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Top Down Furler


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Anybody race with a top down furler on an A2 spin?  Looking for ways to fly a 100 S/M asymmetric when sailing short handed and want to know how well it actually works.  All the videos are in flat water w/o a headsail.

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I have used a top down furler in am assymetric without any knots or tangles BUT it takes a shitload of winding to get that thing to furl. On a 24' boat you should be able to furl without a winch and that should work just fine, but you are going to have to load the torsion line up first for many turns of the drum before the top starts to furl.  The big advantage is that it's entirely done from the cockpit and you can leave it up furled for short periods, like a race.

 

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It was a thing of beauty...when it worked, and it only worked half the time. The rest of the time it wouldn't deploy after furling. What was happening is that the torsion rope would back spin when tension was released. The torsion rope would grab some of the spinnaker during the backspin and lock it up. It took hours off the boat to untangle There is an old Elvstrom video showing this. Successful top down furling is dependent on the quality of the torsion rope. I have heard that the  Harken Reflex torsion rope is good. Maybe the balls on the Selden torsion rope work..

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No need for a furler at that size.

Don’t try a leeward drop in any breeze more than 8 - 10 knots

your go to technique when short handed is to bear away and do a letterbox (over the boom) drop.

Only disadvantage is that you will have to bag the kite and rerun the lines but it will come down safely and without problems every time

 

 

 

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It helps to spend as much as you can reasonably afford on the furling cable. They’re great when they work but they can be unreliable. After all there’s a reason why the Imoca 60s and class 40s still use snuffers…

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@BobSled@1 top downs can be a great system but they rely MASSIVELY on 2 things; winch/line speed and quality of the torsion cable and furler.

Without enough winch speed the system will never work - I've experienced this issue multiple times on large cruising yachts like Oysters where the electric winches just do not have the speed (or drum diameter) to move the furling line quickly enough to transfer suitable torsion through the cable to furl the sail (I've had to bail out and manual drop a 575 kite because we were heading for a lee shore and the new top-down system just wasn't engaging).

The quality of the torsion cable is, IMO, of secondary concern to having enough line speed but will still have a big impact on the speed and reliability of the system. There's also the weight factor when racing. 

Unfortunately it seems many riggers and sailmakers are too keen to 'upsell' the top-down package without actually considering or explaining the system requirements to their clients. 

If I make some assumptions that you're talking about a 30-35ft yacht with manual winches then you need to be confident that you can muscle that furling line in quick enough to spin the furler at a good rate. Having a good quality furler will help (less friction) and good boat handling to unload the kite will play a big part but tbh I don't have enough experience of this particular size range and set-up to be able to give any confident advice. 

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Been cruising for 4 years around Med on 36 ft cat. Top down furlers on A2 and A3 kites about 90m2. A3 furls much easier and have never had a problem with this sail. Do not use winches to furl, just pull the line!

A2 is more of a problem and have a couple of wraps as described sailorman 44 but managed to get out whilst hoisted by pulling furler line in out whilst adjusting sheet tension.

I have found sheet tension to be critical for good furl, to little and more chance of wrap, to much and hard to get furl started.

The more you use them the better they get but had to up anti torsion line diameter to get reliability. I don't know if these lines get a "memory" but I always furl the same way. Furler drums just turn the torsion rope so I don't believe they make that greater difference

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