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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Next week I'm chartering a Beneteau 393 with an in-mast furler. I've sailed with in-mast furling before, but I've never been the one in charge of it.

So far the advice I have for furling and unfurling is to ease the vang and use the topping lift to keep the boom at 90º to the mast. For furling I've been told to use the outhaul to keep some tension on the sail, but not too much.

Any other advice for someone new to in-mast furling? Searching Sailnet yields a bunch of horror stories, I don't want to add another one.

Here's the boat:
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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My also have a rigid vang and we just let the boom sit on it while we furl. We have electric furling - don't know if that is the case for you. Probably the best advice I could give you is just be paying close attention. Watch the sail, both going in and out so it is not too tight or too loose (yes, I know, how will you tell?). You will see. Also be aware of the amount of effort again in both directions. If it goes up there is something wrong, so stop immediately and check it out. Putting a lot of force into it will only make things (much) worse. With our electric furling you can also tell by the sound of the motor. There is an overload warning, but you can hear the motor straining before the buzzer comes on. With common sense it should not be any sort of problem. Some boats seem to have a shortage of common sense.
 
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Master Mariner
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I would suggest you use the topping lift to equalize the outhaul tension on both the foot and the leach. Too much tension on one or the other could cause problems. Almost every inmast boat I've seen has the end of the boom a foot or so above level.
 

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Warm Weather Sailor
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When unfurling ease vang, ease mainsheet, grind the outhaul while keeping tension on the furling line. Let the sail come out slowly as you grind.

When furling ease the vang, ease the mainsheet, grind the furling line while keeping tension on the outhaul.

I furl on most points of sail but it might be better to head up when furling especially if the main is old and baggy.
 

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We have a 1999 Beneteau 352 with inmast furler and we haven't had any problems the past two years. I use the topping lift to keep the boom just slightly above level as suggested. Unfurling is usually done heading into the wind and has never been a problem. We take the car out to the black tape mark on the boom. When furling, it is usually best on our boat to have the wind coming over the starboard beam because it helps angle the sail into the furler. It is basically the same as a jib furler, only inside the mast. Keep the bearings lubed on the outhaul car.
 

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Like other poster said--get a feel for "normal" effort both furling and unfurling. If required effort increases, then you have a problem. Do not ignore it.

Once in a while, the whole operation gets stuck while furling or unfurling. If you think about it, this also happens with a headsail furling system.

Say you're done sailing, and while furling the mainsail, it stops furling with the sail only halfway into the mast. The wind is piping up, the waterspout bears down on you....ok maybe I don't need that much drama...

More seriously, here is an often effective solution: Unfurl the sail a few feet, and then resume furling.

This was unsettling the first time it happened to a buddy and me--being stuck with a sail only halfway put away. We eventually realized that the leech somehow folded over a bit as it rolled up into the mast. This was maybe 2/3 of the way up the leech right as it disappeared into the mast. Unrolling and then re-rolling things solved the problem.

Really, don't worry about it too much. Like anything else, play around a bit in calmer conditions, and then you'll be ready for the exciting stuff.
 

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I've sailed a few in-mast boats - I think saying "head upwind when reefing" is too simplistic. Ideally, try to get the sail angle inline with the slot that the sail enters into the mast. If at all possible, don't have it dragging on the lip. The only tension is the outhaul, balanced against your grinding it in.

Of course, this is ideal conditions, but it seems to help the sail wrap with less resistance. If you know what good looks like in good conditions, it hopefully will make you more aware when you have lots of other things going on.

My .02 cents - have fun.

Tankersteve
 

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Furl slowly. Give the sail time to roll up with no folds. When you watch how the sail goes into (and out of) the slot, you can get a sense of rythem and timing. Think about it: the boat is moving, the sail is luffing, the spindle in the mast is moving. Move them all together.
 

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It really is pretty simple. When you first clear the breakwater, head into the wind with the motor on idle and practice a few times. Can't take more than that to be comfortable.

Here's a couple more furling main thoughts:

Keep some slack in the mainsheet, especially if the wind is shifty. If you are confident in staying dead into the wind, even leaving the mainsheet completely loose is fine, so you don't start sailing before you are ready to.

The outhaul is going to be one of your primary sail shape controls. We can not adjust ours under load and have to get it close to begin with. Otherwise, we have to come up on the wind and adjust, which also typically means furling the genoa back in too. You don't just pull it to the end and start sailing. However, bareboat sails are often blown out a bit, so I suspect you'll be snugging it down more often than not.

Good luck and have fun.
 
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Learning the HARD way...
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IF the furling loop should jump off of the furler control on the mast;
  • There is a winch-like fitting on the furler control at the base of the mast, which you can insert a winch handle into, and use to manually crank the mainsail in.
  • There is also a slot at one spot on the circumference of this device, which you can use, in combination with a winch handle, to reinsert the furling line back onto the furler control.
 
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Warm Weather Sailor
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IF the furling loop should jump off of the furler control on the mast;
  • There is a winch-like fitting on the furler control at the base of the mast, which you can insert a winch handle into, and use to manually crank the mainsail in.
  • There is also a slot at one spot on the circumference of this device, which you can use, in combination with a winch handle, to reinsert the furling line back onto the furler control.
I have a B393 with in-mast furling (this is the type boat the OP is asking about). AFAIK there is no winch like fitting at the base of the mast to manually crank the sail in.
 

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We had one for 10 years on a 52 ft LH. Never jammed, came close.

Your getting good advise. I think the main trick is to have some tension on the outhaul when winding in. You want the sail to wind tight, not bunch up, that's when the problems occur. Also, the tension needs to pull relatively equally all the way up and down the sail so the top won't bunch or the bottom. That has to do with boom position.

I've even been on the wind a little sometimes to increase tension, you can play with that, not in a strong blow but lighter wind.

Just watch it go in and make sure it's tight, you'll do fine...have a great sail!
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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I have a B393 with in-mast furling (this is the type boat the OP is asking about). AFAIK there is no winch like fitting at the base of the mast to manually crank the sail in.
You are RIGHT!

I assumed that it would be similar to the Selden In-mast furler;


It is not.
You know what happens when you ass-u-me...:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the good advice. I had previously heard to keep the boom 90º to the mast, but people here are saying it should be a bit higher. Looking at the picture of the boat it does look like it's a bit higher than level.

I guess keep tensions even, go slow, and if it feels wrong it probably is.

The outhaul is going to be one of your primary sail shape controls. We can not adjust ours under load and have to get it close to begin with. Otherwise, we have to come up on the wind and adjust, which also typically means furling the genoa back in too. You don't just pull it to the end and start sailing. However, bareboat sails are often blown out a bit, so I suspect you'll be snugging it down more often than not.
Right now Sailflow is predicting winds of 13 knots (nice) with gusts to 33 knots (gusty!) when we pull out Friday morning.

It's a 10-year-old boat, with original sails I'd guess, so it's probably safe to say they're a bit blown. With those gusts and that sail I'll try to keep the outhaul pretty tight.

Thanks for all the help, everybody!
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Per the US Spars Operational manual section on Z-spar; http://www.usspars.com/wp-content/uploads/PDF/OperationalManual2013.pdf
Furling the Sail:
Release vang and mainsheet so that the leach has little or no tension.

Maintaining a slight tension on the outhaul line, furl the sail into the mast with the inhaul line try and keep the wind ahead. (A slight pressure from the wind will prevent creases in the sail).

Insure that the furling drum has two or three turns of rope left on it when the sail is fully furled.

The sail will only furl as far as the reinforcement patch.

With new sails you will need to make some VERY tight furls by holding back on the outhaul line when furling in the sail.

Always keep the vertical batten pockets parallel to the mast.

Keep equal tension on the foot and leech of the sail when furling in, this will avoid bunching when unfurling.

Remember when furling or unfurling is that you are trying to keep equal tension on the foot and leach of the main, if one has vastly different tension the sail will furl uneven.

Releasing all leach line tension will help when furling.
...
Now as for the sail 7-8 years of use with a furling mast I would be very surprised if it didn't need to be replaced, or at least serviced, cleaned and checked, and possibly have some of the hollow/ middle taken out to flatten the sail. You can also ask the sail maker to check the leach line and make sure it is as small as he can make it; you also do not need to tension this when furling.

Let the boom do what it wants when furling, release vang and mainsheet before furling. We find when furling in the boom need to be raised about 20º and when furling out bring it down 20º below horizontal. Also keep load on the opposing line when furling.
 
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the only problem iv had is creeping, the furling line slowly easing and letting slack and there for to mush belly in the sail, jammer was old!. once on a delivery to the islands(Tonga)the goose neck parted, luckily the pin fell into the roll of sail in the leach(30kts of wind)but common sense seems to be the word of the day enjoy and may the wind all ways blow from aft
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I just thought I'd check back in.

I asked the charter check-out guy for tips on the in-mast furling. For unfurling he said blow the vang, put some slack in the mainsheet, don't touch the topping lift, and keep a little pressure on the furling line while pulling on the outhaul. If it sticks, pull it in a bit and try again. Ease the mainsheet some as you unfurl.

For furling he said (again) don't touch the topping lift, blow the vang, don't have too much pressure on the sail, but do have a little pressure on a starboard tack. Keep a little tension on the outhaul while you pull in on the furler. If it gets stuck, pull it out some and try again.

Basically, the same advice everybody here gave me!


In practice I found it sticky. The weather was such that we reefed a lot. I never put the lines on a winch to furl or unfurl, but even when everything was lined up right they were hard enough to pull that I was tempted to. This may be from being a 10-year-old charter boat.

And it did jam a couple times. Not bad, I just had to pull the other direction for a while then start again.

Maybe if the system were newer and I were more familiar with it I'd like it better. As it was I think I would have preferred a traditional main with reef points, assuming those reefs were deep enough.

There was one really good thing about the furling main though. A friend of mine was up there and and also rented a Beneteau 393, his with a traditional main. So when on the last day he slowly crept past me, maybe making a quarter knot faster, I had a built-in excuse. "He's got a traditional battened main with some roach, we've got this silly inverse roach thing! It's not our sailing skill, it's the damned main!" :)
 

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Warm Weather Sailor
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In practice I found it sticky. The weather was such that we reefed a lot. I never put the lines on a winch to furl or unfurl, but even when everything was lined up right they were hard enough to pull that I was tempted to. This may be from being a 10-year-old charter boat.
I always use the winch for both furling and un-furling.
 
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