Non-Reefing Furlers

Non-reefing furlers were originally designed to facilitate handling of what is known as “free flying sails”. Free flying sails are all the sails that are not permanently rigged unlike a genoa (staysail, code 0, reaching sails, asymmetric spinnaker …) and which can be stowed in their bags when not used while furled on themselves.

These units are often referred to as “continuous line furlers”, but that would be quite restrictive as many manufacturers have also developed single line furlers within their range. The common factor is that they are composed of two parts (drum and top-swivel) connected together by a stay (usually in composite) that transfers the torque from the drum to the top swivel, making it possible to furl the sail. This stay is commonly known as the anti-torsion cable. This cable features lashing thimbles on each end that will connect into the fork of the drum and top swivel. The sail will be attached to these thimbles with a lashing.

When one wants to furl the sail, it will pull on the furling line, the drum will start to rotate, generating the stay to transfer the torque to the top swivel, making possible to furl the sail. There are two different ways to furl the sail: bottom-up or top-down. 
Bottom up furling is used to furl sails with a straight luff. Top down furling is used to furl sails with “shoulders” like asymmetric spinnakers.

The choice of a continuous line furler will often depend on the length of the yacht, the type of sail and the surface area. Other factors like the program (racing/cruising, offshore/inshore), the crew (solo/shorthanded or full crew) should also be considered to select the right unit.

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