27 footer since she was new in 1989. Has never jammed once. I think the problem with a furler that does jam is incorrect installation. Otherwise they are simple and reliable in operation. While I agree that one would be a good addition to your boat, I can''t say which is the "best" furler on the market today. all I can say is that my Harken furler has worked flawlessly. I also agree that anytime you can stay in the cockpit of a pitching boat rather than running up to the foredeck you are better off.  

I have a Harken on my boat it jambs fairly frequently. While Harken and Profurl are generally considered the most robust and reliable furlers, I have had too many jambs, on large and small boats alike to consider them a good, safe idea for a small single-hander. Jeff  

Jeff: That is why Teacher''s Pet III does not have roller furling. When the muck happens and it always does! I do not want a sail furler to control my boat. Gene. P.S. with our hard rails and a cable lower when we drop a sail on deck there is always a quick and easy place to tie it off. In anything but a normal breeze I always setup sail stops on the rail to speed up getting control of the sail. Another thing I do is have the Jib and the Main and Staysail Halyards all come down the same side of the mast.  

Mitch: If your boat is set up properly to go forward its the best place to be to handle the sails , not in the cockpit. Put 30" stantions on and a s/s top rail and a cable lower and see how much eaiser and safer it is to handle sails. Gene S/V TPIII  

Gene, Thanks for the opinion, and in response I can only say this: If it ain''t broke, don''t fix it. My Harken roller furler has served me very well for years. Why go backwards (in my humble opinion) to hank-on sails? And yes, I agree that a 30 inch tall lifeline with a solid SS top rail would be nice and secure, but I''m not about to make my lovely sloop look like a Bayliner. There are several on here with a predilection for manhandling sails, whether it be hank-on jibs or no socks for spinnakers. If you race, and/or sail with lots of crew, that may be fine for you. I singlehand, so I like the aid of some modern sailhandling. Perhaps that''s why I have my own boat -- I can set it up the way that suits me, and I trust all the others reading this do the same for their boats. And even with a 30 inch tall, solid SS top rail, if you don''t have to go forward at all in iffy conditions, you''re better off. Sorry!  

It seems that all of the top around the world alone boats finished with pro furl reefing systems. I for one have never had a furler jam that was not due to operator error. If you furl and unfurl properly, and the furler is set up properly you should have no problems. I prefer to be in the cockpit while offshore as much as possible. with respect to solid top lifeline rails. i have them on two boats and i dont think either one of them looks like a bayliner. eric  

There seems to be battle between old school and neosailing. While it is good to know celestial navigation because all the batteries for the GPS, electrical for the radio, radar, auto pilot etc. may fail at once is the old school argument. The fact is the GPS,radio, etc. is used. I read an article not to long ago where the author said he only used his sexton for fun anymore because he''s never had a complete failure. So why not believe that a furler is a great mechanical device that is especially favorable to solo sailors, but the knowledge of setting or changing sail without it is essencial. Isn''t moving forward with these devices making sailing safer? Here''s a question(well a couple). Some have said they have had jams(I have yet to have one). Do you know the cause? Was it let out into the wind too fast so the line bounced inside the furler or was there some other type of problem that cause the jam? Could you see it coming or knew it was tangled?  


Sounds to me like Sailfan1''s wife and mine agree that having to fold sails is not fun - especially up on the skinny, pointy, slippery end of the boat. Anything is preferable. Our club uses Harkens on seven heavily used Ideal 18''s, and I''ve heard no reports of furling problems on them over the past several years. On our own boat... I fold the jib.  


Myself am not sure which make of furler is the best, BUT I''ll agree with having one is better than not. I''ve had one on two out of the three boats that I''ve owned and I only had a couple mishaps. One the line broke loose from the furler reel (my fault, maintenance). Two the line got over lapped a couple of times (again, my fault, the wind was at my back, my younger years). If you''ve ever singlehanded on a 23 footer in four foot swells with the wind at 25 knots trying to pull into a small inlet (breakwater pilings) you''ll wish you had a roller furling. It gets pretty scary up there on that wet little bow pitching up and down breaking through the whitecaps trying to get that jib down. Your hanging on like a monkey in a typhoon.  

I don''t know what your budget is, and since that might be a factor in your decision, I''ll pass on a few points made in a conversation I had with a Schaefer technical rep a few days ago concerning their SnapFurl system. He said they had been used on boats up to 30'' in testing, and that the units performed well. One advantage is that I don''t think you have to alter your forestay to install it. It apparently trailers better than units made up of individual sections that must be joined together and are therefore a little more "brittle" if bent. SailNet has a real good price on them, with extras, right now (I have no connection to SailNet). Remember that you will have to have your sail(s) altered to fit the groove in the furler. I think that most furler jamming problems are related to the furling line''s not feeding properly INTO the furler, and that when it is pulled back out, over-rides or other problems occur. You have to have some tension on the sail''s clew when furling, and the furling line has to feed in from the right angle and with a little tension when unfurling.  

I fought the idea of roller furling for years and think I was right about the reliability of the devices for a long time. When I saw that some of the around alone crowd were heading out a second time with the same profurl gear, I figured the manufacturers had worked the bugs out. My experience since installing a profurl on my NorSea 27 has been that the device works reliably, has never jambed and holds up quite well. I just sold the boat and the new owner got a nice collection of spare parts that I never needed. Whe I sailed to Hawaii in 1994 I never had to go forward at night, and rarely went forward in the daytime. That adds a significant margin of safety. Since then I have used the roller furler for thousands of sea miles and have never had a problem. I chose the profurl for several reasons. First was that the around alone crowd choose profurl. That reason could be a little bogus since a large percentage of those folks are French and profurl is a french product. At the time I purchased it, Profurl was the only manufacturer that told me it was OK to reef the sail on the furler. That has been a very handy feature on blustery San Francisco bay. They actually say its ok to put the line from the furler on a winch for reefing. The profurl came with long link plates that allowed the drum to be well above the bottom of the forestay. On my boat this was important for easy anchor handling. The profurl did not require modification of theforestay, so I could take it off (about 45 minute job) and use the old hanked on jibs if I want. One of the unanticipated benefits of a roller furling jib was that it eliminated another thing to stow on a small boat. Instead of having a damp sail in the cabin, it was conveniently rolled up on the forestay. I just sold the NorSea and have a new Tayana pilot house on order. It will have two profurl furlers for the jib and staysail. Im not sure profurl makes a model small enough for your boat but I have seen a number of models advertised in that size range. I suspect if you stick with a brand name like Schaffer or Harken, you wont have any problems. No manufacturer can make money on unreliable products and both of those companies seem to be doing OK. I think you will find you use your boat a lot more if its not as much of a hassle to get underway. I see a lot of people out there for a couple of hours who dont even bother to take the cover off their main. They just unfurl the jib and have a leisurly cruise. The only thing I have found important to be careful about is the spinaker halyard. You must flip the spinaker halyard around the back side of the spreaders when you are not using it. You should not bring it forward for use until the headsail is furled. That will prevent the spinaker halyard from getting wrapped in the furling mechanism at the top of the mast. Hope this helps. John  

I''m motivated to add that the owners of the ''best'' furlers are usually the ones who rig the furling hardware and build the sail so that they''re using a ''system'' and not just a furler. IMO there are some equipment categories these days - jib furling systems being one of them - where we enjoy a great set of choices and, amongst the leading builders, almost can''t make a bad one. However, a jib built of marginal cloth, one without a custom luff to assist the sail in properly reefing, or mickey mouse furling hardware and bad leads can all contribute to a bad experience no matter what the brand of furler, and also potentially unsafe conditions. I don''t know if Profurl is the ''best'' but I sure have appreciated it''s beefy construction, absence of bearing deformation under severe loading, and the superb support I have had from the Profurl reps in Ft. Lauderdale. (''Product Support'' - another criterion we tend to dismiss when talking about ''best equipment'' but want in spades when we have a problem or a puzzle to solve!) FWIW my Profurl''s top swivel began discharging grease way sooner than is normal (3 years vs. 10-12) and I worried about water penetration. It also began swiveling with a little add''l friction. It turns out the seal in the top/smaller units is trickier to ''make'' than the bottom ones and so this occasionally warrants inspection. OTOH the matter was addressed quickly by the folks at Profurl, at no cost, 3+ years after purchase. Jack  

Jack makes a good point about having a sail that is designed to furl. I dont think it matters which furler you use but when I had a sail designed to be furled it had a higher clew and also foam padding in the luff that keeps the sail from getting baggy when its reefed. I also had my old sails modified to work with the furler and they are acceptable in performance but dont furl as neatly as the one I had designed for the furler. I waited until the furler was installed and then called the sailmaker. My experience with profurl support has not been as good. I ordered some spare parts three months ago and have now sold the boat before the parts got here. There are small metric allen screws that hold the sections of the foil together. Everytime I take the furler down I find several screws are missing even though I use locktite on all of them. If you have profurl you need a collection of these set screws. Its also handy to have one of those sets of allen wrenches (metric) that looks like a jackknife. Its easier to tighten the set screws than with a regular allen wrench.  

WHOOSH; is right on track. Systems approach. Having installed and used many different units. I''d like tp add a few thoughts. Cray Valley, J.P. Moulignere''s around the world boat used the new Hood Sea Furl 5 unit. We were able to dissect the furler at every leg (Worked At Hood for awhile)Interestingly enough the innards held up very well, the splices,however showed extreme compression loading. I''d never seen this condition on another application. Turns out that blasting about at 20 knts. launches the boat. When she lands the compresssion forces really get up there. Since Cray Valley was a French boat it was switched to Profurl on the South African Leg. (This is the case in many of the French boats as I"m told that they underwrite a bit of the cost.) Pro furls are great; great dealer support, product. Easy to install Harken really makes a nice unit especially when weight is an issue. Hood has good bang for the buck. Schaefer''s are just about bullet proof and install easily. US made too. Furlex nice units; include headstays, bluewater units. For trailor sailors, CDI, HOOD, Schaefer are very installer/user friendly. Inexpensive. Other stuff; I''d re''mnd that a new headstay be installed with each new unit. Fwd most lead block very important for proper angle to drum. Halyard swivel maint. very important. More to come. Systems,systems,systems. Hydrogen/oxygen combination insane guy  

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small sailboat roller furling

Roller Boom Furling: The Ultimate Guide for Sailors

by Emma Sullivan | Aug 12, 2023 | Sailboat Maintenance

small sailboat roller furling

Short answer: Roller boom furling

Roller boom furling is a system used on sailboats to easily roll and reef the mainsail. It involves a rotating boom equipped with a built-in roller mechanism, enabling quick and convenient sail adjustment. This method enhances safety, efficiency, and ease of use for sailors.

Roller Boom Furling: A Comprehensive Guide to this Innovative Sailing Technology

Sailing enthusiasts are always on the lookout for innovative advancements that can enhance their sailing experience. One such technology that has revolutionized the way sails are managed is Roller Boom Furling. This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on this fantastic innovation, giving you a clear understanding of its functions and benefits.

So, what exactly is Roller Boom Furling? In simple terms, it is a system that allows sailors to easily furl and unfurl their mainsails with minimal effort. By utilizing a rolling mechanism integrated into the boom, this technology eliminates the need for crew members to manually handle heavy and cumbersome sails .

But how does it work? The Roller Boom Furling system consists of several key components working in perfect harmony. The primary elements include a hardened aluminum boom with an internal rolling mechanism, controlled by a powerful hydraulic or electric motor. Attached to this boom are specialized sail slugs that securely hold the mainsail in place while allowing it to roll up smoothly. Additionally, there is a control panel located within easy reach of the helm station, enabling precise control over the furling process.

Now let’s delve into the advantages of Roller Boom Furling. Firstly, its convenience cannot be overstated. With just the push of a button or flick of a switch, sailors can effortlessly furl or unfurl their mainsails in seconds. No more struggling with tangled lines or wrestling with stubborn sails; Roller Boom Furling takes care of it all.

Furthermore, this technology enhances safety on board by minimizing risks associated with sail handling . In challenging weather conditions or when unexpected situations arise, having full control over your main sail without requiring excessive manpower ensures quick reactions and smoother maneuverability.

Accuracy is another significant advantage brought by Roller Boom Furling systems. Manual furling methods often result in uneven roll-ups, leading to distorted shape and reduced performance . This technology streamlines the process, ensuring consistent and precise sail roll-ups every time. The result? Optimized sail performance, better boat balance, and improved overall efficiency.

However, it’s important to note that Roller Boom Furling is not limited to just convenience and safety benefits. This technology also has a positive impact on sail longevity. By exerting controlled tension throughout the furling process, Roller Boom Furling systems reduce wear and tear on the sails, extending their lifespan significantly. This translates into cost savings in the long run as sailors can enjoy their sails for many additional seasons.

Despite its undeniable advantages, it’s essential to consider a few factors before adopting Roller Boom Furling for your vessel. Compatibility with existing rigging systems, overall weight considerations, and budget constraints should all be taken into account during the decision-making process. Consulting with reputable sailing professionals or manufacturers can help you make an informed choice based on your unique requirements.

In conclusion, Roller Boom Furling is a game-changing technology that has transformed the way mainsails are managed while sailing. Its convenience, safety features, accuracy in sail handling, along with increased sail longevity make it an appealing choice for both cruising enthusiasts and racing crews alike. Embracing this innovative sailing technology promises to not only enhance your sailing experience but also elevate your performance on the water. So why wait? Join the revolution today!

How Does Roller Boom Furling Work? Exploring the Mechanics Behind this Game-Changing System

Roller boom furling has revolutionized the way sailing enthusiasts approach their craft. This innovative system has taken the sailing world by storm, offering enhanced convenience and ease of use. But how exactly does roller boom furling work? Let’s dive into the mechanics behind this game-changing system.

At its core, roller boom furling replaces traditional mainsail handling methods with a more streamlined and efficient mechanism. Gone are the days of wrestling with heavy mainsails or struggling to stow them neatly. Roller boom furling simplifies the entire process, making it a breeze for sailors of all skill levels.

The key component of roller boom furling is a drum-like device that sits horizontally along the boom itself. This drum contains a heavy-duty spring-loaded mechanism that can be activated with a simple pull or push. The mainsail is connected to this drum by means of an attached flexible panel commonly known as an “in-mast sail.”

Here’s where things get interesting: when you activate the roller boom furling system, this mechanism employs its internal gears and springs to smoothly roll up the in-mast sail around itself. This compactly stores the sail within the drum, creating a tidy and space-saving solution.

But what about unfurling? Well, fear not! Roller boom furling wouldn’t be complete without offering effortless deployment as well. By pulling on another control line connected to the drum, you can quickly release the bundled-up sail from its storage position . The inherent flexibility of materials used in modern sails ensures smooth unfurling without any hiccups.

Now let’s talk about some fascinating technical aspects that make roller boom furling so efficient and reliable:

1. Drum Design: The drum in which the sail is stored is carefully crafted using high-strength materials such as aluminum or carbon fiber composite to ensure durability while keeping weight down. This allows for optimal balance and performance on the boat .

2. Spring Mechanism: The internal spring-loaded mechanism within the drum plays a crucial role in achieving smooth and controlled furling. Its tension can be adjusted to accommodate different sail sizes, wind conditions, and sailor preferences, thereby providing customizable functionality.

3. Gearing System: To ensure consistent and reliable performance, roller boom furling incorporates a precisely designed gear system. This system allows for effortless rolling and unrolling of the in-mast sail while minimizing friction and wear on the overall setup.

4. Control Lines: The control lines connected to the drum are intelligently positioned along the boom for easy access and manipulation. By strategically locating these lines, sailors can effortlessly engage or disengage the roller boom furling mechanism without compromising their comfort or safety.

It’s important to note that roller boom furling systems have come a long way in terms of technological advancements over the years. Today, they offer improved reliability, ease of use, and durability compared to earlier iterations.

The benefits of roller boom furling are abundantly clear – it simplifies sail handling, reduces physical strain on sailors, enables quick adjustments based on changing wind conditions, and enhances overall sailing experience by eliminating hassle during maneuvers.

In conclusion, roller boom furling is an ingenious system that has transformed traditional mainsail handling into an efficient and elegant process. By understanding its mechanics and appreciating its various technical aspects such as drum design, spring mechanisms, gearing systems, and control lines – sailors can fully appreciate the convenience this game-changing system brings to their sailing adventures. So go ahead; embrace this innovative technology to elevate your sailing experience to new heights!

Step-by-Step: Understanding the Process of Roller Boom Furling for Efficient Sail Handling

Roller boom furling is an innovative technique widely utilized in sail handling for its efficiency and ease of use. If you’re new to the world of sailing or want to brush up on your knowledge, this step-by-step guide will walk you through the entire process of roller boom furling.

Step 1: Understanding Roller Boom Furling Before we delve into the process itself, it’s essential to grasp the concept behind roller boom furling. Unlike traditional sail handling techniques that require manual effort and coordination, roller boom furling simplifies everything with a single mechanical device. By utilizing a rotating drum built within the boom, this system allows you to effortlessly roll and unfurl your sails regardless of their size.

Step 2: Preparing for Sailing The first step towards efficient sail handling with roller boom furling begins even before you hit the water. Make sure your roller reefing gear is well-maintained and properly installed . Inspect all components for any signs of wear or damage, ensuring that they are in excellent working condition.

Step 3: Unfurling the Sail As you approach your sailing destination, it’s time to prepare for unfurling the sail using roller boom furling. Begin by releasing any halyard tension or backstay pressure on your mainsail. This will aid in facilitating a smooth and controlled deployment of your sails as they roll out from inside the mast.

Step 4: Engaging Roller Boom Furling Once your mainsail is fully released from its stored position inside the mast, engage the roller boom furler by turning its control mechanism or operating button – usually located near the cockpit. This action sets into motion a series of interconnected gears designed to rotate and unwind your mainsail smoothly .

Step 5: Steering & Controlling Unfurled Sail With the sail now unfurled, pay close attention to your boat’s steering to ascertain a balanced and stable sailing stance. Adjust your sail trim by utilizing control lines and sheets, ensuring optimal airflow and maximum efficiency. With the roller boom furling system, controlling the unfurled sail is a breeze, enhancing the overall sailing experience.

Step 6: Furling and Stowing Sail As your sailing adventure draws to an end or if weather conditions change abruptly, it’s time to furl and stow the mainsail using roller boom furling. Gradually release any strain on control lines while simultaneously engaging the furler mechanism in reverse – typically done with a simple push of a button. The rotating drum within the boom will begin winding up the sail efficiently, neatly rolling it back into its stored position until you’re ready to unfurl again.

Step 7: Safety Measures & Maintenance Safety always remains paramount during any sailing endeavor. Regularly inspect all components of your roller boom furling system, including track systems, swivels, bearings, extrusions, and controls. Lubricate moving parts as recommended by manufacturers to ensure smooth operation. Familiarize yourself with emergency procedures specific to your roller boom furling gear in case of unforeseen situations while at sea.

In conclusion, roller boom furling offers an efficient and user-friendly method for handling sails. By following these step-by-step instructions and performing routine maintenance tasks on your gear, you can optimize sail handling performance while enjoying a witty and clever solution guaranteed to make your sailing adventures even more delightful. So get ready to embark on smooth seas with this innovative sail-handling technique !

Roller Boom Furling FAQ: Answering Your Most Pressing Questions about this Advanced Sail Control System

Are you a sailing enthusiast looking to take your sailing game to another level? If so, then roller boom furling is a sail control system that deserves your attention. This advanced technology has revolutionized the way sailors handle their sails, providing improved control and convenience on the water. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of roller boom furling and answer some of the most pressing questions surrounding this innovative system.

Q: What is roller boom furling?

A: Roller boom furling is a cutting-edge sail control system that allows sailors to easily reef or furl their mainsail while out on the water. It replaces the traditional method of manually lowering or folding the mainsail by incorporating a motorized mechanism within the boom itself. This clever innovation enables sailors to adjust their sail area quickly and efficiently, even in challenging weather conditions.

Q: How does roller boom furling work?

A: The roller boom furling system consists of several components working in perfect harmony. It includes an electric motor placed inside the boom that drives a series of gears connected to a flexible foil sail track attached alongside it. By engaging the motor, sailors can effortlessly rotate the boom and wrap or unwrap the mainsail around this foil track as needed. This mechanism eliminates cumbersome manual labor and simplifies sail management on board.

Q: What are the advantages of using roller boom furling?

A: There are numerous notable benefits to adopting this advanced sail control system. Firstly, roller boom furling greatly enhances convenience for skippers and crew members alike. Reefing or stowing your mainsail becomes as easy as pressing a button, saving time and effort while increasing safety at sea.

Secondly, by allowing quick adjustments in response to changing wind conditions, roller boom furling enhances overall performance under various sailing scenarios. Whether you need to reduce sail area during strong gusts or increase it for lighter winds, this technology offers unparalleled flexibility and responsiveness.

Additionally, roller boom furling provides improved sail longevity. By maintaining proper tension and control during the reefing process, it minimizes wear and tear on your mainsail while ensuring a consistently smooth sail shape. This extends the lifespan of your sails and reduces the need for frequent replacements.

Q: Is roller boom furling suitable for all types of boats?

A: While roller boom furling is highly versatile, its suitability depends on the specific design and structure of your boat’s rigging system. Smaller cruising sailboats with single-spreader rigs generally find it easier to implement roller boom furling due to their simpler setups. However, larger yachts with more complex rigging configurations may require additional customizations or adaptations to accommodate this system effectively.

If you are considering installing roller boom furling on your boat, we recommend consulting with a professional sailmaker or yacht rigger who can evaluate your vessel’s specifications and provide expert advice tailored to your unique needs.

In conclusion, roller boom furling is an advanced sail control system that combines convenience, performance, and durability in one brilliant package. By simplifying sail adjustment procedures while maximizing control over your mainsail, this technology allows sailors to elevate their sailing experience like never before. Whether you are a seasoned sailor or a beginner looking to upgrade your boat’s capabilities, roller boom furling is undoubtedly an innovation worth exploring. So why not embark on this exciting journey towards effortless sail management today?

Pros and Cons of Roller Boom Furling: Is it the Right Choice for Your Sailboat?

Title: Pros and Cons of Roller Boom Furling: Is it the Right Choice for Your Sailboat?

Introduction: When it comes to enhancing ease and convenience on a sailboat, roller boom furling systems have gained significant popularity. This innovative technology allows sailors to furl and unfurl their sails effortlessly, making it easier to adapt to changing wind conditions. However, like any other system on a boat, roller boom furling also has its drawbacks and may not be suitable for every sailor or sailboat. In this blog post, we will delve into a detailed analysis of the pros and cons of roller boom furling, helping you make an informed decision about whether it is the right choice for your sailboat.

1. Convenience at your fingertips: The primary advantage of roller boom furling is how effortless it makes handling the sails. With a quick pull or push of a line, you can easily roll or unroll the mainsail according to your needs. This convenience eliminates the need for physically going forward to reef or deploy the sail manually.

2. Enhanced safety: Roller boom furlers contribute significantly towards sailing safety by reducing the risks associated with manual handling of heavy sails in adverse weather conditions . The ability to adjust and reduce sail area swiftly ensures better control over your vessel during sudden gusts or squalls.

3. Improved maneuverability: With roller boom furling systems, altering sail sizes becomes hassle-free while underway. If you encounter varied wind speeds or directions that require adjustments promptly, these systems allow you to quickly change from full sail area to partially furled with minimal effort – thereby enhancing your boat’s maneuverability.

4. Reduced wear and tear: Traditional mainsail flaking and folding methods are notorious for causing excessive creases in the fabric which lead to detrimental wear over time. A roller boom rig helps eliminate creasing issues altogether, ensuring longevity of your sail by reducing friction, chafing, and unnecessary stress on the fabric.

1. Costly investment: It’s important to address the upfront financial investment required for installing a roller boom furling system. These systems tend to be relatively expensive compared to conventional mainsail setups. However, if you frequently sail single-handed or with a small crew, the convenience and safety they offer might outweigh the initial cost.

2. Potential mechanical failures: As with any complex technology, there is always a risk of mechanical failure. Roller boom furlers consist of multiple moving parts – bearings, gears, and motors – that are subject to wear and tear over time. Regular maintenance and occasional repairs might be necessary, so it is essential to have spare parts readily available.

3. Added weight aloft: The installation of roller boom furling systems increases the weight aloft on your sailboat due to additional hardware components. This extra weight can potentially affect your boat’s stability and sailing performance in certain conditions. It is crucial to evaluate how this may impact your specific vessel before proceeding with installation.

4. Limited compatibility: Roller boom furling systems may not be compatible with all sail configurations or mast types. Retrofitting an existing rigging setup could be challenging or require significant modifications which can add costs and complexity to your project.

Conclusion: Roller boom furling undoubtedly brings numerous advantages in terms of convenience, safety, maneuverability, and reduced wear and tear on sails. However, it may not be suitable for every sailor or sailboat due to the associated costs, potential mechanical issues, added weight aloft dynamics, and compatibility concerns.

Ultimately, deciding whether roller boom furling is the right choice for your sailboat requires careful consideration of these pros and cons alongside an evaluation of your sailing style preferences and budget constraints. Consulting with marine professionals or experienced sailors can provide valuable insights tailored specifically to your situation.

Top Tips and Tricks for Maintaining your Roller Boom Furling System in Perfect Working Condition

Maintaining your roller boom furling system is vital to ensuring smooth sailing and maximum performance on the water. A well-maintained system not only prolongs its lifespan but also enhances safety and convenience while at sea. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or just getting started, these top tips and tricks will help you keep your roller boom furling system in perfect working condition.

1. Regular inspections: Begin with regular inspections to identify any signs of wear, damage, or malfunctioning components. Carefully examine all the parts of the roller boom furling system, such as the boom, furler, swivel, and control lines. Look for cracks, corrosion, rust, frays in the lines, loose connections or fittings that may affect overall functionality.

2. Lubrication: Proper lubrication plays a crucial role in maintaining a smoothly operating roller boom furling system. Apply a high-quality marine-grade lubricant to all moving parts such as bearings, gears, sheaves, and tracks. Ensure that you follow manufacturer recommendations for lubricant selection and application frequency.

3. Sail Care: Take care of your sails to prevent unnecessary strain on the roller boom furling system. Regularly inspect your sails for tears or frayed edges caused by wind stress or chafe against rigging components. Repair any damages promptly using sail repair tape or consult a professional sailmaker if necessary.

4. UV Protection: UV rays from the sun can cause significant damage to both sails and your roller boom furling system over time. Invest in proper UV protection such as sacrificial covers for both mainsails and jibs when they are furled away on the boom after use. This will help minimize UV degradation and extend their lifespan.

5. Tension adjustments: Maintain optimal tension in your roller reefing line according to prevailing wind conditions and sail size for smooth operation during reefing/unfurling maneuvers. Avoid excessive tension or slack that could lead to jams or increased wear on the furling system components.

6. Halyard Management: Ensure proper halyard management by having a dedicated topping lift to support the boom’s weight while at anchor or when the mainsail is not in use. This helps reduce stress on the roller boom furling system and prevents unwanted slippage of sail controls.

7. Regular Cleaning: Saltwater and environmental debris can accumulate on your roller boom furling system, leading to corrosion and impairing its functionality. Rinse your system with fresh water after each sail to remove salt residue before it has a chance to cause damage. Use a mild soap solution for thorough cleaning when necessary.

8. Service Intervals: Follow manufacturer recommendations for regular servicing and maintenance intervals, which often include professional inspections and parts replacement as needed. A periodic checkup by an expert will help identify hidden issues that can escalate into costly repairs if left unattended.

9. Operator Training: Lastly, ensure all sailors aboard are well-trained in operating and maintaining the roller boom furling system correctly. Provide training sessions, offer guidance, and create written instructions that cover operation procedures, emergency protocols, proper line handling techniques, and troubleshooting common problems.

By adhering to these top tips and tricks for maintaining your roller boom furling system in perfect working condition, you’ll be able to enjoy hassle-free sailing experiences season after season. Remember, investing time and effort in preventative maintenance will save you from unexpected breakdowns while ensuring optimal performance when you need it most!

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Stiletto Catamarans

performance in cruising catamarans

Roller Furler Installation and Use

  • Install the furling line onto the drum by first feeding it through the fairlead on the cleat and then through the middle size hole on the top of the drum. Tie a figure eight knot in the end of the line. Examine the lay of the wire in the luff of your reacher. You want to roll the line on the drum in the direction that tightens the lay of the wire when the line is pulled and the sail is rolled up. Damage to the luff wire may result  if the furling line is rolled on the wrong way.
  • Attach furling drum to the tack of the sail by inserting the clevis pin on top of the drum through the tack of the sail.
  • Attach the top swivel to the head of the sail in the same manner as the furling drum was installed. The end of the swivel with out the two “J” shaped rods goes on the sail.
  • On the bottom of the furling drum is a screw pin shackle. Remove the snap shackle fro the bridle traveller block replacing it with screw pin shackle (on new rigs there will be no snap shackle.)  If the snap shackle is used the furler will turn the shackle rather than roll up the sail.
  • Tie the halyard around the clevis pin at the other end of the top swivel from the sail.
  • Tie the sheets to the clew of the sail.
  • Hoist the sail until the halyard is good and snug.
  • To furl the sail, release all tension on the sheets. Pull the small diameter line on the furling drum. This rolls the sail around its luff wire. When the sail is completely rolled up cleat the line to prevent the sail from unrolling.
  • To keep the furling line from going overboard stuff it behind the compression tube into the end of the trampoline sleeve.
  • To unfurl the sail, pull the furling line out of the trampoline sleeve and then uncleat it. Pulling on the appropriate sheet will unfurl the sail.
  • The sail will last longer if it is stowed loose. This allows air to get it. The sail an be stowed temporarily by lowering its furled and coiling it up like a hose.
  • The reacher does not have a protective leech that keeps the sun from damaging the sail if left up while the boat is not in use. Therefore, remove the furled reacher when not using the boat. If the sail is damp, put it away unfurled so that air can get to it.

More Assembly Instructions

Basic Assembly | Assembly Check List | Tuning Manual | Jiffy Reefing | Mast Rotator | Genoa Instructions | Trampoline Installation | Mainsail Traveller Control | Roller Furler Installation and Use | Installing Deck Snaps on Cockpit Tent | Reacher Running Rigging Installation


What Is A Furler On A Sailboat?

What Is A Furler On A Sailboat? | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

August 22, 2023

‍ Key Takeaways

  • Sailing furlers are common in a variety of different types of sailboats
  • These are used to make life easier when sailing or racing to roll the sails in or out
  • They are an extremely convenient tool that provides efficiency if used appropriately
  • Furler sails can come in many shapes and sizes depending on the boat
  • Your sailing goals may go hand in hand with the type of furler you have on board

‍ Furler sailing is a convenient way to make life easier on your sailboat. But what is a furling system on sailboats?

Roller furling systems are unique mechanisms that allow you to effortlessly roll up the sail or unfurl. A roller furling system features a central location for a drum or spool for storing the sail and a furling line to give sailors the ability to operate the sail.

In my experience, furling systems are comparable to reefing systems, but are arguably best for moderate conditions while sailing. Depending on what setup you have will likely make a difference while sailing.

Table of contents

‍ How Does a Roller Furling System Work?

A roller furling setup will vary depending on what type you have on your boat. Most boats today have some type of system already on board, especially racing boats.

Sailors can adjust their sail area or store their sails efficiently by pulling on the furling line. This line can be controlled from the boat's cockpit and allow solo sailing to be more manageable and eliminating the need for crew members to handle bulky sails manually.

There are a variety of positives with furlers that most sailors find useful. Below are the pros for these systems.

Ease of Use

They are convenient and make for a quick setup while adjusting to the wind in various conditions. This allows an easy transfer without having to take the sails down or changing them out completely.

Peace of Mind

This makes it safer while sailing since you will have better response times and control from the cockpit. This helps limit the likelihood of any dangers out on deck or due to weather.

You have the power in your hands to adjust for sailing power. This gives you total control of when to optimize the best sailing conditions.

Longevity in Mind

A furling system allows you to roll up the sail neatly to avoid exposure to harmful UV rays and other issues obtained if you were to leave it out. This is crucial for long term use and for protecting your investment.

There are some negatives to keep in mind for these systems as it may interfere with your sailing goals. Below are the cons to consider.

Strong Conditions

These may not operate the best in windy conditions. A furled sail could decrease upwind performance if the conditions are not the best.

Rope Could Weaken

The rope that is used to control the furler is susceptible to chaffing. This must be checked each time you are going out on the water in addition to other safety guidelines.

Location of Drum

The drum is usually installed on the deck. This means the sail area is slightly reduced and the luff is shortened.

Needs Routine Maintenance

You should always look over and keep records of maintenance on board. The bearings are one example of something you should keep an eye on as the saltwater and sand will cause wear and tear.

Different Types of Roller Furling Systems

There are different types of furling systems that you might have already or might be interested in getting. Some are easy to use while others might be difficult depending on the setup. Below are the three system setups that you will likely need to learn more about.

If you enjoy manual labor to roll the sail in or out, then this means you have a manual one. These are usually cheaper because it is more physically demanding.

You simply need to be able to push a button to get an electric furler to operate. This provides a much smoother sailing experience if you are unable to roll the furlers out by hand.

If you have a larger yacht then you might have a hydraulic furler . These are definitely smoother and offer excellent power.

Which Roller Furling is Best for You?

Now that you know some differences between manual, electric, and hydraulic, you can take a step further and see which system is best for your sailing goals. There are specific names used in the marine industry to categorize these furling systems.

This is the most basic setup for a furling system. This system includes a deck swivel drum, wire luff headsail, and head swivel. This also means you do not need hanks or the use of luff tape.

Internal Halyard

The internal halyard runs alongside the forestay without using the jib halyard. It employs an internal halyard for one groove, while the sail's luff slides up another groove, and prevents the halyard from getting tangled.

Head Swivel

The head swivel is one of the most popular systems and most expensive since it operates the smoothest out of them all. It features a lower drum, equipped with metal cross-sections, and a ball bearing head swivel. It is excellent for racing and for changing headsail easily.

Bottom or Top Down Furler

All systems back in the day were once bottom-up furlers. As engineering improved over the years, more headsails were designed for lighter wind.

The bottom is a standard roller furler where the base of the drum unrolls to release the sail. When rolled back, the sail wraps from the base and is common for jib and genoa sails.

The top down furler is for Code 0 and asymmetric spinnakers. These roll the sail from the top to the base, leaving the base free-floating and improving sail handling.

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Furler

Proper routine maintenance is crucial for keeping your boat in the best shape. This means you cannot afford to skip checking or repairing your furler.

Failure to spend a solid 15 to 30 minutes taking the time to properly clean and maintain your furler will cost you more time and money down the road. Below are a few tips to get started for most furlers.

Reading the Manual

It is imperative that you read and understand the manufacturers manual that came with the furler. This will have the basics and everything else you need to know about safe operation or properly maintaining the furler.

If you do not have one after buying a boat, then you can look for it online or contact the manufacturer to send you one. In addition, you could always look online and read forums that talk about similar issues with their furlers.

Get the Furler Ready

The first thing you should do is to remove the genoa sail and mark the furling line for easy removal of the drum during year-end maintenance or before the season starts. Check the bolts, drum, and remove any debris that could be lodged with a degreaser (your manual might recommend one).

Lube All Required Locations

If any parts move then there needs to be some kind of lubrication. This is especially true if you have metal on metal.

Your manual will likely tell you what type of grease to use and where to apply it. Once that is completed you can assemble the drum and clean everything you touched.

Related Articles

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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Roller Reefing Furling System

The Reefurl roller reefing furling sail system is designed to withstand the most rigorous demands of today’s commercial, racing and cruising sailboats or yachts that need a reliable roller reefing furling system, not just a roller furling sail.

The Reefurl system allows you to reef (partially deploy) the sail in strong wind conditions. This means your large genoa can be reduced (reefed) with a Reefurl furling system to become a jib, storm sail or anything in-between.

Can be operated from the safety of the cockpit

The Reefurl furling system is robust and easy to use. Not only is it better suited to the lone sailors, it is much safer, as the furling system can be operated from the safety of the cockpit. The sail can be reefed in a matter of seconds or completely rolled up when a squall approaches.

On larger sailboats or yachts that have an inner-headstay, the sail can be rolled very quickly when tacking to allow a large Number 1 or Genoa to pass between the headstay and the inner-headstay without a crewmember having to go forward to push the sail through the opening.

The larger than average size drum means that the Reefurl roller reefing furling never requires a winch to reef or roll the sail.

We always have stock on hand and our Reefurl roller reefing furling systems are dispatched within 24 hours of receiving your order.

More about our Sail Systems

FAQ | History | Rigging | Furling System | Technical | Testimonials


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Roller Furling Jib – Greiner Sailmakers

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Roller Furling Jib – Greiner Sailmakers

Elevate Your Sailing Experience with New Roller Furling Jibs

Welcome to Greiner Sailmakers, where innovation meets tradition to enhance your sailboat's performance and your overall sailing enjoyment. Our latest offering, the New Roller Furling Jibs, is designed to make sailing more convenient, efficient, and enjoyable.

Sail with Ease

Our New Roller Furling Jibs are engineered for hassle-free sailing. Whether you're a seasoned sailor or a novice, these jibs are designed for effortless deployment and adjustments. The roller furling system ensures smooth and straightforward sail handling, allowing you to focus on the joy of sailing.

Exceptional Performance

Greiner Sailmakers has a rich history of crafting sails that excel in performance, and our Roller Furling Jibs are no exception. These jibs are meticulously designed to optimize sail shape and aerodynamics, delivering enhanced speed, control, and stability. Sail confidently in a range of wind conditions, knowing your jib is fine-tuned for peak performance.

Built to Last

Quality is at the heart of Greiner Sailmakers' craftsmanship. Each New Roller Furling Jib is constructed by our skilled artisans using premium materials and time-tested techniques. This dedication to durability ensures that your jib will provide reliable performance for years to come, making it a valuable investment for your sailing adventures.

Customized for Your Boat

We understand that every sailboat is unique, and our Roller Furling Jibs can be customized to meet your vessel's specific requirements. Collaborate with our experts to create a jib tailored to your boat's dimensions, preferences, and sailing style. Whether you prefer a traditional Dacron jib or a high-tech laminate, we cater to your needs.

Set sail with confidence, convenience, and performance – choose Greiner Sailmakers' New Roller Furling Jibs for your sailboat. Elevate your sailing experience and make every voyage a memorable one. Discover the difference with Greiner Sailmakers today.

Why Choose Greiner Sailmakers

  • Personal service with every sail purchased.
  • Each new roller furling jib is designed and hand-crafted in the USA.
  • New roller furling jibs are always constructed using the highest grade materials available.
  • All new sails are constructed with a balance of technology and handmade craftsmanship.
  • Greiner Sailmakers is an established sailmaker with a reputation for producing high-quality roller furling jibs.

Get A New Roller Furling Jib Quote

Contact Greiner Sailmakers here to get a new roller furling quote.

Sail Details

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Racing Jib – Greiner Sailmakers

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  3. Harken Roller Furlers

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    In fact, it made gennaker handling on our Cape Dory 19 a snap. And by furling the sail before dousing it during a deep reach, it made single-handing in 20 knots of wind a smooth sailing experience. Bottom Line: A good small-boat furler that is priced right. Schaefer. This unit has a "Back to the Future" flair.

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  7. Sailing made easy: Everything you need to know about roller furling

    The setup of a roller furling system consists of a wire, foil, or spar around which the sail is spun. This is controlled by a furling line that is pulled or released from the cockpit. The foil is actually an aluminium track, up which the sail is fed all the way to the top. At the top of the track and at the bottom, the sail is on a swivel ...

  8. Harken Small Boat Furlers

    Small Boat Furlers. Harken® Small Boat furling systems allow the trailerable cruising or dinghy sailor to set and furl the jib from the cockpit. Drums and halyard swivels feature multiple stacked races of Delrin® or Torlon® bearings for smooth rotation under load. Small Boat units are for furling only, not reefing. Hoistable Swivels.

  9. How to Choose a Furling System for Sailboats

    The roller furling system makes it easier to control the front sail, its deployment and tension adjustment. The furler for the staysail is an example of the most common type of this system. It allows the helmsman to adjust the sail from the cockpit without the need for a large crew or excessive fuss on deck.

  10. HARKEN Small Boat Furling Kits

    Harken small boat furlers allow the sail to be set and furled from the cockpit, a critical convenience in many racing dinghies and trailerable sailboats. These systems, now sold as drum and swivel kits, are for roller furling, not for reefing. Constructed of Hardkote anodized Teflon-impregnated aluminum, they feature multiple stacked races of ...

  11. Reefing & Furling

    190mm Leg Kit Toggle with 8mm Pin. $149.98 $298.00. Compare. 1 - 24 of 60 Items. Load More. Sailboat reefing and furling systems make sail management easy. Online and in West Marine stores, you will find a complete selection of headsail roller furling and mainsail reefing systems. Respected brands we carry include Harken and Schaefer.

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  13. Furlex systems

    The smallest furlers in the Furlex family are used as standard equipment on numerous dinghies, small catamarans and keelboats. They feature stainless ball bearings for long life, composite components for low weight and clever designs to reduce friction. Properties that have made Furlex the world's best-selling furling systems since early 80's

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    The development of reliable headsail furling must rank high on any list of devices that have significantly changed the way boats are sailed in the past two decades. Hanked-on sails, while having certain advantages, are disappearing in favor of roller furling jibs and genoas. Furlers keep the crew off the bow and reduce time spent sail handling.

  15. Continuous Line-Drive Furler

    The continuous line-drive furler is the perfect solution for high-performance skiffs and dinghies that use oversized jibs/gennakers and for staysails on larger boats. Unlike conventional furling drums, the low-profile line-driver never runs out of line, and can completely furl any sized sail. Offset holes in the drive sheave grip line securely, with the stripper arm and feeder working together ...


    Pull on Furling Line INSTALLATION SHEET Small Boat Furling 434/435 How It Works: To furl the jib, pull the furling line and the sail rolls up around its own luff. To unfurl, uncleat the furling line and pull the jib sheet. Sail with Luff Wire Required: Your sail must have a 1 x 19 counterlaid stainless steel wire

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    12058 posts · Joined 2000. #4 · Nov 17, 2002. I have a Harken on my boat it jambs fairly frequently. While Harken and Profurl are generally considered the most robust and reliable furlers, I have had too many jambs, on large and small boats alike to consider them a good, safe idea for a small single-hander. Jeff.

  18. Roller Boom Furling: The Ultimate Guide for Sailors

    Short answer: Roller boom furling Roller boom furling is a system used on sailboats to easily roll and reef the mainsail. It involves a rotating boom equipped with a built-in roller mechanism, enabling quick and convenient sail adjustment. This method enhances safety, efficiency, and ease of use for sailors. Roller Boom Furling: A Comprehensive Guide

  19. Roller Furler Installation and Use

    Pull the small diameter line on the furling drum. This rolls the sail around its luff wire. When the sail is completely rolled up cleat the line to prevent the sail from unrolling. To keep the furling line from going overboard stuff it behind the compression tube into the end of the trampoline sleeve. To unfurl the sail, pull the furling line ...

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  21. Reefurl

    The Reefurl roller reefing furling sail system is designed to withstand the most rigorous demands of today's commercial, racing and cruising sailboats or yachts that need a reliable roller reefing furling system, not just a roller furling sail. The Reefurl system allows you to reef (partially deploy) the sail in strong wind conditions. This ...

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  23. Roller Furling Jib

    Elevate Your Sailing Experience with New Roller Furling Jibs Welcome to Greiner Sailmakers, where innovation meets tradition to enhance your sailboat's performance and your overall sailing enjoyment. Our latest offering, the New Roller Furling Jibs, is designed to make sailing more convenient, efficient, and enjoyable. Sail with Ease Our New Roller Furling Jibs are engineered […]