Once the preserve of cruisers and oceanic racers, the headsail furler is now a common sight on yachts of every size and type and increasingly for sails of every size and type. From the Mini 6.50s to the Class40s, from the Imoca 60s of the Vendée Globe to the latest 30m super maxi with their somewhat larger all-pro crews, furler use has also expanded from being deployed merely on headsails and staysails to use with asymmetric spinnakers, Code 0s and the like.
Regardless of which sail is being furled, all furling devices have a tough job to do. In exchange for the convenience of not going to the foredeck to douse the sail, these mechanisms must be able to perform perfectly while under loads from the halyard, the sheet and the wind itself. They need to be durable enough to operate reliably in all conditions without breakage, corrosion, chafe or excessive friction so that crews can be assured that their safety – and race result – will not be compromised by a malfunction.