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post #22 of Old 03-20-2014 Thread Starter
Doing the Death Plan
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Re: Top Down Furlers

I said that i would feed back on my experience with the top down furler that i was planning to install on my Oyster 57.5 monohull. So here it is:
I have a short carbon bowsprit made by Formula, a Karver KSF5 top down furler and a Navtec custom stay. I have re-used my cruising chute with no modification other than to change the hard ring at the head with three straps so that it furls more neatly at the head. The most complicated part was drilling a hole in the wall of the stemhead to secure the prodder.
I have to say that i have been delighted with the outcome. I simply attach the sprit to the stemhead with its shoot bolt, attach the furler to the sprit with a shackle, attach the sheets to the clews, haul the furled chute up with the spinnaker halliard and then pull on the sheet to unfurl. Furling is easy too - even under load in 15 knots i was able to do this by hand, although its easier on the primary electric winch. Because the sail is furled around the stay it take s up much less volume in the sail locker although on passage i intend to stow it in its bag on the foredeck.
Lessons that i have learnt are: 1. Lots of people make the furling units but the Navtec stay is the critical part (but expensive). 2. The furler unit on the prodder must be fixed. I had it attached on a 2:1 tack line and it kept twisting so i have fitted a pad eye on the end of the prodder and now its fine. 3. Lots of halliard tension. 4. When unfurling don't be tempted to control the furler or it can overrun and get tangled. Just let it run all the way out.
I have been out and used it with my wife in 15 knots with no concerns at all. We would never have used the old snuffer in those conditions. So i highly recommend it but the real test will come when i use it on our transatlantic planned for November this year.
Thanks everyone for all their helpful comments.

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