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Hello,
Looking at different later model (1999-2004) boats for family coastal cruising in the mid 30's range, and seeing many with "In mast furling". I've heard there are performance penalties due to lack of battens.

Wondering about pros and cons as well as dealing with a mainsail with full Bimini top.

I've also seen one or two listed with "full batten roller furling". Not sure how that works, but okay.....thoughts?

Thanks.
Chris
 

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IMHO it's not worth the performance hit in a boat in the 30's. Get towards 50 feet we feel differently.

Advantages:
- easy to deploy and put away
- easy to reduce sail

Disadvantages
- inferior sail shape
- hard to fully batten...unless you use vertical battens that don't work as well
- if you jam it at the wrong time, life can get interesting...but we think you can learn proper procedures to minimize this risk.

I've had it on a 52 foot boat, and think at that size it was worth the disadvantages. When we built the current 38, we specified full battens with a single power winch for the main halyard. Great shape, easy to reef, and yea, a little harder to put away for the day, but worth it in our mind. The power winch for the main halyard to us at least is a good way to make a non-furling main a bit easier.

Depends how you value performance vs ease of use, and simplicity vs. added complexity for that ease of use.
 

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When I was shopping a few years ago for a performance cruiser in the 32-35 foot range, I crossed any boat with a RF main off the list. Didn't want the performance penalty upwind. The boat I ended up with (Cal 33-2) had a Dutchman system which I love. Makes dropping the main EASY - main drops right onto the boom and stays there. And it doesn't hang up and has minimal windage compared to lazy jacks.
 

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Full time cruiser
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we sail a jeanneau ds40 with rf main and love it. we have been out 8 years as full time cruisers sailing both the eastern and western carib then an atlantic crossing and now year 2 in the med.

do we not get a bit extra out of her in terms of speed - yep. but we could care less. we are not racers nor care to be.

we like the easy out and in, all work from the cockpit and the infinite reefing points. when we sailed across the atlantic we balanced the boat with just a bit of main, as we could reef way in, and jib when we spent 3 days in 25-35k winds and she sailed smooth and easy as we did slow her down to keep from pounding as she really wanted to run.

the only problem we have had is getting it out after some work was done on the sail ad i think the slightly changed the configuration of the sail.

we would not have anything else for our purposes.
 

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A friend of mine has a 97' Catalina 32 , he had put on what they call a stack pack , for the boom . IMO it is a PITA . Going up the sail gets hung up in the lazy jacks , coming down not so bad . I'm pretty sure it's just operator , but not my boat . Another friend with a Cat. 32 had a boom furl , full batten main. It was big $'s, he couldn't get it to work right he went back to the stock set up . Another Cat32 . owner I know has the same boom furling unit and he loves it . Plus when he bought his they were including a electric winch handle made by Winchright . All these boats have a full Bimini , the main sheet and traveler are forward of the dodger so no interference
 

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Having cruised with an infinite reefing mainsail for the last 5 years, I would never go back to a standard boom sail. I absolutely love the loose footed sail; it's really another jib!
Those with inboom furling I have talked to have mentioned the need to monitor the slides as they go on the track, but there are those on here, who I have not met, who say otherwise. That seems a bit awkward if the halyard is in the cockpit.
Of course, I cannot say how much better our boat would perform with a standard mainsail with a roach and battens, but I honestly cannot imagine the difference would be significant, especially to weather, as she sails pretty darned well as she is rigged. Of course, we are not racers and though this boat is sailed to get us to our destination as quickly as possible, she is not pushed to the point of breaking gear, ever.
We hope to meet up with a sister ship in March with a standard main, so perhaps we'll see, then.
 
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I debated the same question a few years ago when we were boat shopping. I raced my whole life and the thought of loosing speed/height was tough. In the end, it came down to the purpose of the boat. In our case, we were buying a boat to introduce our young family to sailing. We went for the roller furling main and haven't regretted it for a minute. We find ourselves able to put the main out far more often than if it was a traditional main. It has worked well in all wind conditions and only once struggled with rolling (first sail of the year and the halyard tension was too much). Performance has been fine. I know it would be better with a full main but think the fact we can use the sail more often it is probably a net gain. If your plan is racing or sailing with a larger crew, a traditional sail would certainly be better. Again, I think it depends on the plans for the boat.

We do have a Bimini and dodger. The set up is fine. I guess it would be a little tougher to flake a sail with the Bimini up.

Good luck with your search.

Sean
 

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man I have seen some boats with rf mains...I also buddy cruised with a perry Islander 36 with a rf main and I had to slow down for that boat and I was 28 ft ketch...

that boat suffered soooooooooooo much from that roller mainsail it was hard to watch...it had what seemed like an 8 inch gap once unfurled from mast to luff of course depends on in mast or not and boat type etc...

some new in mast furlers dont seem to be that bad
 

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We do have a Bimini and dodger. The set up is fine. I guess it would be a little tougher to flake a sail with the Bimini up.
That's certainly a consideration, and a determination one should make before deciding on in-mast furling vs a more conventional setup. I reckon it's one of the primary reasons why in-mast furling remains as popular as it is, today...

Every year I'm seeing more and more boats out there, on which it would simply be physically impossible to even put a sailcover on, much less flake the main...

Frankly, I'm surprised we're not already seeing video monitors at the helm(s), with a display of the main being shot from a camera mounted on the stern arch...

Just a matter of time, no doubt...

:)

 

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In mast furling is an abomination, invented by the antichrist and sold by snake oil salesman to unsuspecting sailors. Why pay more to go slower with more weight aloft and risk a sail jam if you don't get the procedure boom angle and outhaul tension just right. It is worth noting that the big charter companies are returning to slab reefing

I single hand a 44 ft cutter with slab reefing a stackpack and lazy jacks.

Before I hoist I slacken the lazy jacks and bungee them forward to the mast Takes a minute and the sail battens have nothing to catch on.

I love the way I can just release the main halyard and watch the sail rattle down and self stow.

I get good performance the sail does not flog and it can be tuned by someone who knows about these things.

Oh did I mention I dislike in mast furling.
 

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The reality for cruising sailboats I see in the Bahamas and the east coast of Florida is that those witthout roller furling rarely use their main. I spoke to a fellow in Vero Beach who said he has not put his main up in 5 years. Others I know don't even bother to put the main on because they know they are never going to use it. A fiend of mine has a C&C 30 which he bought with an after market main furler. He looked into converting it back to the standard sail arrangement but decided to give the roller furling a try. He said it would have been the worst decision of his sailing life if he had gone back.

Last year he had installed an after market main furler and in two months had the main deployed more times than in the previous 11 years.

For me and many others it's roller furling and use the main or traditional and it stays under the sail cover.
 

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The reality for cruising sailboats I see in the Bahamas and the east coast of Florida is that those witthout roller furling rarely use their main.

~snip~

For me and many others it's roller furling and use the main or traditional and it stays under the sail cover.
Umm, what, huh? :confused::confused::confused:

I sail on Barnegat Bay and the only time I see boats sailing on jib alone is when the wind is honking.

Since when is raising the main that hard? :confused:

As for putting it away, we'll furl the sails at the entrance buoy and get sail ties on while we're motoring in. In the slip we crack a beer, put the sailcover on and button her up. Did I miss something? :confused:

That said I do get where a furling main would be easier, especially on a larger boat. I'd say test sail any boat you're looking at. There are a lot of design factors in a rig that determine how well the boat sails. Furling is only one of them which is probably why people have such different experiences with furling mains.
 

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Umm, what, huh? :confused::confused::confused:

I sail on Barnegat Bay and the only time I see boats sailing on jib alone is when the wind is honking.

Since when is raising the main that hard? :confused:

As for putting it away, we'll furl the sails at the entrance buoy and get sail ties on while we're motoring in. In the slip we crack a beer, put the sailcover on and button her up. Did I miss something? :confused:

That said I do get where a furling main would be easier, especially on a larger boat. I'd say test sail any boat you're looking at. There are a lot of design factors in a rig that determine how well the boat sails. Furling is only one of them which is probably why people have such different experiences with furling mains.
I was just making an observation and you will note I was talking cruisers. I also see that almost all new boats in the cruising size range which average around 40 ft. have roller furling mains.
 

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The Ben Ainslie experience is not an uncommon one on charter boats. Which is why companies like Moorings and Sunsail are returning to slab reefing.
the question is why this happened. what broke and why. does operator error have anything to do with it? the other issue of course is maintenance? then again having done some reading on it i wonder why he did not sail out of danger with an engine, drop a hook, use the jib,? just asking questions.

not sure but somewhere i read sir ben's personal boat may have inmast but not completely sure.

rf has as many attractors as it does detractors.
 
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