In our March article about headsail handling we unraveled some of the history of the furling system. This article pertains to the issue of “halyard wrap”, a common problem that we are finding on many installed systems and addressing on every furler that we install. When a system is installed it isn’t complete until the sail has been fit. At this time the angle of the headstay and the genoa halyard can be inspected.
In a wrap situation the tendency is for the upper half of the swivel to spin with the rest of the sail causing the halyard to wrap around the furler foil. More seriously, if this occurs repeatedly or if the furling line is forced by using a winch, the headstay itself may sustain enough damage to fail completely. Using a winch to operate a furling system falls seriously into the “don’t” category. Seasonal maintenance should include a rig inspection by a professional. Specifically, inspecting the headstay for damage or wear is recommended.
Should your halyard become wrapped try to release it by alternately pulling on the sheets and furling line. If the wrap still persists, inevitably someone may have to go aloft to unwrap the halyard.
There are two solutions most commonly used prevent this problem depending upon the relationship between the sheave and headstay. The first is to install a halyard diverter. This device is installed on boats where the sheave is to close to the headstay. The diverter is mounted on the mast below the genoa halyard exit thus increasing the angle of the halyard. Likewise when the sheave is low enough a pennant can be installed at the top of the sail. This raises the halyard swivel up to the sheave box thus keeping the halyard from wrapping.
It should be noted that different headsails have different luff lengths and may or may not work with the system without the necessary modifications. Whatever the scenario, contact Torresen Marine’s service department to arrange a consultation and schedule a sail fit to ensure a proper installation. This will be good insurance that when you are spending valuable time enjoying your boat you won’t be hassled with a stubborn furler.
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