Join Date: Jul 2002
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Amel vs others
Genesis, let me try to fair a curve between Jeff''s and Eric''s replies - which at first blush might appear to be world''s apart.
There are a huge variety of furling systems out there, which means delivery skippers - and owners - are going to have a wide variety of experiences with them. Add an electric motor and one increases the potential for a bad furl to be even more difficult to back out of, to break something, or for a motor to seize. It''s also fair to say that many of the problems experienced with mainsail furling are at least in part crew-induced. So...if you start with a weak system (e.g. only a bottom swivel, or a sail not properly designed for the system and the spar, or a misalignment, or a system not properly serviced), it will take even less of a mistake by the crew to end up in trouble.
As with many other of its systems, Amel''s approach is to engineer the furling systems on the boat so that problems are less likely. As Eric points out, they also incorporate manual furling altho'' this is partly a false lead as a manual override won''t necessarily bail you out of a bad wrap problem; instead, it''s presence is to make sailing the boat possible when a motor fails. Eric obviously has learned to use his systems properly and he gets good results. (I should add that an impression I have from Eric''s other posts is that he''s very diligent about maintaining his boat, a point that shouldn''t be overlooked when he describes his furling systems as being reliable).
I think the boat you''re looking at is an Amel 46 (not 45). I''ve talked with multiple crews who sail this model offshore and in general they like the boat a lot. Most of them have had some difficulties with their furling systems at one time or another, both because of mechanical failures and because of inexperience when reefing at sea. There''s simply no free lunch (even on boats Mr. Amel builds) and a more complex system is going to require more knowledge on your part, routine inspection and proper adjustment & service when called for, and proper use of the system at sea. In exchange for this, you get ease of use when everything works well.