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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Having never had in mast furling I though for my second post here I would ask a couple of questions regarding the operation of the furling system, this topic has undoubtedly been covered numerous times and I have looked and while previous posts have touched on the subject I did not find the specific answers.

Question #1 - Is reefing the main as simple as furling a portion of the sail back into the main?, after which putting some tension on the out haul and securing the furling lines. I don't recollect seeing any specific reef points marked on the boom when I was on the boat we are in the process of purchasing, which leads me to believe that reducing the main sail area is done by feel, at least until one becomes more familiar with the relationship between wind speed and main sail area.

Question #2 - Removing the main sail for winter storage? is this accomplished by simply unfurling the main, remove a clevis from the tack, pull the sail down and out of the track, remove the clevis from the head of the sail, fold nicely and store for winter or send to sail loft for inspection and any repairs which may be recommended?
 

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Master Mariner
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In mast furling equals infinite reefing; reef as little or as much as suits the conditions.
There is a learning curve w/inmast furling. Go slow until you get used to your system and don't force things. NEVER force things. If the sail gets hung up going in our out, STOP and reverse. Then go on slowly with what you were trying to do. An older baggy sail will be harder to furl/unfurl than a crisp new one, so take that into account and be patient.
As for removing the sail, roll it all the way out, then loose the halyard and it should slide down, just like a roller furling jib. You should have a foil in the mast quite similar to what the headsails use.
Good luck and I hope you come to love your inmast furling as much as we do ours. It's almost like having a jib instead of a boom sail. You can get a lovely shape by using the outhaul, sheet and a vang to the jib track.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Capta, the reefing method is what I was thinking but thanks for validating that thought and thanks for the advice on moving slowly and never forcing, we have been on the boat once, will be closing on it September 1st, the current owner reiterated the same instruction, head to 5* port into the wind when furling in the main, that way it stays in line with the furling rig slot and take your time. He stated if you don't do that, you will have issues, seemed easy enough.

Would the head sail work the same way? roll out as much as you want? as long as one secured the furling line.
 

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I didn't mention that we'll put the sail up (pull it out) on any point of sail. Just last week we kept the boom amidships and did it dead down wind! Dropping it we can furl as far out as a broad reach, though usually we do it on a beam reach with the sheet eased. Reefing we can do on any point of sail, even a run.
However, I don't recommend your trying that until you are well and truly comfortable with your system, and know all it's quirks. We've been sailing this rig for 6 years now, in winds normally 18 to 25 knots and occasionally to 40, so we are pretty familiar with our set up. It is a real blessing though, not to care what point of sail we are on, when we wish to shorten sail or even furl or unfurl it.
Good luck. I'm sure if you take it easy, you'll also be a fan of 'infinite reefing'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks again Capta, that a beautiful example of a Pearson Center Cockpit yawl. I bet she handles wonderfully in all seas.
 

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Thanks again Capta, that a beautiful example of a Pearson Center Cockpit yawl. I bet she handles wonderfully in all seas.
She probably handles better than you think, being a ketch, y'all. lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
LOL, hard to tell if the mizzen is in front or behind the rudder, but I like your play on words, well crafted.
 

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Catalina 400 MKII
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Ditto what Capta said. Take it slow.

One other thing: if you take your sail off for the winter, but leave the mast up, send up a line with some sail ties, or foam pieces, up the mast to keep the spindle from slapping inside the mast when it's windy. You can look that up for more details.
 

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are you guys luffing your main before you reef?
Luffing yes, by easing the sheet, not by coming up into the wind. Pretty much the only time we change course to furl or unfurl the main is when the wind has it against the rig, as in on a run or very broad reach.
We don't get to do a lot of running in the Windwards, so it's sort of a moot point for us.
 

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We need to take the wind load off in order to furl well and easy. If there is very light wind, that is easy to do any ol way. If its blowing hard then we usually head part way to the wind in order to luff somewhat. It all depends on how much is out in the first place. Its a balancing act between taking some pressure off and flogging the [email protected] out of it. Downwind, pointing the boom at the wind can work well.
 

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Capta and Xort .... what are your methods for controlling the outhaul as you shorten sail ?
 

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Works for me!

We tail the outhaul, or perhaps that should be 'untail'. When furling, we want some slack but not a flogathon. My furling winch is on one side of the companionway and the outhaul is on the other side. Stand between them and furl in while feeding oithaul in a controlled manner
 

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What CaptA says is spot on. Go easy on it and never force something if it binds up. Try to get a tight roll while furling to reduce the size in the mast but not too tight to overly strain the gear.

Don't put marks for "reef points" on anything. Always furling to the same spot increases chafe in specific areas. Try to spread the chafe around over time.


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This thread has been of great interest as I will also be taking delivery of my first boat with in-mast furling in the spring. I hope I come to love it as Capta says he does but I do have a concern. When I went on a test sail, the seller asked me to assist by tailing the outhaul when putting the sail away which made me think "What! You told me you single-hand this boat all the time. Why do you need me?" My previous boat (a Nonsuch 30) had a very large sail plus an electric halyard winch and I never needed help raising or dropping sail. So I ask those with experience with this: is in-mast furling a good system for single-handing or not - considering furling, unfurling and reefing? Thanks.
 

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This thread has been of great interest as I will also be taking delivery of my first boat with in-mast furling in the spring. I hope I come to love it as Capta says he does but I do have a concern. When I went on a test sail, the seller asked me to assist by tailing the outhaul when putting the sail away which made me think "What! You told me you single-hand this boat all the time. Why do you need me?" My previous boat (a Nonsuch 30) had a very large sail plus an electric halyard winch and I never needed help raising or dropping sail. So I ask those with experience with this: is in-mast furling a good system for single-handing or not - considering furling, unfurling and reefing? Thanks.
You wont have a problem. I singlehanded a 76 footer with in mast furling and did thousands of furls. You will soon know how many wraps you leave on the winch for the outhaul to provide just enough tension to furl the main snugly.

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I single hand my 40' Catalina. It is really easy. I do, however, have an electric winch on the cabin top. I used to not use it, but over time I use it more often, just because it's easier. I am (of course) very careful not to load it up. As has been said repeatedly here, take things slow and easy, and the system works fine.
 
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