Sailspar Continuous Line Roller Reefing

One thing Sundance didn’t have when I bought her was roller reefing for her genoa, her previous owner opting for hank on sails as she was club raced with a crew. I thought I could manage with these sailing singlehanded and whilst I can it’s hard work, especially when the wind picks up and you have to change the sails in a good bit of Bristol Channel wind over tide. It was the sole reason I didn’t take part in the 2017 Jester Baltimore Challenge and with the 2019 event round the corner I thought I better get things sorted.

Roller reefing has been on the cards, well since I’ve owned her, but it’s such an expense I haven’t managed to get it till now!

I had always thought I would go for the Plastimo 811 kit, mainly because of the price. I know a few people that run them and rate them. At the Southampton boat show last year I got talking to the Harken stand who showed me their ESP furler which is about a thousand pounds cheaper then their usual system. Twice the price of the Plastimo but with it being a Harken piece of kit must be good? I couldn’t really see the advantage/fundamental difference of the Harken ESP over the Plastimo kit so decided I would stick with my original plan. That was till I was watching one of Barry Perrins “Adventures of an Old Seadog” YouTube videos and noticed he had a pretty solid looking furler, a bit of digging and I found out it was a Sailspar item.


The Sailspar Reefing kit laid out, minus the foils and forestay supplied with a swaged eye on the top and bare end for the Sta-lok fitting at the bottom.

A word with the wife and permission to put it on the credit card the deal was done, or so I thought… I emailed Sailspar for a quote, a little bit more then the Harken ESP (and over twice the price of the Plastimo kit) but built like a tank I put the order through. Well I would have but they don’t take credit cards, only bank transfers. A bit of toing and frowing with Penny at Sailspar (they were doing all they could to help me out) I managed to raise enough cash to buy the kit by buying stuff on the credit card (0%) and keeping the cash in the bank for the furler. I was told an ETA of about 2 weeks so I was very surprised to be told it would be dispatched a couple of days after payment!

The kit turned upwith the line already spliced to the length I require, a nice checklist with everything ticked off included, instructions and even a few allen keys and thread lock. When I got home I went through the checklist and instructions and found out the little wedge in the Sta-lok fitting was missing. An email to Penny and one was popped in the post, fantastic. The instructions are clear and precise, I’ve read them half a dozen times and I can’t see there being any issues. The biggest/scariest thing will be putting the Sta-lok fitting together, well the scariest thing may be going up the mast to fit the forestay fitting.

I’ve not fitted it yet but it’s on the ever growing to-do list. I’m taking my sail to Fast Sail Repairs UK to be converted to the 6mm lufftape that’s required for the foils this weekend, he’s not far from the club and has a good reputation with the members. Hopefully I can get the furler fitted for when the sail is ready and I can give it a blast.

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