my dream roller furler

Ok…I have been going out on a Lyle Hess bow sprite for 17 years now. First with my Falmouth Cutter and now with a BCC. Of course the Falmouth was easier since you could reach between the two stays. And of course age makes apples or grapefruits kinda rot. So I’ve been thinking of roller furling … OMG!

There have been a few factors that have kept me from doing it before now.

  1. Ease of changing sails, as I have 3 different head sails I can use. A yankee,lapper and a drifter. plus the modifications to them I would have to make. Ever try to feed a frayed luff tape into the foil? What a PITA.
  2. Reliability. Running charter boats here in the Caribbean for 14 years I had the opportunity to use a number of furlers with the problems of halyard wraps, drum overrides and bearing failures.
  3. Just more weight aloft. I’m a BIG proponent of less weight aloft.
  4. I have never really cared for the shape of roller reefed sails, even with a luff pad. So I have always preferred individual sails for prevailing conditions. Of course part of this mindset comes from my Falmouth with “no engine” sailing.

So along comes Facnor Furlers and their STG 4T wire furler. Oh this baby is sweet! Quality of construction looks outstanding. This is an in/out furler - no reefing. Although they have the same thing that you can get with a foil so those that want to reef also can. That is the RC180.

Ok…why do I like the Facnor STG 4T so much.

  1. You can use your present wire head stay. looks like I could use my head stay with wire splices.
  2. you use hanked on sails.
  3. Continuous line furling. No overrides and more leverage for ease of furling.

Most of the time I use my yankee here in the Caribbean. So I can just furl that puppy up when I’m done sailing for the day or unfurl it when I go out. If it is going to be a day with wind on the light side and I need to beat up to Anagada I can hank on my lapper. If a squall comes through I can just roll it up. So I will still need to go out on the sprite at times, but that will be in fairly light air and not that often.

This furlers are pricey. But you most always get what you pay for.

I know Mauri sells these at about a 10% discount and they are in Texas.

here are the links:
The STG 4T,11,,22,a

Continuous line furler with foil for reefing,11,,22,a

Distributor for Facnor:

Now I just have to find my piggy bank!

I’ve looked at the Wykeham Martin Roller Furling Gear from Davey & Company LTD and appreciate the simplicity. These have been in use for years and look like they belong on a BCC. Take a look at

Bob & Lois

BCC Jolie Brise

Thanks Bob, I looked at them. They do look like they belong! I just want better performance than they would offer. And I would still have the over ride problem that gets me to swearing alot.

A couple of notes from my travels around the net re: bowsrit/jib handling.

For the very traditionally minded. Using a bowsprit traveler (ring) you can read a great article on the them here

Also, you can have one manufactured with leather covering here


Gary and the forum,
This is a great topic for the forum, and should be very interesting to newer BCC owners, as well as to all us old-timers! Gary, I’m envious of your long experience sailing in the Caribbean.

I crawled out on Shaula’s bowsprit for 10 yrs, swaping jib and genoa, but decided to put on a Profurl after our 2 yr Seattle-Mexico-F. Poly.-HA-Seattle trip. So since 1990, we’ve kept the genny in its bag, but still have it on board. Dropping the yankee and raising the big genoa in the Profurl is just too much work to be worth it for me, but I guess that’s an individual choice! I’m 73 now, and that’s a factor I guess.

In 1993 we sailed south from Seattle, cruised CA and Mexico, crossed the Pacific, cruised NZ for 2 yrs, and since 1998, were based in Australia. Since then until last year, we alternated between sailing to Vanuatu, and cruising the Australian east coast. Last year, we shipped Shaula back to N. America and are now cruising the Pacific NW again. All these cruising grounds vary a lot as to prevailing wind conditions, but we’ve certainly had our share of strong winds 20-30+k, and also lots of light winds less than 15k.

The Profurl has worked well although we had to have new bearings and seals in the lower unit 2 yrs ago. Yes, a furler does add weight to the forward part of the boat. However, we have never had a halyard wrap, as the Profurl wrap-stop fixture at the top end has worked as it was supposed to. We’ve also never had a drum over-ride, if by that you mean where the furling line buries itself into the line on the drum. I think that is usually prevented by keeping some tension on the furling line as the sail is let out, so that the line (firm, low-stretch polyester) on the drum resists being squeezed in to.

Our yankee has no padded luff, and our sailmaker (Schauttauer) recommended not using it reefed more than 3 rolls. More than 3 rolls and the middle section of the luff gets baggy, and there’s a lot of stress on the foot and leach if close-hauled. When we are off the wind, I sometimes brake the rule and used a reef with more than 3 rolls. Our 1992 jib, made of fairly heavy cloth, still looks OK.

Now that we are back cruising the Pacific NW where the winds are lighter, I may be tempted to put the genny on the Profurl, and see what happens. However, we’ve had many great day sails in BC where the yankee was all we needed on the jib stay. We also carry a 1.5 oz cruising spinnaker (in a sock), which is about 5 yrs old and almost unused, and maybe we’ll start using that more!?

The Facnor and Profurl wire furlers are interesting, as is the ring bowsprit traveler. BCC Kikirangi (and other BCC’s?) as well as Taleisin and Curlew use the ring.

BCC #59 Shaula

Thanks for the input Dan.
I’m sure many of the present day furlers are fairly trouble free. I sailed with many of the older versions of furlers around and some of the new. I think the deal for me is I have been stepped on so many times, I tend not to stand under the giants foot any more. So I have been looking around for “state of the art”. I REALLY like the continuous furling line idea.

Now I have run across some new technology that really has me thinkin ( jeeez…:sunglasses: )

Ever heard of Dynex Dux? It’s a synthetic line for standing rigging. Remember from my first post how I was really into weight aloft? Well this stuff is 25% the weight of wire. I won’t get into all the specs, but it is intriguing. Do I see going back to deadeyes and lanyards??? hmmmm. Talk about be traditional (well with a new twist at least). Wonder if tar will stick to this stuff? and it’s not anymore expensive than wire, and maybe less if you use some of the “old school” rigging with it (did I say deadeyes?). If nothing else, this stuff would be great for a luff line.

Started done this rabbit hole looking for sand paper LOL. Ok, some links:


A pull test

A good thread on this line is here

And a quote from the thread “I know the Brion Toss is going to or already has rigged his own personal cutter with Dux and Colligo deadeyes”.

Ok…have to get back to some boat work.


You wrote, “The Facnor and Profurl wire furlers are interesting, as is the ring bowsprit traveler. BCC Kikirangi (and other BCC’s?) as well as Taleisin and Curlew use the ring.”

Larry Pardey installed a track on top of Taleisin’s bowsprit A second jib stay is attached to a traveler on the track. This second jib stay is tensioned via a highfield lever either on the mast or deck. To raise the jib, the Pardey’s pull the traveler inboard, hank on the jib then pull the travel out to the end of the bowsprit. Once the traveler is out by the cranse iron, they tighten the second jib stay with the highfield lever and hoist sail.

Larry installed the track before they went around Cape Stiff. Whether they still use that system or not, I do not know.


That’s a gorgeaous idea you mention there Rod with the traveller on track, I hadn’t come across that in the Pardey’s writings… where is that info?


I read about the track idea in an article L&L Pardey wrote in Cruising World several years ago but have not read any other mention about their use of a track on the bowsprit. Think about the vector load on the screws. Either it did not work or for market purposes they want readers/follows to believe that they still go out on the bowsprit - KISS. Bowsprits are also known as “widow makers.”



Thanks for the correction Rod. The track set-up works the same as the ring set-up, as far as the movable stay that makes sail changes easier goes. I saw a photo of L&L’s sprit with track somewhere, but don’t remember where. I guess the forward end of the track could be through-bolted, as that’s where the tension will be. The ring, padded with leather, would be a lot stronger, wouldn’t it.

It’s interesting to look through the Gallery and notice that it’s rare to see a BCC that doesn’t have a roller furling jib. Hmmmm.

I’m in the minority, I don’t have roller furling :wink: I used to love going out on the sprit when I worked on the schooners… but those were big sticks out there, with thick tarred wires to stand on. I’ll be interested to see how I feel out on our wee little sprit…hopefully I’m still young enuff to enjoy it.


I concur the leather padded ring would be a stronger arrangement. When we owned our little Nor’star aft cabin Flicka (LOD 20’, LOA 27’, working sail area 410 sq.ft.) we had a bonnet reef installed in our jib - similar to L&L’s bonnet reef. This worked very well for shorting sail. We like hanked sails but considering the length of IDUNA’s widow maker, we opted to install a modern furling system. A former owner of a BCC, told me every time he went out on the spit, he came back wet. Sometimes he was up to his waist in water and a fews times a wave washed over him. I would rather compromise on the sail set of a furling system than live up to the reputation of the widow maker.


There are old pilots and there are bold pilots but no old bold pilots. I believe you will find working on the bowsprit of a schooner is different than working at the end of Elizabeth’s widow maker. Your weight at the end of a schooner’s bowsprit has an insignificant effect on the pitching motion of a schooner, whereas this is not the case when perched at the end of a BCC’s sprit.

Dan’s comment, “It’s interesting to look through the Gallery and notice that it’s rare to see a BCC that doesn’t have a roller furling jib. Hmmmm.” has merit and there is a reason for that observation.

Fair Winds,


FWIW, we sailed some 20 000 miles CA to Australia with a zipper bonneted jib a la the Pardeys, and after one day of 5 times removing the working jib and putting it back on as the Tasman winds varied from 15 to 30 knots, we decided that when that sail wore out, we’d go to a furler. It was a difficult choice for me, as I appreciate the better sail shape of a hanked on sail. However, after sailing from Brisbane (Scarborough) to Trinidad via South Africa, I can say that especially on passage Galatea performs at least as well, and probably better with a furling sail. We found that we more often had the right sail area up to maintain a fast, comfortable speed, and that helped our passage times.

We decided to buy a Kiwi product, a Reef Rite, model 6/40. You can see their gear at, the US distributor, who, BTW, I have not dealt with. I liked the furler because it uses sealed bearings: following the recommendations for freshwater rinsing for the open race models did not suit our bluewater cruising situation. I like the provision of a dedicated headstay with an extended top swage that puts the furler bearing on the swage rather than below it, limiting the flexing and eventual fatigue on the wire. I like the ratcheting pawl in the lower gear that eliminates the constant load on the furling line when sailing reefed and gives much better control of the reefed sail in heavy air. Finally, especially for the BCC, I like the “Kiwi downslides” which are like hanks in the foil, allowing me to bring down the sail and secure it before actually removing it from the foil. It makes getting the jib off and on the foil much more controllable. Can you tell, I like this furler?

I have no financial interest in this company, just a satisfied customer.

Tom Unruh

Hi Tom, very interesting, I like the Kiwi Downslside very much… the issue it solves was always a big hang up for me. You said you bought the 6/40, just on casual glance I would have thought the 8/60 would be the choice. Isn’t the stay up there 5/16" ?

Do you have any more vid of your voyage?

The Kiwi Downslide sounds like is has several good features. The Profurl also has sealed bearings, but seals don’t last foreever, do they? I guess 16 yrs is acceptable longevity.

I agree that the ability to EASILY adjust the jib from the cockpit, rather than having to deal with it out on the sprit and foredeck, results in the foresail matched to the conditions more frequently! We’ve always been amazed at how powerful the yankee jib is! It sure can overpower the BCC quickly when the breeze really picks up (like at 2 AM, in the rain!).

Tom, I wonder how often you dropped the jib and put up a genny (or lapper?)? That still requires sitting out there on the sprit, doesn’t it? Which is what the roller furling is so great at eliminating!

As always, there are lots of pros and cons to the choices we make, and there’s no one best way of sailing a BCC (or any boat). Not all BCC’s are destined to cross oceans, but if that’s the plan, I vote for the options that require less energy from the crew. Short-handed sailing is safer and more enjoyable when the crew isn’t fatigued.

BCC Shaula

Hi, Ben,

Sorry, no more video. We chose the 6/40 on the recommendation of the owner of Reefrite. The headstay they provide is a metric size that was slightly smaller in diameter than the stock stay. The tradeoff was the increased weight of the 8/60 at the end of the bowsprit. I opted for less weight out there, with his advice that the furler and headstay were plenty strong. YMMV.

Dan, the answer is never. The new jib we got in Australia is about the same size as the standard BCC jibtop, and we found that was plenty of sail in most conditions we found all the way from Scarborough to Trinidad. It was a windy ocean that year. We don’t have a larger headsail that we would use on the furler. So, yes, it would still be bowsprit work, but with the Kiwi slides, I would be able to drop the sail, tie it up, and then remove it. With care, I could also flake the new sail with ties, and attach it while still tied. Definitely more control than a regular furling sail with luff tape. I guess I wasn’t anticipating changing headsails as much as I was thinking about getting the headsail off in a storm situation, either at sea or even at anchor.

For the truly light air we had in the doldrums, we used our drifter, sometimes with the jib, double headsails downwind. In fact, one of the things we gave up when we added the furler was the ability to hank on the head of the drifter, which really limited the wear on the drifter halyard. Instead, I added an extra cover to that area of the halyard, and it worked fine. So that small tradeoff was definitely worth it. And there’s nothing like the magic of ghosting along dead downwind drifter and jibtop, and the Freehand steering.

BCC 117

The yankee is a great sail for a cutter. like the rest of you I use it 90% of the time. In my reefing sequence I just drop the yankee all together. This is the very reason I like the facnor STG 4T. It has the single line drum which I think is the best design for reliability. It uses existing wire and hanked on sails. This makes changing sails easier when the time comes. For me this would be in light weather to change to the lapper or drifter. True you can’t reef with it, but as has been pointed out and with my own evolutions thats not a factor for me as I douse it completely.

BUT! With the new rig I’m considering I may be going with one of the continuous line Code 0 furlers run out on a ring. Utilizing the Dynex as a luff rope. See “my dream rigging”. So when I am ready to change sails I just haul the furled sail in, put the rolled sail in its bag…that should be easy as its all rolled up already. Then attach one of my light air sails.

This is the furler here

Used on this bowsrit traveler

Then I’ll never have to go out on the “beast”, except maybe to do a back flip.


Meant to follow up on this before… you mentioned in this thread earlier… “BCC Kikirangi (and other BCC’s?) as well as Taleisin and Curlew use the ring”

Is there any report from Kikirangi or Curlew about their success with the ring. Please someone remind about Curlew, I forget the details on that boat/story.

Isn’t Curlew the real BCC (actually a quay punt) from like 1898 that was restored and kicked butt at the Antigua race week with a gaff rig? Sailed to the Arctic/Antarctica (?) and stuff like that? She was 28’ on deck too.

Ben, just did a search on Curlew. She resides here at the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall. By the looks of the picture she has a furler on a traveler.

I was aboard her in the British Virgin Islands a long time ago. She had just done Antigua race week. She won class C against all out racing boats. Boat for Boat, not handicap. That was with gaff rig and topsails. Since this was a full on race, I know that had legs to weather. She had her jib set flying did alright for her!

Cool…just found this link to reefing sequence for a smack vs Beaufort’s scale.

Curlew is a Falmouth Quay Punt, circa 1900. Tim and Paula Carr were fanatics about getting every last bit of power out of her. She was rigged as a gaff cutter and set a very impressive spread of canvas with or without her topsail set. WoodenBoat Magazine did a feature article about her and the Carrs perhaps 10 years ago. Because of her age, the Carrs eventually cold-molded over her hull.

From Wikipedia:

“Curlew is perhaps the best-known Quay Punt surviving today. Tim and Pauline Carr circumnavigated the world twice in the 28 foot engineless boat, and explored with her around the remote sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, before donating her to the National Maritime Museum Cornwall. The even smaller Quay Punt Teal - originally built as Little Pal for the writer Percy Woodcock, and also operated without an engine, recently undertook a long voyage to the Baltic.”

From the National Maritime Museum Cornwall:

"Falmouth Quay Punt, Curlew

Built by R S Burt in 1905, Curlew was commissioned by Mr Frank Jose. She was used as a working boat, but the quay punt trade declined and Mr Jose registered her as a fishing boat in 1915. From 1936 Curlew had a number of owners; her rig was altered and she was converted for the leisure market with a deck and accommodation below. In 1969 she was purchased by Tim and Pauline Carr who sailed her extensively in the Antarctic and Southern Oceans. The Carrs wrote a book about their experiences, and were also awarded the Blue Water Medal by the Cruising Club of America, eventually settling in South Georgia. In 2002 the museum purchased Curlew and brought her home to Falmouth Curlew will be taking to the water again this year after some repair work and will moored on the museum pontoon. Her construction plans are held in the British Science Museum. Type: Falmouth Quay Punt Designer: R S Burt Builder: R S Burt Date built: 1905 Dimensions: LOA 8.61m; Beam 2.92m; Draft 1.85m Construction: Timber carvel with a retrofit triple diagonal kauri pine sheathing Rig: Gaff cutter"