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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Preparing to Unstep the Mast - Rolling Furler

One of the tasks that had to be completed before we shipped our Gemini 3200 to Savannah was the removal of the jib and rolling furler. Before starting this task, I took some time and read the manual on how to install the furler. It helped, but left me dreading this task.

Step 1, removing the head sail from the rolling furler. This part of the task is simple enough. First unroll the jib and secure one the jib sheets to a nearby cleat. This keeps the sail from flapping around. Next use a knot to secure a messenger line to the halyard tension line. This needed to be done because the halyard tension line secured to our jib halyard was very short and the halyard tension line travels up to the top of the mast as the head sail is being removed. If I had not secured another line to the halyard tension line, I may have had a hard time re-securing the end of the halyard tension line. Next up, pull the luff of the jib out of the sail feed slot. As the jib is being pulled down and off of the rolling furler, the halyard tension line travels up to the top of the mast. Finally, undo the jib halyard shackle from the top of the jib and finish removing the sail from the furler.

Next step is obtain access to the turnbuckle and chain plate underneath the rolling furler. This took a moment for me to figure out. I finally realized that all that needed to be done was to remove the pin that held luff of the furler (a.k.a. long plastic piece going up the forestay) above the turnbuckle. Once this is done, you have access to the turnbuckle and chain plate. At this point I also removed the furling line, because the line was showing signs of ware.

Now that the luff support pin has been removed, the top of the furler can be lifted to gain access to the forestay turnbuckle. I then removed the cotter pins from the turnbuckle. I used a mallet as a prop to hold the furler up and out of the way, while the cotter pins are being removed. I did not release the tension on the forestay, by unscrewing the turnbuckle, until our mast was supported.

Even with all this, the there is a bit more to do. After the mast is unstepped, the furler has to be removed from the mast so that the luff can lay flat. (From my reading, the luff is extremely pliable and will incorporate a bend it left for any period of time so we have to keep it flat.) The rolling furler will finally be removed from the mast by removing the cotter pin and clevis pin from the mast attachment.

The rolling furler disconnected from the mast, and lying on the ground to keep it flat.

Whew! Rolling furler is off!


  1. Good job. I wasn't quite sure why you were removing it until I got to the end. As an alternative (for the next time you do this) the marina owner here showed us how to use a 2x4 inserted into the mast base to support the furler. You can see what I mean in this pic:


    Ignore how messy the lines were. There were all tidied up to look like this when we were done:


    Hopefully those links work.


  2. @Mike: Thanks and thanks for the suggestion for next time. The links were great!


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