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Old 10-29-2012
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in mast furling issues?

question- I'm considering purchasing a B393 or 411. Do folks know of any longterm issues with the in mast furling system? My fear is being out and not being able to furl. I'm not familiar with how it works-- can you drop the sail if need be? thanks in advance
brad
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Old 10-29-2012
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Arrow Re: in mast furling issues?

Like any mechanical system on a boat, it will give you years of trouble free service with proper maintenance. I sail in a fresh water environment so I have less to take care of than salty sailors.

Think of it as a giant window shade. There is worm gear on the bottom with a bearing set top & bottom. An in-haul line wraps around the worm gear when you deploy the sail. The sail is pulled back into the mast when the in-haul line is pulled. Maintence is limited to flushing the bearing set regularly with fresh water to flush salt/contaminates and replacement of the in-haul line every couple of years. Leaving the vang loose, slightly ease main sheet and a slight upward angle on the boom make for easy operation. People that think they need to "lube" the bearing set with graphite or other material only create problems for themselves as these only trap contaminates.

I have never experienced a problem furling the main. I did have problems early on with deployment until I learned to keep a little tension on the out-haul while furling the main to get a tighter wrap inside the mast. (Plus the previous owner had used so much liquid graphite on the bearings that they were hard to turn without the main installed.

And your final question ... Yes, you can drop the main, when fully deployed, by releasing the tack from the furler and releasing the halyard.
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Re: in mast furling issues?

Brad,

the worst case isnt dropping the sail when its unfurled, you just release the halyard like on any main. The real problem is when it gets jammed halfway up. Then you can't drop it, or furl it. The only options are to either fix the furler right then, or go up the rig and cut the sail away.

We had a in mast furler for 15 years, and never had a problem that wasnt caused by poor technique. But I was always worried about what if... I wouldn't own one again if I could avoid it.
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Thanks! Decisions decisions...
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Re: in mast furling issues?

Brad, the other issue is sail shape. The main has no battens and no roach, so the boat does not point as well. If you add a shoal keel you have a bad combination.
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Re: in mast furling issues?

Another thing to consider is the clew where it pokes out from the mast. Several of my dockmates without UV protection over it had it fail at the point where the line is attached while sailing. An inexpensive addition that will prevent a bad day.
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in mast furling issues?

We've had in-mast furling for about three years now and no problems. I spent a lot of time with the captain who was on our sea trial going over the operations of it, and I haven't had any issues. So if you get the boat, make sure they show you how to properly work it.

We like ours. I miss battens and there is some loss of sail shape, but I like being able to easily reef from the cockpit.
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I've seen stuff about vertical battens.. Does this help shape much? Seems most Benes I see have the furling so not sure I'll have much choice but mostly wanted to make sure it wasn't a mechanical disaster on regular basis. Good tips on learning how to tweak it from people who know.. and the UV protection- thanks
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Re: in mast furling issues?

Don't be afraid of a modern in-mast furler. Very old and original furlers were less reliable. They make it substantially easier to sail and you'll find you are much more willing to "give it a shot" when others are just motoring.

As far as dropping the sail, that can be a pain. It often requires that you remove a plate on the mast to reach in to undue the head and tack shackles. Dropping them inside the spar is often a risk. Doing it while in heavy seas could be very difficult. We assume, if we had to drop the main in heavy seas, that we would just dump it on the deck and lash it all down.
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Arrow Re: in mast furling issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradfalk View Post
I've seen stuff about vertical battens.. Does this help shape much? Seems most Benes I see have the furling so not sure I'll have much choice but mostly wanted to make sure it wasn't a mechanical disaster on regular basis. Good tips on learning how to tweak it from people who know.. and the UV protection- thanks
Setting aside reliability of the in-mast furling, maybe you should ask yourself what you plan to do with the boat. Are you going to cruise, race or cruise but like the thought of being able to race every now and then.

The standard (Oceanis) 393 & 411 are cruising boats. The original owners could have given them an added edge by ordering the boat with options like a slab/battened main and fin keel. They're out there and easy to find.

If you get a standard 393 or 411 and you feel the need to get every ounce of speed out of it, replace the main with one that has verticle battens and replace the prop that has folding/feathering blades.

If you are looking for a family cruiser than get what you can afford and enjoy it for what it is. My OEM main came with a UV coating/cover on that portion (both sides) of the sail that is always exposed and it is still in great shape. All the 393/411's I looked at on YatchWorld seem to have one too.

Anybody that cruises on a regular basis will tell you that the wind rarely favors you and you will often motor more than sail. So that extra half-knot of speed you might get from a conventional main is really wasted.
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