My hull was #243. 2002 model.
Why not in mast:
1. Basically because of sailshape and performance. I nearly always had a small flap or "flutter" in the leech. Drove me crazy. Hard to control sail shape.
2. Never had any issues with sail not furling/unfurling - but it sure is slooow to furl. A trad main with batt cars can be dropped in 1 s should it be necessary (after coming thru a cut in the Bahamas and having very little space to maneuver while furling main).
3. I would much prefer a traditional main with harken batt cars (although the batt cars also detract from perfomance somewhat...)
Space for all the stuff:
We were only two people on our cruise, wife and I. No kids. If two people cannot fit their stuff on a 40' boat (even if it is a J122) - they have too much stuff.
I carried a lot of tools and spares, remnants of my once decent wine cellar ;-) and cruising guides, charts etc. No books - kindle or ipad takes careof that. three small laptops, small printer, scanner, foulies, ditch bag, first aid kit etc etc. We had space to spare while cruising.
While living on the boat and going to work - differrent story. One need a lot more clothes, shoes etc, especially north of Florida where it gets cold in winter.
Don't get me wrong, I loved our C400, I think it is an excellent boat for what we did.
If I bought a boat again for weekend and occasional week long sails on Chesapeake bay (where summer winds are often light) it would be smaller, maybe 32'-35'. Less systems - more performance and more sailing.
2 people do not need a 40' for that, and I find that the larger the boat the less inclined one is to take it our for a 2 hr sail on a wednesday night after work or for a casual race.
If I bought a boat again for long term cruising - I would carefully consider a performance catamaran (if I had the $$$).
Now, I'm thinking about what kind of tractor to get... ;-)
Totally agree on the performance part of the main. I don't have your flutter though. That would have driven me crazy too. In fact, I would have jerked that sail down and taken it to the sailmaker!!! However, for the small performance loss, I sure do love the other aspects of the inmast. We were in a nasty storm off of Pensacola. THe boat was really rolling. One reef wasn't enough. The ability to drop in another reef without going forward or leaving the safety of the cockpit sold me. I can take one in or shake one out by myself, from the cockpit, night or day, with ease.
On my C380, we had trad slab reefing. I came to HATE it. I was actually about to invest in the Harken Battcar system too. I noticed that it was such a pain to raise and lower it, not to mention dropping in reefs and going forward, that we did not use it much and at night would often drop in a reef whether the weather warranted it or not. I do not drop in a reef on inmast until I have to. And Kris can drop one in or take one out at night without waking me up or me worrying about her or the kids. I know she is safe.
Using your bahamas example, as I am sure you know, if you blew that main (depending on the wind), that sail probably would not come all the way down, could very likely be fluttering part way on the deck, and would require someone to go forward. I think inmast is MUCH faster than a trad main, and much easier to single. This is from a cruising point of view. Racing?? Not on your life!!
We do have to carry more stuff than you did. I have tried to be pretty upfront about that. But a lot of the stuff I carry - tools, spare parts, tender, books, charts, etc... are things that would carry over no matter how many were on board. And the tankage on many of those boats simply would not work.
Regarding the performance cats? I have been on many cats, I would not call any of them performance. They at first look like a great deal. But we were on a lagoon with good friends of ours and they hate the lack of storage. Just two of them and they are FT Cruising. Theirs is only a 36 or 38 though. ALso, better start checking out slip availability before going too far! You might find many of the marinas either don't have space for you, can't fit you, or will charge you a ridiculous price for putting your cat there. However, other than their cost and their slip availability, they sure do offer a LOT of positives! I personally would not rule one out, though if I was looking at paying that much, I might lean more to a Taswell or Hylas or HR that just had more waterline.