Join Date: Jun 2011
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Re: Pros and Cons of In-Mast Furling
What's not to like about infinite reefing? What's not to like about having no sail cover, lazy jacks or reefing lines hanging off the mainsail?
Unless one is a full-on racer, where every bit of sail area and sail shape are the most important things to them.
I've been sailing this boat for 9 years now with an RF main, and we sail a great deal as a term charter boat, so I believe I speak from experience. I agree with most of what Jeff said, except the point that "They still can and do jamb at the most unfortunate times". "They" do not jamb, the operators jamb them. And most of the time they jamb because the main has lost its shape and is baggy in the center. Well, that isn't something one doesn't know has happened, so one would take extra care when furling or unfurling a baggy main and there would be no problems. IMO, they are about as likely to jamb as your genoa sheet winches are to over-ride under load; both require a lack of attention and proper operation.
I love the infinite reefing, just in or out an inch or two can make all the difference in keeping the boat footing along on her lines. But one of the most valuable things about RF mains is the fact that one need not come up into the wind to drop (furl) or set the sail. This I believe compensates for Jeff's thought on the RF main's wearing out faster, as the sail rarely if ever flogs! Anyway, I can set or reef/furl our main on any point of sail, including DDW, if the wind is light enough. Boy, is that nice!
If you are the sort that takes care when operating equipment and doesn't force things if there is a problem, then there is no good reason why you shouldn't have an RF main. But if you are the 'bull in a china shop' sort of sailor, then stay far, far away from RF of any kind.
"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
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