There is IN-boom reefing/furling and the antique roller reefing. The in-boom furling
appears to be the best of all possible worlds with the exception of cost and possible mechanical malfunction
. You can still have a rigid vang, in fact, think it's necessary as the boom has to remain in a fixed attitude to reef properly.
The old roller reefing system is a POS. It required a worm gear
roller goose neck that rotated the boom wrapping the sail around the boom. It was tedious to reef, way harder than the simple slab reefing. It gave a lousy setting sail. There was no outhaul
tension on the sail as it was reefed and you ended up with a huge belly in the sail just when you wanted a flat sail. It also ruined the sail when reefed because all the tension was on the leech and it stretched sail of shape. It was also hard to rig a vang when the sail was reefed as the boom had to be free to rotate. The solution was a horseshoe shaped affair that slid onto the boom from the end and allowed the boom to turned while giving purchase
to the vang. Unfortunately, it rested on the sail cloth when reefed and looked like it would chafe through the cloth in long term use. Roller reefing was all the rage in the '60s and earlier though cannot for the life of me think why. It was such a lousy system can't see why anyone would even invent it in the first place.
There are a lot of solutions to going forward to reef that don't involve megabucks or catastrophic consequences in a gear
, among others, offer single
line reefing systems that allows you to reef from the cockpit
. Not sure I trust them in the real world, but certainly less things to go wrong than in-boom or in-mast furling
Personally, I wouldn't consider in-mast furling. If the sail jams, you could be stuck with way too much mainsail
that could result in your death. The in boom system should allow you to at least drop the main if it malfunctions.
I'm a KISS kind of guy that thinks that any of these mainsail
handling concoctions belong on small inland lake boats only. Have seen too many wiz bang ideas fall apart when things get nasty or even just a little unpleasant. If you can't go to the mast to do a slab reef, perhaps sailing is too strenuous an endeavor or the boat is just too large for the crew.