A54 Main Sail furling foil weak point

Arno Luijten

Dear Forum,

This week I finished a repair that may interest a few of you. From what I know quite a few A54s have had a repair to the foil inside the main mast.
Our build number 121 has had a repair on the foil at some point. Unknown who made the repair.

As we have bought a new mainsail I decided to do a close inspection of the furling system while there is no mainsail present. I noticed the sail-groove between the lower short piece of foil was not exactly in line with the large part that goes up the mast. Upon closer inspection and disassembly I found a few things.
Inside the foil at the point where the two pieces meet is a piece of half-round aluminum rod that connects the two pieces. It is screwed with 8 M4 screws to the inside-back of the foil.
I noticed the rod was actually twisted at the point where two foil-pieces meet. Clearly a result of too much torsion force exhibited to the rod. As the rod occupies less then 50% of the diameter surface of the foil this was not a big surprise. It also explained the misalignment of the the sail-groove. The picture below shows the twist in the rod if you look carefully.

So I had the local workshop straighten out the rod again using heat and other clever stuff. Next I drilled new holes in the reinforcement rod, this time for M5 screws to get a stronger connection between the foil and the rod. I also had the workshop prepare a collar for me that slides exactly over the foil.

The collar has a slit to allow access to the sail-groove in the foil. It screws sideways into the reinforcement rod using M5 screws. I also added a few M4 screws into the front half of the foil. In hindsight I should have used rivets for those front screws as the foil has very little "meat" in the wall to tap a thread.

This is the result

This will give much more support to the torsion forces exhibited by the motor and I expect the rod no longer to get deformed because of torsion forces.

The original repair was actually done quite sloppy. The screws in the rod were only M4, not drilled perpendicular to the surface and clearly not strong enough as some of them ripped out the threads. Other were seized as no Duralac/Tef-gel was used.
What also went wrong during the original repair is that the reinforcement part that sits inside the base of the foil (a short piece of the same rod as earlier described) where it is connected to the drive system somehow managed to slide upwards into the foil-tube when they were drilling the hole for the bolt that connects the drive to the foil. The result was that the reinforcement part was not doing anything. Because of this the bolt-hole in the foil turned into an oval giving a lot of play in the connection. So I re-drilled/reassembled it to look like this

Now the bolt goes through the reinforcement and I also added a screw to fix the reinforcement part to the back of the foil-tube to prevent it from moving inside the foil. This makes the connection much stronger obviously.

Finally I also modified the outhaul-car to get some better attachment points for the drive system

I hope this is of some help to other Amel owners that may have similar problems.


Arno Luijten
SV Luna,

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