Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Drifter"
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Thread: "Drifter"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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Ben Boblett

Hi, almost finished sewing up my Sailrite drifter and wondering how others have set the sail up on their boats. I've seen Facnor furling units but they are expensive, so I'm interested in how others hoist/furl/store their sails.

I'm also interested in conditions other Westsailors have used the drifter especially in light air reaching.

Norm Rhines


we fly our 440 drifter loose luft (Just hoisted from a shive on a "BAIL we mounted on top of the mast") and we have an extra ring on a 2 foot long wire to tack down the tack, to the front of the bowsprit . Please don't use the mast head shives to do this, as it will saw through the line as the sail pulls the line off to side. (you need to hank on the sail if you use the regular mast head lines.

Also we use a turning block at the boom gallows for the sheets as this has the best lead for shape.

A tip use the light weight poly line for the sheets on this sail as they can be the same size as your regular working sheets but won't deflate (because of weight ) the sail in really light wind.

Fair winds

Norm Rhines

No furl but flake on deck.
stored in a bag below deck as dry as possible.

Ben Boblett

Norm, thanks for your thoughts on the drifter. Do you have any photos of the connection to the bowsprit you use? I have a rolling furler on the head stay and would like to set it up so I can use my Jib and the Drifter as double headsails for downwind work. It would also be nice to see the "bail" you have at the mast head since I've never seen one. Is it welded?

Bud Taplin


You can use a 1/2" shackle in place of the clevis pin where the headstay turnbuckle attaches to the end of the bowsprit. This will give you a loop to attach the tack of the light sail. For the masthead bail, here is the picture of the one I supply. Bolts through the masthead at the forward end.

masthead bail

Ben Boblett

Bud, how much is the bail attachment?

Also I'm not sure I understand the suggestion for replacing the clevis pin on the headstay. I have a roller furler on the head stay and it would seem to be in the way? If you have a photo that would be helpful.


Bud Taplin

Ben, I will send you an email with the info.

I do not have a picture of the shackle on the end of the bowsprit, but it would go through the hole on the fitting on the top end of the bowsprit. Normally the lower toggle of the headstay turnbuckle goes through that hole. If you have long link plates on the lower end of your furler, then you could still put on a shackle in place of the clevis pin. The shackle pin is the same diameter as the clevis pin, or 1/2", and the shackle faces forward. This gives an attachment point for the lower end block and tackle for the sail, and is clear in front of the headstay and furler.

Norm Rhines

I have not got around to the photo, but you can almost see the shackle and the wire pendent on the bow (pic below). It is in a arc over the platform. Look close at the bow.


Using a shackle instead of the normal clevis pin in the turnbuckle. My pendent is just long enough to have the tack just above the top rail on the pulpit (Chafe), It just hangs down or over the bowsprit when not in use.

Oh: I used a bail that Svens in Alameda makes on my mast head, but what Bud has above will also work great.

Hope this helps.

Norm Rhines

one other point; The free flying sail pulls the tack away from the roller furler unless it is way down near the bowsprit.
The side movement is also the reason you need the bail at the mast head. (chafe issues)

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This site is provided as service to Westsail Owners by Jack Webb on Westsail 32, Hull #438, at http://HighSeasDrifter.net,
This site is provided as service to Westsail Owners by  Jack Webb (s/v Drifter, Westsail 32, Hull #438)