Roller Furling Maintenance
I decided to loosen up my forestay a bit this weekend by taking a few turns out of the turnbuckle inside the roller furling drum given that I can barely get pins in my backstay turnbuckles.
It seemed to me once I got it apart, that this is the only way to clean and lube the lower bearings. Mine had accumulated quite a bit of gunk.
It's a breeze to do, but you have to drop the sail and remove the furling line from the drum first. I'm convinced that it should be done annually or more often depending on your conditions. (or the thing might corrode to the point where you'll never get it apart.)
How I did it...
Tools: 2 sizes of allen wrench and a phillips screwdriver and a tube of anti-seize grease to use on the screws.
1) Remove the 4 phillips screws around the hub of the drum. (You probably have to remove the furling line to access these.)
2) Attach the genoa halyard to the shackle on the top of the drum where the tack of the sail normally connects and take up the slack.
3) loosen the 4 allen screws on the aluminium block a couple feet above the drum. These allen screws were captive screws on my furler. I think you can leave it attached if they're loose enough.
4) using the winch, gently, winch the drum up. Don't go crazy with the tension, just put a bit of load on it and then pull *up* on the top edge of the drum. It should slide up enough to see and lube the bearings with sailcote.
5) If you want to loosen or tighten the turnbuckle, you need to do one other thing. There is a single Allen Screw just below the block with the 4 allen screws you loosened earlier. (It's larger than the others and is recessed) Remove this screw. It's the stop that keeps the long furling track from sliding down towards the turnbuckle. Take up more slack on the halyard to raise the drum until you can access the turnbuckle.
The only caution I have here is that you need to *hold* the furling track up in place and lower the drum when reinstalling that allen screw stop. I let the track slide down and it wedged down over the fitting on top of the turnbuckle and it took a good tug to get it back up.
I put some pictures in the Technical photos section of the drum apart.
I'm sure there is a more detailed manual on how to do this somewhere.
Just an FYI...