Roller Furling Info

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I am tired of fighting the winds here in the Upper Midwest and need to add roller furling and reefing points. I have some questions that I would appreciate help with. I always trailer sail and often sail solo; what is it like stepping the mast with roller furling? Can it be done without a huge hassle? Can I use my existing jib or do I need to get one made for roller furling? My jib has a wire stay in it. If you are sailing with the jib partially rolled up, does this change the sheeting angles, preventing you from pulling the jib in tight? Are there any other points I should ask about before I convert?
The luff in the roller jib is different than the racing jib or none roller jib. I think the foot of the sail is cut a little higher too but I'm not sure. Putting the mast up solo with the roller and sail is a little more work, weight but its not a big deal. I think there may be a roller on the market that can use a non-roller jib. On the Harken roller they do spec the wire size in the luff of the jib you need to hold the mast up since that wire replaces your forestay. Since your sailing sole I think that the advantage of the roller far out weighs other issues. Good luck!:)
I added the Harken furler and have been happy with the result. Stepping the mast is just as easy as before when I use the jib halyard and another few feet of line. Tie the line to the trailer mast support and the hib halyard. Raise the mast with help from the halyard. Press the mast well forward and cleat the jib halyard. It is easy to pin the roller in place while the jib supports the mast. The local sailmaker fastened the jib to the furling wire. He also put in the reefing points. I sail for pleasure and it all works well for me.
Stepping the mast

Do a search on this forum for stepping and you find several suggestions for stepping the mast. I have a Harkin Roller, trailer the boat and step the mast by myself using the following steps. Absolutely no problem.

I bought my C14 used and it came with the roller furler on the Jib. I believe that they came from the factory, so I am not sure of conversion process.

I sail solo most of the time so I am very glad to have the roller furler. It comes in handy!

I have sailed with the Jib half furled and I was very glad to have the furler.

I added some swivel bunks to the trailer just in front of the bulkhead and moved the keel roller forward to where the hull starts to get pointed on the bottom near the bow. I was concerned about getting in the boat on the trailer and the flexing the hull on the single roller. Do a search for bunks and I think you will find it. There used to be pictures.

Mast stepping alone


With the boat on the trailer, Connect Jib furler to the mast. I leave my shrouds attached all the time. move the mast to the stern until ithe front rest on the mast step and the rear on the transom. Put the bolt in. I use a square life preserver to protect the transom. (I now have a mast crutch.. do a search for crutch) Make a noose in some line that is about the same size as the jib sheets. Put this noose over the furler (bottom of forestay). Run the other end of this line through a Caribeaner (spelling) that is attached to the front trailer boom support and through one of the jib sheet cleats (just like the jib sheet is run.) and up within reach of the mast step. Now raise the mast (as quick as possible). Once it is up draw in the line and cleat it to hold the mast in place. Now I either crawl up to the bow or get off the boat to attach the forestay permanently. I reverse these to get the mast unstepped. I have a furler and if you don't you will need to figure out a way to attach the tempoary line to the bottm of the forestay.

Hope this helps, Art
Adding Roller Furler

I am also looking to add a roller furler to my boat. I have checked my jib and found that the jib has a cable on the leading edge and the sail is stiched to the cable. The nylon brackets that are used to hold the sail to the front shroud are held on to the sail with screws so they can be easily removed. I am looking to buy the Harken 434 furler or do I need the 435 for high loads?Will I need to add cam blocks to lock the line that is used to rotate the drum? If not how does the drum hold its position? I will also need to replace the existing front shroud with a short cable that will attach to the top of the swivel. Let me know if I am missing anything

Roger Lohrey
The Harken 434 is the right model and get a clamcleat to cleat the roller line. the adjuster plate that used to attach at the bottom of the forestay at the deck now moves to the mast end of the forestay. the roller forestay when assembled needs to be the same leght as the non-roller forestay assembly you are replacing so the boat sails right. To do this, you may need to add some wire to the top of the new forestay assembly between the adjuster plate and the top roller.

Roller furler & forestay

I have been using a roller furler for several years, and found that I did not have to "do away" with the forestay. Takes a little adjusting to get spacing between the forestay and the jib so that it won"t foul on the forestay when "rolling", but once it's set it works great.
Never liked the idea of relying on the jib as a mast support!!!

Chances are that if you have the forestay tensioned hard enough to not foul the jib roller your boat's rig is too tight. You won't get the luff sag required to make the boat perform as your mast rake will be wrong Your concern about "the jib wire not being able to handle the mast load " shouldn't be. Many small boats use just the jib wire to carry the load of the mast with no problems. Also, that wire in front of the jib is distrubing the wind before it gets to the jib.

Lastly, If your going to drop your rig while sailing its usually going to be a failed shrould wire anyway and I'm guessing you don't double up on them.

Your boat is your boat, so keep making decisions you're happy with so take what I'm saying with that in mind. Best of all, happy sailing!:D
Roller furler as forestay

Thanks for your interest in my note. Inputs from folks involved in sailing are always useful.
My original comment was sort of a response to a thread that I had read about a "near disaster" story from some folks with a roller furler. The extension connector (I don't know the nautical name) from the top roller to the mast, broke, and these folks were without a jib, and thus without a forestay! I guess this says that it isn't always the shrouds that fail. Their solution to avoid this problem was to be sure and double check this connector. This story prompted my "dual forestay" approach. Since it was no problem to use the roller furler jib and the existing forestay I figured it would be one less thing to worry about (ie the "connector" failure mode)
I never intend to race, the boat seems to sail just fine, and I will not worry about the forestay wire disturbing the airflow to the jib..
Again, thank you for taking the time to comment.
carrnor (aka Charlie Northrop)


The best way to keep a mast up is to always check all standing rigging . Do that and the need for doubling up goes away. On your boat with the double forestay , you can still lose one of the shoulds and the mast will still fall.

There's an old saying about sailors and masts, "Theres those that have dropped their rigs and then there are those that will".

Best of all, your happy with your set up, so I'm happy for you.

Fair winds...