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Old 29-03-2016, 16:19   #31
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Re: in-mar furling vs traditional mast

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Originally Posted by sailing_gal View Post
. . .
You may also want to read John Kretschmer's book where he talks about RF masts. He was totally against them.... until he sailed one.
So typical!

It's easy to hate them from your armchair

Like so many other things concerning boats, they have pluses and minuses.
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Old 29-03-2016, 16:35   #32
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Re: in-mar furling vs traditional mast

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Originally Posted by goat View Post
Pros and cons for everything that floats. .
Amen!

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Originally Posted by goat View Post
The performance hit you take for in-mast is only in light wind, otherwise you're going hull speed. The counter to that is you're more likely to roll your sail in and out when needed with roller furling in changing wind situations.
Yes!

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Originally Posted by goat View Post
RF can jam at the worst possible time (part way back in in a hard blow). Of course a sail slug could jam in the top of the track. Worst case scenario your R/F jams in a horrible blow, you cut the out haul, bunch the sail up against the mast as best you can, then maypole your spinnaker halyard around it until you've got a chance to repair the jam.
Did that every happen to you? They typically jam when you're rolling them out, not in, and usually with baggy sails. In fact I'm not sure I've ever even heard of one jamming while being furled IN. I would think it nearly impossible unless you were not keeping any tension at all on the outhaul.


I've had exactly two jams with in-mast furling in about 30,000 miles on two boats over about 15 years. One was a bad one, but in my first months of ownership when I was still clueless, and the second, years later, took less than a minute to clear. I've actually had more jams with slab reefing mains -- probably four, although three of them maybe don't count because they were on racing dinghies.

Delivery skippers often get jams with in-mast furling rigs, probably because (a) rigs unfamiliar to them; and (b) disused, stiff, bagged-out sails. Owners -- exceptionally rarely, at least after the first year while they're learning how to use them.


Incidentally, maybe thread drift, but a huge, huge advantage would be had with in-mast furling, if you have an electric furler inside the mast, instead of using an endless furling line and a winch. That's because the endless line takes two hands to tend, making it very hard to deal properly with the outhaul (unless you have three hands), much less WATCH the sail as you need to do. With an electric furler inside the mast, you could do it single handed while keeping just the right tension on the outhaul AND watching the sail carefully. Very desirable.
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Old 29-03-2016, 16:52   #33
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Re: in-mar furling vs traditional mast

]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
A DOZEN controls missing from an in-mast furling mainsail?? I guess there have been some great leaps forward in technology in the half year or so since I was on a boat with full batten mainsail . It had mainsheet, traveller, vang, outhaul, halyard, backstay -- just like in-mast furling boats. What other controls are there? Runners on a fractional rig, cunningham, mast rotation? What are the other nine?

Regarding my ˝-3/4kt statement, I was replying directly to another poster's comment made using such figures. They're in a posting further above.

Concerning the performance hit from in-mast furling, you can't make blanket statements about "giving up 1/2 - 3/4 knots of speed". It doesn't work that way at all, because it's different on different boats and different conditions. The performance penalty of in-mast furling is very real, and might be more than a knot under some conditions and on some boats, but it is zero under a wide range of conditions encountered offshore.

In general, for cruisers, you will feel the performance hit, and the hit might be painful, if you are a keen sailor AND you are sailing a lot in light air conditions. In higher latitudes and windy conditions, you may not feel a performance hit at all. In very windy conditions, an in mast furling main may perform significantly better than a full battened one because it gets flatter and flatter as it's furled in, and can be reefed to small sizes a conventional main won't go to. Plus the airflow at the bottom of a reefed furling main is much better than a reefed regular main.

Note that you can have vertical battens with in-mast furling mains, something which gets mixed reviews. I took a risk with that when I had new sails made last year, and -- knock on wood -- the results have been excellent so far. I don't even notice the battens when furling, and the straight leech massively improves the shape of the sail compared to the ugly hollow leech which you would otherwise have.

Note also that in-mast furling works much better with laminate sails, than with woven ones. That is because laminate is thinner and rolls up tighter, making it much easier to get in and out of the mast. 99% of jams (roughly) with in-mast furling sails occur with blown-out Dacron sails which haven't been used in years. Such sails unroll inside the mast and form an amorphous mass which jams when you try to pull them out. That's why many delivery skippers hate them. A tip: Always tighten up the roll before you unfurl.

The worst things about in-mast furling, in my opinion, are the weight aloft, and the thick mast section. Those are big drawbacks, and are the main reasons why my next boat will likely have a slender conventional mast. But for many cruisers, the benefits of in-mast furling far outweigh the drawbacks. Certainly, something approaching 100% of high end cruisers over 40 feet, in Northern Europe, are delivered with in-mast furling, which should tell you something.
Dockhead,
On this, my apologies, off of the top of my head, I came up with about a dozen & a half mainsail controls, & not simply a dozen as I mentioned earlier.
Most of them are based on the premise that in order for them to work, a main must be connected to the spar, fully, along the leading edge of the sail.
Read'em if you like, or don't. But they are Unarguable Facts.

Specifically, they are:
~ Mast Butt Adjustment. Especially the hydraulic type. More common on racers, but…
Since a RF main isn’t connected to the spar, it is thus far less subject to the actions of any adjustments in order to shape the tube..
Plus, I’m doubting that spar manufacturers would look kindly upon on tweaking this control, on a RF Mast Extrusion. Due primarily to the geometry of a RF mast making it less tolerant of bending. In that due to it’s form shape, it’s more prone to buckling if bent much. Even with it’s Far heavier wall thickness.

~ Mast Chocking Adjustment (particularly the hydraulic sort).
Again, not as adjustable as a conventional tube, due to the reasons delineated above. But a reasonable number of boats have systems where this adjustment is possible on the fly.
Or, if not on the fly, then they’re adjustable any time that you don’t have a full suite of canvas up.

~ Adjustable Jumpers. Hydraulic, or other.
For tuning the spar for best efficiency with fractional headsails. And some of these too, are adjustable on the fly, with all canvas up.

~ Baby Stay Tension. A common mast tuning/support feature. However, if one’s main isn’t attached to the spar, then using this control in order to shape the main is a no go.

~ Runner Tension. Same issues as Baby Stay Tension.

~ Check Stay Tension. Ditto as above, with Runners.

~ (Permanent) Backstay tension. Again, a main has to be connected to the spar in order to use this sail shaping tool.

~ Cunningham. This one’s out, for obvious reasons.

~ Leech Cord. At best, this one is Uber difficult to reach. As on an In Mast Main, it would have to be adjusted solely from the clew/luff of the sail.
Thus, once under sail, you’re stuck with one setting. Which will have to be with it cranked on to a more than optimal level, in order to prevent leech flutter. So then, you may well wind up with significant leech cupping. And the associated performance losses which go with such.

~ Outhaul. With a standard mainsail, this control pulls almost solely horizontally. And it’s effect is Much easier to see on a boat with a bendable spar.
It has naught in terms of responsibility regarding furling/unfurling the main.

~ Flattener. It’s used to do just what it says. Pull some of the chord depth out of the lower 1/3 of the Main, & in the sail’s belly.

~ Halyard. Acts with more effect with regards to draft, & shape, when working in conjunction with a bendy mast, & an attached mainsail.

~ Headboard. On a Conventional, Full Battened, or Square Top Main; you can adjust where the halyard is attached, subsequently altering the sail’s shape. Both prior to, & with other tuning controls.

~ Headstay Setting (Length). With a conventional, bendy spar. The headstay’s length can be altered in order to affect mast bend, AND mast rake. AKA sail trim & shape, of both the main & the jib.
For this to work, however, the Main has to be attached to the mast.
Also, on some vessels, this stay is adjustable, via hydraulics, or a multi-part tackle, at any point in time.

~ Shroud Tuning/Tension. These too, have a Huge influence on sail shape. Particularly if the spreaders are swept. But in order to get the full benefits of such adjustments, the mainsail has to be attached to the spar.
And their settings; which directly, & dramatically affect sail shape, are altered on racing boats, as often as in between tacks, or in between races.

~ Batten Tension. Their settings obviously have a Huge impact on sail shape. And their settings are tuned to optimize the Main’s shape for the prevailing conditions.

~ Batten Stiffness. Again, immense players in the role of sail shape. And some/many boats which have fully battened mainsails, will carry multiple sets of varying stiffnesses.

~ Regarding reefing, & Trysails. I find it tough to fathom that 3-4 reefs, plus a Trysail is an insufficient range of adjustment in the main. I mean if it works for Skip Novak, & Pelagic, down in Tierra del Fuego. As well as various RTW racers, & hundreds upon hundreds of circumnavigators….

In terms of the cut of the sail, & what’s dictated by the type of furling & mainsail stowage that you have, consider these numbers:

- A Standard Cut Main has about 20% less area than does a roachy, Full Battened sail.
- A Hollow Cut, Battenless Main, has 1/3 less sail area than the roachy, Full Battened sail.

And the hollower cut the sail, the higher the induced drag, & associated heeling moment. Along with that much less drive (lift) as well. On top of the reduced sail area.

And to reiterate on the weight issue. The weight of a RF mast tube alone, can be up to 30% more than a standard tube.
On top of which, on a 40’-45’ boat, you’re looking at permanently having 100lb+ aloft, between the weight of the furler & that of the sail. Which contributes to much less overall stability. And greater amplitude of heeling, pitching, & yawing, in waves.


Much has been outed about the superior lifespan of RF mains themselves. However, I have some queries in that regard:
~ Are these mains prone to chafe where they exit the spar, & press up against it’s wall at such points?


~ Does such a phenomenon afflict the batten pockets on RF mainsails, also?


~ How well does the boom need to be aligned with the boom when reefing the sail?


~ Can you easily reef on all points of sail?


~ If one tears a RF main while on a passage, I’d imagine that it’s either out of commission, or that you have to fully drop it, in order to take it below, & affect a repairs.
Whereas with a conventional main, commonly when you tear things, you can simply either put in a deeper reef & carry on sailing, & or, do same, as well as affecting repairs in situ. Much as did Sam Davies did on Pindar. Sitting on the boom, sewing away; when she tore the main on her Open 60’, in a solo RTW race.

~ Comments have been made regarding using one’s RF main AS a Trysail. However, a purpose built Trysail isn’t out in the Sun 100% of the time, as is the clew (& much of the sail) with a RF main.
Thus rendering the RF main a good bit weaker than a purpose built storm sail.
This exact reason is why some people are strong advocates of using Trysails, in lieu of 3rd or 4th reefs. Due to the fact that the main is continually out in the Sun when under sail.


PS: If, with a RF Main, it takes 20kts of breeze before the performance losses are no longer felt. Then that admission alone, shows what a GIANT detriment to performance such sails are. Particularly given the average wind speeds which most people sail in, & or, prefer to sail in.
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Old 29-03-2016, 17:06   #34
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Re: in-mar furling vs traditional mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
]
PS: If, with a RF Main, it takes 20kts of breeze before the performance losses are no longer felt. Then that admission alone, shows what a GIANT detriment to performance such sails are. Particularly given the average wind speeds which most people sail in, & or, prefer to sail in.
[/COLOR]
Indeed!

Your perspective will be radically different, depending on where you sail. 20 knots is an average to calmish day up here, and that probably accounts for the universality of in-mast furling in these latitudes.

My Father's boat, in Florida, had in-mast furling, and I hated it every day. The average wind was probably 10 knots.

Totally different up here where lack of wind is, ahem, rarely a problem.
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Old 29-03-2016, 17:09   #35
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Re: in-mar furling vs traditional mast

Well that is quite a list and you are right I don't have many of those controls, thankfully. As for bending the mast, not going to happen as its a masthead rig. The spar, well I haven't measured the weight but it appears to be a similar sized spar to identical sized slab reefed yachts from the same manufacturer.

Quite frankly I don't need that sort of complication sailing on my own or with the wifey who doesn't sail and just wants to enjoy the trip. Might be different if you have a dozen crew to order about when they are not sitting on the rail, but back in the cruising world folk don't sit on the rail, its sodding uncomfortable for a start.

I disagree with you when you say 20 knots to recover the losses. Actually this is how it works in real life. F1-2 the engine is on because we want to go somewhere. F3 possibly some minor loss. F4 is probably identical to slab reefing and F4--F5 we are reefing so no loss infact an advantage because I can reef early and shake it out again in 30 seconds if I change my mind.



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Old 29-03-2016, 17:09   #36
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Re: in-mar furling vs traditional mast

And you gather then, I take it, the Facts regarding the multiplicity of sail controls that RF mains do not have. Which you earlier dismissed as being nonexistent?
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Old 29-03-2016, 17:14   #37
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Re: in-mar furling vs traditional mast

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Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
I have seen this point referenced before, about getting a spinnaker sheet around the mast as stated like a "maypole" to secure a jammed mainsail. It beggars belief that anyone, with any sort of sailing experience could possibly imagine this act, given the abundance of fixed obstructions making this act impossible on a a calm day and god like in a blow. And why would you CUT the out haul? .
The only reason I mentioned this was in response to the oft quoted 'if your furler jams part way in you're as good as dead'. I've never had my furler (a hood from the eighties) jam, but if it did, there are things I would have done rather than just giving up.

As for losing 1/2 a knot, my hull speed on my old boat with the R/F was about 7 kts, if it had a conventional sail it would have been about 7 kts. In the time it takes to decide whether the wind is going to continue to abate and let you shake out a reef, it's already out with the furler.

Someone else stated previously your sailing grounds have a lot to do with you choice, I agree. I had the furler up in the PNW where the winds would whip down the valleys and channels, blasting you with 35 kts then as you pass an island you're down to 10, ten minutes later back to 25 as you get past to open water again. Trade winds sailing with the same tack for a week; give me the slab (which is why I have conventional now, I've had enough sailing in rain and snow, warm and sunny for this goat from now on.)

I'm no champion for either camp because I don't believe one is better than the other, like everything else boat related, it's a compromise. The banshee like howling from the R/F mast when tied to a dock, by itself, is almost enough to make it not worth having.

Simply put; if you are happy to give up some performance, have worse sail shape, more windage and more weight aloft for the convenience of roller furling on your foresail, you'll probably be happy with it on your main as well.

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Old 29-03-2016, 17:28   #38
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Re: in-mar furling vs traditional mast

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Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
Well that is quite a list and you are right I don't have many of those controls, thankfully. As for bending the mast, not going to happen as its a masthead rig. The spar, well I haven't measured the weight but it appears to be a similar sized spar to identical sized slab reefed yachts from the same manufacturer.

Quite frankly I don't need that sort of complication sailing on my own or with the wifey who doesn't sail and just wants to enjoy the trip. Might be different if you have a dozen crew to order about when they are not sitting on the rail, but back in the cruising world folk don't sit on the rail, its sodding uncomfortable for a start.

I'm not saying, or advocating, for every, or even many boats having so many mainsail controls. However, Dockhead basically said that I was full of BS on the topic. So I delineated them as clearly as I could.
I'm not a fan of being treated in such a fashion, by anyone.

I disagree with you when you say 20 knots to recover the losses. Actually this is how it works in real life. F1-2 the engine is on because we want to go somewhere. F3 possibly some minor loss. F4 is probably identical to slab reefing and F4--F5 we are reefing so no loss infact an advantage because I can reef early and shake it out again in 30 seconds if I change my mind.

The 20kts figure was one provided by Dockhead, on that specific point, not I.

Pete
As to the length of time that's reuired to pop in or shake out a reef. For me, with a well laid out system, it's about a minute. Which is a big part of the reason why I'm not seeing becoming a convert.
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Old 29-03-2016, 17:36   #39
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Re: in-mar furling vs traditional mast

Dockhead, do you perceive much difference in pointing ability between a typical (non battened) RF dacron main and a battened slab reefed dacron main? It would seem there would have to be some, but I'm wondering how significant. I would guess that difference would be significantly diminished with vertical battens in the RF main. I've seen a lot of awful looking RF mains that can't point, but they're typically dacron and appear badly blown out (which, in all fairness, will happen more quickly without battens).
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Old 29-03-2016, 17:37   #40
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Re: in-mar furling vs traditional mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
]

Dockhead,
On this, my apologies, off of the top of my head, I came up with about a dozen & a half mainsail controls, & not simply a dozen as I mentioned earlier.
Most of them are based on the premise that in order for them to work, a main must be connected to the spar, fully, along the leading edge of the sail.
Read'em if you like, or don't. But they are Unarguable Facts.

Specifically, they are:
~ Mast Butt Adjustment. Especially the hydraulic type. More common on racers, but…
Since a RF main isn’t connected to the spar, it is thus far less subject to the actions of any adjustments in order to shape the tube..
Plus, I’m doubting that spar manufacturers would look kindly upon on tweaking this control, on a RF Mast Extrusion. Due primarily to the geometry of a RF mast making it less tolerant of bending. In that due to it’s form shape, it’s more prone to buckling if bent much. Even with it’s Far heavier wall thickness.

~ Mast Chocking Adjustment (particularly the hydraulic sort).
Again, not as adjustable as a conventional tube, due to the reasons delineated above. But a reasonable number of boats have systems where this adjustment is possible on the fly.
Or, if not on the fly, then they’re adjustable any time that you don’t have a full suite of canvas up.

~ Adjustable Jumpers. Hydraulic, or other.
For tuning the spar for best efficiency with fractional headsails. And some of these too, are adjustable on the fly, with all canvas up.

~ Baby Stay Tension. A common mast tuning/support feature. However, if one’s main isn’t attached to the spar, then using this control in order to shape the main is a no go.

~ Runner Tension. Same issues as Baby Stay Tension.

~ Check Stay Tension. Ditto as above, with Runners.

~ (Permanent) Backstay tension. Again, a main has to be connected to the spar in order to use this sail shaping tool.

~ Cunningham. This one’s out, for obvious reasons.

~ Leech Cord. At best, this one is Uber difficult to reach. As on an In Mast Main, it would have to be adjusted solely from the clew/luff of the sail.
Thus, once under sail, you’re stuck with one setting. Which will have to be with it cranked on to a more than optimal level, in order to prevent leech flutter. So then, you may well wind up with significant leech cupping. And the associated performance losses which go with such.

~ Outhaul. With a standard mainsail, this control pulls almost solely horizontally. And it’s effect is Much easier to see on a boat with a bendable spar.
It has naught in terms of responsibility regarding furling/unfurling the main.

~ Flattener. It’s used to do just what it says. Pull some of the chord depth out of the lower 1/3 of the Main, & in the sail’s belly.

~ Halyard. Acts with more effect with regards to draft, & shape, when working in conjunction with a bendy mast, & an attached mainsail.

~ Headboard. On a Conventional, Full Battened, or Square Top Main; you can adjust where the halyard is attached, subsequently altering the sail’s shape. Both prior to, & with other tuning controls.

~ Headstay Setting (Length). With a conventional, bendy spar. The headstay’s length can be altered in order to affect mast bend, AND mast rake. AKA sail trim & shape, of both the main & the jib.
For this to work, however, the Main has to be attached to the mast.
Also, on some vessels, this stay is adjustable, via hydraulics, or a multi-part tackle, at any point in time.

~ Shroud Tuning/Tension. These too, have a Huge influence on sail shape. Particularly if the spreaders are swept. But in order to get the full benefits of such adjustments, the mainsail has to be attached to the spar.
And their settings; which directly, & dramatically affect sail shape, are altered on racing boats, as often as in between tacks, or in between races.

~ Batten Tension. Their settings obviously have a Huge impact on sail shape. And their settings are tuned to optimize the Main’s shape for the prevailing conditions.

~ Batten Stiffness. Again, immense players in the role of sail shape. And some/many boats which have fully battened mainsails, will carry multiple sets of varying stiffnesses.




Wow! I really didn't think you would come up with such a number of controls. Leech cord is not a control, but otherwise -- respect!

I should be racing; what endless fun there is to be had, which we cruisers will never even imagine in our wildest dreams.

I'm guessing, however, that something approaching 0% of cruisers use even one of these controls, other than the ones I mentioned. Also, 90% of cruising boats, even with regular battened mains, have masthead rigs, where these controls are irrelevant.


Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
~ Regarding reefing, & Trysails. I find it tough to fathom that 3-4 reefs, plus a Trysail is an insufficient range of adjustment in the main. I mean if it works for Skip Novak, & Pelagic, down in Tierra del Fuego. As well as various RTW racers, & hundreds upon hundreds of circumnavigators….


The issue is not range of adjustment, it's practically bringing them to bear on the problem, especially for a short handed cruising boat, which is a different universe from a fully crewed racing boat.

When you're battling strong weather, the last damned thing in the world you need is to have to do is get out of the cockpit and go to the mast. I'm not saying it's impossible, but you just won't do it. So what you do with a full batten main in strong weather is leave it reefed down for the worst case, and bob around during the lulls. It's a huge advantage of furling mains that you can pop out more sail area, effortlessly, and keep the boat moving. Much worse than the third reef (fourth is not very common) is the trysail, which involves pulling the thing down, and then putting it back up again when it starts blowing again. Have you ever spent 48 hours in a F9?



Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
In terms of the cut of the sail, & what’s dictated by the type of furling & mainsail stowage that you have, consider these numbers:

- A Standard Cut Main has about 20% less area than does a roachy, Full Battened sail.
- A Hollow Cut, Battenless Main, has 1/3 less sail area than the roachy, Full Battened sail.

And the hollower cut the sail, the higher the induced drag, & associated heeling moment. Along with that much less drive (lift) as well. On top of the reduced sail area.
Yes, here we agree. The drag is the bitch, and you are the rare savant who sees that. Sailing upwind is a war between drag and lift, and with in-mast furling, you are at a disadvantage from the outset.


Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
And to reiterate on the weight issue. The weight of a RF mast tube alone, can be up to 30% more than a standard tube.
On top of which, on a 40’-45’ boat, you’re looking at permanently having 100lb+ aloft, between the weight of the furler & that of the sail. Which contributes to much less overall stability. And greater amplitude of heeling, pitching, & yawing, in waves.

Yes, this is correct.

In fact, it's even worse than you say.

Boats like mine (also Oysters, Swans, etc.) designed for in-mast furling, try to make up for the aerodynamic drawbacks with taller masts and higher aspect ratio. Mine is almost 80' tall. This requires much more weight in the keel, but the logic is that the loss of a bit of D/L due to more ballast, is the least of the various evils. But -- the taller mast, which on top of that is thicker and full of foil, has then even much more than 30% more weight aloft, and more of it higher off the deck -- evil compounded. More weight in the keel does not prevent the horrible rolling at anchor you get from such a situation. One thing I hate about my boat, is how violently she rolls at anchor, and that's all down to the tall furling rig.


Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
Much has been outed about the superior lifespan of RF mains themselves. However, I have some queries in that regard:
~ Are these mains prone to chafe where they exit the spar, & press up against it’s wall at such points?
[/QUOTE]


No, they are marvelously, just about totally chafe-free. On top of that, they live an ideal life being stored rolled rather than flaked, and protected from everything inside the mast. The lifespan advantage is real, and is a huge advantage of RF mains.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post

~ Does such a phenomenon afflict the batten pockets on RF mainsails, also?


I don't know yet. After 3000 miles, not a trace so far, but that's early days I guess.


Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post

~ How well does the boom need to be aligned with the boom when reefing the sail?



Probably different with different rigs. On my boat, only approximately. The most important thing is outhaul tension (when rolling in), and most crucially, tightening up the roll before rolling out.

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
~ Can you easily reef on all points of sail?
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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
[COLOR=black]

Yes. This is marvelous. You don't have to luff up or fall off or anything. Just ease the outhaul and reef away.

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
~ If one tears a RF main while on a passage, I’d imagine that it’s either out of commission, or that you have to fully drop it, in order to take it below, & affect a repairs.

Whereas with a conventional main, commonly when you tear things, you can simply either put in a deeper reef & carry on sailing, & or, do same, as well as affecting repairs in situ. Much as did Sam Davies did on Pindar. Sitting on the boom, sewing away; when she tore the main on her Open 60’, in a solo RTW race.

You have to drop it. I have a spare. I've never torn a main in many decades of sailing, although I've torn jibs. I doubt if most mainsail tears, on a normal main, can be solved without dropping it.

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~ Comments have been made regarding using one’s RF main AS a Trysail. However, a purpose built Trysail isn’t out in the Sun 100% of the time, as is the clew (& much of the sail) with a RF main.
Thus rendering the RF main a good bit weaker than a purpose built storm sail.
This exact reason is why some people are strong advocates of using Trysails, in lieu of 3rd or 4th reefs. Due to the fact that the main is continually out in the Sun when under sail.
I will never need a trysail, as long as I have in-mast furling. The cloth, designed for far greater area, is grossly overbuilt for the trysail area. A deeply reefed roller furling main is much stronger, and is about 1,000,000x better than any trysail, in every possible way. The ONLY disadvantage is, you have to use the boom, unlike with a real trysail.
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Old 29-03-2016, 17:58   #41
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Re: in-mar furling vs traditional mast

The nay sailors are out and running loose. On a boat like uncivilized you must be fixing maintaining all those adjustment dohickys all the time. RF main no vertical battens (contribute to jams) adjusting loose foot on main, traveller and sheet is enough fun for a old single handler. If you want a race boat don't get RF main.




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Old 29-03-2016, 18:26   #42
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Re: in-mar furling vs traditional mast

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Wow! I really didn't think you would come up with such a number of controls. Leech cord is not a control, but otherwise -- respect!
On the leech cord, at best, we'll have to agree to disagree.

I should be racing; what endless fun there is to be had, which we cruisers will never even imagine in our wildest dreams.

I'm guessing, however, that something approaching 0% of cruisers use even one of these controls, other than the ones I mentioned. Also, 90% of cruising boats, even with regular battened mains, have masthead rigs, where these controls are irrelevant.

I don't figure that most cruisers do use such controls, or even know how to/that they exist for that matter.
But like basic navigational skills, or muscles; it's a use it or lose it game. Plus they really do aid in boat speed & heeling less, so I'm a fan.

The issue is not range of adjustment, it's practically bringing them to bear on the problem, especially for a short handed cruising boat, which is a different universe from a fully crewed racing boat.
I guess iti all depends on what you're used to. To me they're 2nd nature, whether I'm solo on a 30'er or 50'. And I don't rest right until the boat's properly looked after.

When you're battling strong weather, the last damned thing in the world you need is to have to do is get out of the cockpit and go to the mast. I'm not saying it's impossible, but you just won't do it.
This here is a personal call, & by no means an absolute. Going forward's just part of sailing.
So what you do with a full batten main in strong weather is leave it reefed down for the worst case, and bob around during the lulls. It's a huge advantage of furling mains that you can pop out more sail area, effortlessly, and keep the boat moving. Much worse than the third reef (fourth is not very common) is the trysail, which involves pulling the thing down, and then putting it back up again when it starts blowing again. Have you ever spent 48 hours in a F9?

Controls for reefing the main are about the only ones of halyards & such, which I'm a fan of leading to the cockpit. And for exactly the reason that they let you reef & unreef, easily in 60sec or less, when properly setup.

But when it's blowing like you're describing, there's that much more reason to get up out of the cockpit, & take a tour of the boat. So that you catch problems before they become problems.
It's called Good Seamanship.

As to the F9 question, the answer is a definitive yes. Since before I was old enough to buy a Pint.

Yes, here we agree. The drag is the bitch, and you are the rare savant who sees that. Sailing upwind is a war between drag and lift, and with in-mast furling, you are at a disadvantage from the outset.

Max return (lift vs. drag) in a sail, is at a 3.6:1 aspect ratio. Any skinnier, & you're just slowing yourself down. And that's the upwind number.
BTW. Can't say that I've been called a Savant before. Gracias.

Yes, this is correct.

In fact, it's even worse than you say.

Boats like mine (also Oysters, Swans, etc.) designed for in-mast furling, try to make up for the aerodynamic drawbacks with taller masts and higher aspect ratio. Mine is almost 80' tall. This requires much more weight in the keel, but the logic is that the loss of a bit of D/L due to more ballast, is the least of the various evils. But -- the taller mast, which on top of that is thicker and full of foil, has then even much more than 30% more weight aloft, and more of it higher off the deck -- evil compounded. More weight in the keel does not prevent the horrible rolling at anchor you get from such a situation. One thing I hate about my boat, is how violently she rolls at anchor, and that's all down to the tall furling rig.
Yeah, it can be a nasty design spiral to get into. But at a certain size, it's the only way for normal people to handle big boats shorthanded.

Plus, it's also why it's common for boat in the 50' & up range to have sailing masters/project managers.
It's kinda' just common sense, for saving excess wear & tear on the owner; at sea, & in port.

But on the topic of boat handling (especially bigger boats), there's still a LOT of wisdom in what the Dashew's have published on such subjects. Even if it's a decade or three old. And it's what let them, as Senior Citizens, comfortably handle an 80'er.
So I advocate their stuff to just about everyone.
No, they are marvelously, just about totally chafe-free. On top of that, they live an ideal life being stored rolled rather than flaked, and protected from everything inside the mast. The lifespan advantage is real, and is a huge advantage of RF mains.
Good to know.

Yes. This is marvelous. You don't have to luff up or fall off or anything. Just ease the outhaul and reef away.

You have to drop it. I have a spare. I've never torn a main in many decades of sailing, although I've torn jibs. I doubt if most mainsail tears, on a normal main, can be solved without dropping it.

Sam Davies spent about a week perched upon her boom, sewing her insanely thick, kevlar mainsail. All while blasting along on Pindar, at speeds most of us will never see.

I will never need a trysail, as long as I have in-mast furling. The cloth, designed for far greater area, is grossly overbuilt for the trysail area. A deeply reefed roller furling main is much stronger, and is about 1,000,000x better than any trysail, in every possible way. The ONLY disadvantage is, you have to use the boom, unlike with a real trysail.[/QUOTE]

One of the caveats, which others reading this may not know, is that your sails are Vectran. And thus, many, many times stronger, & more stretch resistant than Dacron, or even common laminated sails.
Which makes a HUGE differencce in things.

Also, as boats get bigger/reach a certain size, they have to be designed around the sail handling gear. And not nearly so much along the traditional lines/designs found in boats say 45' & under. As the loads on the gear are just too much, or too tiring, for most to handle.

That's why Open 60's are (semi) handleable solo. In that they're semi-reasonable to run when you've got plenty of open ocean. But they're too much to deal with in "confined spaces".
And their skippers flat out say as much.
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Old 29-03-2016, 20:11   #43
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Re: in-mar furling vs traditional mast

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Hey folks, I hope someone can shed some light on this matter.

I'm in the process of buying my very first boat, and the boat I'm thinking about putting an offer on has a in-mast furling mast.

I read lots of stories about, some horror and all that. People seem to have a very strong opinion about it, either in favor or against it.

My doubt is this - I know there is a performance penalty - but how much are we really talking about? I couldn't find any specifics.
I've also heard the in-mast furling mast is heavier, and can make the boat more tender - how much heavier can it be in a 56ft mast?

The boat will be run by my wife and I, and our intent is coastal sailing in Florida and the eventual trips to the Bahamas and Caribbean. No racing at all.

Your input will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers
You will get a lot of views on this, and for each person, they are valid.
I suggest you sift through the information, and assuming you are looking at buying a fairly recent model, also put to one side, the experiences of those with older systems - a lot has changed in the past several years.

From what I have gathered over time, the equipment-based (and there are certainly plenty of 'poor technique-based' failures) are generally related to older equipment. Also, I gather that some furling systems are not as good as others, so in your evaluation you need to check brands being referred to, as well as their age.

I understand that Selden are if not unique - certainly one of the few that use a tensioned furling profile inside the mast (the others rely on the sail and shuttle to keep the top in any sort of location). This has distinct advantages such as minimal friction, and wear on the sail, but does come with a little more maintenance requirements.

Also, the Selden mast has a trysail luff track running up the port side.

Below is a copy of a response I posted to a similar query on this forum a few weeks ago:

As to our own experience, when we committed to our new yacht back in 2011, we were advised it had in-mast furling.
Never in a fit would I have had in-mast furling by choice - I was fully aware of all the issues one hears about such as jamming, the weight aloft causing more rolling (especially at anchor), and the loss of sail area with the roach gone. However being the last model available, we had no choice - take it or leave it.

I did a lot of web trawling back then, and I never managed to find a single case of an in-mast system jamming when furling - only a few jamming when un-furling, and in all cases it was due to a loose furl causing bunching of the sail in the slot.
The dealer told us we could order a normal mast at our cost, but advised "try it first - it will become your friend".

So we decided to go for it. The system is Selden, on a 15m / 50' mono.

So now it was time for us to experience first hand, all those issues I was aware of:

1. The extra rolling at anchor is not an issue - when there is swell around, there are many that roll a lot more than us.

2. I have only noticed lack of sail area once so far when a smaller yacht was overtaking us - then the wind came in, and we rocketed ahead of them. So, if we are fussed, we need to get a Code zero or similar, but frankly, I don't think we are bothered at the moment anyway. Reaching at 9.8 in 14 true is good enough for us.

3. The system is dead easy to use - single-handed. A little off the wind to maintain some tension, one hand on the winch, one on the boom outhaul, (round a spare winch for some friction) with the lazy end of the furling line also running through that hand, and the sail is furled before you know it (especially if the winch you use is electric ). Out is similar, and at least as easy.

4. We very quickly came to realise that for a couple in their sixties, the main on a 50' yacht is quite a handful, and there would be many occasions when we would just sail under headsail to avoid the hassle of unzipping/zipping a boom-bag, hoisting/reefing etc, then flaking back properly into the bag. Bad enough at the end of season getting the thing flaked on the boom, then off and folded. Sailing is supposed to be more pleasure than work.

5. We see an awful lot of yachts 40'-55' with in-mast these days.

6. We see a few with in-boom furling, but it seems more reserved for larger yachts, and seems to be standard for super-yachts. That's a big heavy boom to swing around, and from what we hear, they are very fussy about having the angle just right, or you are in trouble with the furl.

In our experience, the dealer was correct - it 'became our friend' very quickly, and frankly, we would not consider a yacht without now, but for a fully crewed yacht, with performance in mind, then that's a totally different story.

As to issues down the track, I expect the time will come when we need to have the sail either re-cut, or replaced to keep it flat enough to furl without trouble, but in the meantime, the ability to single-handedly look after reefing is much appreciated, as is the ability to infinitely adjust the amount of sail out to suit conditions.

Rounding a notorious cape (Cap Bon) off the coast of North Africa, we had decent seas (kept coming into the cockpit looking for us) and wind gusting well into Force 9. We were motor-sailing close-hauled with main wound in to about the size of a storm trysail, and the headsail similarly furled, making good progress.

Apart from the expected apprehension of a couple who did not have a lot of miles under their belts, at no time did we have concerns for our boat or its rig. I really would not have wanted to be dealing with slab reefing under those conditions, and having all of the slabs sitting on the boom causing windage. I do like jiffy reefing - we have it on a much smaller sail boat, with two reefing lines led back to the cockpit. However the in-mast furling on our larger boat is for us, they way to go.

So there you have it from me - another perspective for you to consider. Good luck with the purchase of your new boat, and many great adventures to follow.

David
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Old 29-03-2016, 22:52   #44
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Re: in-mar furling vs traditional mast

How about some comments on the safety issue. Single or short handed one need not leave the cockpit to reef. Sailing Girl alludes to that,
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Old 29-03-2016, 23:18   #45
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Re: in-mar furling vs traditional mast

David, good write up, I agree RF may not suit everyone but it's worth a try before buying which is what we did.

Uncivilized, you are at the extreme edge of sailing and miles from the standard production yacht produced in the US or EU which are based on customers demands. RF is a trade off; convenience for a couple of points of tacking angle and perhaps a small window in wind speeds. However, it is small to the point that the condition of the bottom paint, age of sails, skill of the helmsman and perhaps the biggest difference, if you have a folding prop or not. That really does give you 3/4 knot under all sailing conditions.

Just wish I sailed somewhere that full roached mains were essential to keep the speed up in light winds, but the NW corners of large continents tend to have big tides and lots of squally winds. Reef early is the mantra, we have all been there and decided to wait a little longer in a rising wind only for the predicable to occur.

In my youth I sailed on a number of yachts, Nic 55s, that were deliberately rigged to create work for the crew to keep them occupied on long trips, manual steering, hanked on sails, no elect nav equipment etc. On my yacht I want to chill out and relax with systems that do stuff for me.

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