( scroll down to next post for photos )
Well the jury is in. This furler system works GREAT. I am very pleased with it. Took Shanti out for some beer can racing Wednesday night and everything worked great! Nothing like a little competition against some Farr 40’s to shake the cobwebs out.
A quick note regarding the races. They take place here in Charlotte Amalie Harbor on St. Thomas. it’s sponsored in part by OnDeck Racing. They have a fleet of Farr 40’s they take tourists match racing on for a couple of hours. So on Wednesday evenings if you are a local you can hop on board one for the beer cans. I did a couple of weeks ago and they are amazing sailing boats. The Porsche’s of sailing. We of course couldn’t touch them, but damn we looked good! Hey the beer was COLD! 😀
Took on a couple of young bucks as crew. Told one to crank that jib halyard up tight, and boy did he. The halyard was so tight the head stay went slack and it was set at 1200# tension via a loos Gage. Will have to tighten down the backstay some more. So the winch/2 part halyard worked as intended.
During the racing we were tacking between 85-90. So the performance has not suffered from using a flying jib. I thought it would not as long as things were set up correctly.
Furling was easy. I first I thought is was a little hard, but I guess things are just settling in ( including me ). Hauling the sail inboard with the bowsprite traveler works great and it is really simple and quick to drop the sail if need be. When I had the sail modified with the Dyneema torque rope luff line the sailmaker had taken off the telltales. So right before the race I wanted to put some more on. I just dropped the sail, then hauled in the traveler. Stuck the telltales on and set it again. Pulled on the furling line and BADABOOM it was done.
Easy and reliable furling. With the single line furler there are no overrides ever. The angel of approach for the furling line is not critical. Depending on how things end up lining up when I haul the traveler out to the end of the sprit, mine doesn’t always line up perfectly. This has not been a problem. No problems with upper swivel breaking and jamming. Leaving the boat with a sail stuck out and up with a huge squall bearing down on you. This system still allows you to easily drop the sail.
Easy to use different head sails. I think it is much simpler than changing headsails than a standard furler in use today. Even easier than hanked on sails. I will even run an asymmetrical with it ( when I can afford one ). Dropping a furled sail allows you to easily fold up the sail and pop it in a sail bag. I prefer different size sails for different wind conditions, instead of a huge sail and reefing. Even with a foam luff on standard furlers sail shape still sucks. I’m so impressed with the way this system furls I believe that using a foam luff you could reef one of these flying jibs if you wanted. But that would have to be put to the test. This system does away with all the convoluted approaches to setting a light air sail with standard furlers. So you can have a very nice sail in light airs.
Less weight aloft for better performance. No foil draped over the headstay.
Ease of installation. You just need to rig a 2 part halyard and run your furling line back to the cockpit. Also have to have your sailmaker modify your sails with the Dyneema torque rope in the luff. Only people with long bowsprits like Shanti’s need to worry about a traveler and hauling the tack of the sail in and out. Although this worked easy also.
Cost is about the same as a standard furler unless you already have a powerful jib winch. Then the cost would be a little less.
The only downside I can see to this system for cruisers is the need of additional storage space for a number of different sails and the additional cost of those sails. But your boat will sail better with sails matched to the prevailing conditions.
If you want your boat to sail at her optimum and maybe do some club racing or just want to enjoy a nice light air day, this is an excellent system to consider. Even though todays furlers are miles ahead of the ones of yesterday shit still happens. I believe this system is safer and more reliable.
I would like to thank Erik Precourt for is co-operation and valuble insight into making this rig work.
Next…the standing rigging!!