Can one use in-mast furling for blue water? - SailNet Community

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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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Old 11-18-2010
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Can one use in-mast furling for blue water?

We want to go blue water. We've found the boat we want. And, she has in mast furling. Does anybody use in mast furling for blue water?
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Old 11-18-2010
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What is blue water?

To answer your question, we have bene offshore many times, sailed across teh gulf, the tortugas, and are heading to Marathon (keys) in a few days. We have inmast. I will not rehash a lot of old debates on this subject, but one of the huge benefits of inmast is that you do not have to leave the cockpit and can reef to almost any point and can do it and most sailing angles to the wind. That gives you a huge safety margin.

The negatives of it are that it is not as good a shape as a typical slab reef (reduces performance), and if inmast gets hung in the mast, you may have a real problem getting it loose. There is a work around, but it is not great (involves wrapping the outhaul around the mast to try and secure the sail).

SO - when it works well, I think it is actually safeer than traditional. IF it screws up, which it can, you cannot simply drop the sail and are in for a heck of a mess and potential safety issue.

Todays in masts are not the ones of old. Mine has never hung or failed. I know many others with the same experience. I have also spoken to sailors that did have theirs hang and at bad times. However, I feel that much of that may be due to how they have reefed/furrled the sail and unfurled it. YOU CANNOT do it like a traditional slab reef. Instead, you need to loosen the boom vang and Main shets so that the boom actually goes up some at the end to pull it out and back in. If you have it taunt and do it (like you would do for alsb reefing), you can get wrinkles in the sail and it can get hung.

I can expand on all this if you want. THis is just a very brief summary. Much more info can be found here on the threads discussing this. So the simple answer to your question, in my strong opinion, is yes. You can cruise offshore with a inmast.

Brian
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Old 11-18-2010
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Many boats have circumnavigated with in-mast furling. Not only top-end Oysters, Swans, Hallberg-Rassys, Amels and others but many more mainstream production boats as well. The ARC rallies in both direction and the Caribbean 1500 is full of boats with inmast furling and those races have no dropouts or failures of the furling mechanism that have caused problems.

So the answer to whether or not one "can" is definitvely and unequivocably "yes".

The debate will most likely rage on this thread, as on other in-mast furling threads, on whether or not this is a good or safe thing.

I go offshore with my in-mast furling so you know which side of the debate I would join in on I mainly single-hand and couldn't handle a boat my size as easily or safely without inmast or inboom furling for the main.
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Last edited by Zanshin; 11-18-2010 at 09:40 AM. Reason: added text
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Old 11-18-2010
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I did have my in-mast jam once. Bottom Line it was my error. The wind dropped and I figured I would just motor. I rolled in the sail like always but I guess I was a little to lazy and didn't keep enough tension on the sail so it didn't roll in tight. When the wind picked up I went to unfurl it. Several layers pulled out at the same time and jammed it up nice. It took me close to two hours at the dock to fix this mess. Never again!

Regarding blue water, I've done it and would not hesitate to continue to do it.
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Old 11-18-2010
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Absolutely, and you just need to learn it's proper use as stated.......i2f
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Old 11-19-2010
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I've used in mast, in boom and behind the mast for ocean crossings. They are more complicated than hank on sails and generally the sails are cut flatter so they don't bind inside the mast (the exception seems to be the in boom furling systems). Aside from breaking the lower pivot on a tall rig I've not had any problems.
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