Furling is the dominant mechanism for over speed and power control of small wind turbines. In this paper we present a consistent model of the dynamics of gravity-controlled furling systems based on a Lagrangian formalism. The aerodynamic forces acting on tail vane and rotor have been modeled using Xfoil and blade element momentum (BEM) theory, respectively. Due to the proximity of tail vane and rotor a model of the near-wake generated by the rotor was incorporated into the model, assuming a parabolic wake shape. The different design parameters, such as lever lengths and axis tilt angles, have been studied in a systematic manner and their impact on the wind speed values for entering and leaving the furling regime have been assessed. In the first part of the study the free-stream in-flow wind speed was fixed at a given value and the system was allowed to reach stable conditions. The steady-state values of the yaw and furling angle were recorded as a function of wind speed both for increasing and decreasing wind speed and the consequences for design choices have been discussed. In the second part, a slow variation of input wind speed was superimposed on the constant wind speed signal and the dynamic response of the system was analyzed. The results of the study are thought to provide an initial roadmap for the design of furling systems.