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  #1  
Old 06-24-2008
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Reefing your mainsail by rolling the boom..

Hi,
On my sailboat (albin vega 27), the original design includes a handle on the mast that, when cranked, rolls the boom. I have not yet tried it, but you are supposed to be able to roll the boom and roll up the main sail on it as a way to reef.

Others that have the same boat tell me that the system doesn't work well. That the sail bunches up too much near the mast end of the boom due to all of the cars and wire and sail at the luff side of the sail.

On the surface, it seems like such a great idea.
I'm thinking the folks at albin must have tried it a few times before implementing this system on thousands of boats.

Does anyone have information or opinions on how to use this system sucessfully?

thx,
gh
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Old 06-24-2008
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The idea is excellent, the execution generally sucks. The problem is that the luff of the sail tends to bunch up as you describe, due to the thickness of the bolt rope, etc.. this leads to the sail shape being rather baggy when it is rolled up at all.

More modern roller boom furling systems have a conical shaped core to wrap the sail around, which alleviates much of the bagginess that rolling the sail causes.

It also makes it difficult to mount a proper boom vang or boom brake on the boom, since, they can't be mounted directly to the spar without interfering with the roller furling.
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Old 06-24-2008
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Back when...when I had one of these systems (which really stinks), the big problem I found was the leech didn't furl as tightly and the backend of the boom began to droop, due to the longer leech versus luff. I found building up the thickness of the back of the boom help getting a better reef, I used a tapered wood wedge, just remember to recover it before fully unrolling the reef.
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Old 06-24-2008
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I have the same setup on my boat, 1964 Islander 32. I just bought the boat last fall, so have not had much time to work with the reefing yet (Plenty of other projects, and I live 3 hours from the boat!)

The main issue I have noticed is I can not roll the sail due to the sail slides hitting the goose neck, there is no way to get the slides of the track easily as you are rolling the boom. I have two mains, one has the bottom two slides on a rope rather then attached directly to the sail. Its hard to explain, but my assumption is I loosen the rope to allow the sail to roll while the slides stay put. In practice though the rope just gets all tangled with everything and I can only reef about a foot or two.

I think my plan in the future will be to add reef points to the luff and leach so I can tension the sail that way, and possibly just use the roller to hold the loose sail at the bottom (No vang at the moment, do want to add a break at some point, that may change my plans some, thanks for mentioning that SD). However, I still need to figure out away to get the slides off the track without letting them fall out whenever I drop the sail.

I am due for a new main soon,so I will need to figure out my solution before I invest in that.

Im sure I will figure something out this summer, and possibly even post my solution here if I remember.
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The roller reefing was really designed for use with bolt rope sails IIRC, and the bolt rope was pulled out of the track as the sail was rolled up.

BTW, the rope that the two slugs are on is called a jackline, and is meant to allow you to reef the sail without removing the slugs from the mast track. There's a drawing of it in another thread that I posted.

IMHO, you're much better off fixing the boom and using slab or jiffy reefing. You get much better control over the sail's reefed shape and it is much less complicated and almost idiot-proof. (CD's still trying to figure it out...but he doesn't use the sails much... so it's not a big worry.)
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Old 06-25-2008
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With all of the boats built like this, you think there would be somebody somewhere that likes it and is successfully using it.

If not, this could be one of the most colossal design errors to never have been fixed. I believe they built over 3000 of these boats. That's not counting all of the other brands that used the same approach.
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Roller reefing a main works, it just doesn't work very well. Someone would have to go back through the evolution of sail technology to see why at a time, a roller boom seemed like a good idea...I suspect the simpleness and adjustability made it attractive..then someone introduced slab reefing and that idea took off...the way the innovation cycle works i guess.
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I have a Hi-Lo Reefer "in boom" roller system on an Islander Bahama 30 that works fine. When I bought the boat it didn't work so well because the rigid boom vang had failed and didn't hold the boom at the proper angle. After replacing the rigid vang and adjusting it properly the system works well although requires some attention to roll the sail properly (it is rather sensitive to the boom angle but some tweaking has resolved it). The main has a bolt rope on an extended track and is full batten. It is a quick reefer and the sail rolls up neatly inside. It doesn't roll itself up but the only challenge is to roll it tightly enough to all fit inside the boom.
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In-boom reefing is a completely different kettle of fish from a roller-reefing boom, where the boom itself is used as the core the sail wraps around.
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Originally Posted by CapnSantiago View Post
I have a Hi-Lo Reefer "in boom" roller system on an Islander Bahama 30 that works fine. When I bought the boat it didn't work so well because the rigid boom vang had failed and didn't hold the boom at the proper angle. After replacing the rigid vang and adjusting it properly the system works well although requires some attention to roll the sail properly (it is rather sensitive to the boom angle but some tweaking has resolved it). The main has a bolt rope on an extended track and is full batten. It is a quick reefer and the sail rolls up neatly inside. It doesn't roll itself up but the only challenge is to roll it tightly enough to all fit inside the boom.
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a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
The idea is excellent, the execution generally sucks. The problem is that the luff of the sail tends to bunch up as you describe, due to the thickness of the bolt rope, etc.. this leads to the sail shape being rather baggy when it is rolled up at all.

More modern roller boom furling systems have a conical shaped core to wrap the sail around, which alleviates much of the bagginess that rolling the sail causes.

It also makes it difficult to mount a proper boom vang or boom brake on the boom, since, they can't be mounted directly to the spar without interfering with the roller furling.

You couldn't have said it better.
It was a good idea on paper that didn't work out to well in practice.
If it were a practical way to reef or furl a main, then someone would still be making them.
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