Let’s take a look at some of the big names in the boom furler industry; Leisure Furl by Forespar, Pro Furl In-Boom Furlers, Schaefer’s Beta Boom Furler, and Furlboom. Having had experience with all of these units at one point or another, allow us to give you our thoughts on these seemingly similar, but yet ‘O-so’ different boom furlers.
Coming in at 4th place is the Pro Furl In-boom Furler. Pro Furl boom furlers are lighter then the rest, but that usually means more plastic parts and pieces which just can’t last as long as anodized aluminum and stainless steel. If you look at Pro Furls behind the mast track, it seems a bit rickety, dainty, and wobbly. I will say however, that their actual spar design is quite sleek and attractive. Other than maybe a very small day sailor where weight is an issue, I wouldn’t recommend this unit.
Schaefer makes the podium at third place, living up to their reputation for being robust and high quality. This furler is a more solid, high quality, product than a lot of the other options out there. The Schaefer system lacks in three departments in our book, looks (no taper and just plain big), again a loosely mounted main sail track, and lastly, Schaefer utilizes a furling drum that is mounted at the very outboard end of the boom. This can make gybing an already heavy boom even more interesting, especially if it is accidental. Boom brakes recommended…..
Anytime I see a behind the mast track I would prefer it to be solidly mounted, as the mainsail track is a highly used and pretty important portion of the mainsail system. In second place (a close 1st), we have the Furlboom system. Here we have a very similarly sleek and tapered design to that of the Leisure Furl (it’s almost like they stole their design). Furlboom boasts there is no hole to drill through the mast for the drum install (unlike Leisure Furl), they also claim that they offer a lighter spar than the competition. The Furlboom system is sleek, well designed and not much unlike the Leisure Furl. I would recommend this furler for the coastal/ in-land cruiser, boat sizes 25′-38′.
And the winner is………the Leisure Furl System. This system has been around a long time. Which equals many years of R & D (which usually means they have worked out the kinks). Leisure Furl has always had a solidly mounted, behind the mast track, which we like. Over the years Forespar has only simplified, instead of adding to, or over-complicating their original design. We like that too! They have also eliminated most of the plastic pieces except for the bottom feeder track, they call this the ‘Flexy Feeder’. This piece is crucial for better off the wind furling and hoisting. Another great feature in this design is that it keeps a majority of the weight inboard (much like the Furlboom) by mounting the furling drum on the face of the mast. Initially, I was a bit skeptical of the 1″+ hole that needs to be drilled at the gooseneck for the furling mandrel. However, by putting a solid stainless steel rod through it, along with the massive gooseneck bracket that accompanies it, this typically weak and highly loaded area of the mast, is actually strengthened. There is nothing cheap about the Leisure Furl system. Overall, I would recommend the Leisure Furl boom furler for the serious blue water cruiser, 35′ and over.
Although there are differences, these booms are all priced very closely. I recommend checking each one out in detail for yourself by clicking on the images or the hyperlinks to link to the manufacturers website and find out for yourself. Keep in mind, these manufacturers will also require replacing the mainsail, a possible vang replacement and you will most likely need an electric winch (with a properly mounted foot switch) and something to ‘snub’ with (i.e. snubber winch or polished stainless cleat), for furling and hoisting. A boom brake or preventer is also recommend for these systems, especially the heavy ones.
Have question or comment, leave us a not in the comment section. We will reply! Thanks for the read, see you on the water.