I was talking recently with a good friend who is preparing his beautiful Bowman 42 for a round the world adventure. He was describing the complexities of trying to navigate the various options for mounting suitable headsail gear to make the boat sail well; keep things manageable; but not go to far in terms of gadgets and untried systems.
I got quite interested in at least trying to get a list of all the options one might consider.
The first supplier that you might want to check out is Bartels GmBH. They supply a range of products for above and below deck fitting – but they also give a very nice description of sail sizes; type and load bearings instead of just saying “buy our gizmo it does everything”
Another good supplier is Bamar. They manufacture the RollGen electric/hydraulic systems as well as manual furling systems. They also give the following useful advice and warnings. “RollGen may only be left in a working position with its sail furled in good weather and sea conditions. In order to sail with the RollGen pre-set on the bow with its sail furled in with good weather and sea conditions, you have to wrap the sheet around the sail in order to keep the cloth from coming unrolled, and the tackle has to be in working position with the ratchet block on “CLOSED” position. If this recommendation is not respected the sail may unfurl accidentally. The sail you furl with RollGen (Asymmetric spinnaker, gennaker, MPS) is normally made with light and delicate nylon cloth; we suggest keeping RollGen armed only in good weather and sea conditions and just for the time needed. Also note, nylon sail cloth does not have good U.V. resistant properties. – When the boat is moored, do not leave the system unattended with RollGen in working position and the sail furled….”
So, again it is worth noting that having furling gear for you light wind asymetric sail does not necessarily mean you can just sail in any weather with it armed and ready for action, even if it is fully furled up. A rule of thumb that I have heard often is that these types of sails are ok up to about 18kts of apparent wind (perhaps 24kts true) – after that you need to drop the entire contraption.
Of course I would have to include the famous ProFurl products in this article. They have been in the business for over 30 years so you would hope they would know a lot about this subject. Again the do say right up front that these systems are not meant to be used furled while sailing – obviously this must be a common misconception amongst potential customers. ProFurl supply two main types of system. The NEX models with a spool: 4 models available equipped with a spool and a continuous line. This version enables to optimize the luff length and to save significant weight – and the EC models with drum: 5 models available. They are equipped with a drum and a single furling line
With the ASYM-FX you can furl an asymmetric Spinnaker as easily as a Gennaker. It promises sail handling from the cockpit by just pulling the continuous furling line – er – I think they mean while sailing not for putting up and taking down which will still mean trips to the foredeck for someone!
The drum and the anti-twist luff rope rotate, the luff rope transmits the rotation to the central furling rope. This will make the luff of the asymmetric Spinnaker furl from the centre. The continuous line drum prevents the furling line from overriding.
I would be interested to here from people who have used these systems especially while shorthanded… 🙂