Harken MK I furler. Should I use it? Too old? Furlers vs hank on ? Your thoughts? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 33 Old 12-20-2015 Thread Starter
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Harken MK I furler. Should I use it? Too old? Furlers vs hank on ? Your thoughts?

All thoughts welcome!

My recent aquisition (Tartan 27-2) came with a Harken MK I furler, with a solid stainless cup with a single opening, and an aluminum spool. Stamped on the spool is "Series 0 - 491". Harken says that my model has the size and date stamped on the spool, so the date of manufacture could be 4/91. This was left off later models.

It has the advantage of being metal, later models use a plastic spool. But it is old. Too old? Bearings spin fine, may have had little use and it was mostly on fresh water.

Further, I'd like to hear people's thoughts on the safety/advantages of furlers compared to hank on. Last summer I saw a boat having difficulties with their furler head sail, a huge one flying loose. I also read the recently posted link to "The Voyages of Mirador" during a hurricane and saw this:

OCTOBER_17_2003
Quote:
The genoa on Aries, a Catalina 42 from San Francisco, had partially unfurled and was tearing itself apart.
Again, I've run across a few other accounts of the genoas breaking loose in storms, not really looking for them just finding them.

Another thought, can you add hanks to a furler sail with the #6 tape, just treating it like a bolt rope? Sailcare wants almost $1k to renew my furling jib , which I'm not even sure I want to use. Did not look that bad to me.

Actually I'm interested in any thoughts anyone has on furlers. I'm old fashioned enough to never have used one on my own boat. I do think part of the problem I visualize is that people are often using huge genoas. A smaller one that could be furled down without losing so much shape might be better for my tastes.

I'm not keen on losing shape, nor on having to leave the sail up, nor on having all that windage and mass aloft when furled, nor on the idea that one tack might be different than the other when partially furled.

But my sister says I should definitely use the furler! She really likes hers.

What do you think, dream, or imagine? what have you experienced?
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Re: Harken MK I furler. Should I use it? Too old? Furlers vs hank on ? Your thoughts?

FWIW, our boat has an old Harken and we're debating switching to hank on for many of the reasons you list. We've only had one hiccup with the furler on our prior boat where we couldn't furl it when we wanted to (ended up being an easy fix), but I've never been crazy about the added mechanical complexity a furler brings and that experience reinforced my opinion.

Switching from a furler to hank on definitely goes against the grain. As I've read other posts on the issue while doing our research, floating the idea typically generates a lot of protest. Many boats have furlers and the vast majority of the responses you get will likely say to keep it. But I'm a big believer in going with what works best for you. After all, you're the one who is sailing your boat - not everyone else.

It sounds like you have experience with hank on. You could always try sailing your Tartan for a season and see how you like the furler before switching it out. Reading your post, however, it sounds like you prefer the benefits that a hank on brings. If that's the case, I'd just switch it out, be done with it, and ignore the naysayers.

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Re: Harken MK I furler. Should I use it? Too old? Furlers vs hank on ? Your thoughts?

After over 30 years of sailing boats with hanked on sails, my current boat came with a Harken MkI furler. It is a well-made and reliable unit. I have five seasons with it, I've only had one issue (problem with upper swivel) and the local rigger was able to take care of it in short order. I would try it for a season before switching back to hanks.
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Re: Harken MK I furler. Should I use it? Too old? Furlers vs hank on ? Your thoughts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skygazer View Post
All thoughts welcome!

My recent aquisition (Tartan 27-2) came with a Harken MK I furler, with a solid stainless cup with a single opening, and an aluminum spool. Stamped on the spool is "Series 0 - 491". Harken says that my model has the size and date stamped on the spool, so the date of manufacture could be 4/91. This was left off later models.

It has the advantage of being metal, later models use a plastic spool. But it is old. Too old? Bearings spin fine, may have had little use and it was mostly on fresh water.

Further, I'd like to hear people's thoughts on the safety/advantages of furlers compared to hank on. Last summer I saw a boat having difficulties with their furler head sail, a huge one flying loose. I also read the recently posted link to "The Voyages of Mirador" during a hurricane and saw this:

OCTOBER_17_2003


Again, I've run across a few other accounts of the genoas breaking loose in storms, not really looking for them just finding them.

Another thought, can you add hanks to a furler sail with the #6 tape, just treating it like a bolt rope? Sailcare wants almost $1k to renew my furling jib , which I'm not even sure I want to use. Did not look that bad to me.

Actually I'm interested in any thoughts anyone has on furlers. I'm old fashioned enough to never have used one on my own boat. I do think part of the problem I visualize is that people are often using huge genoas. A smaller one that could be furled down without losing so much shape might be better for my tastes.

I'm not keen on losing shape, nor on having to leave the sail up, nor on having all that windage and mass aloft when furled, nor on the idea that one tack might be different than the other when partially furled.

But my sister says I should definitely use the furler! She really likes hers.

What do you think, dream, or imagine? what have you experienced?
A furling system is wonderful for daysailing and coastal uses. I'd use one blue water too, personally.

To me the big issue gaining 20 minutes of more sailing time every day from not having to rig and de-rig the jib. Isn't sailing what we are about? I've not had a material problem with my furling system in the some fifteen seasons of use. Csn't furl for some reason - drop the jib.

A furler system has a number of rules for proper use - follow them and you'll get more joy for years from your boat. To me, this choice is not even close regardless of the cost. Don't count on regular use of a partially furler jib for high winds, tape a small jib and change sails when beneficial and needed.

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Re: Harken MK I furler. Should I use it? Too old? Furlers vs hank on ? Your thoughts?

Unless you are intending to be a balls to the walls racer there is not one single reason NOT to have a jib furler on a pleasure boat. Even the racers use foils these days; nobody but a traditionalist uses hank on head sails any more.
Every year we see multitudes of roller furling jibs improperly furled or unfurling some and flogging in a squall. It is always, repeat, ALWAYS operator error. Even if it's a mechanical failure, that most assuredly was caused by a lack of maintenance and/or routine inspection, as with anything else on your boat.
If there nothing wrong with your present system, don't fix what ain't broke. If it doesn't function as it should, repair or replace it and you will not regret it.

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Re: Harken MK I furler. Should I use it? Too old? Furlers vs hank on ? Your thoughts?

I've got a question comes at the OP's question from the opposite side--
- Old boat (27 ft) owned for a year, full set of hank on foresails, mostly in good to very good condition except for a new 140% genoa
- I'm not interesting in buying a new genoa for furling, so:

How feasible is it to modify the hank-on genoa to a furling genoa? Is there an inherent reason related to the sail's cut, shape etc. that would make this inadvisable? Other considerations?
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Re: Harken MK I furler. Should I use it? Too old? Furlers vs hank on ? Your thoughts?

Not to pile on, but I'm a strong believer in a furling headsail for most of us.

I've seen plenty of cases as you mention of jibs unfurling on unattended boats. Where I live I can see the bay, and more than once I've gone out and fixed this problem on boats in the mooring field. Here's what I do. First, make sure the furling line is in good shape, and secured well on a cleat. I've put a brake on mine, but I cleat it too. Second, get a few wraps of the sheets around the jib, and secure the sheets well. Don't leave a little handkerchief of sail unfurled. Third, for belt and suspenders, on many smaller boats you can reach the clew from the deck, and you can wrap an additional line there. Fourth, you can sometimes get aline attached to the drum to stop rotation. And finally, if a big storm is forecast, you can strip the sail and put it below. But at least your not doing that every time you go sailing.

Some combination of these techniques will keep you out of trouble. And if that old Harken is in good shape, I'd keep it.

The faster you can be up and sailing, the more you'll sail IMHO. Good luck with that Tartan!
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Re: Harken MK I furler. Should I use it? Too old? Furlers vs hank on ? Your thoughts?

Sailrite has a video on converting a hank-on sail to a furling sail. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AY9c28aicA

If you have a good sewing machine, it looks fairly straightforward. If you have not visited their site before, basically they are most people's go-to place for sailing/sewing supplies, and nice, helpful folk.
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Re: Harken MK I furler. Should I use it? Too old? Furlers vs hank on ? Your thoughts?

If the furler is in good conditions, the halyard leads are proper few headsail furlers will cause problems unless there's operator error. Using a halyard restrainer solves most of the 'issues'- in that halyard wrap is probably one of the major glitches that can happen. Always maintain some tension on the furling line as the sail is unfurled to prevent furling line overrides. Furl the sail in the lee of the main whenever you can and you should never need to use a winch for the furling operation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by OldEagle View Post
I've got a question comes at the OP's question from the opposite side--
....
How feasible is it to modify the hank-on genoa to a furling genoa? Is there an inherent reason related to the sail's cut, shape etc. that would make this inadvisable? Other considerations?
If the sail has a few seasons left in it, you should be able to add a lufftape for about $100-150. Full-hoist hanked on sails will need shortening too because you lose some luff length to the furling drum height which will add a bit more.That looks pretty good against a 'new' sail for more than 10xs that. However in some cases that money might be better put towards a new sail.

You'll definitely sail more often, esp on a longer light wind leg if a breeze comes up it's just a few seconds to sailing with little effort.. if the breeze dies again it's simpler to roll it up and start chugging again.

Ron

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Re: Harken MK I furler. Should I use it? Too old? Furlers vs hank on ? Your thoughts?

Lots of good information, thank you guys!

Operator error.........That's what I'm afraid of!!

I won't be racing, just comfortably sailing around for enjoyment.

Lashing things down sounds sensible, pretty much what I do with my hank on sails when out for awhile, I put them below when leaving the boat on a mooring.

Any opinion on whether the luff tape is strong enough to just attach hanks on the existing sail, if I try the furler and want to switch?

I can see that trying the furler for a season and then deciding might be a good idea.

Sailcare wants to cut off the leech and foot and replace, as well as a new sunband. At the price they quote, it seems I might prefer a new sail. I was thinking a smaller jib. Then use the big one for light air when baggy would be good if bagginess is the problem they are seeing.
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