Sail Handling Systems
Headsail Furling/Reefing Systems
A Brief HistoryIn the past furling gear was just that--furling gear--designed to stow the sail without going onto the foredeck by winding it onto the sail's luff wire or the headstay. Reefing with these systems was not really possible. It was a good concept, but there were drawbacks and the idea did not receive wide acceptance with sailors. In the mid-1970s, all that changed. Ted Hood designed the first combination headsail furling/reefing system that met the requirements of the cruising sailor. Improvements to his original design have lead to the wide range of systems available on the market today.
Features to Look ForMost manufacturers have striven to make their systems as fool proof as possible, but not all systems are equally good. The major features to look for when choosing a furling/reefing system are:
- A system that has a wire headstay running inside a foil that holds the luff of the sail.
- Independent tack and head swivels that allow proper sail shape when reefing.
- Quality materials to stand up to the hostile marine environment.
The Number One Up-Grade
We have over 20 years years of experience servicing all kinds of furling systems and can help you select the most appropriate system for your needs. We most frequently recommend Harken, Schaeffer, CDI, and Furlex brand systems as they are among the most reliable and trouble-free systems on the market and are an excellent value.
We have fully functional display models of all of the above systems in the loft, so if you are thinking about headsail furling/reefing, come in and have a hands-on look.
Discount Prices!!Did you know we substantially discount all the furling systems we sell? Our prices are comparable to the West Marine Catalog, BUT our price includes assembly and delivery to your boat!
We are manufacturer certified in both sales and service by Harken and Furlex.
New sail customers frequently ask that their new sails be made of cloth with "a nice soft hand." Unfortunately such cloth is not made. All the modern Dacrons are quite stiff (laminates even stiffer). New sails seem especially stiff when you are used to the softness of the broken down cloth of an old sail. New Dacron sails are wonderful performers, but in all honestly, a pain-in-the-you-know-what to handle. Roller furling has alleviated this problem for headsails, but what about mains?
Lazy jacks are the traditional solution, and they do indeed make dealing with a main much easier. The drawbacks are, increased windage and weight aloft, and increased chafe damage to the sail.
A better solution is the Dutchman sail flaking system. The Dutchman uses fixed, vertical control lines run from the base of the main, through fairleads onto alternate sides of the sail, up to the topping lift. When the sail is dropped, these lines automatically guide the sail down into flakes on alternate sides of the boom. Spend a few seconds straightening, and you've got a perfectly flaked sail. It actually is as simple as it sounds, so simple in fact that one person can drop and flake a stiff sail quickly and easily. The Dutchman also makes reefing easier as it eliminates the need to tie in the intermediate reef points.
Dutchman control lines are also lighter and present less windage than lazyjacks, and because they are made of clear UV protected nylon monofilament, they are virtually invisible.
We have a working demonstration model in the loft if you would like to see it in action. Or call us for a free informational brochure.
Visit the Dutchman Web site.
Spinnaker Dousing Socks
The spinnaker sock is a very clever piece of gear designed to make setting and dousing the spinnaker safe and hassle free. Basically it consists of a narrow tubular sleeve attached to the sail at the head that pulls down over the spinnaker "furling" it into a tame bundle that can be lowered easily. To set the spinnaker the process works in reverse. The spinnaker filled sock is raised and the halyard secured and then the sock is pulled up off the sail allowing it to fill.
We sell Chutescoop and ATN brand socks and have working models of both at the loft.