These days furling headsails are standard equipment on sailing yachts. Most of the time they make foresail handling a breeze: setting, reefing and dousing the headsail is accomplished from the comfort and relative safety of the cockpit. But as reliable as modern furlers have become they’re not bulletproof: they’re subject to wear and tear like any other mechanical gear.
In this video, during a recent sailing adventure, we encounter a stubborn headsail furler and employ every trick in the book to develop a procedure to coerce the sail to furl:
Ever have trouble with furling gear while sailing? I’m especially interested in experiences where sailors decided to switch back to hank on or bolt-rope sails.
I have found the Furlex to be reliable. To understand the system fully check their web site and download their literature and manuals. No rigging system is maintenance free and they require checking and maintaining. Why would it be any different from any other boat system – engine, refrigeration, electric etc?
The furler has become the piece of equipment to have. There is not enough room to stow all the extra hanked sails while cruising. Anchoring with sails on deck is slippery and gets the sails dirty. You are limited in optimal wind range so an inner stay for the storm sail and a light air sail for downwind (asymmetric spinnaker, code0 )become very desirable sails.
Your comment on YouTube was also very helpful:
I definitely agree that furling units are the best headsail management option out there. I love sailing with code-0 or top down furling spinnakers on removable continuous line furlers.
Cleaning and greasing had been tried on this top swivel. Before this video was filmed the owner of the boat had a rigger clean and grease the top swivel unit. As you can see the unit was in bad enough shape that a clean and grease didn’t get it back into serviceable condition.
The next step ought to have been a rebuild. Unfortunately the quote for rebuilding it was too close to the cost for a new modern unit so he bit the bullet and replaced it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C5AViifb_Y&lc=Ugyd4xiC9v_CVPOW7iZ4AaABAg – so far so good!
Thank you for sharing your insights!