Introducing the Bamar ROLLGEN top down furling system and why, at Upffront, we think this is a great product for cruising boats from 38-60 Feet. Bamar is an Italian manufacturer of furling systems including in-mast mainsail furlers, captive winches and other systems for larger superyachts. They have a reputation for engineering quality and their RLG EVO Furlers are a simple but highly engineered range of small boat furlers.
Specifying top down furling systems
As a code zero furler they are excellent units, but it is the specification of the ROLLGEN top down stay kit where the RLG EVO system stands out from the crowd. Most continuous line furlers were designed around the needs of bottom up code zero furling. However, top down furling requires a furling cable of significantly larger diameter, and this is where you have to be careful. When specifying a top down system, we always start by determining the correct diameter of the torsional cable (see guide to cable sizing here). Once we know the cable diameter we can then assess which furlers have the jaw width to accommodate the cable thimble. Many in the industry will start by sizing the furler and then fit the cable to the furler, BUT most jaw widths were designed for bottom up furling and therefore tend to be too small to fit the correct sized cable. Safe working loads are relatively low for top down furling systems, however, it is surprising how often we have to go UP a furler size to accommodate the correct cable.
RLG EVO ROLLGEN System
The Bamar RLG EVO ROLLGEN system is a complete top down furling package. It includes a standard furling drum and swivel, which can be used for bottom up furling, plus what is called a ROLLGEN Stay Kit. This kit consists of a cut length of torsional rope, finished with a furling thimble at the upper end, which attaches to the top swivel. At the lower end is a custom termination which clamps the cable (cut to the required length on site) with two rows of grub screws. This fitting slots into the furling drum jaw but also incorporates a top down swivel adapter to attach the gennaker tack, allowing it to spin independently of the furling drum.
Industry standard torsional rope diameters are 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15mm, however the ROLLGEN system, specifically designed for top down furling, has 13, 15 and 18mm standard diameters. Standard ROLLGEN Stay Kits are available for the RLG EVO 8, 10 and 20 furlers which have Safe Working Loads (SWL) of 2t, 3t and 5t respectively and are suitable for boats from approx. 38-60ft.
Take the RLG EVO 8 as an example. As a code zero furler the jaw width can accommodate a 9mm torsional rope and in the same size range (1.5-2t), Facnor, Karver, Selden, Ronstan can all accommodate similar 9 - 11 mm ropes. However, the ROLLGEN stay is 13mm, which is a perfect top down furling diameter in this load range. For the other brands, you would have to go up to 2.5t unit to fit a 13mm rope in the furler jaw, which can lead to increases in overall cost and weight.
The ROLLGEN Stay comes with a full length foam gaiter which also increases the diameter around which the sail furls, thus increasing the speed of the furl and protecting the sail and cable from abrasion / wear. As an optional extra, you can also incorporate a "Luff Control" device which is mounted on the cable above the tack swivel which allows you to adjust sail luff tension from the cockpit using a tack line, whilst sailing.
There will always be other factors which come into play, for example the Bamar RLG EVO furlers do NOT have drum locks, or there may be a good reason to go up a SWL size to ensure your unit can be used as a code zero furler as well. However, as a dedicated cruising top down furler, we have found the Bamar ROLLGEN system is extremely well positioned in terms of quality vs price and top down furling performance, which is primarily driven by the correct torsional cable diameter.
If you have any questions about top down furling or need help finding the right system for your boat, then please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, get more detailed information on the Bamar ROLLGEN system by clicking the link below.