Join Date: Jul 2002
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In-mast furler; to buy or not to buy;
Gregg, I don''t know if you''re still pursuing the Hood-equipped boat but would like to offer this comment, regardless.
What troubles me about this kind of thread is that we''re generically addressing a topic (mainsail furling systems) when in truth mainsail furling systems aren''t generic. I wish you''d mentioned the age of the Hood system and told us whether you''d checked with Hood about a) availability of parts (including 5-10 years from now), b) access to the mechanism for troubleshooting, inspection and service, and most importantly, c) the design of the system. It would also be important to note whether you think you would be sailing offshore with a relatively new mainsail vs. a ''used'' (perhaps somewhat ''tired'') one, as this can make a huge difference in furling/reefing success.
When looking at mainsail furling systems (I''ve only ''looked'', not yet ''used''...but I''ve surely talked to many who''ve used theirs offshore), I see a wide variability in these systems. Spar cross-section, mainsail design that''s consistent with furling system design (some furling vendors recommend specific lofts who better know how to build a sail for their system), top & bottom vs. bottom-only swivels, mechanism access - all these variables can heavily influence your experience when sailing with a mainsail furling system.
I''ve seen a variety of these systems, including boom furling systems, suffer total or partial failure in each of the major offshore crossroads I''ve visited, but I''d also add that the percentage of failures has been very, very small and has usually not led to a catastrophic consequence. I''ve also found a very high percentage of owners who highly value their system, with only an occasional owner being ambivalent and almost no one regretting such a system.
I''ve been researching these systems because in time I think they''ll be a more reasonable choice for my wife and I, rather than the slab reefing system we''ll continue to use on our 42'' ketch. So far, the general conclusions I''ve come up with are:
1. there are many user-related issues that can lead to problems, which means we can address them with knowledge and skill and therefore avoid them
2. there are some good systems out there (e.g. Selden) and lots of cheap ones (note those offered on high-volume, built to a price boats)
3. some systems can be maintained and visually inspected in ways that all but eliminate surprises...if it''s done, of course
4. while there are performance compromises, the same can be said for non-variable slab reefing, especially in the real world of dark nights and lazy, tired and/or seasick crews, and many owners recover some or most of the lost performance by reefing/unreefing appropriate to the conditions when they would not bother doing so with a slab system.
I don''t think this is a black-white issue and digging deeper into the details of your prospective furling system might reveal facts you should consider but don''t have.
Fill us in; what''s happening with the two boats?