Unbreakable Furling Line... - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 05-13-2008
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Unbreakable Furling Line...

As I talk with sailmakers about sailing with a reefed headsail in medium to heavy air stories pop up of furling lines parting and the sail coming fully unrolled, usually with disastrous consequences. Loosing the sail being a benign consequence and loosing the rig being on the upper end of bad.

Sounds like something to avoid...

Does the furling line part because of pure tensile stress placed on it when sailing upwind in a blow with sheets tight? Does it part from chafe at the drum or at the jam-cleat?

Could one avoid this problem by rigging the furling line with vectar-spectran-wowzam racing line? You know the stuff that weighs less than goose down but is stronger than titanium. (I read the advertising brochure) If it is a chafe problem then perhaps an over sized line or some kind of extra chafe resistant line (static climbing rope)?

Has anyone tried this?

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Old 05-13-2008
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Whilst I admit I don't have the vast experience and knowledge others do here, the only instances I've heard of of furling lines letting go has been a result of either chafe or (more usually) slipping off the cleat.

I've never heard of a line snapping from sheer force and can't see how the usual set-up could be loaded enough for it to snap.

Aside from it coming off the cleat (usually a v-jamb or similar), chafe can happen anywhere depending on how the line has been run. I've not heard of chafe happening at the cleat or on the drum, but I've heard of a jib lazy sheet cutting through a furling line run along the deck and over the cabin-top in a rather haphazard fashion.

I've seen people run furling lines below deck to avoid chafe..
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Last edited by Classic30; 05-13-2008 at 01:12 AM.
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Old 05-13-2008
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I doubt problems with headsails unfurling are due to breaking the furling line, my Furlex has a 3/8" line whos ebreaking strength I exopect is greater than th eother parts of the system. I would think failures are due to th eline being released or failing due to chafe. Chafing would come from repeated wear due to a bad lead, easy to watch for and correct.
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Old 05-13-2008
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I think the weakest part of the furling line is where it attach to the furling drum by a small screw if I remember correctly. Mine is a Selden Furlex 100S. I always fear that it would come off that way but so far it never did.
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Old 05-13-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trantor12020 View Post
I think the weakest part of the furling line is where it attach to the furling drum by a small screw if I remember correctly. Mine is a Selden Furlex 100S. I always fear that it would come off that way but so far it never did.

It's a good idea to tie the furling line around the drum using a clove hitch before terminating it.

Edit: Also make sure enough line is wrapped on the drum to leave a turn or two both on the drum and around the sail.

Last edited by knothead; 05-13-2008 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 05-13-2008
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I have an earlier version of Furlex 100S and the screw connection at the drum gave in on our very first trip after buying the boat - fortunately in lighter winds. Once adjusted properly never re-occured.
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Old 05-13-2008
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I had ne let go last year, but it was a result of the stress on the line actually ripped the T cleat from the coaming. Luckily the line was still attached to the cleat and the whole thing stopped at the first furling block. The result was more sail let out, but not much. I furl my 145% genny on a Profurl with 1/4 StaySet X
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Agree that if you can't furl it's likely the attachment of the line to the drum or another problem with the furler such as worn/ salted bearings, halyard angle at top of furler leading to wraps, undersized furler etc. High tech lines can be more abrasion resistant and certainly have higher working /breaking strength. However, if you need these you're likely winching in your sail at a higher pressure than is safe for the furler or furling line blocks. I once saw a gentleman rip a stancion base out of the deck (likely soft) by winching in the furler.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marunio View Post
I have an earlier version of Furlex 100S and the screw connection at the drum gave in on our very first trip after buying the boat - fortunately in lighter winds. Once adjusted properly never re-occured.
Your furling system needs regular checking to see nothing has worked lose. You should have 5 turns still on the unit even when you have your largest sail extended - if you have those turns it really doesn't matter how the end of the line is attached, very little load will reach the end. The Furlex 300 manual recommends starting with 30 turns.
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Old 05-13-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
Your furling system needs regular checking to see nothing has worked lose. You should have 5 turns still on the unit even when you have your largest sail extended - if you have those turns it really doesn't matter how the end of the line is attached, very little load will reach the end. The Furlex 300 manual recommends starting with 30 turns.
SF: Thanks for the tip. It makes perfect sense now. Back then it was overlooked as we rushed to take her home...
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