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Old 27-06-2011, 14:10   #1
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Furling Mainsail or Not ?

Hi. I've just joined the forum. We've had an offer on our house and have an eye on a certain 36' yacht to live aboard with our two small children. The boat we like looks great, except it has an in-mast furling mainsail - a Facnor, installed 2009. I've never sailed with one of these before, and I have some concerns about technical hitches that might potentially occur. Are they mechanically complicated? Is it possible to rig a regular mainsail if something happens to the furler? Any advice or opinions much appreciated. Ukaliq
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Old 27-06-2011, 14:37   #2
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Re: Furling mainsail or not?

They have pros and cons, you sail slower since you can't control the sail shape as well without the battens, unless you use the wierd vertical mount battens. But you can control how much sail is exposed instead of reefing. You can do a search for threads on main reefing here and you will get a lot of information and opinions.
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Old 27-06-2011, 15:05   #3
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Re: Furling mainsail or not?

Welcome Aboard CF

Sorry, can't help with that. I'm old fashioned, I still have reeef points on mine. Might actually put a roller reefing jib setup on my boat this year.
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Old 27-06-2011, 15:38   #4
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Re: Furling mainsail or not?

Got a boat with an in-mast main seven years ago. You have to learn how to use them properly, not a difficult task. I would not go back to a traditional main. They are not very complicated.
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Old 27-06-2011, 15:43   #5
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Re: Furling mainsail or not?

9/10 no issues, if the system is well installed and well trimmed/maintained.

Depending on how you sail, the furling mainsail is either a bliss or a curse, and at times a mixture of both.

I would definitely like one on a weekender used in home waters.

b.
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Old 27-06-2011, 16:01   #6
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Re: Furling mainsail or not?

I have a 21 yr old Facnor in mast furling system model no ng105 and i love it i have never had any failures with it but what i will say is if you don't set the boom correctly to the size of sail you have etc you will find the sail will not haul out correctly and i found out this one yr when i removed sail for cleaning and didn't set boom height as it was previously and when i refitted sail i found it would not haul out smoothly until i adjust the height of the boom so now i have a measurement at the tip of the boom to the deck so every time i remove sail i know where to put boom back too
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Old 27-06-2011, 16:05   #7
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Re: Furling mainsail or not?

Above 45ft, I think a furling mainsail has huge advantages. At your size it's a tougher call. While sail shape isn't as good because of less roach and no horizontal battens, it's so easy to reef that you will more often sail with the right amount of main for the wind rather than wait too long to reduce sail and sail the boat on her ear. This is something you so often see on boats with conventional reefing that is uncomfortable and slow.

A mainsail furler is also a huge safety advantage since you don't need to leave the security of the cockpit to deal with the main. While slab reefing is supposed to let you stay in the cockpit too, I've never seen a slab system that doesn't hang up and require a trip to the mast at least one time out of three.

The furling mechanism is not complicated nor prone to breakdown. The only worry is that it jambs somehow. This was a common problem when mainsail furlers first came on the scene 20 years ago but that was a long time ago. New ones are very reliable. They won't jamb if you use the same amount of care you would use setting or dousing any other sail. YOu can search this board for the best technique. The great majority of new cruising boats over 40ft (especially in Europe) are delivered with in-mast furling.

I've never seen a Facnor furling main. Facnor is known for making great equipment. I looked it up. It appears to install on the mast rather than in the mast. This would seem to mean that you could take it off and put on a regular mainsail (assuming the mast has a sail track hidden by the Facnor).

It's very hard to find someone who's owned a boat with a furling main who would go back. The scarey stories are almost always from people who "heard about problems" -- often on one of the very early designs.

Carl
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Old 28-06-2011, 18:13   #8
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Re: Furling mainsail or not?

The big trick is to the angle of the boom to the mast. Too high or low and the sail bunches at the top or bottom. And a keep little bit of outhaul tension so it furls nice and tight. You'll quickly get used to what works for your boat.

I had an in-mast furler on my last boat. I won't ever get another, but not because they don't work. They work fine. I just can't live with the way they compromise the cut and battens for the mainsail.
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Old 28-06-2011, 23:16   #9
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Re: Furling mainsail or not?

Hiya,

I hate to be a soggy blanket, but whenever I see a furling mainsail (in mast) I positively cringe. Had one jam on a rising gale -suffice to say, will never sail with one again - the thought is enough to give me the willies.

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Old 29-06-2011, 00:23   #10
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I was a dockmaster in the Keys for hurricane Wilma and the only mast that came down was a in mast furler. She was in the water, and I believe the extra weight of a soaking wet main combined with wind and wave action started whipping the mast around and brought the whole thing down! Glad I hauled out, the laid right across my slip and 2 others!
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:06   #11
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Re: Furling mainsail or not ?

Here's another user report from Latitude 38 which confirms my opinion of using furling mains offshore (on a Jeanneau 54):

"We left April 3 and arrived 20.5 days later in the Marquesas," Pedro said during an interview at the marina's yacht club. "It was nice downwind sailing all the way, although we did have a gust as high as 35 knots and seas as big as 15 feet. Our biggest problem was with our furling mainsail. Halfway across, one of our crew had to go aloft to try to fix it. Thanks to the rolling sea, he got beaten like a piñata!" Pedro laughed in sympathy."
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:29   #12
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Re: Furling mainsail or not ?

In these discussions I find that the folks who feel that monsters will get you if you go to sea with a furling main are the same folks who predict death and destruction for those who sail offshore with fin keels, or spade rudders, or plastic sextants, or.....
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:39   #13
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Re: Furling mainsail or not ?

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
In these discussions I find that the folks who feel that monsters will get you if you go to sea with a furling main are the same folks who predict death and destruction for those who sail offshore with fin keels, or spade rudders, or plastic sextants, or.....
Thats because boats that have furling mains are the same boats that have fin keels, or spade rudders, or plastic sextants, or.....
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Old 10-07-2011, 13:03   #14
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Re: Furling mainsail or not ?

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In these discussions I find that the folks who feel that monsters will get you if you go to sea with a furling main are the same folks who predict death and destruction for those who sail offshore with fin keels, or spade rudders, or plastic sextants, or.....
fin keel.. check! spade rudder... check! plastic sextant... sextant? in-mast furling... not ever !!

Like another post wrote: daysailing or a weekend out on the lake, sure, but not for off shore work because it's just another risk and it slows you down too much.

It sounds like that Facnor can easily be removed and that must be it's best feature then

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 10-07-2011, 13:14   #15
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Re: Furling mainsail or not ?

In-mast furler? I've changed my mind. No problemo. Im not sure Bennie Oceanis are made with em anymore - at least the under 40's?
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