A low profile webbing-line furler is ideal for boats unable to accommodate a below-decks line-furling drum.
Although not a new product, this webbing line furler is rarely seen outside of French performance cruising yachts, writes Rupert Holmes. It’s a great option for anyone who wants to maximise the efficiency of a roller furling headsail, but whose boat is not configured for a below-deck furler.
Using webbing in place of a furling line allows for a much lower profile furling drum – it’s only the height of the 15mm wide tape – giving an additional 200mm of luff length to the headsail.
A metal link with a swivel joins the webbing part of the furling line to a rope tail, so operation in the cockpit is exactly as for a conventional furling system. The stanchion leads are shaped so that the swivel passes smoothly through them.
The system has a couple of additional advantages. Firstly, the furling drum of the Flat Deck system has a larger diameter than that of conventional furlers, which translates into a greater mechanical advantage, which means furling requires less effort. Secondly, if the furling line is released too quickly there’s no danger of it forming a tangle on the drum.
The unit on my yacht has performed flawlessly for eight months, over 4,500 miles of mostly solo and double-handed racing, along with a little cruising. It’s noticeable that the relatively thin webbing chafes more than a conventional furling line. As it’s a custom product, it would be sensible for anyone crossing oceans to carry a spare.
The FD190 is from Facnor’s racing/performance cruising range and has an elliptical twin groove foil. It’s suitable for boats up to 11.88m (39ft) with an 8mm forestay. There are other sizes for 7, 10 and 12.7mm forestays, as well as a four-model cruising range with a round single groove foil.
A neat piece of kit for efficient and reliable sailing.