Best bottom up furlers: Top 5 from Upffront.com - Autumn 2023

Published Date: September 29 2023 by Calanach Finlayson

Ubi_Maior_fr-Furler©StudioBorlenghi_StefanoGattini-1

Image copyright - © Studio Borlenghi / Stefano Gattini

 

In this blog we round up 5 of the best bottom up furlers on the market. Choosing the right bottom up furler is a question of boat size and SWL (safe working load), sail area, performance level and budget. Furling code zero sails and asymmetric/gennaker sails offer fast reaching and ease of handling that appeals to sailing cruisers as well as to sail racers. In one of our previous blogs we have posted a guide to help you choose the right size of code zero or asymmetric/gennaker furler. In this blog we explore different furler brands, their features and to which style of sailing they are best suited.

Best bottom up furler for cruising boats 35-40ft: Profurl NEX

 

Profurl NEX furler

Image copyright - Profurl

 

Profurl is a well-known player in the bottom up furlers range with the Wichard group behind them. They produce straightforward aluminium units with a durable design that can withstand a bashing. The version 2 range of NEX furlers stays true to the original concept, but adds a couple of neat features. One of them is the FurlAssist ratchet mechanism. It auto locks the drum to prevent accidental unfurling and is released by applying a sufficient load to the furling line. This video explains how FurlAssist works:

 

 

Key features of Profurl NEX:

•    0.9-8T SWL standard range
•    Robust design
•    Quick release pin
•    Optional auto ratchet
•    Compatible with Wichard MXEvo 2:1/3:1 sheave
•    Best for 35 – 40ft cruiser

 

Profurl NEX range


Best all-round bottom up furler: Karver KF 

 

No list of bottom up furlers would be complete without Karver. With the launch of version 3 furlers, Karver have managed to create a unique and feature-rich product at a remarkable price point. The new KF furlers, which launched in 2020, are a break from tradition with a carbon/Kevlar composite wheel, as well as a carbon housing with rubberised impact protection. 

 

Karver KF furler

Image copyright - Karver

 

A particularly great feature is the 2:1 snap shackle which can be clipped directly to a 2:1 tackline. The lashing eye on the swivel is nice for soft connections, but can present compatibility issues with larger snap shackles. The 0.9T unit easily wins in the under 1T category while larger sizes are also extremely well priced, making them a viable option for cruisers and racers. In addition, the 1.5T and 3T sizes are available with an optional larger drum diameter for increased furling power. Drum locks are standard across the range.

 

Key features of Karver KF:

•    0.9-8T SWL standard range
•    Lots of useful features
•    2:1 snap shackle as standard
•    Large drum available for 1.5T and 3T
•    Quick release pin
•    Drum lock as standard
•    Great solution for small boats
•    Best all round for performance cruisers and racers alike

 

Karver KF range


Best bottom up furler for coastal and offshore racing: KZ Racefurlers

 

KZ Racefurlers-1

Image copyright - KZ Race Furlers

 

KZ Race Furlers is the only non-European entry in our list based in New Zealand. As the name suggests, these bottom up furlers have a racing pedigree, having been developed off the back of the Volvo Ocean Race and other big boat classes. The range is split between an inshore spec for smaller boats and an offshore range from 6T+ SWL. All KZ furlers are highly configurable, with all possible drum / swivel attachments and even fork width options.

 

Key features of KZ Race Furlers:

•    1-10T SWL standard range
•    A racing product as the name suggests
•    Optional jaw width
•    Many fitting options including 2:1, Tylaska etc
•    Solid and proven
•    Best for offshore racing, 30ft+

 

KZ Race Furlers range


Best bottom up furler for modern classic yachts: Bamar RLG Evo

 

Bamar RLG EVO 20

Image copyright - Bamar


Bamar furlers make no exception from any Italians that are renowned for style. The RLG Evo furlers represent quality engineering, with a golden anodising for a bit of bling. These bottom up furlers are as well suited to the end of a carbon bowsprit as they are next to polished stainless and teak. While the narrow jaw widths can sometimes present compatibility issues, Bamar has caught up quickly in recent years with their range of accessories and add-ons. Unfortunately drum locks are not available, but this isn’t really an issue with a good Velcro patch on the sail clew. The RLG Evo furlers really come into their own when combined with the dedicated top-down stay kit. But that’s a topic for another blog!


Key features of Bamar RLG Evo furlers:

•    2-10T SWL standard range
•    Stylish design
•    Narrow jaw width
•    No drum lock
•    Great with top-down kit
•    Would nicely suit a classic yacht
•    Best for cruisers of 50ft+, especially where style is important

 

Bamar RLG Evo range

 

Best bottom up furler for cruising boats 45ft+: Ubi Maior FR

 

UBI Maior FR furler

Image copyright - UBI Maior


Ubi Maior furlers are a more recent entry to the marine hardware scene, also bringing some Italian flair to their product range. The Ubi Maior FR range of bottom up furlers features an aluminium drum with a spindle inside a Delrin housing. Ubi Maior is big on accessories, offering a 2:1 snap shackle for the 0.5T, 0.75T, 1.5T and 5T SWL models as well as solid friction sheaves and 2:1 blocks. All but the 0.5T and 0.75T units have an optional locking mechanism operated via a thin pull cord, separate to the furling line. Ubi Maior furlers are particularly price competitive at the 5T plus range.

 

Key features of Ubi Maior FX:

•    0.5-13T SWL standard range
•    Optional drum lock
•    Range of drum fittings including friction sheave and friction snap shackle
•    Good price point at the higher end of SWL
•    Best for cruising boats of 45ft+

 

Ubi Maior range

 

 

Summary on best bottom up furlers

 

With so many bottom up furlers available on the market, we wanted to help you make an informed choice by highlighting some of the key features from each manufacturer. Each of these 5 different brands offers a fantastic furler set and that cater to a slightly different niche of the sailing world. Profurl NEX stands out for cruising boats in the 35-40ft range with the FurlAssist ratchet mechanism for secure furling. Karver KF furlers, with their carbon/Kevlar composite wheel and competitive pricing, offer versatility suitable for both small and larger boats, making them an all-round choice for performance cruisers and racers. KZ Race Furlers shine in coastal and offshore racing, particularly on boats over 30ft. For modern classic yachts, Bamar RLG Evo furlers combine stylish Italian design with engineering quality, best-suited for yachts of 50ft or more. Ubi Maior FR offers a range of accessories and competitive pricing, making them an excellent choice for cruising boats 45ft and above. We hope this brief rundown will help you identify the bottom up furler that is right for your boat!

 

If you have any questions about furling sets or need help choosing one of the above products, please feel free to email us at support@upffront.com, or click the link below to talk to one of our experts.

 

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