HARKEN REFLEX Free Flying Headsail Furling Systems

Harken’s Reflex™ furling system has proven reliable, tight, top-to-bottom kite furls are more than a dream. Now meet Unit 3. All Reflex… all pumped up for the halyard loads of boats 14 –18 m (46 – 60′).

The promise of “top down” furlers is simple, yet has been notoriously difficult to follow through on. For a free-flying sail to furl evenly and completely, the head swivel at the top of the rig needs to start turning as soon as the crew begins pulling the furling line on the deck below. The Reflex systems, powered by Harken’s breakthrough torsion cable does just that – transferring torque at lightning speed. The result is tight, reliable, top-to-bottom furls.

Core Components

Reflex Drive Unit

A quick-release modular T-fitting allows a single drive unit to handle multiple sails. The furled sail easily disconnects with the pull of a pin, and a new sail slides and locks into the T-slot. Each sail has its own torsion cable, with head and tack swivels permanently fitted. The drive unit’s large diameter and low profile provides powerful furling while maximizing the sail’s luff length. A flexible and impact-resistant cowling lets crew 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 jamming.

Reflex Head Swivel

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.

Reflex Torsion Cable

The torsion cable is the heart of the Reflex system. Composed of three layers, the core is braided polyester in the smaller unit 1 and 2, while the unit 3 features braided Dyneema®, to accommodate higher halyard loads. The core is covered by braided stainless steel and a protective jacketed cover. Torsionally stiff, the cable is designed to resist corkscrewing while torque is transferred from the deck to the upper unit so the sail can begin winding evenly and completely top-to-bottom. It functions as a flexible drive shaft, requiring a fraction of the halyard tension of other cables.

Reflex Models

  • Unit 1 is rated for 1.5T MWL for boats up to 11 meters (36 feet).
  • Unit 2 is rated for 2.5T MWL for boats 11 - 14 meters (36 - 45 feet).
  • Unit 3 is rated for 4.5T MWL for monohulls 12 - 17.7 meters (39 - 58 feet) and multihulls 11 - 16.7 meters (36 - 55 feet). The Unit 3 torsion cable features a Dyneema-core to accommodate higher halyard loads.

Reflex Accessories

Lead Block Kits

Harken recommends equipping asymmetric/code zero furling systems with lead blocks for safe furling from the cockpit. Lightweight, UV-stabilized Carbo® blocks run exclusively on ball bearings for fast trimming under any load. Furling leads are offered separately or in complete kits.

Code Zero Variation

The quick-release modular T-fitting allows the bottom unit to handle code zero as well as asymmetric sails. The Reflex torsion cable furls code zero sails beautifully, but must be supported with a tension handling line to accommodate the higher luff loads generated by code zero halyard tension. This combination results in the very best code zero furling.

Additional Resources


© J Composites / Jean-Marie Liot

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