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Lubrication of furling line

Mar 23, 2015
Catalina 22 MK-II Dillon, CO
I have a CDI furler on my catalina 22 MKII and it sometimes gets stuck and/or is a bit difficult to deploy/furl. You think that spraying the line with a little silicone spray or ?? might lubricate it appropriately?
Thanks for the advice
Feb 20, 2011
Island Packet 35 Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
. You think that spraying the line with a little silicone spray or ?? might lubricate it appropriately?
No. Check for something else inhibiting the action. Keep a light tension on the control line when unfurling so it wraps fair.
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Mar 13, 2011
Islander Freeport 41 Longmont
Furlers are notorious for this problem. There are many things to check
- halyard tension - too much or too little can affect how easily the Furler rotates.
- improper setup - checking the clearances at the masthead and making sure the setup is per the manufacturers instructions. This can cause the Furler to wrap incorrectly
- furling line routing from the Furler to the cockpit. Does it easily move through the blocks.
- I believe CDI has an option to add ball bearings to the Furler. Does yours have these or is it bearingless.

the first is one I’ve had the most success with, by adjusting the tension to get to that sweet spot, the Furler suddenly turns like magic.

Good luck and fair winds
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Jan 11, 2014
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
As others have said, halyard tension is important and backstay tension. If the forestay is too loose the foil won't turn easily.

Also, check for area to lubricate per CDI's instructions.

If the furling line is too loose, sometimes it will get an over ride which makes it hard to furl.

It is also not unusual for the first turn or two to be more difficult than the rest.

I would not lubricate the line. It will make it hard to grip.
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Mar 26, 2011
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
...I would not lubricate the line. It will make it hard to grip.
Lots of good advice in the thread. Releasing halyard tension is one. Even though a tight luff is generally good for the sail, most of us cruisers are better off leaving it relatively loose for this reason.

On lubrication of the line: I use a waterproofing treatment (Polar Pruf) on the forward 1/2 because I sail all winter and a frozen drum sucks. This also lubes the line. But only the forward 2/3.
Jul 6, 2013
Catalina 30TR Milwaukee
I’ll add that the folks at CDI are very helpful. They let me return a part that I ordered incorrectly.
Then they helped me identify what model I have and parts I actually needed.
I highly recommend the upgrade to the ball bearing (from a nylon thrust bearing). For unfurling, the wind does most of the work.
Jan 22, 2008
Islander Freeport, 41 Ketch Longmont, CO
When I said adjust the halyard tension, I didn't mean to leave it loose. You need good tension to get good sail shape. Careful adjustment of the tension on the halyard will yield good behavior from the furler. AS Baby Bear said, not too loose and not too tight, get it just right and you get good sail shape as well as good furling action.
Jun 25, 2004
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
If you have a Catalina 22, you should have a CDI FF2.
Now that we know what boat and what model of the CDI you have, we can rule out a couple of possible problems:
  • You don't need bearings to get it to furl easily. That's based on my experience selling hundreds of FF1s, FF2s, FF4, etc.
  • Halyard tension and heigh isn't an issue. There's no halyard on a CDI
  • I've never heard of a forestay that was so loose on a C22 that it caused a problem. And I sold hundreds if not thousands of FF2's for use on 22' boats like the C22.
Next here's a list of common problems you can trouble shoot. In my experience, these are some common operator and procedural errors if you're having a hard time furling the sail on a small CDI, in order of how frequently I have found them on people's boats.
  • Check to see if the furler works easily by testing it in no wind.
    • If it works properly, the problem is "operator error" and you need to change your furling procedure. I'm not going to address operator error right now.
    • If the furler jams or is hard to furl, the problem is how it was installed, or something is broken. Check the installation troubleshooting tips below.
  • Check the lead of the furling line to the drum. The rope should hit the drum at a 90 degree angle. It should hit half way between the top and bottom vertically.
    • If the furling line isn't hitting the drum at the right height and angle, it will load the spool unevenly and you might get overwraps. This jams the furling line and makes it hard to furl the sail.
    • If the furling line hits at top of the drum, the whole furler may lift up. Then the extrusion and sail rub against the mast at the the top of the forestay. Fix how the furling line aligns with the middle of the drum (added on edit)
  • Use the right diameter line, not bigger, so it fits on the drum Use 5/32 or 3/16" diameter low stretch double braid dacron line. You can get fancier if you like, but this will do the job admirably well on your boat.
  • Check to make sure the extrusion isn't hitting anything at the top. There has to be 3" of clearance above the top fitting, and a couple of inches horizontally from the furled sail.
  • Make sure there aren't any high friction points in how you lead the furling line aft. Start at the bow, and pull the furling line just aft of each piece of hardware you installed. If one causes appreciable friction, replace it with more appropriate hardware. you don't need a lot of expensive hardware to lead a line aft on a catalina 22. You don't need ball bearing blocks. Bulls eyes are more than adequate.

The following are problems that I haven't very often, but I have seen them a few times. So they're worth mentioning.
  • Make sure the forestay itself is no bigger than 3/16" I'd be shocked if anybody put such a huge forestay on a C22, but I suppose it's possible. I've had customers who owned other boats with improbably large diameter forestays for their boats, but I've never seen this problem on a C22.
  • Make sure there are no broken wires on the forestay, which are wrapping around the forestay inside the extrusion.
    • You have to inspect the swage fitting at the top of the forestay for broken strands. Replace the forestay if you find broken strands.
    • If you don't find broken strands at the top, inspect the wire at the lower swage. Remove the clevis pin that goes horizontally through the drum and slide the extrusion up to inspect the lower swage.
I wrote this off the top of my head and there's a good chance I forgot something important which I will remember later (or not, LOL) If so, I will add it later, and label it as having been (edited)
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Aug 3, 2012
Performance Cruising Telstar 28 302 Watkins Glen
All good points by DrJudyB. Additionally, CDI recommends rinsing the drum “bearing” to clean it. The base model has no real bearings. If it does have bearings, you can rinse and lube them, something I have never needed to do in 10 years and 3 CDI furlers. The thing that has caused me the most trouble is tension on the genoa sheets while furling and poor tension on the furling line while unfurling. Consider that you have 20’ of mechanical advantage with the genoa sheets while furling, not to mention the resistance of the genoa in the wind. It does not want to be furled, even headed upwind.
Make sure you have turned off the wind and have blanketed the genoa with the main to decrease pressure on the genoa. The slightest tension on the sheets results in many pounds of resistance on the furler.
The furling line is thinner and gives you less power when deploying the genoa. This makes it a little difficult to limit the amount of genoa you deploy, as the genoa sheets can pull a lot of genoa out very fast!
The next most common problem I have encountered relates to deploying the genoa. The problem is the furler line not being led fairly into the drum as the genoa sheets are hauled. Make sure the furler line is led directly to the drum and into the middle of the drum. Each turning block will add a slight amount of resistance, or rather, a slight decrease in your advantage. Elevating the line to lead it fair to the middle of the drum will cause it to spool evenly middle-top-bottom or vice-versa as the line feeds into the drum.
If your line gets bound-up while unfurling, as it loads into the drum, it may be difficult to get it started when furling. The drum may be stuck.

I have not needed to clean bearings before. They are pretty well protected. Do not put wet lubes on them. They will attract dirt and get gummy.
Just some ideas. The CDI has proven good for me. DrJudyB is right... CDI uses a self-contained halyard. Rope on the smaller units, and wire on the larger. I have used both. Thus, there is no halyard tension with which to deal. Your forestay could be loose, which would make the foil sag. A saggy foil will not turn as easily as a straight foil. This would be adjusted by your backstay.
I know I desire a tight wrap on the genoa when I furl it... my wife gives me a look as I hold tension on the genoa sheets while she hauls the furler line... GRRR! The slightest tension on the genoa sheets translates to many pounds of tension on the furler line... that she is hauling.. maybe I should give her a Lewmar 7... then we could wrestle!

Just some ideas!
Aug 3, 2012
Performance Cruising Telstar 28 302 Watkins Glen
Oh, one other idea... if your foil is too short, it will have a gap at the top. This will cause a bend in the forestay and add resistance to furling or unfurling. You want your foil to be close to the (edit) top of the forestay. I have seen bends that have caused separation of strands from the swaged eye. Additionally, check the owner’s manual for the recommendation for the forestay (edit) connection at the mast. CDI specifies a toggle to compensate for any bend/flexing from the foil. An improper forestay (edit) connection not only creates resistance, the (edit) forestay swaged eye can part and fail, causing your mast to fall! I think that CDI foils, being measured/ cut by the owner/installer, can have some errors in length. I hope this explains that idea. Thank you to DrJudyB for catching my improper reference to the toggle! She has more expertise!
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Jan 7, 2011
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
As @DrJudyB pointed out, there is no halyard...but I think that there is an internal halyard, and you tie the tack of the sail to the drum. On mine, if I tension the tack too much, it makes it hard to turn the drum.

I don’t lubricate my CDI, but I do rinse it off and try to get in to the bushings now and then.

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Jun 25, 2004
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
I’ve seen at least two cases where a too tight internal halyard put a bend in the extrusion at the very top. That makes it harder to turn the furler,. That’s very similar to what @Tally Ho describes above, but maybe not exactly the same.

In both cases the sail was many inches shorter thabpn the extrusion, leaving a gap a the top. If the sail doesn’t go to the top of the extrusion, tensioning the halyard too much bends the very top of the extrusion. That makes it harder for the extrusion to rotate around the forestay. I’ve seen that happen.

The way to prevent this from happening is to attach a pendant to the head of the sail. The combined length of the luff and pendant should match the available space on the extrusion. With a pendant, you wont be as likely toover tighten the halyard without noticing it. You get enough tactile feedback to know the sail is up all the way and that it’s time to stop tensioning then halyard.

The two examples I’ve seen of this resulted in permanently bent extrusions. IIRC, both owners had dropped the mast and stored the sail on the furler without easing the halyard. One owner stored the furler and sail in a big PVC tube on the roof of his truck. Without a tight forestay to resist the bending force from the halyard, the extrusion bent more sharply during storage and the bend became permanent. I. Don’t recall exactly how the second owner stored the furler, but in both cases the owner needed to replace the extrusion.

I sell a handful of replacement extrusions every year to replace one that got damaged somehow or other. I always talk to the owner to find our what happened. Despite the many stories I heard over many years I don’t doubt that I’ll hear a new and novel way to ruin an extrusion sometime soon. :wahwah:

Fortunately it’s only $150-$250 to replace the extrusion for a small CDI which would be the likely size found on a trailersailer. Small Cdi furlers are really low priced compared to anything else on the market, even if you are unlucky enough that you have to repLace the extrusion.
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Jun 8, 2004
-na -NA Anywhere USA
@DrJudyB responded ver well and should be applauded.

Check the line coming out of the drum so it is not chafing against the opening. Second make sure internal halyard is not as tight as the forestay. Third make sure turning blocks are still working. Make sure drum is clean.

Judy thank you for that as you went beyond what was needed
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Mar 23, 2015
Catalina 22 MK-II Dillon, CO
Wow, lots of ideas! I appreciate all the information. Last time I went out it worked OK, so hopefully it was just a glitch, but I'll check out all the possibilities, armed with all these ideas.
Thanks, as always
Oct 22, 2014
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
I use to ski above there on the hard. Then bike ride to the lake and canoe race... Usually getting soaked. Then beer on the shore with a bonfire. End of season party.