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One of the problems with the Harken Furler is that the number of furling turns is governed by the length of the furling line and if you don’t have enough turns it can fail to furl the sail completely (especially in winds over 20 knots).
I noticed a furling line with a 2:1 ratio on a Hobie cat and I’ve found you can do the same mod to the Weta Harken furler.
– It doubles the number of turns that the furler line gives to the furler
– It halves the amount of line you need to pull to furl it
– It reduces the amount of slack line you need hanging around the cockpit.
– It may even up the advantage that the Ronstan/KZ furler gives to newer boats
– It means you can have a thicker, more hand-friendly, furling* line
– It means you can have a thinner, more furler-friendly, furler* line
* For this purpose, the furlER line is the one that winds around the furler. The furlING line is what causes the furl.
– Harken Furler (Part No. 163)
– 1x Ronstan RF130101 blocks (2 pack)
– 300mm x 4mm of furler line
– 160mm x 6mm of furling line
1. Create your furling line
Tie a small pulley (e.g Ronstan RF13101) on the end of the furling line using a bowline.
Pull the line through the existing furler cleat next to the mast so that the pulley and knot are in front of the cleat, just clear of the cleat jaws.
Take the tail of the line and measure off from the cleat to the furler. Tie a loop large enough for your hand using a bowline so that the line still reaches the forestay clear of your knot. Throw your new hand loop back in the cockpit.
2. Create your furling loop
Completely unfurl the sail and lead the furler line back through the pulley above (through the guide pulley* on top of the bowsprit if fitted).
Then lead it forward and using a bowline, create a loop which fits snugly over the end of the bowsprit in front of the furler.
3. Get the number of furls right
The Harken furler requires a bit of trial and error to get the number of turns around the screecher stay right – too many turns and it won’t undo fully – too few and it won’t furl fully. Pull on your furler line until the screecher is furled without the kite sheets. Add a couple of extra turns then attach the sheets to the screecher. Once you’ve achieved the correct balance, try to lock the turns in place with some spare line/bungee before you remove the sheets when de-rigging.
4. *Add a guide pulley to prevent snarls (optional)
The Ronstan pulleys come in a two-pack so you can fit the second to ensure the furler line is fed to the centre of the furler drum. Fix the pulley on top of the bowsprit, approx 10cm from the front of the furler, using a cable tie over some electrical/gaffer tape placed around the pole.
5. Add a bungee furling line tensioner (optional)
To keep the cockpit furler line from getting knotted, tie some thin bungee/shock cord to the end (leaving your hand loop free) and tie the other end around the transom bar (you may need to adjust the length so leave some slack). If you find the furler won’t completely undo in light winds because of the tensioner, add a plastic bungee cord hook near your hand loop so that you can clip it to the cleat/cunningham and remove the tension on the line.
NOTE photos show the furling line tied to the bow – in practice I found it better to take it from the drum to the cleat and then all the way back to the end of the bowsprit to maximise the number of turns around the drum.
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