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Time to add roller furling

Discussion in 'Ask A Macgregor Owner' started by Carter Mac 26, Jan 8, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Carter Mac 26

    Carter Mac 26

    Joined Jun 27, 2016
    14 posts, 1 likes
    MacGregor 26S
    US Beaufort, NC
    1993 Mac 26S. I'm the third owner. The jib is probably the original sail and is in normally-worn but good condition. The boat is used about 7 times each year, trailering to various destinations in eastern NC. My girlfriend and I can rig the boat in about 45 min. I'm in my lower 50's and she's....well, she jokes about being 29, again. ;-) We're both fit, and I'm mechanically inclined.

    It's time to add roller furling. I did some research here and will probably order the CDI system from Blue Water on the west coast. Does anyone here have recommendations - get the upgraded ball bearing kit or not? Again, we sail about 7 times each year. I don't waste money but I don't mind spending more, if it's needed. And should I replace the jib while I'm buying the furler? Is the installation fairly easy? Is it difficult to pack it away for trailering, versus just securing the forestay? Is removal of the sail required, when trailering?


    Dave Groshong likes this.
  2. justsomeguy


    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,243 posts, 766 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    The non-bearing version of the CDI FF2 on my 82 Mac 25 has never given me a lick of trouble.
    I built a furler carrier out of thin walled 4 inch PVC that clips onto the bottom of the mast and extends out far enough to support the furler.
    It's about 5.5 feet long, attached with close-coupling bolts.
    DSC01342.JPG DSC01344.JPG

    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
    Dave Groshong likes this.
  3. Dave Groshong

    Dave Groshong SBO Staff Staff Member

    Joined Jan 25, 2007
    1,262 posts, 73 likes
    Catalina 22
    US Seattle
    I think the ball bearing option is worth the extra money. You can view the installation manual for the FF2 on our page, here's a link:
    Most people just tie the forestay/furler extrusion to the mast when trailering.

  4. Old Sprite Sailor

    Old Sprite Sailor

    Joined Oct 15, 2006
    29 posts, 10 likes
    MacGregor 26X
    US Central Florida
    I have enjoyed roller furling for the entire 14 years of use and ownership of my 1998 26X. The PO had already installed it, but I assure you that once you get used to having it, you will wonder how you could have gone without it. I can't say how many times I have needed just a little furling to help the balance of the boat, and it is just as easy as rolling up a window shade. But, there are some adjustments to anticipate: (1) understanding the rig and how to hoist the sail on the furler is not intuitively obvious; just follow the instructions and you will get there, (2) the furler does add to the length of the mast when trailering; the suggestion above is good; I have used my boat hook, lashed to the rig, in a pinch; just something to support the extended forestay/jib weight and length, (3) the bottom of the furler mechanism is metal and will scrape along the deck during stepping and unstepping the mast unless you pad it with something. I use a canvas ditty bag tied over the furler to soften any contact with the deck, (4) you, of course, don't want any hanks on your new jib, just the sewn-in rope on the luff, (5) you may want to have a Sunbrella cover sewn onto the leech and foot of the new jib to protect the jib when on the trailer, and (6) the furler control line is typically pretty small, so you may prefer to use sailing gloves during operation; I do. Enjoy.

  5. Sumner


    Joined Jan 31, 2009
    5,117 posts, 189 likes
    Macgregor 26S/Endeavour 37 .
    US Utah's Canyon Country
    Same here on a 26S.

    If one is using a gin pole to raise the mast tie the furler drum up on the gin pole while raising and lowering and it won't drag on the deck.

    Would never want to go back to a hank-on sail. You will use the sails a lot more with the furler since it is so easy to take the foresail in and/or adjust how much is out as was mentioned above.


    I made a cover for the mast and the genoa/furler. The genoa stays on most all the time now trailering or at home since it is protected from the sun. The cover also protects all our running rigging from the sun also. It took a bit of time to make but now I can secure the lines and the sail so much quicker trailering the boat,

    1300 miles to The Bahamas and Back in the Mac...
    Endeavour 37 Mods...
    MacGregor 26-S Mods...
    Mac Trips to Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Canada, Florida, Bahamas

    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018


    Joined Mar 9, 2009
    67 posts, 10 likes
    Macgregor 26S
    US New Port Richey, Fl
    Definitely agree with all of the above. I too use a piece of PVC to support the extra furler length when it is down for travel. I split the PVC in half on a table saw. I just tie the bottom half under the furler for travel. When home, I put the other half on top to protect the sail from the sun. I even bought a PVC coupling to go over the furler drum to protect it from the sun. My M26S came with a Genoa. I had a sail maker add sunbrella on it so that when furrled there is a sun cover. Often sail with just the Genoa so easy.

  7. Justin_NSA


    Joined Jul 7, 2004
    4,575 posts, 685 likes
    Hunter 30T
    US Cheney, KS
    I think the CDI is a great choice. I had the non-bearing version on my Mac26S for 10 years before we sold it. Only complaint was wife hated the thin line you have to use in the drum. That's why we like continuous line on the Hunter's Hood furler.

  8. rsims111


    Joined Apr 23, 2009
    6 posts, 0 likes
    Catalina 27
    CA Nanaimo
    You need to either have your existing sail adjusted by a sailmaker or buy a new sail.

    You can't just put a hanked on jib into a luff track for a roller furler because the luff rope in a hanked on sail is shorter than the overall height of the sail and runs loose in the luff, only attached at the top and the bottom. (This is so the luff of the sail will be riding on a super tight luff rope when the rope is stretched taut to match the sail height, with the luff rope acting as a mini forestay since the sail is extended out from the real forestay by the length of the hanks). In a roller furling sail the luff rope is the same length as the sail and it's firmly attached to the sail for it's entire length (important). has a video showing what is needed to convert a hanked on foresail to a furled sail. Here's the link for you to cut and paste:

    I'm sure I will get some people replying who say they have simply removed the hanks and stretched the existing sail in a roller furler. Unfortunately, those people are then operating with a sail that is not properly shaped and will not be getting the best performance from their boat. Watch the entire Sailrite video to see why. Plus, their sails will stretch out of shape much sooner and be at more risk in high winds and gusts since their sail isn't firmly attached to the luff rope.

    Good luck with your new furler. The CDI is a solid choice. Based on my experience with one you will only need the plain bearing version with your limited sailing. It will last many years.

  9. Newell


    Joined Apr 28, 2009
    16 posts, 1 likes
    2 Macgregors 26X and 26D
    US Lakes in Utah
    I changed to hank-on jibs many years ago on both my Macs. I keep the 1 complete CDI system in storage for the thought that I might need it when I get older. I'm 74 and have hanked on twice this week, racing this saturday. Perhaps should sell it since, not even tempted to go back to using it.

    As an avid trailer sailor logging close to 4000 miles of trailering on at 4 different waters each year on both the east and south coasts Hank-on works best for me.

    Gene Neill likes this.
  10. Justin_NSA


    Joined Jul 7, 2004
    4,575 posts, 685 likes
    Hunter 30T
    US Cheney, KS
    Kudos sir!

  11. Enrique A

    Enrique A

    Joined Feb 2, 2018
    1 posts, 0 likes
    McGregor 26
    Manu Tara US Channel Island Harbor Oxnard
    I did that in 2017. Will do it again? No ! One of the big advantage of McGregors is simplicity. With a roller furling the simplicity go overboard right away. I used to have the Genoa inside the bag with all the lines away form the Sun. Not anymore.

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