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Old 01-08-2010, 14:47   #1
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Inmast-Furling Disaster

One day before our planned English Channel our mainsail jammed into an unbelievable wad inside our Selden furling mast. To such an extent that I could not budget the sail either in or out.

It happened when I was unfurling the sail. It jammed as the leech was just two or three meters above the boom, so at the beginning (which is puzzling) of the operation. The jam occurs at the point where the leech emerges from the slot in the mast.

We thought that the angle of pull of the outhaul was contributing to the problem, so in an effort to clear the jam, we took the outhaul out of the sliding block in the boom and led it directly to the clew from the end of the boom. Then we sent someone up in a bosuns chair who yanked, jerked, pulled, on the wadded-up leech, while pulling on the outhaul. In this manner we got more and more of the sail out but the leech is still jammed about seven or eight meters up the mast. The foot of the sail is fully extended; the problem is where the leech emerges from the slot in the mast.

We also tried furling the sail in, but the jam works both ways.

We tried tacking the sail back and forth, but this didn't budge it.

WTF?!!!!!

Besides spending the whole day in the bosun's chair whacking the jam all the way to the top of the mast, does ANYONE have any tips for us? I am really in despair; this is the first problem I've ever had with this system, and what a doozy! We were supposed to be in the middle of the English Channel 12 hours from now, and we have a guest waiting for us in Cherbourg! Yikes.
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Old 01-08-2010, 15:26   #2
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Unfortunately, I have been in this situation before. It took about 6 hours to work it out, slowly furling and unfurling, over and over. It seemed for a long time that nothing was happening, but eventually it worked its way out. Nothing can help you but patience...
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Old 01-08-2010, 15:27   #3
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When it takes less than a minute to pull in a slab reef, why would you bother with in the masr furling? When the westerly blew thru here for days , one in the mast furler howled so loud , people a quarter mile away were complaining about the noise 24 hours a day.
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Old 01-08-2010, 15:32   #4
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I suspect that taking the outhaul back to the boom end was aggravating the problem rather than solving it, especially if you ran the outhaul in such a way that would give you more foot tension and less leech tension.

I would try to force it the other way. Re-rig the sliding block, and then use a pennant to keep the sliding block forward so that it's just above the point where the vang anchors into the boom. Then, trim the boom vang in hard so that you're generating leech tension without foot tension.

I did this on a buddy's boat (Charleston Spar rather than Seldon) and it popped right out.
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Old 01-08-2010, 15:32   #5
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Jamming usually results from improper furling. What were the circumstances when you last furled the sail? As pete says it's just in and out in and out and patience. As for slab reefing I have one boat with that, single line reefing led back to the cockpit but I much prefer my Beneteau with the in mast furling. And there is no howling from the slot.
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Old 01-08-2010, 16:36   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
I suspect that taking the outhaul back to the boom end was aggravating the problem rather than solving it, especially if you ran the outhaul in such a way that would give you more foot tension and less leech tension.

I would try to force it the other way. Re-rig the sliding block, and then use a pennant to keep the sliding block forward so that it's just above the point where the vang anchors into the boom. Then, trim the boom vang in hard so that you're generating leech tension without foot tension.

I did this on a buddy's boat (Charleston Spar rather than Seldon) and it popped right out.
I have just drawn a diagram and I see to my horror that you are right. Luff tension, luff tension, luff tension!!! Crap! All those hours wasted and negative result achieved. Crap, crap, crap!

Thank you Bash! I'm going to get up with the dawn tomorrow and try to fix it before our Channel crossing.
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Old 01-08-2010, 16:53   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Swain View Post
When it takes less than a minute to pull in a slab reef, why would you bother with in the masr furling? When the westerly blew thru here for days , one in the mast furler howled so loud , people a quarter mile away were complaining about the noise 24 hours a day.
You guys know they make a strip for that? The Selden in-mast people provide "anti-vibration strip" to be hoisted in the exposed slot to stop howling. I've seen them in use, they seem to work. If someone else's in-mast furler is bugging you, there's always tape or a towel wrapped around the mast and hoisted enough to alter the opening... change the wind characteristics of the slot, change or eliminate the noise. Don't forget a downhaul for the towel :-)
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Old 01-08-2010, 19:48   #8
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You want push button sailing you get push button problems-You don't mind a little work now and then(what else are you doing on that boat -no don't answer)-get a real mainsail with full battens a good track and slides and real shape with jiffy reefing- and if you are lazzy about the cover a combination cover with lazzy jacks. Boats and push button computer games are starting to morph I am old enough and sailing long enough to remember the concept of working a sail boat and I have seen the changes some good and some really bad like roller furling mains.
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Old 01-08-2010, 23:20   #9
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The only time mine has jammed was when I had furled it without correct tension and I believe it backed on itself. To unjam I inelegantly pulled down on the leech while my son unfurled it. It took about 15 minutes.

As for it not being work ... I work the outhaul winch pretty damn hard to keep tension on the sail when unfurling. However furling it is fairly easy and with extra care can be done without changing tack which is nice when reefing. When I'm sailing by myself I'm grateful for my furling main and head and when I'm sailing with company ... hey it's sailing, I'm grateful anyway.

I've been trying to get the damn thing to whistle a tune but it just stands there quietly like some freaking guard at Buckingham Palace.
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Old 02-08-2010, 17:40   #10
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This is why I'd never again go for an in-mast furling system. Our boat came with an in-boom, which, in the event of a failure, at least we can dump it on the deck. If I were choosing from scratch, the main would not have a furler.
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Old 02-08-2010, 17:56   #11
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This is one of the reasons I like my LeisureFurl in-boom furling. Worse comes to worse, I can still drop the sail and tie it to the boom. I can reef at each full batten, the sail is 20% larger than an in-mast sail, and has a full luff. The full battened sail is heavier but I have an electric winch to haul and furl the 800sqft sail.
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Old 02-08-2010, 18:11   #12
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This is one of the reasons I like my LeisureFurl in-boom furling. Worse comes to worse, I can still drop the sail and tie it to the boom..

I think the OP's problem was unfurling the sail, not furling it. I am not familiar with in-boom furling. Can it ever happen that the sail will not unfurl? In six seasons of winter cruising I have yet to have a problem with my in-mast furling.
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Old 02-08-2010, 22:07   #13
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You guys know they make a strip for that? The Selden in-mast people provide "anti-vibration strip" to be hoisted in the exposed slot to stop howling. I've seen them in use, they seem to work. If someone else's in-mast furler is bugging you, there's always tape or a towel wrapped around the mast and hoisted enough to alter the opening... change the wind characteristics of the slot, change or eliminate the noise. Don't forget a downhaul for the towel :-)
They hoisted a knotted half inch line up in the slot. Made no difference to the noise.
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Old 09-08-2010, 15:14   #14
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A great big thank you to Bash. If you find yourself in these parts, Bash, I will take you to dinner at the George in Yarmouth.

I understood after those comments that I had misunderstood the pull vectors. I rerigged the outhaul and started working the sail in and out while pulling down with the mainsheet and vang, as Bash suggested. It worked, and just in time to save our Channel crossing. We left five hours later than planned, but we went across like a thundering freight train, taking two hours less than planned, and arrived in Cherbourg before dark.

For those who took the opportunity to turn my urgent plea for advice into an anti-inmast furling rant, have a look at the attached, taken mid-Channel. Nope, in-mast furling mains just don't perform, they suck, they are for push-button poseurs, not sailors!

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Old 09-08-2010, 15:33   #15
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Glad to see you got it worked out. I've encountered a similar problem while on a charter boat. After fighting it for an hour or so, I led the vang to a winch and applied all the leach tension I could muster. That quickly helped solve the problem but the whole experience taught me something- like all things in life, all main furlers are not equal. I've used some that were great and others that weren't worth the scrap metal I'd like to turn them into. That being said, my genoa's furler is completely trashed right now as well (grumble).
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