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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 11-25-2003
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In-Mast Furlers

Hi, again, everyone,

I hate to ask the same question over and over, but I''d like to know the drawbacks of in-mast and behind mast furlers.

I know that binding is often a big problem when the sail furls inside the mast, but not all furlers have the sail furl into a small slot. I''ve read that sail shape can be lost due to stretching or, I think it was called, leech creep. And I have heard that behind-mast furlers give up a certain benefit in the sail''s foil effect.

Can someone give me a more concise explanation of why vertically furled mainsails so maligned?

Thanks,
Chas
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Old 11-26-2003
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In-Mast Furlers

You really need to check previous posts. Lots of people weighed in with very educated and reasonable (and wildly differing) opinions.
FWIW, I have an extrusion riveted to the back of my normal mast, containing a vertically-furled mainsail. It came on the boat when I bought it, and really didn''t want it. Reasons are the same as everyone mentions--it might break. Secondary reasons are that the sail must be loosefooted, with less area in the roach (either no battens or vertical battens). And reefing (as opposed to furling) can put undue strain on the middle of the reefing system--so you might go to a trysail earlier and lower wind speeds than you otherwise might.
To me, the sail sets very well loose-footed, and that is becoming fairly common lore by now--a loose-footed main can set well. I don''t miss any area in the roach of the sail--personally I am a cruiser (used to be a racer) and I don''t see any significant degradation in speed. And no battens simplifies maintenance of the sail a lot--most of the problems I used to have with mains revolved around the battens, batten pockets, etc.
On the breakage issue--some folks have taken my model of furler around the world and done fine. Mine has never broken or shown any signs of wear or hanging up, or anything else. Since it is mechanical, I expect it to wear and possibly someday break, and I''ll deal with it as I deal with all my boat systems, which also wear and break and need to be replaced from time to time. You do have to accept the risk that it will break in an inconvenient fashion--like fully out--at an inconvenient time--like in a storm.

The overall convenience is much greater than I expected. It makes short handling a larger sailboat (e.g. 40+ feet) much more convenient and, I believe, safer, since we can do everything from the cockpit. My wife typically furls and deploys the main--easily. We often fly the main when we would not bother with it if not furling.
This is my take on it. And a summary of the objections, from someone who has been won over (me). For more--previous posts have much more detail.
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Old 11-26-2003
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In-Mast Furlers

mlc 101,

Thanks for the overview and your comments. I''ve been reading this board for 2 or 3 years but I don''t recall reading anything about furling mainsails that wasn''t really a brief aside to some other subject. A recent thread made frequent, pretty much critical, mention of mailsail furlers but, again, it wasn''t intended to be a discussion of furling mailsails and didn''t tie up the loose ends as other threads usually do about other topics.

Thanks. And I would be interested in the comments of anyone else out there who has had the opportunity to use or cruise with furling mainsails.

Chas
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Old 12-13-2003
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In-Mast Furlers

Just chartered 45'' Beneteau in NW, my first experience with in-mast furling.Decided ease of use & safety of being able to reef (Furl) quick & easy more than makes up for any loss of sail efficiency from loss of roach & battens.Boat sailed really well in a strong blow & was easy to reduce sail when starting to get overpowered. Only problem I encountered was poor operation when unfurling which I think would be corrected with a little maintenance. I would go to mast and "help" it start to feed out because outhaul was ''sticky''. My current boat is 27'' with Dutchman which works well for this size boat, anything much bigger I would want in-mast and would recommend for anyone sailing shorthanded.
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