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Yachtjuno 08-30-2013 11:13 AM

Top Down Furlers
I have a genneker with a snuffer on my 59ft Oyster monohull and I find it too hard to use short-handed so the sail just sits in the lazarette taking up space. I am considering getting a Karver top-down furler and i wonder if anyone has any experience using these at sea. They look and sound good in theory and i know that the Volvo boats use them offshore. Feedback from happy users out there would be most welcome.

Tim R. 08-30-2013 11:25 AM

Re: Top Down Furlers
I just purchased a Selden GX15. I have deployed and furled the sail in light air at the slip but not while sailing. I am leaving for a 2 week cruise today and plan to use the furler extensively. I also plan to film it in operation and post to my website.

I previous had an ATN sock and tacker and did not like wrestling with it on deck. Snubbing the sail if the wind increased suddenly was always difficult and prompted me not to use it very often.

Yachtjuno 08-30-2013 11:35 AM

Re: Top Down Furlers
Thanks Tim,
I would be very interested to hear how you get on.

overbored 08-30-2013 01:48 PM

Re: Top Down Furlers
The flatter the sail the better they work. A Gennaker does work better then a spinnaker. a Gennaker is really a asymmetrical spinnaker. they both have a soft luff. if you are using a reaching asymmetric they work well if the sail is designed for it. The head needs to be soft with out a lot of stiffening panels. an extending spinnaker crane on the top of the mast helps to keep the torque rope out away from the forestay and furled jib. The stiffer the head of the spinnaker the more the sail tends to hang up on the forestay as the torque tries to wind the sail around the torque rope. This causes the torque rope to wind up and twist like a rubber band on a model airplane and once the head does start to wind up the sail it will release the twisting and over wrap the sail. The sail will look like it is wrapped up just fine until the next time you try to unfurl the sail and it will be wrapped around the torque rope and will not unwind properly. Then comes the very messy take down. a bow sprit also helps a lot because for the furler to work properly the torque rope needs to hoisted tight and free to wind up the sail without it dragging on the forestay or furled jib. Get the stiffest torque rope you can for size of your boat. When furling the sail, if the torque rope gets any wind up, the sail will not unfurl the next time. Carver makes a good rope and furler but will still over wrap if not handle by an experienced crew, it is not something that can be done by one person like all the ad videos, where they show it being done in very light wind. The more wind the more crew skill needed to make it work and it takes practice like any spinnaker hoist and douse. The new Profurl looks like a good idea with the furling beads on the torque rope. I have yet to try one but just the fact they invented the idea lets me know that they were having the same problem with wind up and sail over wrap as the other manufacturers do. They don't talk about it unless you ask and if they tell you it does not happen then don't buy from them. the Volvo 70 guys have a very fast boat so they sail downwind with different apparent wind angles so they have very flat sails compared the one for a cruising boat. they also make it look simple but they have a lot of practice under their belt. most of their sails are hard luff sails like a jib or code zero. if one is trying to fly a old symmetrical as a asymm. on a furler then forget it.

Yachtjuno 08-30-2013 01:58 PM

Re: Top Down Furlers
Thanks Overbored for taking the time to share your experience.
I have just had a bowsprit made with a 2:1 tack line that runs through the pole and back to the windlass and the furler will connect to that. I have also recently upgraded my spi halliards to dyneema so i think i should be able to get decent tension on the stay. My kite is more a reaching asymmetric so i am hoping it will suit. I will check the head as you suggest. Allspars in the UK supply the Karver product and they use a Navtec stay - the larger size apparently. They have also offered to crew on my boat at the regatta in October to show me how to use it. I think i will go for it - i find the snuffer just too hard in a rolly sea.

overbored 08-30-2013 04:30 PM

Re: Top Down Furlers
here is some more stuff to read. I also heard that the Navtec stuff is the best. I have not tried it but was thinking about getting some. they are the most expensive. if you get it Let us know how it works

knuterikt 08-30-2013 05:01 PM

Furlers for asymmetric
I have no experience (yet) with top down furler.

I have a Facnor AFX with a central furling line.
The difference from a top down is that it have a swivel top & bottom and a thin line attached mid luff that is used to furl the sail from the middle.

The sail I'm using has can be used in a wide AWA angle from DDW to 90 by adjusting the stretch on the luff.
The only adaptation for the furler is a reinforced eyelet in mid luff.

It's important that the head and tack can rotate freely during the furling process.

Here I'm sailing DDW with the tack eased, you can see the furler flying, the furler sits on a 1:2 tack line that can be adjusted from the cockpit.

In this picture you can see the central furling line going to the torsion stiff rope.

The tack swivel

Head swivel

Maybe I'm wrong but I think Facnor has patented this design..

I'm planning to convert my system temporarily to a top down just to compare the two different designs - out of curiosity:):)

Yachtjuno 08-30-2013 05:44 PM

Re: Top Down Furlers
thanks Knuterikt
i havent seen your system before. its be interesting to see how the top down compares. i will certainly report back on this thread how i get on once i have it installed around the end of September.
i definately need a light air solution for the world ARC which we are planning to jon next year.

overbored 08-30-2013 05:55 PM

Re: Top Down Furlers
I have the same system and have a lot of problems with spinnaker over wrap. we tried the furler as a top down and found that the torque rope is way to light to handle top down furling. there is way to much twist in the rope by the time the top starts to wind up. it does work on the the A4 and A3 but not on the A2 it is to big

knuterikt 08-30-2013 06:12 PM

Re: Top Down Furlers

Originally Posted by overbored (Post 1081945)
I have the same system and have a lot of problems with spinnaker over wrap. we tried the furler as a top down and found that the torque rope is way to light to handle top down furling. there is way to much twist in the rope by the time the top starts to wind up. it does work on the the A4 and A3 but not on the A2 it is to big

So you are using the AFX?
What model furler and size of sail?

Have not had problems like that - but both the tack and head spin freely (not touching anything)
But furling with to much pressure on the sheet can case uneven furling.
It's installed with torque rope supplied by Facnor.

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