A well set up furler is a joy to use, but there are ways and means of making any furler, Harken or otherwise, perform just that little bit better. Here are a few tips to get the best out of your furler:

A well set up furler is a joy to use, but there are ways and means of

making any furler, Harken or otherwise, perform just that little bit

better. Here are a few tips to get the best out of your furler:

1) Fit a ratchet block on the furling line lead into the cockpit. This

acts as a brake on the line, especially when unrolling the sail.

Imagine the scenario, you are clearing the harbour on a breezy day and

want to leave a few rolls in. You give a tug on the jib sheet and

suddenly the wind catches the sail and whammo – it is fully out, the

boat is on her ear and your tea is in your boots! A ratchet block only

rotates one way and thus gives you control on the line going out.

Kinder on the fingers too! 2) A tight forestay not only improves your

windward performance but also makes a furler easier to rotate. Also, a

sagging forestay will add fullness and thus generate weather helm

making control just a bit harder. Next time you are sailing on the wind

check for excessive forestay sag by looking up the forestay. If you

have a spare halyard, attach it to the stemhead, pull it tight and you

will have something to compare against. The Harken furler has built in

adjustment that can remove that. Alternatively you can increase your

backstay tension. Remember sag can also come from the mast tip falling

off to leeward, so the shrouds might need taking up a bit too. Also

consider there can be bed-down stretch in new rigging over a season so

even new boats can do with a check. If in doubt take a selection of

digital photos and ask a competent rigger to tune your rig up. It can

be surprising how it can improve rolling the sail up, plus you gain

control and improve performance. 3) Make sure your top swivel is as

high a possible. If you have a short luff sail with a long exposed

halyard, you run the risk of a halyard wrap, even with the very best

furlers. One solution is to fit a strop between the head of the sail

and the top swivel. That means the exposed halyard will be minimised.

The easy way of checking this is on a calm day, in dock, unroll the

sail, release the tack and see if you can hoist the sail further so

that the top of the swivel is as high as possible. You shouldn’t be

able to raise it more than around 6″ -150mm. (Check with a pair of

binoculars.) If it is more than that, measure the distance between the

bottom of the raised sail and the original tack position. That is the

length of your strop (best make it a little shorter to allow for

stretch.) Drop the sail, fit the strop between the head and the top

swivel, re-hoist with the sail tacked down as per usual. That way you

can get the swivel as high as possible and minimise the risk of halyard

wraps.



Read Harken’s Furling FAQs