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Discussion Starter #1
OK so this one seems a bit contentious and I'm really curious what folks around here think.
I've read that furling mains can be dangerous as if they jam they cannot be dropped. Unless you get furling not in the mast but on the beam, then it can be dropped. Also I've read that sails are quite a bit more expensive and must be replaced more often or else they don't roll up nicely.

On the other hand, some have said they are very reliable and almost never present troubles. On person told he he would not single hand without one as conditions in The Netherlands are quite variable and it allows for such speedy and easy reefing.

Personally I have passed on a number of potentially good boats simply because of the added complexity, fears of maintenance costs, and uncertainty about one jamming up on me.

Really curious to hear people's thoughts on this topic and whether a boat with a furling main would be more or less attractive to them as a buyer, especially if one was single handing.
 

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For my boat an in mast sail costs less than a full batten conventional $2000 vs $2700, I bought a new main this winter and the Dutchman flaking I prefer added another $600, $3300 vs $2000.
I've used old conventional mains to the point that they rot out at the leech, in-mast is much less forgiving of sail in poor condition. I've always preferred a sail with more roach and full battens and have difficulty getting as much power from the main on an in-mast, not usually much problem on a bigger boat with plenty of waterline. Lately I've seen some very nice laminate sails on in mast with excellent shape. The convenience of in mast is pretty appealing.
 

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I'd rather be sailing....
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Very timely thread. Thanks.

My own experience - only once, but that was enough - puts me in the camp of never again an inmast furler.

Some time ago I crewed on a brand new 42 foot Catalina delivery to St John from Georgia.
As this was a delivery, timing was critical and we left in weather we probably shouldn't have.

From day one the furler was a pain; the furlong line would constantly jump off the furler, the sail would stick bot going in and coming out, it would slip, releasing the sail when we were reefing.
And finally it got stuck fully out after one of those slips. Not fun in 30 plus winds dealing with a full main.

I'm sure we didn't do everything right (yes, I know the boom needs to be just right, etc....), but thanks, but no thanks.

I'm in the market for a new boat and find myself very clearly passing on in-mast furlers.

Maybe this thread will enlighten me as to the secret why they are considered OK....

Pete



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Discussion Starter #4
For my boat an in mast sail costs less than a full batten conventional $2000 vs $2700, I bought a new main this winter and the Dutchman flaking I prefer added another $600, $3300 vs $2000.
OK, two questions there, one- 2000 dollars? Really? What size boat are your sailing that a main only costs 2000?
On an earlier 'maintenance costs' thread, I was cited 7-10 grand for new sails on a 36 foot boat.
Second question- why would you put Dutchman flaking, which as I understand helps the sail to pile up nicely on the boom, as you would with say lazy jacks, when you have a mast to roll the sail into?

I've used old conventional mains to the point that they rot out at the leech, in-mast is much less forgiving of sail in poor condition.
Wow, so that's really the opposite of what I read that somebody said once a sail gets old it starts to sag and that makes lumpy spots in the mast where the sail bunches up and binds.
Sailing is so strange that you hear such differing experiences from different people.
So I'm curious, what kind of in mast reefing do you have? Maybe you've got one of the better ones? Or perhaps oversized inside? I'm just trying to find an explanation here.

I've always preferred a sail with more roach and full battens and have difficulty getting as much power from the main on an in-mast, not usually much problem on a bigger boat with plenty of waterline. Lately I've seen some very nice laminate sails on in mast with excellent shape. The convenience of in mast is pretty appealing.
Just curious what weight sails do you use? Dacron?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Very timely thread. Thanks.

My own experience - only once, but that was enough - puts me in the camp of never again an inmast furler.

Some time ago I crewed on a brand new 42 foot Catalina delivery to St John from Georgia.
As this was a delivery, timing was critical and we left in weather we probably shouldn't have.

From day one the furler was a pain; the furlong line would constantly jump off the furler, the sail would stick bot going in and coming out, it would slip, releasing the sail when we were reefing.
And finally it got stuck fully out after one of those slips. Not fun in 30 plus winds dealing with a full main.

I'm sure we didn't do everything right (yes, I know the boom needs to be just right, etc....), but thanks, but no thanks.

I'm in the market for a new boat and find myself very clearly passing on in-mast furlers.

Maybe this thread will enlighten me as to the secret why they are considered OK....

Pete



Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
Haha! An alternative opinion, this is getting interesting.

I wonder if the furling main you used was of inferior quality, or new and not broken in or adjusted properly?
I have no idea how these things work really, but I'm definitely curious.
As far as the slippage I wonder if the roll inside was just cinching up tighter or if the rolling mechanism itself was failing. I wonder how common this is!
And finally, is there some emergency fallback in case you can't get the furler working, say if something inside breaks, is there an emergency release?
 

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Rush, this was a brand new boat with a Selden mast.
Of course when your heart's racing because in you are in deep doodoo with a huge-ass main stuck flapping like crazy in 30 knot winds, you (me) think it DEFINITELY is an IN-FRIGGEN-FERIOR product....

There is no release as it was stuck in the slot in the mast. Only resolve was to hang like a dang monkey from a spare hallyard halfway up the mast trying to figure out if you need to push the sail in pull it out to release the bind.

Believe me, not fun....

Reality though is that theres tons of these systems out there with as many sailors swearing by them.
I'm sure our experience was the exception rather than the norm.

There's a lot of new, very high end blue water boats coming with these things as the only option (seems to be) these days, so they cant be all bad.

I'm walking away from in-mast, but definitely are looking at in-boom furler systems as my preferred solution for sailing shorthanded (and old-handes for that matter as well these days....)


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Discussion Starter #7
Rush, this was a brand new boat with a Selden mast.
Of course when your heart's racing because in you are in deep doodoo with a huge-ass main stuck flapping like crazy in 30 knot winds, you (me) think it DEFINITELY is an IN-FRIGGEN-FERIOR product....
LOL :)

There is no release as it was stuck in the slot in the mast. Only resolve was to hang like a dang monkey from a spare hallyard halfway up the mast trying to figure out if you need to push the sail in pull it out to release the bind.

Believe me, not fun....

Reality though is that theres tons of these systems out there with as many sailors swearing by them.
I'm sure our experience was the exception rather than the norm.

There's a lot of new, very high end blue water boats coming with these things as the only option (seems to be) these days, so they cant be all bad.

I'm walking away from in-mast, but definitely are looking at in-boom furler systems as my preferred solution for sailing shorthanded (and old-handes for that matter as well these days....)


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Wow, yeah, it seems to me that some kind of quick release in case of emergencies would be in order, for me to feel confident in the tech. Then again, one might argue that it would be even more dangerous if that quick release disengaged at the wrong moment.

In boom furling seems a happy medium at least if you're paranoid about this technology, because it can still be manually lowered. One person on another thread argued however that boom furlers required two people to raise and lower. I wish I'd dug in on his argument to get more info...
 

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Personally i think it crazy to past on a good boat just because of a furling main, because overall it is a plus. Definitely dont consider my Dutchman system less complicated and problem prone than a furling main.

But then i am not afraid of spade rudders, fin keels, boats less than 30 years old etc. Heck i even like refrigeration.
 

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When I was looking for a boat in the mid 30 foot range a few years ago, I passed on any that had a furling main. Wasn't willing to put up with the performance loss. Too many years racing I guess.
 

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Personally i think it crazy to past on a good boat just because of a furling main, because overall it is a plus. Definitely dont consider my Dutchman system less complicated and problem prone than a furling main.

But then i am not afraid of spade rudders, fin keels, boats less than 30 years old etc. Heck i even like refrigeration.
What are you saying - worried about an in-mast furling main makes me some sort of luddite?

Nope! - if you read my post you would know that I'm actually looking quite favorably at in-boom furling, and no worries, theres plenty of good boats with the latter or no furling on the main.

If you read further, I think I was quite clear also about the fact that I dont have enough experience to make a definitive assertion about in mast furlers - I did say that I would like to learn more....just like the OP.

I dont question that furling is a plus - my single experience sailing on a boat equipped such, however was not great.

So, other than the smart-ass comments, can you contribute something positive?

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I'm going to say this as simply and directly as possible. Just like a boat does sail herself onto the rocks, a properly maintained in mast roller furler does not ever screw up. People cause it to screw up.
There is a learning curve, but if one takes it easy and doesn't try to force things, you should never have a problem with you IMRF. A blown out baggy main can make things difficult, but even at that (and I speak from a couple of year's experience) with care we never had the sail bind or had it get caught so that we couldn't furl or unfurl the sail.
But like anything else in sailing you must pay attention to what you are doing. It is by far the best sail setting/reefing system I have ever used and its infinite reefing makes it the safest.
We've set it and furled it on every point of sail (depending on the wind strength) and never have to head directly into the wind and flog the sail.
 

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bell ringer
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What are you saying - worried about an in-mast furling main makes me some sort of luddite

So, other than the smart-ass comments, can you contribute something positive?
Well I wasn’t posting to YOU at all and don't understand why you apparently think people are.

I was saying exactly what I said.

And now that I am talking to you I can definitely say based on your post that I wouldn't ever consider helping you Ever!
 

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What are you saying - worried about an in-mast furling main makes me some sort of luddite?

Nope! - if you read my post you would know that I'm actually looking quite favorably at in-boom furling, and no worries, theres plenty of good boats with the latter or no furling on the main.

If you read further, I think I was quite clear also about the fact that I dont have enough experience to make a definitive assertion about in mast furlers - I did say that I would like to learn more....just like the OP.

I dont question that furling is a plus - my single experience sailing on a boat equipped such, however was not great.

So, other than the smart-ass comments, can you contribute something positive?

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I have personally talked to a few crew members on some pretty fancy multimillion dollar yachts that do not like in boom systems. I've also personally talked to a dozen or so cruisers with the system, and the main complaint was that at times (always on the big boats) someone must standby at the mast to insure the cars go correctly onto the mast track.
I have read differently online, but not yet from someone I've met with the system. They are very rare down here in the cruising boat fleet, which may say something about those systems. I have not sailed with one.
 

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I have a large main and I usually raise it once a day and drop in the evening... unless over night sailing. I use a Dutchman flaking system which is very effective and makes reefing a breeze. It's a simple system but it can break... but it is not difficult to fix or service. I would be leery of an furling main.. if only because of the difficulty to fix it.
 

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I have a large main and I usually raise it once a day and drop in the evening... unless over night sailing. I use a Dutchman flaking system which is very effective and makes reefing a breeze. It's a simple system but it can break... but it is not difficult to fix or service. I would be leery of an furling main.. if only because of the difficulty to fix it.
So far, other than the motor and gearbox, both of which are easily repairable, even in the islands, I can't think of anything else that could break, and there is a manual back up that uses a standard winch handle, which will furl or unfurl it with ease. I suppose the foil could break, but probably not as often as a jib furler as it is enclosed in the mast and gets little to no salt on it. Perhaps other systems are not as durable, but so far so good with ours.
The thing those who haven't sailed with IMRF don't understand is that we have infinite reefing. No set amount of sail, but just enough (2"?) to ease the pressure and get her back on her lines. No more being under powered or over powered and shaking out or tucking in a reef takes but seconds. You can't even imagine it if you haven't used it for a month or two.
 

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Hi, 32 ft boat, Leisurefurl boom furler, sail has a bolt rope and once you get the hoist started, smooth as silk.
It does have some peculiarities but once you learn how to use it all is good. ;)
 

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Sail shape seems to be better with full battens.
 

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I have beneteau 321 with furling mast and really like it. That said though it does have draw backs (IMHO). When the sail starts to get blown out it is difficult to furl. With the standard mast you just keep putting it up and down. I have just replaced mine this summer (after 22 years) because it was getting stuck occasionally. I thought that it was just blown out but after sending it to the loft was told that it was starting to rot also. North Sails made me a new one for $1472 in Detroit. I'm happy again.
 

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I've only sailed on one boat with in-mast furling, but I super-duper didn't like it. No jams or anything, but the sail was basically just a fabric triangle with some sad vertical battens to try to have some semblance of control over the leech hooking. We were racing, and I was trimming the main, and it just made me sad to look at it.
 

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Hi, 32 ft boat, Leisurefurl boom furler, sail has a bolt rope and once you get the hoist started, smooth as silk.
It does have some peculiarities but once you learn how to use it all is good. ;)
I guess that you give up having the halyards in the cockpit or single handed sailing, with that system?
 
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