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  #1  
Old 11-03-2008
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Thoughts on increasing the furling line size?

I have a Harken Mk IV Unit 2 furler. For those of you with this furler, you know how wonderful the included line is (note intended sarcasm). I'm looking at replacing it with 3/8" XLS yacht braid as opposed to using 5/16" line (which is what's standard). The 5/16" is hard to grip. Other than the fact that this will create more bulk on the drum, are there any other ramifications?

Also, with regards to line choice, I was going with the Samson XLS since it's fairly easy on the hands. Would anyone suggest going with a higher tech, less stretchy line? While I'll use a higher tech line for halyards, I don't love the feel of it going through my hands...
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Labatt-

Going up a line size might not be an option, since the drum only has a finite amount of line it can carry and making it a larger diameter may prevent it from holding enough line. What you should probably do is stay at the 5/16" size and get a jacket put on the tail end, which you handle, to make it easier to grip.

Two other options are either removing the core or the jacket from the lead end of the line, where it wraps around the drum, and using a larger line. Using a higher tech line with a stronger core is a good idea, especially if you want to keep the diameter of the line wrapping around the drum down in size. Having a bit extra strength in your furling line is never a bad idea, especially when the crappy weather and heavier winds hit.
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I replaced my 1/4" with 5/16" on an older furling unit and didn't have any problems. It seemed like the 5/16" was really not much bigger than the older 1/4" line anyway. As long as there is a little room on the drum when the sail is unfurled, I can't see any reason not to go to a slightly larger line.
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Old 11-03-2008
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My furler is actually loaded with a wire/rope halyard, which gives it a very small buildup of steel cable on the drum and a larger diameter line on the end I handle. You can get a lot of strength with very little load on your furler drum!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAGTIMEDON View Post
My furler is actually loaded with a wire/rope halyard, which gives it a very small buildup of steel cable on the drum and a larger diameter line on the end I handle. You can get a lot of strength with very little load on your furler drum!
That's interesting - is your furling hardware all capable of handling wire? Another thought is that wire-to-rope splices are not necessarily designed to be load-bearing and it sounds like you're using it as such.
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I see no reason why it shouldn't work as long as there's plenty of room, keeping in mind that it might not spool up neatly over time. That said, if it got so much load that it's hard on the hands, how about wrapping it on a winch and either grinding it in, or if going out, use the winch to control it. Sdog's idea to add an extra cover to smaller line or strip larger line is ingenious.
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QS192-

While I'd love to take credit for the idea... that's been a pretty common practice among racers I know... My favorite setup was a boat that had a furler with 1/4" spectra line for the furling line, and had added a polyester cover to the tail end for ease of handling... so it was about 3/8" on the cockpit end. The 1/4" spectra line was more than strong enough to handle any loads on the furler.
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Old 11-03-2008
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Large line yields more mechanical advantage

My new North sail has a 'rope luff' and as a result it forms a larger wrap around the luff as it rolls up. Because of this, I'm now having a devil of a time getting the thing furled if the wind is blowing, I pretty much have to go off the wind to reduce the load.

Plus my back really does not like the twisting pull I seem to use on the furler line.

I was also thinking about an increase in line size, or else using a longer line and leaving more wrapped when the sail is all the way out,, so the effective diameter of the drum is larger when I'm trying to get the sail in. This also would make it easier to furl.

Does this seem like a reasonable approach?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaylorC View Post
My new North sail has a 'rope luff' and as a result it forms a larger wrap around the luff as it rolls up. Because of this, I'm now having a devil of a time getting the thing furled if the wind is blowing, I pretty much have to go off the wind to reduce the load.
The rope luff is probably there to help the sail keep better shape when reefed.

Quote:
Plus my back really does not like the twisting pull I seem to use on the furler line.
Should probably work out to strengthen those muscles before you injure yourself.

Quote:
I was also thinking about an increase in line size, or else using a longer line and leaving more wrapped when the sail is all the way out,, so the effective diameter of the drum is larger when I'm trying to get the sail in. This also would make it easier to furl.

Does this seem like a reasonable approach?
Not a bad idea, but there's a limit to how much line you can have on the drum before you've got too much line on it for sail to unfurl completely. You should generally have two-to-three wraps on the drum when it is fully furled with two-to-three wraps of halyard around the sail. This helps prevent problems with the load on the furling line causing the drum to separate and with the sail unfurling in higher winds.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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Old 11-03-2008
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Line size is certainly going to be an issue. Make sure your drum can handle the extra line you are thinking of loading.

Padean- 5/16" would be exactly 1/16" larger than 1/4", or 25%.

I think I would avoid the use of XLS. I like Sampon line most of the time and have used it a lot, the XLS (Xtra Low Stretch) tends to kink easily and might hinder your furling ability.
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