Furling assymetric foresails

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by bretag, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. bretag
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    bretag Junior Member

    I am interested in the use of roller furling devices as used on assymetric 'drifter' type headsails, they seem to be all the rage on ocean going racing boats. Anybody has experience/tried these?
     
  2. DennisRB
    Joined: Sep 2004
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    DennisRB Senior Member

    I have a furling cruising code zero on my 40 foot cruising boat. Its has a kevlar rope sewn into the luff and is raised on a spin halyard. Once initially raised it can be furled with a facnor furler which clips on a bale at the end of my extended bow roller. Note the luff is straight like a genoa and does not fly freely like a asym spinnaker, but you can even get those to work with these furlers.

    I love the sail and use it (well use to use it) all the time in light wind where it made a huge differance in speed. The only prob is that a few weeks ago a whale ripped the anchor roller off and pulled the halyard and sheave box out of the mast, mangling the whole sail and the front end of my boat.
     
  3. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Bretag,

    There are really two different types of asym furlers, and which type you need comes down to what sail you want to fly.

    The first is a luff rope furler that is used with code sails (like the code zero, and one), where the torsion line is sewn into the luff and the sail wraps around it. The Americas Cup boats are great examples of these. They work great, but require significant amounts of tension on the luff rope, and the bowsprit, so retrofitting them can be tricky is the boats design doesn't take them into account.

    The second is called a top-down furler. These are similar, but the tension rope is not sewn into the sail, instead it flys free from the sail, and only goes from the base swivel to the top swivel. When the bottom drum is spun (to furl the sail) the torsion line transmits the turning motion to the top swivel, and starts to roll up the sail. This allows a full range of sails to be used, from Code 0's to runners.

    Both of these systems work very well. There are also a few other types of system,

    1) one that tries to furl the sail from the bottom swivel up, these frankly aren't worth the money, and no sail sets very well with them. The limitations on getting a loos luff sail to furl around the bottom swivel just don't play out

    2) ones that furl from the middle. Where there is a line attached from the luff to a torsion line, and as the torsion line rolls the line is supposed to grab the shoulder and wrap it up. Again, these don't work very well, but were an interesting intermediate step to the top down furlers.

    The major problem with the top-dows is that untill this spring they were very expensive, like 3k+ for a small boat. However Selden came out with the GX line in may I think that makes them much more reasonable.
     
  4. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    The one thing you HAVE to have is an endless line furler. Otherwise you can never furl the sail away as you'll run out of furling line. Usually the bottom will furl but not the top. You may think its all furled away but if the wind gets up you might find the top part starts to unfurl itself

    Manufacturers know what you need, and the endless line furlers are overpriced (in my opinion). I first had an endless furler made specifically for a loose luffed headsail in about 1988. The manufacturers had to make it as a one off (so very expensive) but it worked and convinced them to develop a production version to sell

    More recently I have made my own by turning a conventional furler upside down and fitting plywood cheeks 9mm apart. Works just as well as the "real thing" but cost me only USD100 instead of USD600

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     
  5. bruceb
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    bruceb Senior Member

    Fuler pic?

    Do you have a pic of the "ply" furler that you wouldn't mind posting? That sounds interesting- and I have several "dead" furlers as parts doners. B
     
  6. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  7. bruceb
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    bruceb Senior Member

    "line drive"

    Thanks Doug, but I need a line drive (double line type) furler. The spinnakers I use would take too many turns for a drum type to work. I have several and have tried them. I know I can build one, (or spend 2K for a new one:(), but I am always looking for good, simple, inexpensive solutions. To use the line drives or drum type with a top down furling spinnaker system require an extra "floating" swivel attach point above the furling sheave. Not that complicated, but not so easy to home build. B
     
  8. HASYB
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    HASYB Senior Member

    In the linked blog of the building of a F22, the builder develops a simple DIY continuous furler.
    Scroll down, look for posts in 2010.http://f22bymenno.blogspot.com/

    Richard, can you post some pictures of your furler?
     
  9. bruceb
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    bruceb Senior Member

    back to furling

    Bretag, I think we hi-jacked your thread. Sorry. I am also interested in any info/user experiences with production top down furlers. Each of the main equipment manufactures seems to have the "best" system (according to them:rolleyes:), someone may not be telling the whole story. B
     
  10. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Bruce,

    The Selden top down asymetrical furler that just came out this spring starts at about $800, and ranges up to $1,200 for one suitable for boats up to 44'. I have used them a few times, and they work great. Maybe not the best from a use standpoint, but at 1/3-1/4 the price of the other units... And they really do work ok. Much like much cruising boat hardware, it's a trade off, slightly more difficult to use than top end racing gear, but a reaction of the price.
     
  11. bruceb
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    bruceb Senior Member

    Selden furler

    Thanks Greg, that is much more my price range, and I will check them out.
    IMO, most of the molded plastic blocks, furlers and other equipment is WAY over priced right now. I know about what it costs to prototype and mold small things, and there doesn't seem to be any connection to the prices currently being charged to retail sailboat customers. I expect something will have to adjust soon. B
     
  12. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Ya, take a look at the Selden GX furler. It can't fly code sails, but that's the only real trade off to the more expensive ones.
     
  13. bruceb
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    bruceb Senior Member

    closer look

    I just went on the Selden sites, and it still looks like about $1100 for the small one and $1500-1700 or more for the mid size one that I would need. It is going to be a hard sell with my wife that I need a furler instead of a new flat screen tv:rolleyes: They do look nice, and I don't have any code type sails (yet).
    I think it would change my bouy racing and the opinion of the crew of flying the chute a lot:cool:
    As Doug says, it is a revolution;)
    B
     
  14. bruceb
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    bruceb Senior Member

    Diy

    I have decided to build a top down furler and experiment with it, I hope to have it done later this week, and then try it. These are most of the basic parts, it looks as if it will weigh about 3.5 lbs finished. B
     

    Attached Files:


  15. bruceb
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    bruceb Senior Member

    homemade asym furler

    First, I was hoping (and still wishing) that a manufacture or supplier with some hands on experience would chime in here.:cool:
    I have built a "prototype" furler that works fine, and have examined three different current systems. They are all quite simple, it seems you get about what you are willing to pay for in quality. I couldn't see much difference in function if they are properly sized and installed.
    The advance in rope technology that has made these systems practical is the real story. The high torque drive line, properly sized and spliced, makes all the difference, combined with a mast/halyard system that allows the necessary halyard tension.
    As it is the end of my sailing season, I have not purchased a torque line for my boat, but I did try it with a couple of temporary lines- one an old wire halyard, and a thick low stretch dacron halyard. Both worked OK as torque lines, and I am sure the proper material will do even better and be much lighter. Length is very critical, and when I order a line, I want a design that allows the length to be adjusted.
    My apologies for the size of the furler- it was built in my wood shop and larger is easier:rolleyes: The drive sheave is 5" diameter (an old H-16 masthead sheave) and the bearing assemblies are two upper swivels from a couple of old furlers. It is strong and very cheap- all the parts were in my basement;) My next one (if I build another, this one functions well), will use about a 4" drive if this one continues to handle my 600 ft chute OK. So far, it does.
    B
     

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