Boom roller Mainsail???? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 07-15-2007
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Boom roller Mainsail????

I see a few of these around but not many, I was wondering why? I "seems" like a good idea. Any thoughts?
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Old 07-15-2007
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Wildcard-

If you do a search for mainsail furling systems, you'll find that boom roller furling systems aren't all that great.
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I had searched and everyone has in mast or in-boom. I was looking at an outside the boom roller. My boat has one that has been converted to a conventional sail. Since the sail is the wrong size and is pretty ragged anyway, I was thinking Id get a new roller main built.
I finnaly found this
"Sailors often travel in full circles, and such has been the case with boom reefing and furling. In the 1940s and '50s, Eric Hiscock and others touted the advantages of mechanical roller reefing. These early units often consisted of a crank driving a worm gear assembly that rotated the boom. While they worked, the original boom roller-reefing gears left much to be desired.

The first obstacle was that fittings could only be attached at the boom ends, eliminating the use of boom vangs, mid-point mainsheets, and other desirable hardware. If you've been sailing long enough, you may remember special "boom claws," metal rings with rollers, that could ride on the reefed sailcloth with only minimal damage.

There were other problems with the old roller-reefing systems. The sail had to be battenless, or have the battens installed parallel to the foot of the sail, which reduced sail area. Sail track gates usually had to be custom-built to let the slides off the track as the sail was rolled down. The boom had to be round, which is not a good shape for strength, and these booms usually ended up far heavier than would have been necessary otherwise—a curse in light airs. "

I guess this is why they went away? Is anyone still lusing the old system? Should I look at changing out booms to a non roller before I replace the mainsail?
Just kicking my options around. If I have a roller already, it would seem to make sense to use it but maybe not.
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Old 07-15-2007
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Quote:
I guess this is why they went away? Is anyone still lusing the old system? Should I look at changing out booms to a non roller before I replace the mainsail?
Just kicking my options around. If I have a roller already, it would seem to make sense to use it but maybe not.
I think that it depends on how important speed is to you, and whether or not you are going to be off-shore. They make it very difficult to achieve optimum sail shape, as the sails have to be cut/modified to work with the system. Also, they are likely to jam sooner or later. It may take a big wind and an unusual situation, but there is too much anecdotal evidence of problems to think that it may not eventually happen to any boat using the device.

If sailing a bit slower is not a big issue, and if you are willing to deal with the inconvenience of a sail jam, then they are probably not a bad idea.

The "Cinkel" (older) type of roller-furling boom makes for a pretty inefficient rig, for reasons already posted - so if you are considering changing your boom, you might want to consider getting a boom that is rigged with internal reefing lines. Check out the Rig-Rite website for examples...

Last edited by Sailormann; 07-15-2007 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 07-16-2007
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In addition to Wildcard's observations, my (long-ago) experiences with the old external roller reefing systems was that you didn't end up with much tension of the foot of the sail, since there was no real "outhaul" force. This left you with a fuller sail shape than the ideal for heavy air.

Also, it was kind of assymetrical, since the sail came off the side of the boom rather than the middle.
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Old 07-16-2007
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I don't know about sloops, but with a ketch this seems to work:

I have a furler installed outside the main mast. As someone stated before, my boat is slower than driftwood to begin with, but I've learned not to rely on the main as my main power source, rather a steadying force to offset the monster headsail, all balanced by the mizzen. I don't know if that makes sense, but it works. In heavy weather the main is doused, and either a storm sail or stay sail is unfurled, and mizzen reefed. Works well in about 55+ kts.
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Old 07-16-2007
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I grew up with the old style roller reefing booms. It was a miserable system. You actually could not reef very well with the mainsail down and could not reef except on a beat. More typically you would lower a foot of halyard and crank the boom, then lower another foot of halyard and so on. With the reel winches of the day this was a slow and dangerous proposition. As the sail rolled on the boom it would usually bunch up at the loff and the leech of the sail would creep up the boom as it was rolled in resulting in a next to useless for heavy air sail shape.
That said the horizontal battens and a full roach just were not a problem.

Roller reefing booms were a system that thankfully went away to be replaced by the simple and reliable slab reefing and then two-line reefing. The really nice thing about two line reefing systems is that the clew reef line is independent of the luff reef line allowing different tensions on each. Single- line reefing was another of those "seemed like a good idea at the time" things, that has begun to fade from use due to the high frictional losses and the sheer amount of line that has to be hauled to get a reef in, not to mention problems with getting enough luff tension without overstretching the foot.

There are some new in-boom furling systems on the market. They have been getting mixed reviews but compared to in mast furlers they seem to be far more reliable, allow full roached sails, and battens, but still have the problem of creep along the boom allowing to full a sail shape for heavy going.

Jeff
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Old 07-16-2007
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OK, thanks guys. Guess Ill just stick with a more conventional mainsail.
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Old 07-16-2007
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Wild...If ya can't afford the NEW in boom furlers, I'd say get yourself a doyle stack pak type sail set up for cruising to make sail handling easier.
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Old 07-16-2007
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It's not a matter of afford, it;s more proirities. I figured since I had a roller system already it was worth looking into...Ive seen the Doyles, are they that good?
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