If you read the reviews in Practical Sailor over the last several years, you know that you cannot go wrong with Harken or Schaffer (sp?), or ProFurl either. One suggestion is to buy a new furling genny and a furler from the sailmaker, together. I did this from UKSailmakers(NW) a few years ago and saved money even over the Port Supply price I could have accessed thru a friend. You *need* to do some research -- brochures and web sites for a start. No one can advise you until you accumulate some basic knowledge, if you get my drift. One note: if someone offers you a used Hood Line Drive, don''t buy it; their other drum-type furler seems ok, however.
I would strongly suggest a Profurl. I have had two thus far on my C&C 30 and my current 35'' sailboat. They are quite reasonable when purchased from Defender and can be assembled without the help of a rigger. They offer models for cruising and racing depending on your needs and have a calculator on their website to aid in the selection process.
I got a Harken unit this spring after a significant amount of research in the topic... it was very enlightening to see how all of the various manufacturers sell against each other! I liked the Harken''s use of Torlon bearings which don''t require lubrication... oils/greases don''t mix with sails in my mind. The foil system also seemed "studier" although other manufacturers told me that if I ever had to take it apart for some reason I was in for a lot of trouble... that''s probably true as it gets glued/locktited together ON TOP of the set screws, etc. The whole system just seemed to be better thought out. The difference in money wasn''t substantial for any of the systems once you got to past the entry foils. Profurl makes a VAR furler that I''ve seen quite a few sailmakers carry but it seemed to be lacking in features like dual tracks (although I''ve never used my second one frankly... although I probably should!). One suggestion... what ever you get, be sure to get a block for the uphaul so that the uphaul goes through the block (mounted to the mast) just prior to going through the masthead sheave... it''s no fun to have it "twist" off the sheave... I got a bit too good at going up in the chair until I got one installed.
My huband and I installed a Profurl on our 28 Sea Sprite. We have had superior performance from it. We ordered it from JSI which is now owned by Sailnet. They have very informative people to answer any questions and advise you regarding the next step: measuring and ordering the sail!
I take exception to the comment on the Hood Line Drive furler. I have had one for 15 years and it works well. The only problem is that the pulleys used to guide the line are too small. The splice in the line will not easily pass through it. I remade the pulleys and they work very well. I like the fact that the rope is allways in contact with a large diameter drum not on top of rope which gives you a varring diameter as the rope rolls in or out. The regular wind up drum if allowed to roll up with out tension can jam. The Line Drive can not jam.
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