Genoa Furler Mods, a la Amel Caraibe

Bill Kinney

We have been in Martinique having some maintenance done by Alban and his crew.  It is a real delight to deal with professional boat mechanics who understand Amel Yachts inside and out.  Here are a couple modifications to the original design that Amel has come up with to improve the functionality and longevity of the genoa furling system.  Some of these have been discussed before on this forum, but I don't remember seeing any photos...

First, is the method of securing the manual furling drum. This has been mentioned on the forum before, but a photo might help.  The original factory system used rivets. Eventually, the reversing loads distort the soft metal of the rivet, and they fail.  In the process of failing, the holes in the aluminum foil are distorted making a repair more complex. It was a quick and easy system to assemble when building the boats, but not good for the long run.

The new and improved system uses these metal blocks that fit inside grooves of the foil, and are threaded to accept a machine screw. It's not obvious from the photo, but there are two blocks, and each block uses two screws. This is a MUCH more secure system than rivets, or anything else that just engages with the holes in the foil to transmit the torque. Way better than the solution I came up with.

The second change is not one I remember reading about before.  Inside the headstay swivel there is a small aluminum tab that engages with the groove for the genoa luff tape that forces the proper alignment of the lower part of the swivel with the foil so the latch for the ballonner mouse works as designed. An important part. I was sure ours would be in excellent shape, after all it was replaced just 18 months ago by Nance and Underwood in Fort Lauderdale.  Here is what we saw when we removed the swivel:

Sorry for the quality of the photo, which makes it a little hard to see...  The aluminum key has lost almost half of its thickness.  A few more months of rigorous sailing and it would have broken off. The issue here is that the key is loaded from one side, and then the other, as you furl and unfurl the sail.  Not only does this wear at the key, it also wears on the foil:

The arrow points to the part of the genoa luff groove where the swivel is at full hoist.  You can see that it has been deformed (especially in the "furl in" direction). As this gap get wider, the key bangs back and forth more, and it wears more, and causes more damage to the foil in an unfortunate spiral.

The good news is the guys here have a solution.  Once again, I have to apologize for the photo, but things got assembled before I realized that things were not as clear as I had hoped...

They make this plastic part they call a "pin" that slides up the luff groove with the swivel. It has a slot to accept the standard aluminum tab.  Now, instead of the tab bearing against the sides of the luff groove, the "pin" distributes the load across a wide area. This prevents wear on the pin and on the foil.  Brilliant.

Bill Kinney
SM160, Harmonie
Le Marin, Martinique

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