Having spent 16 years sailing with hank on sails and 18 years sailing with roller furlers I find there is NO comparison other than slight sail shape. Sail changes are very, very easy and I've done it in 35+ knots and big seas on more than one occasion.
The benefits of a furler, the simplicity, ease of reefing and reliability over 18 years is far superior to that of hanks. These are NOT complicated systems. In fact they are about as simple to use and similar, in concept, to a window shade..
I don't under stand why SV Distant Star's sail "un-rolled" as he said it did. The only reason for a furled sail to un-roll is improper securing of the drum, worn out drum line or sheets or a broken furler. Sails don't usually un-furl unless there is a problem or user error. Eighteen of furler use years and I've never had that happen once..
In well over 30,000 nm I've yet to have a major problem with a furler and I've owned many brands including Hood, Schaefer, Furlex, Harken and CDI (I did have some minor annoyance issues with this unit) to name a few. Furlers are very, very reliable and far easier to use than hanks IMHO.
I think it's premature for you to yank the furler until you've at least spent a couple of months with it before making your decision.
I always find it's best to sail a boat for a season or more before making major rig adjustments or changes. Case in point, is my cockpit mounted main sheet. When I bought the boat my first thought was to change it to a cabin top traveler. After sailing her for a full season the thought of changing to a cabin top traveler is GONE...
Try it for a while, I think you'll like it, as thousands and thousands of sailors do and if you don't then yank it.
One more thing to consider is re-sale! If you remove the furler and get two-foot-itus you have just reduced the value of your vessel for perhaps the 99% of sailors out there who do like and use head sail furlers..
P.S. While continuous line furlers like the one pictured on your boat are no longer the fad many of those Hoods have thousands & thousands of trouble free miles on them and Pompanette/Hood still support them. Usually the only thing that needs to be replaced is the line. If you have a continuous line furler it's important to always secure the drum and not rely 100% on the line to prevent un-furling. Perhaps this is what happened to SV Distant Star?
This Hood Furler was over 17 years old when the photo was taken. The current owner of that boat is still using it to this day with no problems.