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Hello, I am finally reaching the point in my multi year refit where I'm making the upgrade from hank on headsails to a Furler/reefing unit. I've had excellent performance from Harken equipment in the past so I am trying to decide between the different Harken furlers, Cruising ESP and the MKIV Unit 1. The boat it's going on is a heavily upgraded 76' Catalina 30 that is sailed mainly coastal with a few short offshore passages.

The ESP seems to be robust enough and simple enough to do the job. However, the MKIV offers dual headsail tracks which to me means I can have ready, or hoist smaller storm sails without taking down the current sail first and losing drive in a seaway. I understand that this is aimed at racing sailors to facilitate faster sail changes but it would seem useful to a cruiser as well. Does anyone have any experience with this or does anyone have any suggestions regarding my choices? The price difference is only a few hundred dollars but I dont want to pay for things I don't need. Any other advantages to the MKIV over the ESP for a cruising sailor?
 

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As soon as i get my arse up the mast to check out the forestay fitting im getting a new headstay and a MKIV unit 0 and ive read thru the manual a bit.

You can't do a sail change while in "furling mode" like your hoping. The swivel has to come down first. The idea of the dual tracks is you can easily remove the drum, remove the entry guide for the tape luff and then drop the swivel below the entry guide. You then reinstall the entry guide and you have a dual foil for racing.

If your only talking a few hundred dollars i'd go MKIV furling. When i talked to my sail maker he said it's the best bang for your buck. It also features a independent swivel where the ESP i think is fixed which apparently gives you better sail shape.

Here is the book for the unit your looking at.
http://www.harken.com/uploadedfiles/Product_Support/PDF/4417.pdf
 

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Ah, I see. That makes sense regarding the dual tracks. This is all new to me as I've never had a furler on any of my boats. Call me old school but I never minded being on deck and working with sails. I looked at it as a challenge and kind of enjoyed being on the roller coaster ride. Times have changed however and psychically I can't get up on deck as fast as I used to so I bit the bullet and decided to finally enter this century. I've used other peoples furlers while sailing with them but I have never rigged one myself. I did study the manual for it but obviously I misunderstood how that particular one worked.

Apparently, that independent swivel really helps the sail shape when reefing by allowing the center of the sail to furl first. For that reason alone it would seem to be worth the extra money.

I did notice some other things though, when you look at the required accessories for the furler, I am a bit confused as to what I need. Obviously I will contact Harken before dropping that kind of money but maybe I can glean some information here.

It says I need to buy their toggle assembly. I can understand that. However, it is only offered with a 1/2" clevis pin. On my particular C-30, the upper pins are all 1/2 but the lower pins are all 3/8. The new bow stem on the end of the bow sprit is really meaty. I dont understand why I couldn't drill out the hole to accept a 1/2 clevis. I mean, were not talking about removing much material here. They say they offer bushing to adapt the 1/2 to a 3/8 but I haven't found them yet.

The next thing is the top foil section, apparently I have to buy a pre cut top foil. How do I determine which one to buy? Keep in mind that this boat was originally a non bow sprit boat and I have bought all the parts new for CDirect to convert it. Therefore I don't have anything to go by when putting this all together. My measurements are going to be way off of anything standard. To the point that I'm considering stepping the mast without the bottom of the forestay being assembled so I can get the length right. I'll just use a halyard to act as a stay while doing this. I have all new standing rigging, swaged at the top and with Norseman ends on the bottom so I can adjust the length as needed.
 

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On the Unit 0 i think you cut the top piece to fit the length you need.

The unit 0 has a 3/8 toggle but i don't know if it works on the unit 1.

I imagine when you talk to your harken dealer they should be able to sort you out. Just make sure you put the washer on your norslok as the manual says.

The guy i spoke with wanted to know my headstay length pin to pin.
 

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Update on my furler. The MKIV is a breeze to build. We setup two 16 foot 2x6's on saw horses, put a nail in 1 end and hooked the top of the forestay on it to keep things solid. We attached the turnbuckle and the toggle to the stay after sliding the first chunk of foil and drum on. The first chunk of foil is adjustable on the drum unit so you have some play if you need it.

After that we butted all the foils together and then made our measurement to the top of the terminal for the cut. After we had our cut we took the drum off and started fishing the foils down the stay and started assembling and gluing. Great system.
 

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The rigger said the MKIV Unit 1 was a pretty decent upgrade over the ESP for not much more money.

I've got one and it's pretty rad
This^^

We bought the Cruising Harken, as we were no longer racing. I think the heavy (round) foil section is far more detrimental to performance than I expected and I've always regretted not bucking up the difference to start with. I won't say we've ever needed the second groove, but I sure would prefer the more streamlined foil.

Beyond that issue, the furler works great, though the provided furling line is slippery and sometimes hard to use...
 
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