On a good day a furling headsail is like magic. You pull on the furling line and your sail is neatly rolled away until you need it again. At some point, however, most of us have rolled up our headsail in such high winds that it furls much more tightly than usual and we run out of furling line before the clew of the sail is wrapped away. This leaves a scrap of sail to catch the wind just when you don’t want more windage.
Lots of people think the only way to solve this problem is to unfurl the sail, drop it, and then roll more line on to the furling drum. With many furlers, however, you needn’t unfurl the headsail at all. If you can unbend the end of the furling line from the drum without disassembling it, it’s easy to make adjustments. Just remove the line, manually twist the headsail (with the sheets still attached) until it is completely furled, then reattach the end of the line to the drum. Be careful not to roll up the sail and sheets any more than necessary. Having too much line on the drum may cause it to jump out and bind when the sail is unfurled again.
Photo by Connie McBride