The hydraulic headsail furling started to open up at sea one day and, after opening the cap on the furling unit and starting to diagnose the problem, a couple of steel bearings dropped overboard and some of the nylon bearings were seen to have been crushed.
Now carrying vital spare bearings, some of which need fitting immediately, as the headsail furling grease had dried out at some stage allowing some balls to drop over the side when the bearing was first loosened. The bearings are a 50/50 mix of 6mm 316 steel ball bearings with a crush rating of 2,040kg and delrin 6mm balls (much lower crush rate but the OEM’s are not heavier rated torlon).
To the right is the open headsail furling cap sited above the hydraulic gear system in which the roller balls are visible. You can see that without waterproof grease retaining the balls when the bearing opens (due to a loose locknut in this case) the ball bearings simply fall out of their track with a bounce on deck and a plip-plop into the sea below the bow.