I took my sailing lessons on boats with conventional mains, but purchased a 34' Tartan with in mast furling
We have made two offshore trips and on one encountered significant storm. For a newbie I would have been very nervous trying to reef the main in those conditions, as the squall came up quickly. Howerver with the in mast furler
, the sail was brought in within seconds without leaving the cockpit.
Also for me in learning I can change the amount of main up very easily by myself and experiment in different levels of wind. I doubt I would do that with a conventional reefing system (just too lazy)
I am sure there are compromises as there is less sail and no battens, but the advantages at this point in my skill set seem to outway the disadvantages.
I have yet to have any problem with furling
or unfurling, but the boat is rel new (2006)