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Old 16-04-2012, 10:46   #16
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Re: Furling mains

Most of the people who don't like furling mains haven't had one. It's very unusual to find someone who has had a furling main who goes back. Although on a 37ft boat it's not clear to me it's worth the money.

Like any piece of boat gear, you do have to learn to use them. Most of the horror stories are from early designs decades ago.

I had a Selden furling mast on my last boat. Never had a jamb. I just couldn't get happy with the sail shape. I even had 6ft vertical battens.

Current boat is a Schaefer furling boom with full length battens. Love it. Do not try to retrofit your old main and use a sailmaker who has done a lot of these. Getting the leach and draft right is tricky.

You must use a rigid vang and set it exactly to instructions. You don't move it . Otherwise the sail tries to walk as it rolls. You adjust leach tension by rolling a bit, not moving the boom. Not ideal but better than a furling mast.

The biggest advantages of the Schaefer is that the articulated track attached to the mast guides the sail onto the boom and reduces friction. Many roller booms have a reputation for chewing up luff tapes because of the friction going up and down. My sailmaker calls them "sailmaker's annuities". My main's luff tape looks as good today as three years ago when it went on.

Carl
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Old 16-04-2012, 12:31   #17
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Re: Furling mains

Even blind knows only drape is good for furling... :P
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Old 16-04-2012, 12:39   #18
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Re: Furling mains

Some in-boom reefing systems are less than perfect when hoisting the sail - it takes one person feeding at the mast and one hoisting. Probably less of an issue if you have halyards at the mast.

For me the in-boom is a no-no since I lose control over foot tension.

b.
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Old 16-04-2012, 14:19   #19
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Re: Furling mains

Have a Facnor behind the boom roller furling main system. We love it and use the main more now. We've never had a problem with it. You do lose some performance with it being loose footed, but we have a BIG main on our Krogen 38 that we just weren’t using that much before, so it was worth it to us. We were told to go thru a rigger as we would get better pricing than dealing directly with the company, and it was true. We also paid a whole lot less than $10,000 for everything including the new sail (about 4 years ago). To be fair we had the mast out at the time and also had the boat rerigged, so maybe that helped with the price.
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Old 16-04-2012, 14:22   #20
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Re: Furling mains

Oops...that's roller furling behind the mast not boom....
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Old 16-04-2012, 14:31   #21
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Re: Furling mains

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Originally Posted by DRS View Post
I've got Profurl in boom and a fully battened main. Its way to easy! and if things go bad I can always dump it on the deck like a regular sail.
This would be my vote too. Don't like in mast furling mains. Reasons I don't like: your cut and design of main are extremely limited and they are a challenge to get trimmed properly to go really hard on the wind (I've learned you must play games with the outhaul and initial unfurling of the sail to get it set-up so that you can actually sheet it in hard effectively). Also, if something does go wrong mechanically you are screwed (although the newer models which friends have to appear to be quite reliable).

Perosonally I much prefer in boom. Your cut/design of sail options, including full battened, are much less constrained. You can trim them just fine. And, if something goes wrong you can get your hands on the sail and run it without the furling if necessary.

Another option to consider is a "stack pack". Very straight forward to build and makes sailing handling much more convenient. Can be repaired anywhere in the world without proprietary parts -- unlike either in-mast or in-boom.
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Old 16-04-2012, 15:05   #22
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Re: Furling mains

As with the other posters, we had an in-mast furler. The main reasons where that:

I mostly tend to sail solo, or at least have to rely on myself since the little one came as I can't depend 100% on my wife being able to lend a hand exactly when I need it. I found the furling main to be very easy to control and I could reduce sail without leaving the cockpit which is a major consideration when it's starting to blow;
I only had one issue with jamming, and it was in calm weather. This was the result of not keeping a sensible amount of out-haul resistance on the sheet as I furled it back into the mast - if you just furl without resistance then you're going to end up with too much diameter in the mast. Once this was never repeated, we never had an issue again;
The setting was never optimum, it's good enough for 95% of cases, but you always felt as though you were missing a knot or so from an inefficiently trimmed main.

Our next boat will probably have an in-mast furler too, but if I has the chance/economy i'd probably prefer a boom-furler, it seems that it would have all of the benefits listed above but with the benefit being a better analogy of a standard rig - so the setting should be better.
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Old 16-04-2012, 15:57   #23
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Re: Furling mains

I have Selden in-mast furling; it does not suck. It has a number of advantages. Just some of them are: excellent sail shape when reefed down, infinite reefing, no need to head into the wind to reef, perfect control of foot tension, perfect wrinkle- and UV-free storage of the sail (which greatly extends life of the mainsail).

There are disadvantages which others have mentioned. The main ones are weight aloft and lack of roach.

I would never bother with in-mast furling on a 38 foot boat, and certainly not add-on in-mast furling.
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Old 16-04-2012, 16:16   #24
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Re: Furling mains

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
Most of the people who don't like furling mains haven't had one. It's very unusual to find someone who has had a furling main who goes back. Although on a 37ft boat it's not clear to me it's worth the money.
I would second that observation, noting that in-mast furling gives short-handed crews on larger boats the opportunity to have the perfect amount of sail out for any wind condition without having to leave the cockpit.

The complaint, heard even on this thread, that boats with in-mast furling suffer a performance lost is somewhat archaic. Yes, if you take a boat designed for a conventional mainsail and instead install in-mast furling on that same sailplan, you will tend to be underpowered. Newer boats, however, that have been designed from the beginning for in-mast furling, tend to have all the power they need.

Once again on this thread I hear the tired complaint that it's not possible to trim a battenless sail to look good. Well, okay, a full-batten main can appear to be well-trimmed even when it's not, and maybe folks have become confused between good looks and good trim. Put an expert at sail trim on a main without battens and it will look as good as any other sail. Indeed, in some ways it's easier to trim an in-mast furling main than a full-batten main because the luff of the former tends not to prevaricate to the trimmer.

I routinely see in-mast furling on boats as small as 34' these days, and I doubt that I'd want to go that route on such small sails. However, one you get up over 400 sq ft, in-mast furling tends to make sense for cruisers. Indeed, the larger the boat, the more it seems to make sense.

We were sailing yesterday in 16 knots true, meaning that we were seeing about 23-24 knots apparent when going to weather. I noticed that an awful lot of boats in the bay were sailing traveler-down and still a bit overpowered, because it wasn't quite enough wind to encourage many of these boats to reef. A shame, because with in-mast furling they could have reefed easily, and therefore could have maintained their pointing ability rather than messing with it by easing the traveler.

I reefed to about 82.5% yesterday, I'm guessing. Guess whose main appeared to be trimmed better: mine, or the guy with the full battens who had the traveler all the way down and was still fighting to control weather helm?
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Old 16-04-2012, 16:27   #25
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Re: Furling mains

Quick point on sail handling

you can have a stackpack system with single line reefing that means you don't have to leave the cockpit to reef, my boat has such a system, so there are alternatives if you want coclpit sail handling convenience.
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Old 16-04-2012, 16:33   #26
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Quick point on sail handling

you can have a stackpack system with single line reefing that means you don't have to leave the cockpit to reef, my boat has such a system, so there are alternatives if you want coclpit sail handling convenience.
I've yet to sail a single line reefing system that didn't require a mast trip to verify that the reef went in ok. It's often impossible to see how the reef has pulled down as the sail blankets. I've also seen folds get caught etc.

Dave
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Old 16-04-2012, 19:05   #27
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Re: Furling mains

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
The complaint, heard even on this thread, that boats with in-mast furling suffer a performance lost is somewhat archaic. Yes, if you take a boat designed for a conventional mainsail and instead install in-mast furling on that same sailplan, you will tend to be underpowered. Newer boats, however, that have been designed from the beginning for in-mast furling, tend to have all the power they need.
I think you're actually spot on here.

Even my experience has shown that I was always managing hull speed without issue (with the exception of light winds) - i think my feeling that I could have got a better setting with a standard setup has been mostly due to my indoctrinaton by other [none inmast furling] sailors and neigh-sayers who swear that inmast furling leads to exceptionally poor performance and jams.

I've actually heard more anecdotes of people fighting with jammed rails than i have over-folded/wraped furling systems.

Like I said earlier, if you mis-treat them you're asking for trouble.. but that's the same for any equipment!
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Old 16-04-2012, 19:14   #28
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Re: Furling mains

The difference may be seen in a converted boat. When a boat is designed with the furling main the loss of drive can be compensated by giving her slightly more SA.

Then, the only issue to solve is high winds. But actually I found in-mast furled mains to outperform most other systems - the sail is neatly hidden in the mast and there is less drag, and we were nearly always able to get a really nice sail shape.

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Old 16-04-2012, 19:26   #29
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Re: Furling mains

Part of the problem is that the people teaching ASA courses, et cetera, tend not to be schooled in trimming a furling main.

Here's a primmer: Unlike a full-battened main, where one tends to set the outhaul and then leave it for the day, thus relying on batten tension to shape the draft, the outhaul on a furling main must constantly be played, adjusted for both wind angle and speed. On my current main, the optimum distance between the boom and foot at the point of maximum draft is five inches when going to weather. On a broad reach I tend to ease the downhaul so that the shape of the main duplicates the shape of the jib. Yeah. Really.

The other control you'll have to play much more on a furling main than a conventional main is the vang. Because of the hollow leech, you'll have to use the vang to avoid cupping. At any point of sail, you want only enough vang to provide a clean leech. Too little and the sail will motorboat, too much and it will cup. Keep working the vang and you'll discover that you don't need battens to force the leech to behave.

Every time you trim the mainsheet, you should also check the outhaul and the vang.

Yeah. Really. It's that easy.

Finally, don't get into the lazy habit of using your traveler to control weather helm. The traveler is there to control twist. Use your inhaul to control weather helm. In other words, make your sail the perfect size for the wind at hand. At that point, you'll find yourself outpointing those poor blighters with the full-battened mains who are cheating with their travelers to control their helms.
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Old 17-04-2012, 10:11   #30
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Re: Furling mains

The Furling main on my Passport 47 came new on the boat, whether the rig was redesigned by Mr. Perry , or Passport just did it , I have no idea. The boat was a real dog. By all measures.... it should have been a fast cruiser for sure. Long waterline, long fin and skeg, low freeboard/aft cockpit. Sure you can design more length on the foot of the sail to some extent, but bunching of the sail is already an issue on in mast furlers.
There's a reason the Americas Cup boats, Hobie cats etc have huge roaches on the mainsails... it's called DRIVE! Adding to the foot of a main will do nothing compared with adding a roach. Still, it is a convenience....
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