Use Downwind Sails More Often
The Harken Reflex™ furling system is a game changer! Harken's patent-pending Reflex furlers provide sailors confidence that their free-flying spinnaker, gennakers and code sails will furl with speed and control. The result? Sailors use downwind sails more often-even when sailing shorthanded. Pull the furling line and the drive unit reacts reflexively to rotate the torsion cable, instantly transferring torque to the head swivel without unwanted twist delaying the response. The result is a fast, smooth roll-up and super-tight furl.
"If 'top down' furling was as easy as traditional headsail furling, you'd see them on more boats. It's a real design challenge," said Peter Harken, Chairman of the Board. "For a free-flying sail to furl evenly and completely when you pull the furling line on deck, the head swivel at the top of the rig needs to start turning now! Everything in the Harken Reflex system is designed to achieve NOW. This is great news for sailors itching to get their asymmetrics out of the forepeak and into the air."
A unique quick-release modular T-fitting allows a single drive unit to handle multiple sails. The rolled sail easily disconnects with the pull of one spring-loaded pin, and a new furled sail slides and locks into the T-slot. Each sail has its own torsion cable, with head and tack swivels permanently fitted to each sail. The drive unit's large diameter provides powerful furling, while its extreme low profile maximizes the sail's luff length. The hardcoat-anodized 6061-T6 aluminum sheave spins on Torlon® ball bearings to reduce friction. A flexible cowling of impact-resistant polycarbonate alloy lets crew quickly feed the furling line into the drive sheave without tools. Offset holes grip rope securely when furling, with the stripper and feeder working together to prevent line from jamming.
A choice of drive unit attachments to the bow fitting or sprit is offered. A snap shackle for a quick connection is included. A more permanent D shackle or a loop soft-attach/2:1 purchase to control luff tension are also available.
The torsion cable is the heart of the Reflex system. Composed of a core of braided polyester covered by braided stainless steel and protective jacketed cover, its job is to transfer torque without unwanted twist and to begin winding the sail evenly and completely top-to-bottom the minute the furling line is pulled. Torsionally stiff, the Harken Reflex torsion cable is designed to resist corkscrewing. It functions as a flexible drive shaft, requiring a fraction of the halyard tension of other cables. Internal Harken testing results indicate the Reflex cable transfers two times the torque of any other we have tested.
The Reflex torsion cable furls code zero sails beautifully too. Alone, however, it is not designed to accept higher luff loads generated by code zero halyard tension. An additional tension-handling rope is required. The Reflex torsion cable will be sold in bulk by riggers and sailmakers.
The low-profile head swivel is the lightest and most responsive we've ever built. An integral thimble terminal for the torsion cable saves weight by eliminating eye and pin connections. The compact bearing system reduces weight aloft, while the low profile maximizes luff length. Each head and tack swivel stays with its sail permanently and is stowed together, ready for the next deployment. A padded cover prevents damage to spars.
The Harken Reflex comes in two sizes: Unit 1 is rated for 1.5T MWL for boats to 11 m (36′); Unit 2 is rated for 2.5T MWL for boats up to 14 m (45′).
Torlon is a registered trademark of Solvay Advanced Polymers L.L.C.