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  1. Well, it did not make Dawn Patrol any faster, they already had the spinnaker but the top down furler certainly made spinnaker hoisting and dousing quick and easy so that they could use it even on short legs where they might not normally feel that it would be worth the effort or use it in more marginal conditions knowing that they could easily get rid of it. I have been lusting for a top down furler for a long time as I usually sail Carlita solo or with my dog. Mandy does not seem to care about that pretty red, white and blue asymmetric spinnaker. It was the price tag of around $1000.00 that discouraged me. They have been in use for large short handed boats for some time now but it appears that manufacture's cannot be bothered with those of us who sail small boats. I started to design one for myself. As I delved into how I was going to make double concentric ball races it occurred to me that I could just make a swivel and insert it into Ronstan's bottom up 60 series furler. I showed the drawing to Alan and said that I would make one for him for the EC, he just happened to have an R60 on Mosquito. We ordered up some torlon balls and I got to work on the lathe. What makes the top down furler different is that the furling drum does not connect to the tack of the sail. The drum is connected to a torque line that turns the top swivel so the top of the sail winds up first and starts removing that extra cloth from the middle of the sail before the foot of the sail starts to wind up. . The tack is attached to the second swivel which makes it independent of the furling drum. Bottom up furlers work okay for relatively flat cut sails but top down works better for spinnakers. The first picture shows our shop built swivel waiting for the torlon balls to arrive. I got lucky as we tried a spare length of dacron braid that just happened to be twice the length of the hoist. We tied it as a double line and it seemed to be about right. The shackle showed that it might foul or at least chafe on the sail as it rotated. I rounded out the shackle hole to reduce chafe and replaced the shackle for multiple wraps with a light lashing and eliminated the problem. Drum furlers won't work because they cannot hold enough line. You need the endless line that just has a single turn around the drum giving unlimited turns. They are also less sensitive to line alignment which allows the drum to out-hauled to the end of the bowsprit or in-hauled as needed. Here is the email that Alan sent the first night of the EC. spinnaker flying all day furler works like a dream. 14knots recorded. heard a sea pearl capsized have no more details. having fun. Boat feels old hat at this.
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