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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Lose footed mast furling Main
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Thread: Lose footed mast furling Main Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-02-2007 08:28 PM
jboatjack I regularly beat my sistership who had a deep fin and a full batten dutchman system. A good sailor with RF main can still kick a mediocre sailors butt.

mediocre sailor is the operative word
07-17-2007 04:55 PM
petranek The toughest question I had to face recently when buying a new Passport 470 was whether to get in-mast roller furling. I am an ex-racer and the ability to critically shape a main is important to me. But I had sailed extensively on my friend's Swan 48 and had learned the hard way that even with great bat-cars, lazy jacks and a good person on the helm, handling a huge heavy stiff main is always hard work, if not almost impossible for one person, and in rough wind and seas can be dangerous. I decided against boom furling because I know of masts that have broken at or near the hole one must drill through the mast for boom furling. And although I know of no one who has had a jam in a reputable in-mast furler, I do know of problems sailors have had with furling booms acting up. I finally decided that the design of the boat itself and the manufacturer of the mast and its furling system are critical. I consulted with two sailmakers and one marine architect about the sailplan for the Passport. On ordering my boat I rejected the previous mastmaker of choice and insisted on Selden because of a new design it had just come out with that more easily accomodates the thickness of large mains, has a beefier mast, incorporates a seemingly fail-proof furling system, and I can get into the mast easily to fix something that might go wrong. I lengthened the boom two feet to compensate for less sail area in the roach, which has proved more than enough. I now love this system and would never go back, no matter how small the boat. Last weekend we were sailing along in 8 knots of wind when out of the blue the windspeed increased to nearly 25 knots and stayed there. With only two of us aboard it was a simple matter for one person to furl the main without changing our course. Doing it all with a push-button electric winch made it embarassingly easy. I cannot get the exact shape in the main I prefer when going to weather in higher winds, but in reality I doubt better shape would add to boat speed because at that point I'm maxing out the hull shape. I was longing for a sailmaker that could guarantee me their vertical battens would have a marvelous effect on performance, but the truth seems to be that vertical battens greatly inhibit easy furling and two owners I know oif have discarded their battened mains for battenless. Our boat is fast, fast, fast with that untweaked main and I can't imagine pulling another quarter knot out of it with a traditional main.
07-11-2007 09:01 PM
SkipperJay My last two boats were Catalina 30s. Both had fin keels and standard mains.
Last year when we were looking to replace our Cat. 30 with a larger boat I had planned to again go ahead with another standard main. I too had heard all the cautions about in-mast furling such as slower speed, can't head up
as well and danger of jamming. While checking out a boat I was considering, I had a fortuitous meeting with two Cat. 36 owners both of whom had in-mast furling. Their previous boats had been equipted with standard mainsails. They both loved their trouble free in-mast furling and said they would never go back to the old style. They also claimed that that they perhaps lost a quarter of a knot in performance at most. Their personal experience testimonials certainly got me to reconsider.
As a result, we purchased an 04 Cat. 34 with in-mast furling and I couldn't be happier. It performs great and so much less hassle than the standard main.
07-11-2007 07:04 PM
TAK I have it and I like it. So does the GF who handles it with ease. (the Mainsail..)

There is some loss in performance I suppose, But I dont sail a race boat and I suspect the sail lasts longer as its not pulled at the foot while under sail creating a bag out of the sail.

That said when I take off in a few years I can and may revert to a more traditional set up..
07-11-2007 06:44 PM
stevemac00 I've had standard, in-mast and now have a behind the mast furler. It's a piece of cr*p and I can't wait to get rid of it. It's a Pro-Furl. It and other after market main furlers are no long offered which is telling in itself. The only good thing about it is that they can be removed and all the holes filled and restored although I think i'll just get a new mast.

Jeff pretty much got it right.

If you don't own this boat then use this point as leverage to get a better price.

Getting the sail out is a PITA. The boat has to be exactly into the wind and still it jams. The sail already has two patches from jam/chafe. (It does furl up pretty easily though.)

I hear everybody say how easy it is to reef and the safety factor. Sure, if everything is working but I know from experience things break at the worst possible times. If I can't get up to reef a main I can always cut the halyard and she'll come down. What can you do with a jammed main furler?

As for the in-mast, I agree with the convenience but I'd never buy another one.
07-11-2007 04:11 PM
mputegnat
Three times a furler...

I am on my third boat with inmast furling and never had any serious sort of jamming incident. I also club race and know that reduced sail area means a poorer sail area displacement ratio...in light winds only. The fact of it is we have pretty steady and lively winds here in S. Tx, so the hanked up mains have to be reefed, usually on the worry that winds will hinder. Often times the winds don't rise as much or if they do they then lessen at times. The reefers pretty much stick with the original choice. We furlers keep full longer and revert to full more readily. We end up having more SA/D because we can. So we are always competitive. But there are other factors in the deal. Displacement can be reduced. Take out all those cans of Dinty More stew, gallons of water, full fuel tank loads, and all those cute things you stuck away for "later". Put on a folding prop...its a good deal even with a handicap adjustment. Finally, drill your grinders, sharpen your helmsmanship, smooth out those tacks, deploy the whisker, and trim, trim, trim with the traveller, the sheets, the sheet cars.

In the end, the reduced sail of a furled main may be only a smallish factor at all. AND NOW THIS: They have battened, roached furled mains now, so even that disadvantage is fading.

Finally, I solo sail more than a third of the time. When I'm out in the ocean in six footers, fooling with a mainsail on the top of the cabin is going to do one of two things: make me think twice about going out at all, or using up one of my n lives.

I'm always going to for the furled main...
07-03-2007 09:52 PM
SimonV Thank you all for the replies. It would seem that 3 are against and 8 are for a roller furling main. I wonder if the chance of the sail bunching and jamming in the cavity of an in mast furler would be less in the behind mast furler, as the only point of contact would be between sail and the trailing edge of the mast.
I will not be racing but short handed cruising, the big positive its the safety aspect of not having to leave the cockpit to shorten sail, I can also see a reduction in the chafe factor when sailing for long periods when slab reed but this would be offset by sail shape especially when running keeping the sail off the spreaders and stay. I notice the talk about deal breakers and this may or may not influence the price leverage for the buyer.
07-03-2007 08:57 PM
sailingdog Just remember, in the evolution of sailboat technology, there are often dead ends... and I think that in-mast furling is one that will become a dead end. For a system to really take off, it has to have such clearly superior advantages over the existing technology—without adding any glaring deficiencies. Roller furling for head sails has reached this point. I don't think roller furling for mainsails, especially in-mast or vertical roller furling is ever going to do that.
07-03-2007 06:10 PM
ebs001 Jeff, I think you missed my point. It's lose 1/2 mile or not sail. I think you would agree that it is better that people sail. The convenience of roller furling is getting people to use their sails: the ease of reefing is getting them to use their sails and that's what sailing is all about for most sailors - just sailing. The fact that rounding the buoys might leave you behind is of little consequence to the average sailor. BTW, from anecdotal evidence in previous threads there appears to be little difference in performance.
I think that in mast furling is here to stay and you, Jeff, of all people should be working to improve any difficencies so we encourage more people to sail and use their sails.
07-03-2007 06:07 PM
JomsViking To me it's a solution to a problem that does not exist. Taking the main down is just as easy (if not easier) with lazy-jacks and a fully battened main than with any kind of furling gear, be it in-mast or in-boom, at least IMnsHO. Also slab-reefing is a simple scheme that always works, and maintains sail-shape.
Jeff's comments makes perfect sense to me, and I believe that we will see a lot of people changing back to the traditional main (and smaller boats w/o motorized winches )
Just my .02$
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