HISTORY

The technological advancement in building materials and design has led to an increase in yachts designed for comfort and ease of handling, yet without compromising performance, in fact, in many cases, allowing boats to become quicker. These yachts are longer, carry more mainsail area, with taller rigs, and introduce the associated frustrations of mainsail control.

 

The first steps towards in-mast furling of mainsails overcame the complications associated with larger equipment, though inherent problems with the initial systems soon became evident. Larger mast sections combined with the weight of the bearings and furling spar meant longer keels were required to compensate for the loss of stability. With a greater draft, limitation on one's anchorage was now another factor to be considered, as was, in the opinion of many, a loss in performance, due to a hollow-cut leach on the main.

 

Despite these teething problems, the introduction of in-mast systems was undoubtedly a breakthrough, and many saw the system as a feature that would allow them to continue sailing either short handed, or with less effort.

 

Recognizing the advantages of furling mains, leisure furl pioneered the development of in-boom furling as a means to overcome the limitations of in-mast furling. The nine year development process was overseen by prominent New Zealand spar maker and engineer, Don Baverstock.

 

The following criteria had to be met:

    • The product would have to allow a sail to retain its efficiency at all points of hoist
    • The system would be operated manually, or power assisted from the safety of the cockpit
    • Ideally the system would be aesthetically pleasing
    • The operation of the system had to be both faultless and user friendly

 

Initially the design was retro fitted above the existing boom, and furling was initiated using the principle we utilize today- a spool at the front of the mast with a stainless shaft passing through to a universal at the rear of the mast, mounted to an aluminum spindle, and retained at the aft end of the boom. Essentially the concept was practical and patents were drawn against it. Inspired by the success of this prototype, further development advanced the design to its present perfected form- a boom section as strong as any original, encompassing the furling system.

 

With the "development" model having been in operation for successive years, evaluation of critical parts has allowed us to identify with the extent of future wear. Components have been upgraded to incorporate advanced material technology as a means to eliminate the wear found in, for example, bearing areas, an area now unaffected by the harsh elements we expect the system to work under.

 

Recently improved design features:

    • The universal has been improved to allow a greater arc for operation, to compliment downwind furling.

 

We trust you find this information of interest and that it allows you to identify with a product designed to maximize your sailing pleasure.