In a recent press release, the French based company Karver Systems announced the launch of a new range of furler for free flying sails that will be available from November.
We had a chance to see this new range of furler a few weeks ago when visiting the headquarter of the company in Honfleur and put our hands on the products. As always, Karver brings to the market a lot of ideas and innovation that will please racers and cruisers alike.
Let’s dig in the range and find out what changed from the previous line and what new features we should be excited about.
In an effort to better fit the market, Karver Systems changed the structure of this new range of furler introducing models with a safe working loads (swl) of 3,000 kg, 4,500 kg and 6,000 kg. This changed implies that the previously known KF2 and KF5 furlers (with a swl of 2,500 kg and 5,000 kg respectively) will no longer be available.
This change is quite important for sailboats between 30 and 45’ that will have more options to select the right model depending on the sails used and their sailing program.
When looking to add a furler to one inventory, it is important to consider speed and power. A small drum will enable one to furl the sail quicker but will also require more power to engage the furling. This is why we sometimes recommend upgrading the furling unit, especially for owners who are sailing shorthanded or not using the furling line on a winch.
Bringing the concept back from the 1st generation of furler the company sold until 2011, two models will be available with a “Large drum”: the KF1.5 and the KF3.0
Previously machined in a solid block of aluminum, Karver Systems is introducing an interesting innovation to this new range of furler with a drum made of Carbon and Kevlar® to bring one of the lightest furler on the market. This innovation also brings its share of benefits as it is smoother on the furling lines (which means one would not have to replace it as often as before). This can be pretty accurate for those sailing at competitive level.
Though we had our concerns when we first heard about it, it looks like the feedback from professional skippers have been amazing (and the ones from their “riggers” a little less as they will not replacing furling lines as often as they used to!).
Since its early ages, Karver Systems was supplying Wichard snap shackle as the bottom fitting for the furling units with a swl up to 5,000 kg. Breaking with its “tradition”, the R&D department developed a custom snap shackle that can also be used as a 2:1 friction sheave thanks to a greater radius that has been designed to accommodate a 2:1 purchase systems.
This new snap shackle will be available for the models from the KF1.5 to the KF6.0.
Karver Systems also decided to segment this new range of furler in 4 versions:
For each of these segment, the selection of components would be different. For instance, the “racing” models will be supplied with a carbon spool protecting the drum, a lashing eye on the top swivel and a 3:1 friction sheave underneath the drum. The “classic” range will be supplied with a “wood veneer” on the drum to match with classic yachts and a stainless-steel fork on the drum and top swivel.
The furlers can be ordered as per these specific standards selected by Karver Systems but one can also ask for a “custom assembly” and choose components “a la carte”. Obviously, this will have an impact on lead time as furlers will need to be assembled upon order.
The assembly of this new range of furler makes it much easier to take it apart for servicing and maintenance.
It is strongly recommended to service the furler every 2 years or every 15,000 miles to make sure all the parts are still in good shape. With this new design, it should be easier for riggers worldwide to service the unit or for those comfortable with using tools to do it themselves!
The locking mechanism of the drum remains enabling the drum to be locked when one is furling the sail. This system is designed with a plate underneath the cogwheel which guides a pin. As in the previous range, it is only possible to lock the drum when furling anti-clockwise. One of the good points of only being able to furl in one direction is that it will help build memory to the anti-torsion cable enhancing its performance over time.
This plate (or the locking pin) can also be “removed” if one is not interested in this feature. It is then possible to furl the sail in both direction, which can be handy if you are racing around the buoys for instance.
The pin itself was redesigned to be stronger and perform better. For this reason, Karver Systems will only be supplying one pin instead of the two that are supplied with the current range.
Over the years, Karver Systems designed several systems to improve the user experience when opening the pins of the furler. This new range of furler features the latest version with a button that can be lowered to enable the release of the pin to fit the lashing thimbles.
With all the new features, one could be worried about the price of this new range of furler. Well … Karver decided to keep the price similar to the current range and keep a price close to its competitors.
The model KF1.5 will be sold starting at 892€, ex-VAT.
This new range of furler looks quite interesting with a lot of innovation and new features. The furler was duly tested in the last Route du Rhum and the last year leading to the Vendée Globe on the Imoca APIVIA (skippered by Charlie Dalin) with great feedbacks from the skipper. So, we are excited about this new range and look forward to getting the first feedback from users.
If you are looking for a new furler or want to discuss this new range, please feel free to contact us at info[at]uminody.com or using the form below.