North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: Hugh Beaton


Understanding Your Furler and How it Works Will Prevent Disaster

roller furling genoa north sails 3Di NORDAC
📸 Billy Black

What happens if you furl your sail the wrong way? – with the sun cover on the inside instead of the outside of the furl? Unfortunately, we see the effects of this in our service lofts around the world. The result is UV damage to the sailcloth that has been left exposed to the sun, instead of being protected by the UV leech and foot cover.

Most often, this happens when a sail has a UV cover that is the same colour as the sail material. Such as a white cover on a white sail or a grey cover on a grey sail. When the sail is rolled around the headstay in the wrong direction – with the UV protection on the inside of the roll, it is not always obvious leaving the base sail material exposed.

In some cases, this can happen on a new sail that has been installed incorrectly – with the sail cover that is on the inside of the furl due to the direction the furling drum turns when furling – either clockwise or counter clockwise.

This also can happen seasonally when the boat is unrigged or mast is not stepped (assembled and placed vertical). If the furling line is re-rigged, it must be wound the correct direction around the furler, to be compatible with the sail. Fortunately, North Sails always have a sticker displayed as a visual reminder that the sail is furled the correct way based on what side the UV protection is applied.

roller furling headsail with UV suncover sticker north sails
📸 Michael Egan/ Egan Images

To avoid this mistake which may result in the need for a sail repair, here is a short checklist to ensure that your sail is installed with the UV protection on the outside:

Determine which side of the sail has the built in UV protection – for coloured UV materials this is easy – but not as much as matching colors. The UV cover is either on the Port or Starboard side of the sail. If there is any question regarding which side of the sail is protected please contact your local North Sails professional for assistance. There are many easy ways to tell which side your UV protection is attached.

Next, you want to check that the furling line has been loaded into the drum so that the sail will roll with the UV on the outside. An easy rule to follow is that the furling line needs to enter/exit the drum on the opposite side than the UV protection. i.e if the UV is on the PORT side of the sail, then the furling line needs to exit the STARBOARD side of the furling drum.

Normally, it is a very easy fix to re-rig your furling line, by unwinding it completely, then re-winding it in the opposite direction.

Once you are certain that your furling direction is in sync with your UV protection, you can be confident in leaving your sail hoisted and furled for extended periods of time. Please note, the type of UV material and your latitude make a substantial difference in the length of time and level of protection you can expect from your UV leech and foot covers.

📸 Michael Egan/ Egan Images

Story Contributors

Roller Furlers & UV Suncovers: What You Should Know headshot
Hugh Beaton

Loft Manager, Sail Expert —

Hugh learned to sail in Barrie ON, where he worked with Lasers, 470s, Int 14's and small keelboats.  He started working at local sail loft during summers while attending University in Toronto.  While attending University, Hugh learned to design and...

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