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Headsail furlers have been an integral part of yacht cruising and racing since the 1960's. The original concept can be attributed to Englishman Major E du Boulay who used a design based on a roller blind. The design was then improved with ball bearings in 1907 by Major Wykeham-Martin. The familiar modern shape is based on the work of the American professional rigger Murray Scheiner in the 1960's.
Leading Brands such as Harken, Selden, Profurl and Plastimo share the same basic principles. A rigid foil is assembled in sections to cover the length of the forestay. The foils have an external groove designed to hold the genoa along the entire length of the luff. This is achieved by sewing a boltrope into the luff of the sail. The sail is shackled to a halyard swivel which allows the foil and sail to rotate without twisting the halyard.
The entire length of the foil is attached to a furling drum at the bottom which can be rotated by a furling line. The beauty of a roller reefing system is that the sail can be rolled away to suit the conditions with ease. This is of special benefit to those sailing short-handed or simply to avoid leaving the safety of the cockpit.
Roller reefing systems can only be used with flat sail shapes. Gennakers and spinnakers have too much camber to roll neatly around a foil. Top-down furlers are the solution of choice for such sails. Most models of roller reefing supplied by Jimmy Green Marine have a 'do it yourself' friendly design and come with a detailed installation manual. Feel free to get in touch with the Jimmy Green Rig team to discuss your particular installation.