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  #11  
Old 08-22-2012
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Re: In-mast furling

I love the in mast furling system on our boat. I used to hate having to take the sail up and down and having to manage that in heavy winds. I am never going back!
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  #12  
Old 08-22-2012
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Re: In-mast furling

I have an in-mast furling system and I love it, but there are drawbacks:

CONS:
Main is roachless and battenless, allowing for far less sail area that the rig is capable of.
Permanent cupping of the leech due to the roll of the main in the mast.
Weight aloft due to the furling mechanism.
Difficult to fine tune mainsail trim due to loose foot and no downhaul/cunnignham.
Somewhat difficult to secure the rolling mechanism without the mainsail (during winter storage)

PROS:
I can furl and unfurl the main by myself, even in high winds.
Infinite number of reef points.
Easily reefed without leaving the cockpit.

The CONS mostly detract from performance and the PROS mostly have to do with ease of handling. Wish there was an easy way to furl (or drop) up the main and deploy a standard main on occasions like racing, when performance really matters.
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Old 08-23-2012
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Re: In-mast furling

Just came back from a charter in Croatia, Europe. Seems like every single charter boat has in mast furling there. I sailed on a variety of boats with mast furling systems and find them pretty easy to use. They have advantages... pulling the mainsail out and furling it up again is no effort at all. Interesting enough I experienced this from 36 ft to 55 ft boats. Size apparently doesn't matter :-).

However, there are three things that I don't like... or make me feel uncomfortable in a way.

1. What if the main gets jammed during reefing and you can't pull it out nor furl it up. I can't think of any other solution as to cut the sail from the mast. Well, in a high wind situation that is. Or is there another solution to it?

2. I had occassional "nearly" jams in winds over 25 knots when reefing. I tried everything imaginable. Different points of sail. Easing the sail, keeping it tight, letting it go all together. I always had troubles - but only in higher winds. The smaller the sail becomes (i.e. reefed) the better it furls up.

3. The third thing is the sails performance. I couldn't find a furling main that was better than a "traditional" mainsail. You can't seem to get them flat in a blow and their profile in general is always kind of "suboptimal". This is not only for performance reasons but also for safety reasons (in blow for example).

I personally would spend the money somewhere else. That is only for me and I do see the advantages of an in-mast furling system - they are just not for me.
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Old 08-23-2012
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Re: In-mast furling

Just spent a week on a Jeanneau 39i with in mast furling and electric winch. Never used it before, and none of my daughters have sailed. In the week they all learned to furl and outhaul and it worked flawlessly. I'm sold. Agree there is a bit of friction and you DO need to keep tension to avoid wrinkles. But, when the weather was rough it was nice staying right there in the cockpit to do ALL of the reefing work. Single handing would seem to be a big plus.
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Old 08-23-2012
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Re: In-mast furling

Add on to my previous post, comments relating to other folk's comments.

Sail Area .... yes furling main is smaller than non furling but I'm not sure I agree with "far less sail area". I'd like to compare.

Lack of Battens is for me a negative, yes.

Friction, no matter how you look at it is a problem and yes you do need to winch in. I also find that keeping the outhaul under control as you furl is a problem. Good furling requires some tension on the outhaul so I find myself having to let out some outhaul then wind, repeat sequence. I do wish there was some way to keep tension on outhaul without the need for a second pair of hands. (If any of you are sitting there thinking I'm not doing it correctly please let me know.)

We've not had problem with wrinkles or jamming nor do I have a problem flattening the main but I am loath to ease halyard tension in light airs which I'd readily do with a non furling main. This may be prejudice on my part. I have noticed that when furling it seems to load up towards then of each rotation. This may be need for maintenance of the furler itself and I'll be addressing that when we pull her out of the water next month.

Previously I would have thought in mast furler would be a deal killer but by the time we bought the new girl I'd largely overcome that concern. Now I'm quite happy with it though I couldn't say with 100% certainty that I'd go in mast if I was building a new boat or re masting an old one.

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Last edited by tdw; 08-23-2012 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 09-02-2012
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Re: In-mast furling

Don't know about charter biz moving away but I can tell you i have had three jam on me in bad conditions and had to cut the sail to stay out of trouble. I like the in boom systems though
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Old 09-02-2012
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Re: In-mast furling

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailortrash View Post
Don't know about charter biz moving away but I can tell you i have had three jam on me in bad conditions and had to cut the sail to stay out of trouble. I like the in boom systems though
Please tell us more about these three times you had to cut the sail away. Here at the marina there would be many hundreds of thousands of miles between the cruisers and none have ever needed to cut away a main. How did you do it? what were the conditions ? was it on the same boat?
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Old 09-02-2012
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Re: In-mast furling

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
Please tell us more about these three times you had to cut the sail away. Here at the marina there would be many hundreds of thousands of miles between the cruisers and none have ever needed to cut away a main. How did you do it? what were the conditions ? was it on the same boat?
Lack of maintaining being the primary cause. Every time this happened The boat had been sitting for over 3 years with no use and during a squall (over 60 knots) . That plus my bad luck which i seem to have a knack for attracting. Live and learn I guess these days if a in mas furler has not been used in oiver 3 years on it being completely serviced by someone better experienced than me or I will walk away.
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Old 09-02-2012
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Re: In-mast furling

Three boats that had been sitting for over three years? What type?
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Old 09-02-2012
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Re: In-mast furling

So without debating the pluses and minuses of roller furlings. The OP asked how to convert one to a traditional main. I would contact Tide Slide, their external track could probably be used to convert the mast. You will have to remove the furler from inside the mast. If you don't have a sail on them the foil bangs inside the mast constantly with boat movement. You would likely have to have some plates made to go inside the mast to attach their brackets for the external track to.

As for in mast furlings, they work well until they don't then it's bad. The number one cause of jams is old blown out sails. When the sails start to bag they have to go. With a belly in the sail they will fold and jam. You can get some vertical batten mains for in mast furling which improves sail shape. They require more finesse in sail handling or the light weight material will self destruct around the batten pockets. They don't hold up well to flogging the main.
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