The last thing you want from your furling gear is for it to jam up in a rising breeze—or ever. I must be some kind of roller-reefing Jonah, because it’s happened a few times on boats I’ve been sailing aboard. On two of those occasions, halyard wrap was to blame.Halyard wrap sounds like something you’d tear off a new piece of rope, but it’s actually the most common cause of
Near the end of the 2010 boating season I noticed that the old Profurl roller-furling unit on my Tanton 39 cutter Lunacy was no longer working properly. The furler, which probably dates back to the early 1990s, was getting increasingly difficult to use.
One of the great ironies of sailing is that as hard as it can be to get your mainsail up, it can often be just as hard to get it back down. This goes double when tucking in a reef with a slab-reefing system—one reason why so many sailors are willing to sacrifice sailing performance for the sake of in-boom or in-mast furling.
After cruisers tested and perfected furler systems about 30 years ago, they were widely adopted on certain types of raceboats. Since then, however, there’s been an interesting reverb effect, in which offshore racers have created ever more refined and versatile furling technologies that are now trickling back into the cruising community.