Vidwatts 9:11am, 8 April 2012
I know it's been covered in some posts before but I'd like to get a more comprehensive idea of the work required to fit a roller furling headsail to Aeolus (my A24)

A) what adjustments are needed to the rigging?
B) can I have my existing genoa recut or is it better to get a new headsail? What cut of sail is best?
C) what deck fittings are needed: clutches etc
D) is there a single standard furling method or should I consider alternatives?
E) will I still be able to hank on the jib if I take down the furling headsail?
F) how long should it take to fit?
G) is it worth using a professional to fit?

Any other experience appreciated, thanks.
blueachilles 7 years ago
We did this last year. It makes sail handling much much easier and safer, as you don't need to go up to the foredeck.

We used the Plastimo system, the 609S. Can't remember how much the gear was, but we had our genoa altered, at a cost of £338 incl VAT by SKB Sails, in Penryn. This was for cutting down the genoa, which was a real deck scraper, moving some of the reinforcement patches, and fitting a UV strip.

The sail seemed at first to be a great deal smaller than it was, but we have not seen any difference in performance.

No adjustments were made to the rigging; the Plastimo kit comes adapted either for a bottle screw, or as in Blue's case, for an eye at the bottom of the forestay. There are several holes in the spar at the bottom of the gear so it can be adjusted fairly easily.

We got some eyes to go on the stanchions to lead the furling line back down the port side, and then added a jamming cleat by the cockpit.

You wouldn't be able to hank on a jib; but why would you want to? The size of a furling genoa is easily adjustable to suit conditions.

It took us ages, due to incompetence, and a freezing cold boatyard. The instructions are very good, as long as you read them properly (!) and measure everything very, very carefully.

We followed Neil's advice, and fitted a halyard diverter wheel at the top of the furler, and also a 6" length of plastic pipe on the end of the halyard, to stop the halyard winding itself round the spar when you furl.

I think it was Somerset Maugham who said there is no point doing anything you can pay someone else to do, but on the other hand the job is only difficult if you make it so!

Oh, and you can either do it with the mast down, or with it up, and the forestay in situ, as we did.

I would say you need 2 or 3 people, although there's not much room to work on an Achilles foredeck!

We are very glad we did it, its probably the best modification we have made to Blue.
Skykomish E29 7 years ago
We considered this modification ourselves when we had Aeolus, but as Linda didn't mind going forward to hank on the sail we didn't bother for two reasons :
Cost : we simply couldn't justify it
Simplicity: We had a furling jib on our previous boat and it frequently jammed on one occasion causing a dismast, so we felt that we would stick to the KISS principal
We also found that we tended to only use the one fore sail. I agree that we find the furling system on Skykomish a lot easier (ours has a continuous looped line that controls the furling, so it doesn't become fouled on the drum like our old one, hate to think what we are going to do when it needs replacing as I don't know how to splice braided line...haha.
I thought you racing bods liked hanked sails...haha
busy home [deleted] 7 years ago
Goskar has Baron furling, and Crusader new jib.
Both excellent,
Great on an Achilles its not easy to go foreward or work on foredeck
One drawback, loss of pointing ability when reefed ,,I find It better to drop the main and use full genny.
Advantage for me is sailing to mooring rolling up jib no need to get motor in well ..
NormanKlipspringer 7 years ago
The ease of fitting depends on which system you fit. I recently fiited a Furlex system to a friends boat and the hardest part was threading the aluminium tube up the forestay - it would be easier with the mast down. The Sta-lok fitting to connect the Forestay to the end fitting is very fiddly. Nice piece of kit - but expensive. I have Furlex on Klipspringer - came with the boat - new cost over £800. On Archimedes I had Facnor fitted professionally. Both systems have worked well. The Facnor system drum covers the bottle screw so you cannot adjust forestay length. The Furlex system drum is mounted above the bottle screw and so adjustment is possible. The Achilles 24 was designed to have a deck hugger genoa and the position of the genoa track has this in mind. When you fit a furling mechanism the sail is cut higher and ideally the Genoa track could be placed further back to get correct sheeting angles. I would not have anything else - easy to furl in the stiffest of breezes. I confirm that you would not be able to hank on after fitting a furling mechanism - but why would you. If you get a twin track aluminium section you can put up two genoas and goose wing them. The contol line for furling is normally fitted to blocks attached to the stanchions and some form of cleat is needed adjacent to the cockpit to secure this. No other fittings are needed. The Furlex system comes as a complete kit including a new forestay and all the blocks etc. Good luck
Vidwatts 6 years ago
I've had a quote from Crusader for the full works - new genoa, selden furlex furling and all fittings: £1000 near enough.

I did ask about getting the existing hanked-on genoa changed to a luff rope and UV strip added, which came to about £300. The Plastimo furling can be had for about £250, plus bits so all-in about £400 less than the Crusader quote.

Question - is it worth biting the bullet for the new sail and high-quality gear, or good enough for the lower cost option?

Malcolm - the genoa is in good condition and doesn't look that old: did you buy it new?

Also, is there a market for second-hand hanked on sails (I have a jib and storm jib too that I wouldn't have any use for too)

Whilst the convenience of a roller-furling headsail would be great, I do have a fine set of headsails for Aeolus at the moment so not completely convinced about making the change...
blueachilles 6 years ago
We had the existing hank-on genoa altered, it looks a good deal smaller, and doesn't sweep the deck like it used to, but we've noticed no difference in sailing ability, or speed; in fact I think we point higher with a couple of rolls in the genoa, especially in strong wind.

Have the existing sail altered, have the Plastimo kit, and save £400!

The first time you don't need to go up onto a bouncing foredeck to bring a wet, flapping genoa in, you'll realise you did the right thing......
NormanKlipspringer Posted 6 years ago. Edited by NormanKlipspringer (admin) 6 years ago
I have now had the Furlex system on Klipspringer for over a year and find it excellent. The quality of construction is excellent. In operation I have never had a failiure, which I could not say about the Facnor on Archimedes which on odd occasions did use to drop the rope off the drum - usually my fault for not controlling the speed of release. The Furlex system I refered to previously on a friends boat was replacing a Plastimo system which had broken ( i.e. disintigrated), but hey It is a lot cheaper. Since I single hand sail a lot I would not do without by furler and a reliable system is essential. In difficlut conditions it is easy to just sail with the genoa only and stick in the cockpit. If you race seriously then you should stick with hanked on for which the boat was designed and which will give the max peformance, and of course you will then have crew with you to send forard.
If you do go ahead make sure you pay attention to the comments about halyard wrap and fit a diverter, which incisently comes as part of the Furlex kit of bits. Market for secondhand sails is not good and they do fetch a great deal. You are welcome to put an ad on the main Achilles site. I have bought Crusader sails for roller reefing and have found them to be very good.
The furlex system comes with everything including a new forestay and stanchion blocks. The most difficult part is connecting the forstay to the staylock fitting which is built into the drum. Just follow the instructions carefully and all will be well. Takes best part of day and is easier with mast down and old forestay alongside to establish length to cut new forestay.
Incidently the Furlex system is designed to have the bottle screw below the drum so it is easy to adjust. On some systems the bottle system is enclosed which makes adjustment after fitting difficult.
The system I have os the Furlex 100s. You can get the manual for this at, which should answer some of your questions.
Good luck.
Skykomish E29 6 years ago
Hi David, Yes we bought it from Crusader in early 2009 and it got used once. We did prefer the yankee jib which seemed to produce enough power and was easy to hank on we bought that new too in I think 2008
Vidwatts 6 years ago
Thanks for your comments. The problem I have is that I both race the boat (not seriously, just club racing) and sail single-handed and with crew. Ideally I'd like to interchange between hanked on and furling sails for the different purposes but that doesn't seem practicable!

Norman, the Furlex model Crusader recommended, after some consideration, is the 50s rather than the 100s you have.

As the genoa is not old and it wouldn't fetch much then it seems as though getting it changed would make sense.

I may not make a decision just yet but cogitate for a while: I'm hoping to fit in another solo trip upto the Medway if the weather ever improves so will make a decision after then, probably for when Aeolus is next out of the water.
NormanKlipspringer Posted 6 years ago. Edited by NormanKlipspringer (admin) 6 years ago
Yes the 50s would be ok and is the model I fitted to my friends boat. It has the same construction as the 100s but is smaller. The 100s was on my boat when I had it.
I think the only solution to your problem is to have two boats - one stripped for racing and a fin keel and the other fitted out for comfort and ease of use.
Andrew Curry Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Andrew Curry (member) 6 years ago
Get a Facnor system with a split drum. That way you can have the best of both worlds.Wish i had done this when i fitted furling gear.I have been using a Facnor LS70 for the last 5 or 6 years its great never had any problems at all.
rothwell_neil 6 years ago
Dylan Winters has just posted a video of installing a plastimo 405.
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