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  #1  
Old 10-25-2008
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Behind the mast roller furling

Anybody have experience with behind the mast roller furling? Pros/cons?
Thanks. David
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Lots of cons...not any pros I can think of.

Cons:

Adds a lot of weight aloft.
Main sail can't use battens really, so limits amount of roach you can have on the main—yes, this has been fixed to a small degree with vertical battens... but still a problem IMHO
If the furler jams, can't drop the sails or furl them...
If the furler jams, can't always be fixed without going aloft...have to go aloft to get access to top swivel of the furler—if at all possible
Adds windage to the boat
Expensive
Some mast-furling systems will moan at anchor/in the slip in higher winds

Jiffy or slab reefing is so much better... cheaper, more reliable, etc.

In-boom reefing has some similar issues to the in-mast reefing regarding jams, but you can generally still slab reef the mainsail if you've equipped it with reefing points if the boom furler jams—not an option with in-mast/behind mast reefing.
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I do , I do

The prior owner (an engineer with metals and fabrication expertise) designed and built a behind the mast roller/furler for our boat (a Hunter 34).

He used a Harken unit with custom brackets. The sail was purpose made by a local vendor to optimize sail shape and still be easy to roll up.

This thing has been on the boat for over a decade and works perfectly! Not one failure that wasn't operator error.

Yes you lose some sail shape but not that much on this boat. We still move pretty well.

The weight aloft is there but does a couple of pounds really make much difference? All we have is a windlass and antenna at the top of the mast.

It is fantastic at the end of the sailing day when we grab the furling line and put the sail away in less than 15 seconds. We find that we use the sail more often than our neighbors who have to go thru the gyrations required to unwrap and put away their regular sails.

I couldn't be happier with our behind the mast furling system.

FWIW: I have all the engineering drawings in case we need to have replacement parts fabricated.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PilotAlso View Post
All we have is a windlass and antenna at the top of the mast.
Now that is something I have not seen before. at the top of the mast. LOL
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Bubb-

How much weight aloft do you think that adds...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bubb2 View Post
Now that is something I have not seen before. at the top of the mast. LOL
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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Bubb-

How much weight aloft do you think that adds...
It's hard to tell, Dog. I am thinking about the anchor and chain that go with it!!!!!!!
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He might only have those aloft when he's trying to careen the boat..
Quote:
Originally Posted by bubb2 View Post
It's hard to tell, Dog. I am thinking about the anchor and chain that go with it!!!!!!!
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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We like our EZ Furl Behind the Mast furler.
Our main is getting bagged out and is starting to bind a bit when furling up so it will get recut this winter. But that is after a lot of miles.
Neighbor has a very nice Beneteau with Stack Pack. I was admiring his but he said he'd rather have mine as it is much easier to deal with.
They do add weight aloft so if you are into performance or if your boat is tender to begin with it wouldn't be a good idea.
I think they are especially good for center cockpit boats as most of the boom is over the bimini and flaking the main is more difficult with the bimini in the way.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PilotAlso View Post
The prior owner (an engineer with metals and fabrication expertise) designed and built a behind the mast roller/furler for our boat (a Hunter 34).

He used a Harken unit with custom brackets. The sail was purpose made by a local vendor to optimize sail shape and still be easy to roll up.

This thing has been on the boat for over a decade and works perfectly! Not one failure that wasn't operator error.

Yes you lose some sail shape but not that much on this boat. We still move pretty well.

The weight aloft is there but does a couple of pounds really make much difference? All we have is a windlass and antenna at the top of the mast.

It is fantastic at the end of the sailing day when we grab the furling line and put the sail away in less than 15 seconds. We find that we use the sail more often than our neighbors who have to go thru the gyrations required to unwrap and put away their regular sails.

I couldn't be happier with our behind the mast furling system.

FWIW: I have all the engineering drawings in case we need to have replacement parts fabricated.
I have to hope that Pilot meant to write windvane.

The behind the mast furler that Pilot describes does have some advantages. Cost being a primary one. The cost of the custom fabricated pieces, the new stay, some blocks and the furler has, in my experience, been a lot less than some of the other options.
An in-boom furler would probably be at least twice as expensive.
This is another one of those issues that depend a lot on many different factors. The age and psychical condition of the owner being a big one. The type of boat being another.
I've installed these systems a number of times for people who were finding it increasingly difficult to handle a convention mainsail. None of these people were racers.
If it can keep someone sailing for awhile longer who might otherwise have had to give it up, then it's a good thing in my book.
There is no reason that I can think of other than operator error that should make a BTM furler any more prone to failure than one on the headstay.
Granted, it would be a lot more difficult to wrap the sail up by hand if you had to but again.
If it's installed correctly, maintained correctly and used correctly, roller furling, no matter where it's installed, is pretty darned reliable.
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Thanks for all your input. The boat is a Cheoy Lee, Richards 32 ketch. I'm going to have to replace the sails soon any way so that is one of the options I am looking at. Again thank you for your responses.
David
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