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Old 11-19-2002
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best roller furlers

Myself am not sure which make of furler is the best, BUT I''ll agree with having one is better than not.
I''ve had one on two out of the three boats that I''ve owned and I only had a couple mishaps. One the line broke loose from the furler reel (my fault, maintenance). Two the line got over lapped a couple of times (again, my fault, the wind was at my back, my younger years).
If you''ve ever singlehanded on a 23 footer in four foot swells with the wind at 25 knots trying to pull into a small inlet (breakwater pilings) you''ll wish you had a roller furling. It gets pretty scary up there on that wet little bow pitching up and down breaking through the whitecaps trying to get that jib down. Your hanging on like a monkey in a typhoon.
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Old 12-07-2002
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best roller furlers

I don''t know what your budget is, and since that might be a factor in your decision, I''ll pass on a few points made in a conversation I had with a Schaefer technical rep a few days ago concerning their SnapFurl system. He said they had been used on boats up to 30'' in testing, and that the units performed well. One advantage is that I don''t think you have to alter your forestay to install it. It apparently trailers better than units made up of individual sections that must be joined together and are therefore a little more "brittle" if bent. SailNet has a real good price on them, with extras, right now (I have no connection to SailNet). Remember that you will have to have your sail(s) altered to fit the groove in the furler. I think that most furler jamming problems are related to the furling line''s not feeding properly INTO the furler, and that when it is pulled back out, over-rides or other problems occur. You have to have some tension on the sail''s clew when furling, and the furling line has to feed in from the right angle and with a little tension when unfurling.
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Old 12-09-2002
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best roller furlers

I fought the idea of roller furling for years and think I was right about the reliability of the devices for a long time. When I saw that some of the around alone crowd were heading out a second time with the same profurl gear, I figured the manufacturers had worked the bugs out. My experience since installing a profurl on my NorSea 27 has been that the device works reliably, has never jambed and holds up quite well. I just sold the boat and the new owner got a nice collection of spare parts that I never needed.

Whe I sailed to Hawaii in 1994 I never had to go forward at night, and rarely went forward in the daytime. That adds a significant margin of safety. Since then I have used the roller furler for thousands of sea miles and have never had a problem.

I chose the profurl for several reasons. First was that the around alone crowd choose profurl. That reason could be a little bogus since a large percentage of those folks are French and profurl is a french product.

At the time I purchased it, Profurl was the only manufacturer that told me it was OK to reef the sail on the furler. That has been a very handy feature on blustery San Francisco bay. They actually say its ok to put the line from the furler on a winch for reefing.

The profurl came with long link plates that allowed the drum to be well above the bottom of the forestay. On my boat this was important for easy anchor handling.

The profurl did not require modification of theforestay, so I could take it off (about 45 minute job) and use the old hanked on jibs if I want.

One of the unanticipated benefits of a roller furling jib was that it eliminated another thing to stow on a small boat. Instead of having a damp sail in the cabin, it was conveniently rolled up on the forestay.

I just sold the NorSea and have a new Tayana pilot house on order. It will have two profurl furlers for the jib and staysail.

Im not sure profurl makes a model small enough for your boat but I have seen a number of models advertised in that size range. I suspect if you stick with a brand name like Schaffer or Harken, you wont have any problems. No manufacturer can make money on unreliable products and both of those companies seem to be doing OK. I think you will find you use your boat a lot more if its not as much of a hassle to get underway. I see a lot of people out there for a couple of hours who dont even bother to take the cover off their main. They just unfurl the jib and have a leisurly cruise.

The only thing I have found important to be careful about is the spinaker halyard. You must flip the spinaker halyard around the back side of the spreaders when you are not using it. You should not bring it forward for use until the headsail is furled. That will prevent the spinaker halyard from getting wrapped in the furling mechanism at the top of the mast.

Hope this helps.

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Old 12-09-2002
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best roller furlers

I''m motivated to add that the owners of the ''best'' furlers are usually the ones who rig the furling hardware and build the sail so that they''re using a ''system'' and not just a furler. IMO there are some equipment categories these days - jib furling systems being one of them - where we enjoy a great set of choices and, amongst the leading builders, almost can''t make a bad one. However, a jib built of marginal cloth, one without a custom luff to assist the sail in properly reefing, or mickey mouse furling hardware and bad leads can all contribute to a bad experience no matter what the brand of furler, and also potentially unsafe conditions.

I don''t know if Profurl is the ''best'' but I sure have appreciated it''s beefy construction, absence of bearing deformation under severe loading, and the superb support I have had from the Profurl reps in Ft. Lauderdale. (''Product Support'' - another criterion we tend to dismiss when talking about ''best equipment'' but want in spades when we have a problem or a puzzle to solve!)

FWIW my Profurl''s top swivel began discharging grease way sooner than is normal (3 years vs. 10-12) and I worried about water penetration. It also began swiveling with a little add''l friction. It turns out the seal in the top/smaller units is trickier to ''make'' than the bottom ones and so this occasionally warrants inspection. OTOH the matter was addressed quickly by the folks at Profurl, at no cost, 3+ years after purchase.

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Old 12-09-2002
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best roller furlers

Jack makes a good point about having a sail that is designed to furl. I dont think it matters which furler you use but when I had a sail designed to be furled it had a higher clew and also foam padding in the luff that keeps the sail from getting baggy when its reefed.

I also had my old sails modified to work with the furler and they are acceptable in performance but dont furl as neatly as the one I had designed for the furler. I waited until the furler was installed and then called the sailmaker.

My experience with profurl support has not been as good. I ordered some spare parts three months ago and have now sold the boat before the parts got here. There are small metric allen screws that hold the sections of the foil together. Everytime I take the furler down I find several screws are missing even though I use locktite on all of them. If you have profurl you need a collection of these set screws. Its also handy to have one of those sets of allen wrenches (metric) that looks like a jackknife. Its easier to tighten the set screws than with a regular allen wrench.
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Old 12-12-2002
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best roller furlers

WHOOSH; is right on track. Systems approach.

Having installed and used many different units. I''d like tp add a few thoughts.

Cray Valley, J.P. Moulignere''s around the world boat used the new Hood Sea Furl 5 unit. We were able to dissect the furler at every leg (Worked At Hood for awhile)Interestingly enough the innards held up very well, the splices,however showed extreme compression loading. I''d never seen this condition on another application. Turns out that blasting about at 20 knts. launches the boat. When she lands the compresssion forces really get up there. Since Cray Valley was a French boat it was switched to Profurl on the South African Leg. (This is the case in many of the French boats as I"m told that they underwrite a bit of the cost.)

Pro furls are great; great dealer support, product. Easy to install

Harken really makes a nice unit especially when weight is an issue.

Hood has good bang for the buck.

Schaefer''s are just about bullet proof and install easily. US made too.

Furlex nice units; include headstays, bluewater units.

For trailor sailors, CDI, HOOD, Schaefer are very installer/user friendly. Inexpensive.

Other stuff;
I''d re''mnd that a new headstay be installed with each new unit.

Fwd most lead block very important for proper angle to drum.

Halyard swivel maint. very important.

More to come. Systems,systems,systems.

Hydrogen/oxygen combination insane guy
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