Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: somewhere in the Windward or Leeward Islands
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Re: single line reefing
If you are building a boat for ease of sailing I would definitely consider in mast furling.
I know, everybody goes off on "what if...." but after more than 2 years of sailing a pretty big boat (53') either single handed or now with my girlfriend, I've never had a problem with the system that I couldn't clear in a few minutes, with some consternation, but successfully.
The biggest advantage for me is infinite reefing; no preset reef points. As conditions change, so can the sail size, and with ease. Also the loose footed main actually sets more like a headsail, giving a better shape and more control; we set the boom where we think it should be with a vang, then use the outhaul for trimming, then readjust the boom and sheet if needed. I would recommend a tri-radial cut on the main as I believe it has more durability; smaller panels and more seams.
There is a learning curve to the in mast rig, but once mastered you will have a system that does NOT require you to come into the wind to reef, unreef, or furl the sail.
Like the "new generation" of anchors, which I thought was bulls*it, I have come to find that there ARE improvements on the older gear and systems. Sailing vessels built before 1900 to the most modern "sleds" out there today, I have found that there are better, simpler and much more modern innovations that take the "iron men" thing out of sailing and allow one to, if not enjoy, at least endure the harder days on the water, without worry or strain.