How to Convert a Sail to Roller Furling (PDF)
A lot of sailors want to know if they can convert their current sail to fit a roller furling unit. The answer is yes! Our free downloadable PDF instructions include all the information on how to do this. Most modern reefing/furling units use a continuous support tape along the leading edge of the sail that slides into a groove in the furler. These instructions will show you how to cut down your sail’s luff and add the continuous support tape.
Also included in these instructions is how to add a sacrificial sun cover to a sail. Sacrificial sun covers are a band of UV resistant fabric along the leech and foot of a sail. When rolled on the furling unit, this fabric will be exposed to the elements, protecting the rest of the sail.
For making your own sacrificial sun cover, we recommend using Sunbrella® Marine Grade fabric or Dacron® Insignia Sailcloth. Sunbrella is a solution-dyed acrylic woven fabric. It has exceptional UV, water and abrasion resistance. It also is very fade resistant and mold/mildew resistant. It does not noticeably shrink or stretch and it will last for years on your boat. The only potential downside to Sunbrella is that it is heavy at 9 oz./sq. yd.
For small boats or areas with light air and moderate sunlight, we recommend Insignia Adhesive Backed UV Dacron. It's only 3.3 oz./sailmakers yard. It is adhesive-backed which also makes it easy to work with, though you will want to sew it in place still. It can be used for UV sun covers on headsails, spreader patches, for general sail repair, and for boltrope sleeve repair.
Download the printable instructions document below to learn how to convert your sail to fit a roller furling unity. Also, learn how to sew a sacrificial sun cover!
At Sailrite®, we're all about teaching sailors how to be more self-reliant at sea. We offer free how-to video tutorials on a wide variety of marine sewing DIYs. We also sell all the fabrics, supplies, tools, hardware, sewing machines and notions you need to sew projects for your boat. Everything is always in stock and ready to ship to you so you can get started on your next great sewing project as quickly as possible!