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Old 14-06-2012, 14:59   #1
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Inmast furler

The Moody 41 (1981 mod) I am looking at to buy at the moment has an in mast furler. All my previous yachts had conventional slap reefing which never posed a problem,quick and fool prove. Looking at this contraption I can imagine all sorts of dramas at a time when one just don't need them.
I like to hear from sailors who have blue water experience using these things. I think when the wind comes up and the sea gets choppy ( usually at night) it would be a real hassle trying to reef the main. On the other hand the previous owner has sailed the yacht many miles I figure it cant be all that bad.
My concern is a sail that's halve way stuck and won't budge either way.Am I being overly concerned?
How good are In Mast furlers?
I am sailing short handed...any input?

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Old 14-06-2012, 15:41   #2
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Re: Inmast furler

If the equipment works OK and if you know what you are doing, in-mast furling is as good a system as any other.


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Old 17-06-2012, 13:26   #3
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Re: Inmast furler

Have never owned in-mast furling but while cruising we witnessed some people having issues with theirs. Make sure the boom is at the proper angle during furling. Having a hydraulic vang where 0 psi = proper angle is one way to go. Remove sail and have rigger fully inspect system prior to purchase.

When we build sails for in-mast furling, we take the following steps to insure maximum reliability:

1. Follow all furler manufacturer "instructions to sailmaker" to the letter.
2. Some manufacturers recommend no vertical battens so we follow that as well
3. Use Sailkote treatment at our production loft to reduce friction, make sail more wate repellent, and more stain resistant.
4. Design and build sail taking care not to allow for too much bulk at corner patches
5. Use Spectra webbing loop at head. The webbing loops must be well done as they are prone to failure which necessitates a trip up rig.

Some boatbuilders make the mast a bit taller to compensate for the lost sail area.

Undeniable drawbacks are:
Hampered pointing ability due to leech hollow in place of roach
Increased weight aloft
Sails may not last as long as they don't have the help of being supported with battens. We replaced a 3 or 4 year old furling main on a 54'. On the plus side, the sails are much less expensive since there are no batten pockets and no reef points. Construction time is more similar to a headsail.

If I were buying a new boat or building custom, I'd do a conventional main and use a lazy bag (sail cover with integrated lazy jacks). If I were going custom route, I'd give serious thought to a "Park Avenue" boom.
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Old 17-06-2012, 13:37   #4
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Re: Inmast furler

We have a Hyde StreamStay inmast furler. The mast was built by MetalMast in Connecticut. We have put more than 10K ocean miles on it. As long as the slot is wide -- ours is almost four inches -- it is not a problem. The bearings do wear out and have to be replaced every 20 or 30 years. And you have to know how to make a same diameter splice for our system to work. Other than it is not a problem. I would be less comfortable with the Selden system with the very narrow slot, but have never used one.
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Old 17-06-2012, 13:49   #5
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Re: Inmast furler

There has been endless, and sometimes passionate debate on here. A search of the archives will yield a treasury of information.

You asked for concrete blue-water experience -- I've got it. In-mast furling doesn't suck. It has some advantages -- although effortless, push-button cockpit reefing is not actually one of them -- it's in fact a fair amount of work to operate them properly. The biggest advantage is -- don't laugh -- superb protected, wrinkle-free and really effortless storage of the sail, which makes them last longer. The other is relatively easy and infinitely variable reefing, for which you don't have to luff up. Disadvantage is performance due to hollow leech, but if your boat was made for it (as was my Moody), maybe not so bad.

As you can see from this: Click image for larger version

Name:	P1000263.jpg
Views:	96
Size:	118.0 KB
ID:	42391 upwind performance in our boat is not too shabby , at least if the wind is blowing.
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Old 17-06-2012, 14:59   #6
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Re: Inmast furler

We had one for 15 years in the Carribean, and while it worked fine and never caused any particular problems, it did require a bit of fitness to work well. Even with our admittedly good experience, I really dont like them, and would prefer not to have one in the future for the following.

1) less sail area due to no battens
2) terrible sail shape due to no battens
3) persistent fear it wouldn't work 'this time' due to complexity
4) sail shape when reeled was terrible, actually worse than terrible it had no shape. It was just a rag in the wind. Could have hoisted a bed sheet and had better shape.

With relatively inexpensive electric winches, and lazy jacks you get all the sail control with no more work. Plus you can take advantage of fully battened mains and get much more sail area. And when the sail is reefed (very easy), the sail still provides driving force, not just drag.

Do I consider them safe? Yes
Would I buy one again? Not if I could at all help it.

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Old 17-06-2012, 15:54   #7
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Re: Inmast furler

We have in-mast furling on our 40' boat. We bought the boat in Europe where in-mast is very common. Over the past 6 years we have sailed 30,000 miles, crossing the Atlantic and Pacific and still are very happy with it.

We have vertical battens (5 full length ones and 3 short ones, increasing the roach) and the shape is reasonable.

I was very worried about problems with the system and still am. We are very careful to make sure the mast is straight and the boom at 90 degrees and we watch while rolling in or out and stop immediately if anything doesn't look right.

The beauty of the system is that we reef anytime we consider it, knowing that to unreef is easy and quick. Since we sail with only the two of us it is nice that my wife can reef the sails and I can still sleep!

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