Off she goes, Iain Oughtred's slightly foreshortened Penny Fee, at 15ft. Sails by Jeckells, spars by the wonderful Jeremy Freeland at Collars. The rest by Messrs Burke and Morgan (that's Jonny by the way...)

Monday, 10 January 2011

Wykeham Tip

Here's one I did earlier, but I reckon it should be more widely promulgated. Those of you who have Wykeham Martin furlers, read on. Those who don't won't have a clue what all the fuss is about...

The Wykeham Martin furling gear is a classic of marine engineering, as good today as it was when it was first invented. It has its idiosyncracies, naturally, one of which is to twist up your halyard above the top swivel, without unfurling the entire sail. This habit of sticking then unravelling at breakneck speed is due to the simple, and not entirely fricton-free top bearing, which is under some fierce luff tension. This tendency to twist up at the top does little for halyard longevity or sail shape. 

My solution was to fit a stainless snaphook, Wichard make the best, through the eye of the top swivel’s bronze shackle pin, and mouse it up good and strong (I added some rubber self amalgamating tape). The Wichard hook clips on and runs up the forestay (see picture) locking the top part of the swivel, allowing the bottom half to turn freely, and unfurl the sail without sticking. The snaphook also has the advantage of keeping the ‘sausage’of the furled sail nicely under control when it’s hoisted aloft.


  1. Since I'm one of the ignorant, I have to assume the swivel doesn't attach to the forestay, as designed and the first attachment is the first slide on the jib?
    If so, this is an easy fix and brilliant.


  2. The swivel was never designed to attach to the forestay! It shackles to the jib halyard, as shown in the photo, the jib being loose luffed (as is always the case with a W-M gear).

    This is a furling, not a reefing gear. All in or all out, and does not involve the forestay. It entails having a wire jib luff to provide tension. Hope that helps.

  3. I'm with you now. Even more brilliant. Could be your million dollar idea...