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Old 05-22-2008
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In-mast furling thoughts?

I'm looking at buying a 2001 Hunter 306 or 320 as my first sailboat, to be used for local coastal cruising (Nova Scotia). I see in-mast furling on some models. Can somebody enlighten me on the pros and cons? Recommended or not? Thanks.

Michael Smith
Chester, N.S.
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Old 05-22-2008
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Well, you'll get the full range of responses on this one!!

I'm in the anti furling main court.. If things go wrong with the mechanics you've got real problems, (but reliability is much improved of late, I suppose) Barring problems, the convenience of setting and dousing sail is the only "pro" that I can see.

Mostly I don't like the sacrifice in sail area, the loss of the roach that adds to power, control and pointing ability. Or the look for that matter. Added weight aloft, more complicated (and expensive) rig etc etc.

On the other hand I can see the sense of a boom-furled main - here at least you can still carry battens, have a properly roachy sail and get the convenience of the roller furling.. all at a price, of course.

With many models lately it seems like in-mast furling is not even an option anymore... it's the way they come these days.
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Old 05-22-2008
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I remember a nice saturday at Kingmans Marina on Cape Cod two summers ago. As I enjoyed a morning cup of coffee on the patio of the Chart House, overlooking the mooring field, I noticed a fellow on one boat, standing on the boom and wrestling wih his mainsail. His furling main was jammed part way in the mast. Looked like he had a mess on his hands.

So I took my boat out for a wonderful afternoon on Buzzards Bay, bright and sunny and 15 knots SW, it doesn't get better than that.

After returning my mooring, I stopped again at the Chart House for an early evening cocktail. As I settled into the patio chair to watch the sun set over my boat, I noticed several fellows on one boat, clustered around the mast, wrestling with the mainsail jammed in the mast. Recognizing it was the same boat from the morning, I said to myself that I was glad I didn't have a furling main, just another un-necessary convenience that will most likely find a way to inconvenience you.
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Thanks Faster, great info to a newbie.

Michael
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith132 View Post
I'm looking at buying a 2001 Hunter 306 or 320 as my first sailboat, to be used for local coastal cruising (Nova Scotia). I see in-mast furling on some models. Can somebody enlighten me on the pros and cons? Recommended or not? Thanks.

Michael Smith
Chester, N.S.
There are pros and cons to in mast furling and your satisfation with it will depend on how you plan to use your boat.

A couple of the pro's:
No hauling up the main so less work, messing with a sail cover, sail ties etc.
Quick furling with the ability to adjust your main to the conditions(so long as everything works)

Some of the cons:
Requires a relatively flat cut sail usually with no battens (though some now have vertical battens) and less roach compared to a traditional sail. . (You'll give up some performance)
Potential to jam (probably at the worst time)
More weight aloft.
May be difficult to furl except on a particular tack.

Lots of crusing sailors have in mast furling and are happy with it, but if you have any racer in you, you might be unhappy with the reduced performance.

If the physical effort is a consideration, there are other options to simplify handling the mainsail like a batt car system coupled with a stack-pack type sail cover.
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Old 05-22-2008
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I'm also in the "anti" camp.
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In mast furling. WHY?
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Old 05-22-2008
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SAiling is sailing

My view is simply if you like to sail, buy a boat with sails. If you don't, buy a Trawler.
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Old 05-22-2008
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Never thought I would own one till I bought a boat that had it.
You get used to the convieniences real quick.
Jammed coming out once in three years. Not a problem, rolled it back in and she freed herself. Most problems of jamming are caused by operator error........ ie rolling too much sail into the mast.

We now love ours.... Not a racer, we are cruisers.
If your cruising I think you will be a good fit.

Pro's...... you only raise the main once a season. Easily reefed to any size you might need. less effort required set sail and reef.

Next question, all those that are on the negative side, have you ever sailed on a cruising boat with one?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bubb2 View Post
In mast furling. WHY?

Depending on the size of the sail, the weight of the sail is a real issue as you get older or if you have shoulder or arm issues. So size does matter.
Certainly ease of furling if your short handed is very helpful. I can furl, shake out and furl again as needed very quickly. Regarding reliability, sure they can jam but the technology is pretty good these days.

I couldn't agree more that if your performance sailing or long distance cruising A furling main is the wrong choice but for coastal stuff, I think it's fine.
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