Originally Posted by danielgoldberg
....I am struggling much more with the mast furling issue. My gut reaction is to go with a traditional battened main, .... Frankly, in Bermuda, there were many many boats with furling mains (not the racers of course, but perhaps even a majority of the cruisers who were there).......Surprisingly, to me anyway, a traditional main now is more expensive than the in-mast furling unit. Still more research to do, but it's looking like if we buy just about any new boat, we'll need to address this issue, as they all come with furling mains and they charge you extra to go the other way.
This last is surprising to me as well... a few years back a furling main was at least a $10K extra cost item.
I think you're probably right about the reliability of furling mains having come a long way, but you're right about all the other issues too.
If you're going to be Caribbean island hopping, or otherwise mostly tradewind reaching, the performance disadvantages associated with furling mains will likely be minimal. But (another left coast sailor here) if you spend a fair bit of time trying to get to weather (we seem totally out of sync with the weather patterns this year - the kite's only been out once) I'd be much more concerned about having a regular, battened roachy main.
I'm a bit bothered by the fact than many manufacturers are essentially taking that decision away from buyers by providing in-mast mains as the standard package. - esp if they start charging a premium for the once-standard hoisting main.