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wcshedd 05-27-2003 11:32 AM

Behind mast roller reefing
We have wooden masts and a really big main sail. To ease my mates apprehension I said we would look into a behind the mast roller furler system. I can easily raise and lower the mizzen, but in anything other than perfect weather the main can be a problem.
Can I have suggestions and comments on this type of system> We are cruisers and have lots of time so if we loose a little efficiency it will be OK.

jbanta 05-28-2003 08:29 AM

Behind mast roller reefing
Are you really willing to give up your battens? Why not look for an above the boom reefer?

Jeff_H 05-28-2003 07:16 PM

Behind mast roller reefing
There are a number of potentially damning issues with using a behind the mast furler on a wooden spar. In order for a behind the mast furler to work the furler gets installed with a separation of from the mast. It is also placed under a lot of tension in order to prevent the stay from sagging so far that the furler binds and experiences too much wear or in the worst case binds. This combination of loads really places a lot more bending and compression stress on a mast in a manner that concentrates these loads equally at the masthead and gooseneck. Wooden spars are designed and tapered to reflect loadings that are distributed along the luff with the center of their forces roughly 1/3 of the luff above the boom. Similarly wooden booms are generally designed to take distributed loads rather than the kinds of concentrated loadings involved in the single point tack attachment of a roller furling mainsail. In other words, in most cases a wooden spar would not be sturdy enough for the loads involved with a furling mainsail.

The unlikeliness that your spars would withstand the loading in heavy air not withstanding, you will also experience a decrease in performance and the risk of ending up with a lee helm, a pretty dangerous condition that should be avoided.

I would suggest going to a dutchman or lazy jack system with perhaps a downhaul to bring the sail down more easily.


mlc101 06-04-2003 01:18 PM

Behind mast roller reefing
I have a behind the mast mainsail furler and like it, but cannot imagine it on a wooden mast. I concur that many people who have lazy jacks seem to like them, though some have ripped them off also. Their is a product that furls a mainsail by having heavy nylon (fishline) between the topping lift and the boom, and the main seems to flake itself by sliding down these lines. I believe it is called the Dutchman, but I may be wrong on the name. Saw one at a boatshow once, and it seemed OK, but who knows in a blow?

Sailmc 06-05-2003 04:21 AM

Behind mast roller reefing
I have used a Dutchman system on 2 boats over a period of 13 years and was extremely pleased with it. Except for an in mast or in boom furling systen I can''t imagine a better system. Lazy Jacks tend to hook battens on a regular basis and I think a behind the mast system would compromise performance to an unacceptaqble degree. Especially pointing ability. A Dutchman system with a good low friction single line reefing setup like Harken''s kit is the way to go for easy mainsail handling.

sailingbauble 07-27-2003 09:15 AM

Behind mast roller reefing
People thought I was nuts whenI told them I was going from single handing a Catalina 30 to single handing an Irwin 38CC. You''ll never be able to manage that monster of a mainsail is all I heard. What they didn''t know was that the Irwin was fitted with a Mack Pack system for managing the mainsail. The effort needed to handle the mainsail on the Irwin is a small fraction of the effort needed to handle the mainsail on the Catalina 30.

Take a look at their website at:

RichardElliott 12-26-2003 07:55 AM

Behind mast roller reefing
Any experience with the new in-boom furlers advertised by Schaefer and Forespar? They look impressive for a full-batten main.

wcshedd 12-31-2003 08:47 AM

Behind mast roller reefing
Thanks to all for the very thoughtful discussion. We ended up with a Mack Pack on both the main and mizzen to ease the sail handling and a Strong Tack system which has specially designed sail track slides to ease raising and lowering the sails. It won''t add any stress to the masts or booms and is promised to work. I''ll let you all know in February when we get the boat back in the water and start cruising again. Bill Shedd

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