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marksatterfield 10-09-2011 10:36 PM

In mast roller furling gets stuck

I sail a Beneteau Oceanis 40 with in-mast roller furling system. Problem is, the main often gets "stuck" during the furling process or the unfurling process. Not completely sure about this, but it seems that the "stuck" part happens because of the belly in the sail as it is being reefed or furled, and there is simply not enough room in the mast to handle the loose belly.

The process we undertake to unfurl is typical:
  1. Head to wind
  2. Release sheet and vang
  3. Keep tension on furl line while bringing sail out with the outhaul

Process for furling that we have been using is:
  1. Head to wind
  2. Release sheet and vang
  3. Keep tension on outhaul while bringing the sail in with the furl line.


I'm thinking that we'd be better served by hardening up on the vang, which should keep the clew "down" and the leech tighter -- thereby making the belly tighter while furling. I don't see a way that this can cause any issues, since the clew is forced to be wherever it needs to be by way of the turning block on the outhaul car. Basically:

For furling or reefing:
  1. Head to wind
  2. Release the sheet, harden up the vang
  3. Keep tension on the outhaul while bringing the sail in with the furl line

I'm equally thinking that hardening up on the boom vang (of course, keeping the main sheet loose!) while unfurling would be a good idea. The safety measure is the same -- the clew of the sail is actually not attached to the boom, but to a turning block on the outhaul car, which allows the sail to fly as high as is necessary without damage.

For unfurling:
  1. Head to wind
  2. Release the sheet, harden up the vang
  3. Keep tension on the furl line while bringing the sail out with the outhaul

What am I missing? The owner thinks this is not a good idea.

Thanks for your thoughts!

jackdale 10-09-2011 10:43 PM

Check your topping lift tension. There is an optimal angle for furling and unfurling the sail. You may have ease / harden the mainsheet or vang tension to get it right.

poopdeckpappy 10-10-2011 12:52 AM

our other boat has a selden system, it works best when your not head up, keeping pressure on the sail as you furl keeps it tight.

peoples1234 10-10-2011 01:40 AM

I have intentionally been eliminating boats that have an in-mast furling system from my search, maybe I will reconsider or at least try it out

Ninefingers 10-10-2011 05:43 AM

Could your sail be so stretched out that it's bunching up?

Mine only gets stuck coming out at the very beginning. Usually a couple of short pulls on the in furler line tightens the roll enough that the sail has lots of clearance inside the mast, and it it then comes out easily.

At what point does it get stuck?

Silvio 10-10-2011 07:06 AM

+1 to jackdale and poopdeckpappy

In mast was not my first choice but the boat I found fit every other way. The topping lift can be friend or foe, I set mine so the boom is about 3 inches above my head which puts the aft of the boom about 5-7 degrees above horizontal. Sail furls and unfurls quite easily. Any other position and it is difficult or will bind. Also I head slightly off the wind when furling, not much but not quite in irons. I suspect that hardening your vang will cause you to fight the sail as it tries to furl. The foot of the sail should roll upward into the mast, if that makes any sense, giving an offset spiral at the bottom. At least that is how mine works on a Catalina 310.

Good luck and let us know what works for you.

tommays 10-10-2011 07:55 AM

I have the Hood Stoboom and a regular roller furling Genoa

They both roll up fine BUT minor changes make big differences in the size of the roll :)

For example the Genoa clearly rolls tighter on a starboard reach and a somewhat loser roll will leave many wraps of line on the drum

The Stoboom is very angle dependent and only rolls up tight dead up wind

svHyLyte 10-10-2011 09:12 AM

The boom needs be perpendicular to the mast and a little pressure on the sail. Measure and pre-mark your topping lift and vang for the correct boom orientation (in your slip) and head off a bit to keep a little pressure on the sail when furling.


tdw 10-10-2011 04:37 PM

To be honest I am still trying to come to grips with our in mast furler but one thing I do know, you must keep some tension of the sail as your furl. Don't go completely dead to wind, bear away just enough to keep the sail full enough to stop the boom beating about.

(my biggest problem is controlling the outhaul as we furl .)

edit - in this case I am referring to a reefing furl not a complete furl.

mgmhead 10-10-2011 05:16 PM

When I first started using in mast furling it was a struggle and a frustration. I flushed the bearings, lubed the tracks with Sailcote, prayed to God, gnashed my teeth and cursed. Finally figured out that I had to let the mainsheet and vang run free, keep tension on the outhaul or inhaul line depending upon deployment out of or furling into the mast. And, stay slightly off the wind, in my case a little over the starboard helps to smoothly unfurl the sail and keeps the sail filled as I roll it in. Very similar to what others have described.

Keep at it and you'll find your comfort zone. That, or you might take up another activity. Golf isn't a frustrating game... :laugher :laugher :laugher :laugher :laugher

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