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post #1 of 19 Old 08-04-2010 Thread Starter
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Single vs Double Spreader

I am considering a new(to me) boat and partway through it's production(still being made) it went from a single spreader rig to a double spreader rig. The location of the chainplates and genoa tracks remained the same. It was explained to me that they simply changed spar manufacturers and that size happened to be a double spreader rig with the new builder.

What are the pro/cons of either rig?

BTW, the boat is a Caliber 40lrc.

Tim R.
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1997 Caliber 40LRC

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post #2 of 19 Old 08-04-2010
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The usage of a double spreader rig allows the mast to be "less weight" or "less weigh aloft" a definite advantage over the usually heavier single spreader rig.

The disadvantage of a lighter weight mast is the propensity to vibrate (mast pumping) at certain 'induced frequencies' in comparison to a single spreader (usually less flexible / heavier) rig. However, that is easily taken care of by proper 'prebending' (forward bow) of the mast ... and/or the application of running backstays, etc. Each mast mfgr. recommends such 'pre-bending' for both single and double (multiple) spreader rigs.

The double spreader rig is usually lighter in weight/mass - thats a distinct ADVANTAGE over a heavier single spreader configuration. For each lb. 'extra' weight aloft requires (typically) an extra 5 - 10 lbs. of added ballast in the keel .... and ultimately adding unnecessary WEIGHT adds 'nothing' to a boats sailing and safety characteristics. The minor downside is that the adjustment of the rig tensions is a bit more complicated.
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post #3 of 19 Old 08-04-2010 Thread Starter
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Thanks Rich. So you are saying the mast cross section is beefier.

The one boat I looked at with the single spreader has a convention full batten main. All the ones with double spreaders have in mast furling.

So add the weight for the in mast furling and the extra spreader and intermediate shroud and you might be getting close to the weight of the single spreader rig.

Tim R.
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1997 Caliber 40LRC

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post #4 of 19 Old 08-04-2010
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I'd cross the in-mast sailing boats off your list. In this case, the double spreaders are there not as a weight saver but because in-mast furlers need much stiffer rigs to operate properly. The stiffer rig is another reason they don't sail as well and the heavier and stiffer rig is the reason that the need to reef earlier when they have the same sail area.

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post #5 of 19 Old 08-05-2010
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I will have to agree with all that Jeff wrote above,
in the mast furling would be a deal breaker for me.

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post #6 of 19 Old 08-05-2010
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Id agree about ditching the in mast furler.

Better to set up a 'traditional' mainsail that you can 'slab reef' ... and then add a STRONGTRACK, etc. system, etc.

Only time an in-mast furler is beneficial is when you do a lot of 'short sails' when constant raising / lowering, removing/putting on a sail cover, etc. becomes a PITA - IMHO

Last edited by RichH; 08-05-2010 at 05:55 PM.
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-06-2010
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So, you can't bend the mast for the Nth degree of tweaking. Most people don't even sail their boats more than a handful of times per year. Maybe, if dealing with the main could be handled solo and easily by the average owner, they'd sail more often. I often see boats sailing on (furling) headsail ony, with the (non-furling) main neatly tucked under cover on light air days when they could really use the extra go from the main, but it's not worth the trouble. To the dedicated sailor, raising and lowering the main is all part of it, but some older, more experienced ones just want to get out there, and are tired of some of the more physically demanding aspects. I took lessons on a Catalina 310 with in-mast furling. It definitely would not be a deal killer. The boat moved well in light air despite 10,000 lb displacement, the sail was easily tweaked when the wind picked up and gusting induced some nasty weather helm. Look at the popularity of furling head sails. The cost is relatively low compared to in-mast furling. I fully believe if a mainsail furler system could be as inexpensive as a headsail furler, it'd be easily as popular, and non-furlers would be relegated mostly to purists' boats and racing craft. I have no problem with full manual operation, but I wouldn't pass on a good deal because of the in-mast setup. Not by a longshot.

Last edited by seabreeze_97; 08-07-2010 at 06:50 PM.
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post #8 of 19 Old 08-06-2010
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Its not about bending the mast to the Nth degree, its about having a reliable offshore rig since the OP says that he is buying a Calber 40LRC. The long range cruising models were optimized for offshore and long range cruising where the convenience of not having to raise a mainsail seems pretty trivial when you consider the need for fast, accurate and reliable reefing, (per RichH), shortened sail life implicit with in-mast furling, and that as a long range cruiser the mainsail will be up for weeks at a time without having to raise or lower it.

The spar stiffness issue is one of safety. Most rigs, even the comparatively stiff rigs of the 1960's and 70's, will sag to leeward in a abig gust and with the head of the mast curved off off to leeward in a really big gust. Even a small amount of sag and flex will help depower the boat noticably in big gusts and the added stiffness that is often designed into rigs with in-mast furling takes away that flex.

I would also suggest that in-mast furling is a poor choice for a single-handed sailor going offshore. If the in-mast furler jambs, as they tend to do more frequently after long periods reefed under high load, a single-hander does not have the crew to assist in freeing it through the various methods recommended which often involves sending someone up the mast to clear the jambs.

I can understand that to the current generation of arm chair sailor, weekend warriors, in-mast furling may seem appealing, but for the Original Poster, who is buying a boat that is heavily biased for offshore work and long distance voyaging (to the point that they make lousey daysailers and coastal cruisers) in mast-furling should be a deal breaker.

For what it is worth, many boat builders who had previously been making in-mast furling standard (charging an up charge for a normal mainsail) on smaller and smaller boats have begun to move away from in-mast furlers as standard equipment. I asked about this at the last boat show and was told that the service calls were killing them and besides they were feeling a real push back on this issue.

Then again, I should have known that you would defend anything that hurt sailing ability, seaworthiness and performance.

Jeff


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Last edited by Jeff_H; 08-06-2010 at 01:52 PM.
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post #9 of 19 Old 08-06-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seabreeze_97 View Post
So, you can't bend the mast for the Nth degree of tweaking. Most people don't even sail their boats more than a handful of times per year. Maybe, if dealing with the main could be handled solo and easily by the average owner, they'd sail more often. I often see boats sailing on (furling) headsail ony, with the (non-furling) main neatly tucked under cover on light air days when they could really use the extra go from the main, but it's not worth the trouble. To the dedicated sailor, raising and lowering the main is all part of it, but some older, more experience ones just want to get out there, and are tires of some of the more physically demanding aspects. I took lessons on a Catalina 310 with in-mast furling. It definitely would not be a deal killer. The boat moved well in light air despite 10,000 lb displacement, the sail was easily tweaked when the wind picked up and gusting induced some nasty weather helm. Look at the popularity of furling head sails. The cost is relatively low compared to in-mast furling. I fully believe if a mainsail furler system could be as inexpensive as a headsail furler, it'd be easily as popular, and non-furlers would be relegated mostly to purists' boats and racing craft. I have no problem with full manual operation, but I wouldn't pass on a good deal because of the in-mast setup. Not by a longshot.
I'm with Jeff on this one... and in mast furling on a 31' boat? There's no main on a 31' boat that couldn't easily be handled with a mast track and car system, full battens, and a home made set of lazy jacks. Simplicity is good.
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-06-2010
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[EDIT-JRP] What percentage of boats actually go out regularly? Forget serious bluewater action. Many will sacrifice 1/2 to 3/4 knot just for an extra blade on a prop for the rare moments when the extra thrust would help, maybe reduce prop walk too. Now, just how much do you back under power in a sailboat? What about that loss of performance? My point is, if I were outfitting a world cruiser, no I wouldn't use an in-mast furler, but you're ASSuming, because a boat has an LRC nameplate, the OP must want to ply points unknown in very blue water. Get real.
You say boat makers are moving away from in-mast as standard equipment for service call issues. Fine. More moving parts, more complicated mechanism. It's gonna cost more when something goes wrong. Also, it costs more up front. Is it possible the boat makers might be trying to induce buyers by reducing the price with a standard rig? Duh! You did say they were moving away from standard equipment offerings, but apparantly, they're still optional.
Also, as for ocean cruisers, they are just as often as not at full sail. Often, they're somewhere in between, not just hoist and forget, so be careful with uninformed generalizations.

Last edited by JohnRPollard; 08-09-2010 at 11:28 AM. Reason: Please keep it civil!
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