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Discussion Starter #1
I am in the process of searching for my next boat, and for the year and makes I'm looking at, a lot of them have in-mast and head sail roller furling. I prefer battened mains and hanked-on head sails, so will I be disappointed with furling sails? Reefing a main or changing a head sail by furling seems inefficient to me. I've never had roller furling so am a little anxious about buying my next boat with it. Thanks.

Jim.
 

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I am not the definitive expert on this, but I had hank-on and roller furling on two different boats. Currently I have in-mast furling on a Catalina 36. The result is a smaller mainsail, and you can put only a small amount of bend in the mast. This affects the power delivered by the main, but, the convenience with a not-so keen crew compensates (for me, that is, maybe not for you). If you are looking at a sloop rig vs. cutter, you also will have to consider headsail performance when reefed. I had foam luff strips installed on a 150% genoa, which improved sail shape, but it is still not ideal. Some boats (Tartan?) come with 2 headstays and 2 roller furling setups to accommodate a large genoa/reacher/spinnaker and a 100% or self-tacking jib.

If you find yourself totally unsatisfied with a furling head-sail, it is of course possible to remove the foil and revert to hank-on - but you'd have to modify the headsail to hanks. Should you wish to do the same with the main, you'd have to install a new track as well, so it all adds up - and could be makeshift to boot.

Bottom line: I cannot tell you what your experience will be with all the furling stuff, but it will require some getting used to, for sure, and possible performance compromises depending on how much of a sailing purist you are.

Lots of luck with your shopping.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Flandria.

Being as how i'm not getting any younger, 65, roller furling on the forestay and a babystay is a great idea. I had not considered that. Thanks for your thoughts.

Jim.
 

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I am in the process of searching for my next boat, and for the year and makes I'm looking at, a lot of them have in-mast and head sail roller furling. I prefer battened mains and hanked-on head sails, so will I be disappointed with furling sails? Reefing a main or changing a head sail by furling seems inefficient to me. I've never had roller furling so am a little anxious about buying my next boat with it. Thanks.

Jim.
Once upon a time long ago I was very much against furling fore sails.
Then I sailed with one.

The sheer convienence is fantastic you will never regret the change.
Although you may not point as well. The ability to partialy furl and unfurl in response to wind changes is great.

My current boat is optional. I have a full suit of sails which I can change on my foil and a split removable drum.
When sailing just with my wife I put the furling headsail on and am happy with slab reefing fully batten main.
For most of our coastal cruising we are just fine.

If larger crew I can swtch to more performance orientated sail.
Or if anticipating strong winds a smaller No 2 or 3 jib. I found this very usfule sailing up the west coast against a NW wind.
Boat ballanced realy well with No 2 and 1st reef and pointed well.

I like the harken reefable style
I did not like the all or nothing Hood system.

Furling main Ive never tried.
 

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Hi Flandria.

Being as how i'm not getting any younger, 65, roller furling on the forestay and a babystay is a great idea. I had not considered that. Thanks for your thoughts.

Jim.
Ah, yes. At 65 you will enjoy roller furling head sails. I've never had in mast furling for the main, it would probably extend my sailing lifetime, but it would have to reef (efficiently) as well as furl. If you are not racing with a crew, the reduced sail area is a moot point.
If I we're buying a new jib furler I would certainly get one with a double slot so that in a big wind change I could change head sails before dropping the working one. Reason is the roller furling is not so good at reefing the jib. A reef does not let you get as high on the wind before it's shape goes to hell if you roll in more than 10-20%.
I started sailing again at 63. By the time I was 65 I had roller furling. Then came the auto pilot, and then lazy jacks. I made a "stack pack" but have taken it off as I just hated having all that extra fabric and battens flapping around. The lazy jacks are bad enough, but they really serve their purpose when you are single handing and it's time to drop the main.
My goal is to be sailing single handed on my 80th birthday.
So, use all the new tools and systems and keep your sailing years going.
John
 

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Furling the main in the mast is child play (personal experience). You don't even have to head fully into the wind and you can crank in as much sail as you wish to get rid of! I am 69 myself and likely will not go back to hanked-on sails, ever. Once you have made the trade-offs to furling, unless you go through some sort of ephiphany, you'll not go back.
 

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I race with foils and hanks (depending on boat), I cruise with roller furling.

While it's true that a roller furling jib limits your ability to reef the headsail, the added convience is so worth it that I don't see it as an issue anymore on cruising boats. And there is nothing that prevents you from swapping sails on a furling jib when bad weather is headed your way. We carry a 155% most of the time, refutable to a 135%. Ina. Bag we carry a 105, reffable to a 95. If you want an even smaller sail, you can add a removable sta-sail in another bag.

Frankly with this setup I can't envision any conditions where I would rather have hanks. Trying to go up and swap a handed on sail in bad weather just sounds like misery.

As for main reefing systems. We spent 10 years down island with an in mast system, and it was terrible. It jammed all the time, resulted in terrible sail shape, and I just never trusted it.

The in boom systems I have used are great when they work, but they can be temperamental as well. The boom needs to be at a very precise angle to the mast to furl correctly. But at least you can always get it down if something goes wrong, and the sail shape is fine.

I do love stack-pac's and lazy jacks. They make reefing a main a breeze.
 

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Ah,

If I we're buying a new jib furler I would certainly get one with a double slot so that in a big wind change I could change head sails before dropping the working one. Reason is the roller furling is not so good at reefing the jib. A reef does not let you get as high on the wind before it's shape goes to hell if you roll in more than 10-20%.

John
Something to consider is that a double slot foil can only be used as a double slot for headsail changes or as a roller furler. if you have a sail on the furler swivel then you can not hoist another sail before you remove the one on the furler first.
 

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I am 66 and single hand a 44 ft cutter with a RF genoa hank on staysail and fully battened main with slab reefing. I am happy with this set up.

I did not consider a RF main as I have seen several with serious problems. Sure most work even though the sail set is not that good but when they go wrong and stick you are stuffed at my age.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi TQA.

How does your staysail stay attach to the deck and the mast? Do you have running back stays? How far back from the bow does it attach?
I hope these questions are not too broad, I am new to larger boats.

Thanks, Jim.
 

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Roller furling jibs is a wonderful improvement over hanked jibs, and I could not imagine ever returning to a non-furled jib. For example, each time you go sailing, you save the 20-30 minutes involved in setting and then striking a hanked-on jib. Aside from the physical work, the loss of the sailing time alone is a reason to commit to furling.

Sure there are occasions the jib you have up is the wrong size, I dont mind changing the jib to use the correct size, maybe you do this ever 4th or 5th outing.

The only circumstance where I don't see headsail furling is some hardcore racers.

No headsail furling is a definite throwout.

The furling main is much more a calculation, some pluses some minuses. I would not have it, but it depends on how you do your own calculation.
 

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I have a headsail furler and a slab-reefed main with Batcars and a Stakpac.

As said above, unless you're racing there is no justifiable reason (IMHO) to not have a headsail furler. It's easy, fast, safe and pretty trouble free. Yes sailing with a "reefed" headsail can be sketchy in terms of sail shape but a foam-filled luff can alleviate a lot of that.

I would not swap my slab reefed main for any form of furler. If I have to make a concession for my age/inability to hoist the main, it will be an electric winch. But I can hoist my main with ease and have no reason to believe that will not continue for several more years.

If one is hell-bent on avoiding a headsail furler then a double track headsail foil beats hanks hands down and I can't see any advantage to hanks in normal sailing conditions.

FYI - 44ft boat, 65yrs old
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have a headsail furler and a slab-reefed main with Batcars and a Stakpac.

As said above, unless you're racing there is no justifiable reason (IMHO) to not have a headsail furler. It's easy, fast, safe and pretty trouble free. Yes sailing with a "reefed" headsail can be sketchy in terms of sail shape but a foam-filled luff can alleviate a lot of that.

I would not swap my slab reefed main for any form of furler. If I have to make a concession for my age/inability to hoist the main, it will be an electric winch. But I can hoist my main with ease and have no reason to believe that will not continue for several more years.

If one is hell-bent on avoiding a headsail furler then a double track headsail foil beats hanks hands down and I can't see any advantage to hanks in normal sailing conditions.

FYI - 44ft boat, 65yrs old
Omatako,

I started this thread to help me with my boat search. I've got some good ideas and information and the must haves are, reefable full battened main, roller furling head sail, some way to easily put on a storm jib and fin keel.
I'm not having much luck with the storm jib gear because I wouldn't want to deal with running back stays and all that. Hopefully I'll find a way to easily fly a storm jib. Thanks for your input.

Jim.
 

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Have you looked at the ATN storm jib? It installs over the furled jib.
I have no idea how effective it is, but looks interesting.
John
I've never had to use one, but they are supposed to be a bit of a pain to install, but work pretty well. There is a lot of friction pulling the sock over the furled headsail so it takes a bit of halyard load.
 

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I've either owned or operated boats with every common sort of furling/reefing system in use over the last 50+ years.
The old boom roller reefing was by far the best and easiest form of reefing I had ever sailed with, if the mast was in the cockpit, as it was on one boat I cruised.
However, the inmast reefing is vastly superior to any system, IMO, and it all comes down to two words; infinite reefing.
Yes the main is smaller than a conventional roached sail, but in all honesty, I doubt it makes a great deal of difference unless you are a racer. Certainly, the ability to reef to any size sail, far overshadows the small percentage of lost sail. On our boat, we can set the sail in any wind forward of the beam; no need to head up into the wind, flogging the main and jib, if it's up. We have managed to furl the main on every point of sail, including ddw, though it isn't as easy when the wind is abaft of the beam, again without all the flogging conventional systems have heading into the wind. I have come to appreciate the loose footed boomed (main & mizzen) sails as well, and at times our main seems to set more like another jib unlike the conventional track footed mains. Using the outhaul we can get a beautiful curve to the whole sail that just isn't possible on any other boomed sail. Another great feature is that we can be underway in minutes; no gaskets to untie, no halyards to attach or cover to remove. For day sailors it must be a lot more fun and a lot less work.
A lot of people have horror stories about their main furlers and I must admit, it took some time to learn to use it without problems, but with careful attention I don't see how one could foul it so badly it couldn't be either refurled or let out in order to clear a foul up. If you see it fouling up, stop and fix it; don't try to force things.
A roller furling headsail is a no-brainer, again, unless you are a racer. It takes only seconds to set, furl or reef one and it can be done from the cockpit. It is the best insurance one can have, should the engine fail (if your boat can sail on headsail alone, of course); no gaskets to untie and no halyards to attach.
When you find a boat you like, and it has a main furling system, have the owner take you out on a trial sail and show you how it works.
A roller furling staysail will double as a storm jib, again with infinite sail size available.
There is absolutely no way I could have purchased a 53' ketch, at my age, with the intention of single handing her without the jib and inmast furling systems. As it is, I sailed her for over a year alone (other than passages over 48 hours), without any problems at all. I love the ease and versatility of these systems and would never go back.
 

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Had the pleasure of starting from scratch for my "last boat".
Roller furled 140 and Solent. No brainer for reasons mentioned above. Storm jib on removable dyneema stay.
Mains are more problematic with no system ideal.
In mast More weight aloft. Very difficult to fix if under way. Very dangerous if fouls in a blow. Poor response to halyard tension t o shape sail if partially furled. Can still shape somewhat with out haul. No horizontal battens.loss roach. Mandril can be an issue. Loss strength of solid stick from cut outs for slot and furled lines. May whistle at anchor.
In boom. If halyard breaks may have a whole lot of sail on deck. May need to head up to reef. Loss of kicking strap to shape main. Very sensitive to being set up just so. Loss of ability to shape main with out haul.
Still, in boom safer and better performance than in mast. Schaffer more foolproof and easier to reef than leisurefurl.
I went with conventional slab using ultra low friction blocks,dyneema/ spectra reef lines with single line for first two reefs and double for third. Also Dutchman so main contained at all times. So far this seems ideal. Have try sail tract but holding off on buying until we do the pond.
Think these decisions depend on size of boat and intended use.
With this set up admiral can reef without using power in the winches although we do for convenience. Still. It's good to hand grind the last little bit.Reefing is easy so we do it instead of putting it off. I can get main up without power. The low friction battcars and tracts are worth the money as are doing everything possible to get rid of friction in your reefing
systems.
Hope this helps your thinking.
 

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I've never had to use one, but they are supposed to be a bit of a pain to install, but work pretty well. There is a lot of friction pulling the sock over the furled headsail so it takes a bit of halyard load.
For the use of a Gale Sail, I recommend making a zippered 'sock' from a slippery material like Stamoid, that will reach above the furled sail's clew... This will help smooth over over the 'ridges' created by the sail's foot, and allow the luff to slide up far more easily...

I've yet to use mine - which is set over my furled staysail - in anger, but I've played with it in around 25-30 knots, and overall it's a pretty good setup... It could be a different ballgame, however, when set over a high-clewed genoa on a headstay - at the extreme pointy end, with a clew that might be out of reach, I could see where it might be a ***** to hoist in a real blow...
 

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Why are people talking about "unless you're racing, there's no need for hank on sails"?

Even the professional racers use roller furlers. So I'm not sure you get that big of a hit on performance with them.
 

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