Re: Furlers (Barton vs Harken vs CDI)
Thu, 13 May 1999 11:10:19 EDT

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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In a message dated 5/13/99 2:49:54 AM Pacific Daylight Time,

> The Harken unit (
> ),
> which I have seen on a bunch of racing/day-sailers, is similar to my
> description of the Barton unit above in that it furls the sail around
> its own wire luff. The Harken unit seems to be considerably more
> durable than the Barton since it is all metal and has ball bearings.
> These are in all the catalogs (Boats US p258) and is available at
> several boating stores here in the DC area and probably elsewhere.
Hi Webgang,

I had the little Harken's middle-sized sister, the "high-load" version for 20
foot boats on Redwing when we bought it. We replaced it with a CDI. I'm
glad we did.

Don't forget that you will have to pay a sailmaker to seize (is that the
right term? Haven't finished my 1st coffee yet) a wire into to the luff of
your sail. The ends of the wire with the thimbles need to be padded with
leather or some other suitable material. And I was told by my rigger that
over time (several years, depending on use), the wire untwists or kinks and
must be replaced. It's true, BTW, after 5 years, the wire was not in very
good shape when it was removed to convert it to the CDI luff tape.

The luff wire makes it impossible to change a headsail without lowering the
mast and dissassembling everything. In constrast, last weekend, we changed
from our lapper to our working jib last weekend in about 5 minutes with the
CDI while the mast was up. (You'll need a pennant at the top of the smaller
jib to do that; I leave it attached right to the small jib)

I dont know what the cost of installing a luff wire is. The cost to have UK
sailmakers remove the wire, install luff tape for the CDI was $4/foot on my
lapper, plus about $10 for webbing loops instead of grommets at the head and
tack (recommended by CDI for smoother rolling and longer lasting.)

Also, the Harken unit doens't permit reefing , just furling. A jibstrike
downhaul is much cheaper and just as effective.

I noticed in the West Marine 1999 catalog that the Harken units prices have
dropped by about $100 compared to last year, when they were sold as separate
pieces instead of kits. I'll bet that's because of the competition from CDI.

For either the CDI, you may have to cut down your sail so the luff is short
enough for the extrusion. I spoke to Dennis at Odessey sails a while back
and asked about that. (Sorry, P15-ers, I only found out about the P19 sails.)
For the lapper, you may need to trim along the luff edge a bit. For the
genoa, he trims both the luff and the foot so as not to destroy the shape of
the draft. No trimming is needed for the storm jib.

I voted with my money -- For the CDI. The Harken unit doesn't have much
more functionality than a jibstike downhaul.

BTW, since Redwing didn't come with a storm jib, I had UK Sailmakers in
Alameda make one to go with the new main they made. Instead of 32 square
feet, we decided on 40 s.f. since I could roll with a good shape down past 30
s.f. if the sail were cut specifically for roller-reefing. It has 5.5 oz
cloth (heavier cloth than the Odessey at 3.8 oz for longer life) since you
use it in 20+ winds every day here in SF Bay's summer conditions and a UV
edge cover. It cost $350 in tanbark; in white it would have been about $300.
The factory white storm jib of 32 s.f. from IM is about $250 with a UV edge
(and maybe extra for the CDI luff tape). I'm VERY pleased with the sails
from UK Sailmakers.

Judy B