Gennaker Furlers Come Of Age

There was an interesting piece in a recent edition of French sailing magazine Voiles et Voiliers on gennaker furlers. These gears are very popular in France, and through their extensive use aboard racing multihulls and Vendee Globe boats have undergone real battlefield testing over the last ten years, to the extent that they must now be considered well and truly proven. And, it has to be said, the French manufacturers have tended to lead the world in their development.

The test looked at seven sets of gear from different manufacturers – Bamar, Bartels, Facnor, Harken, Karver, Profurl and Selden. Ease of handling was extensively covered (removal of furling line, clevis pins etc), and all gears were tested for their ability to operate under high load conditions, which yielded some interesting results. Some gears struggled to handle their rated working loads without an increase in the load requirement on the reefing line, for example. Several interesting points were raised that were peripheral to the test itself, that might be pertinent to anyone considering a furler for their own boat.

  1. Six Reasons To Leave The Cockpit Often
  2. Don’t Forget About The Sails
  3. Your Mainsail Is Your Friend
  4. Hoisting the Mainsail Made Easy—Simplicity in Action
  5. Reefs: How Many and How Deep
  6. Reefing Made Easy
  7. Reefing From The Cockpit 2.0—Thinking Things Through
  8. Reefing Questions and Answers
  9. A Dangerous Myth about Reefing
  10. Mainsail Handling Made Easy with Lazyjacks
  11. Topping Lift Tips and a Hack
  12. 12 Reasons The Cutter Is A Great Offshore Voyaging Rig
  13. Cutter Rig—Should You Buy or Convert?
  14. Cutter Rig—Optimizing and/or Converting
  15. Cruising Rigs—Sloop, Cutter, or Solent?
  16. Sailboat Deck Layouts
  17. The Case For Roller-Furling Headsails
  18. UV Protection For Roller Furling Sails
  19. In-Mast, In-Boom, or Slab Reefing—Convenience and Reliability
  20. In-Mast, In-Boom, or Slab Reefing —Performance, Cost and Safety
  21. The Case For Hank On Headsails
  22. Making Life Easier—Roller Reefing/Furling
  23. Making Life Easier—Storm Jib
  24. Gennaker Furlers Come Of Age
  25. Swept-Back Spreaders—We Just Don’t Get It!
  26. Q&A: Staysail Stay: Roller Furling And Fixed Vs Hanks And Removable
  27. Rigid Vangs
  28. Rigging a Proper Preventer, Part 1
  29. Rigging a Proper Preventer—Part 2
  30. Amidships “Preventers”—A Bad Idea That Can Kill
  31. Keeping The Boom Under Control—Boom Brakes
  32. Downwind Sailing, Tips and Tricks
  33. Downwind Sailing—Poling Out The Jib
  34. Setting and Striking a Spinnaker Made Easy and Safe
  35. Ten Tips To Fix Weather Helm
  36. Running Rigging Recommendations—Part 1
  37. Running Rigging Recommendations—Part 2
  38. Two Dangerous Rigging Mistakes
  39. Rig Tuning, Part 1—Preparation
  40. Rig Tuning, Part 2—Understanding Rake and Bend
  41. Rig Tuning, Part 3—6 Steps to a Great Tune
  42. Rig Tuning, Part 4—Mast Blocking, Stay Tension, and Spreaders
  43. Rig Tuning, Part 5—Sailing Tune
  44. 12 Great Rigging Hacks
  45. 9 Tips To Make Unstepping a Sailboat Mast Easier
  46. Cruising Sailboat Spar Inspection
  47. Cruising Sailboat Standing Rigging Inspection
  48. Cruising Sailboat Running Rigging Inspection
  49. Cruising Sailboat Rig Wiring and Lighting Inspection
  50. Cruising Sailboat Roller Furler and Track Inspection
  51. Download Cruising Sailboat Rig Checklist

Colin, European Correspondent here at AAC, is a deeply experienced offshore sailor who holds a Yachtmaster licence, and a gifted photographer and talented writer who has added a whole new dimension to Attainable Adventure Cruising. In addition, since Colin and Louise are from England and had their OVNI 435, Pèlerin built in France, they bring a European perspective to our site. You can read more about Colin and Louise and their business at their website.

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David V

You have rated Facnor’s the highest. I will not use them ever again… after their heads’l furling gear failed on one of our big cats. When the drum seized we opened it to find all the balls missing from the 2 races…. the keeper, what remained of it, was found to be mild steel not s/s. They acknowledged this fault but would not replace it without charge…. when a charter boat goes down it’s not just the cost of replacement, it’s the down time that hurts… just as much if not more. DV

Mark Pearson

Dear Colin

Very good that you identified this article.

I am considering a Gennaker furler and this is the first time I have seen a comparison. I was considering Profurl and Karver (they have developed a large diameter drum). It is difficult to match the specs as for an asymetric 120m2 – I am in the boat displacement range (9.1tonnes) but outside the rated sail areas range. Anyway now it also seems I have to also consider the Facnor (which happens to be the same as my existing conventional reefing system). Where can I get my hands on the full article, if possible electronically so that I can translate it with Google? Many thanks.