Top Down Furling

Safely set, fly, and douse your spinnaker without leaving the cockpit

Top Down Spinnaker Furling has become one of the easiest ways for sailors, whether racing or cruising, to handle their spinnakers with confidence. Coupling a furling drum, torque rope and head swivel, the unit can be adapted to existing sails or integrated into a new sail. The furling unit is controlled by a continuous line loop that can be routed aft, even as far as the cockpit, allowing users to control the furling remotely. The advantage of the top down approach is the ability to furl the sail without bearing drastically off course, and a resultant tight furl which enables the user have the unit hoisted in advance of when the sail is actually needed, potentially making the process much simpler.

Doyle Sailmakers has utilized Top Down Furlers for both free-flying asymmetrical spinnakers as well as with furlers with a torque rope that is contained within the luff of the sail for Code 0's or UPS's.

Benefits of Top Down Furling:

  • Increased safety – Ability to control and douse the sail if wind picks up
  • Convenience - Can leave sail up & furled and not have it unfurl due to tighter furl
  • Use sail more – Easier sets and douses ensure the sail can be used more often
  • Optimize performance – System design allows optimal sail shape but convenience of furling


How It Works:

Top Down Furlers can be used in conjunction with either traditional Asymmetrical Spinnakers or with Code 0 type sails made of higher modulus materials. The head of the sail is connected to an upper swivel. This upper swivel is connected to the Torque Rope, and is hoisted with the spinnaker halyard. The bottom of the torque rope is attached to an independent furling unit, which can be tacked at the bow or on a sprit. The tack of the spinnaker attached to a special fitting on the furler that allows the tack to rotate independently of the torque rope and furler.

Doyle Sailmakers

When the sail is ready to be doused, the furler is engaged, the torque rope spins, and the sail begins to furl at the head and then quickly furls down around the torque rope until it gets to the tack. The tightly furled spinnaker can now be easily taken down and stored.

Doyle Sailmakers has worked to put together easy to use packages that ensure that people can get the most out of their sails.

Mark Washiem, of Doyle Long Island, recently worked with a Gozzard 44 Cruiser to make the most of a planned world cruise:

The owner is planning to set off for a circumnavigation on his 60th birthday. The previous owner of this boat had a spinnaker, but after trying to use it a couple of times determined that it was more trouble than it was worth. The only place to tack it was just forward of the staysail. The Luff of the sail laid all over the furled genoa at times and the inboard tack position really limited projection. The new owner calculated that if he could increase his average speed by 1 knot it could cut 25 days off of his "loop". He needed to have a kite that would work and would be easy to use. The solution to this was to add a bowsprit to his bowsprit, and then add a Top Down Furler for convenience. We decided to go with a Selden GX15 Top-Down Furler rather than a spinnaker sleeve. This makes some of the sail handling possible from a remote location. Our sail check went perfectly last night. The owner set, jibed & struck this 1,250 square foot sail handily and all by himself in a crisp breeze.

For more information about the use of a Top Down Furling Unit: