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Old 06-10-2015, 10:01   #1
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Mainsail boom furlers

I have an Irwin 43 MkIII center cockpit monohull. Reaching the lowered mainsail to install the sail cover is a nearly impossible task, even if I first remove the bimini and center portion of the cockpit enclosure. I'm getting tired of carrying a small stepladder to reach the boom above the cockpit. On that basis I'm considering installing a boom furler and having the mainsail modified or replaced (It's only one year old so I hope it can be modified).
I've done some research on boom furlers but would like to hear from those of you with first hand experience with them. Cost is unfortunately one element that will influence my decision about make and model.
Any input/guidance would be truly appreciated.
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Old 06-10-2015, 12:11   #2
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Re: Mainsail boom furlers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamechanger View Post
I have an Irwin 43 MkIII center cockpit monohull. Reaching the lowered mainsail to install the sail cover is a nearly impossible task, even if I first remove the bimini and center portion of the cockpit enclosure. I'm getting tired of carrying a small stepladder to reach the boom above the cockpit. On that basis I'm considering installing a boom furler and having the mainsail modified or replaced (It's only one year old so I hope it can be modified).
I've done some research on boom furlers but would like to hear from those of you with first hand experience with them. Cost is unfortunately one element that will influence my decision about make and model.
Any input/guidance would be truly appreciated.
Just finished a trip on a IP27 confiqured with a Forespar Leisure Furl
Coastal System. (too small for your boat, think Offshore model)
It worked well enough but was very prone to jamming.
To work well,it requires a 100% correct set up
especially in regards to the boom to mast angle
.It also requires that you maintain a certain amount of back pressure
on either the furling line or main halyard depending wether you're
going up or down.
Requires both a Hard Vang and Topping Lift
Unless you're a body builder you're going to want an electric winch.
I'll say again
Unless you're a body builder you're going to want an electric winch.
You lose some controls if you are use to using them, Outhaul and Cunningham
The Boom is So Heavy that you should rig preventers
We used them in light air close reaching.
A little swell or roller in light air is enough to get the boom moving

Personnaly I just don't think its worth it.
The only thing that makes it nice is that you can reef from the cockpit
but I think you might be able to set that up with a One Line Reefing config.
Cheers
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Old 06-10-2015, 12:51   #3
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Re: Mainsail boom furlers

I have a pro-furl on my boat, came that way.

To answer some of the above, yes boom to mast angle is critical and cannot be changed, on mine it's 86 degrees, any more and when the sail furls it will move toward the stern any less and when it furls it moves towards the mast, think of it like a window shade and it makes sense. I don't see how you could jam this thing, but if you did you can still drop the sail normally, that and you can have a full roach, full batten main are the advantages.

I don't have an electric winch, I have a Milwaukee drill, if you don't have something electric, you will become a force to be reckoned with in a bar fight.

Topping lift on mine would cause problems as it could alter that all important boom to mast angle, PO put a topping lift on, he apparently had all kinds of issues with the system because the mast and boom were at 90 degrees.

Pro furl's Vang is a sort of gas shock, it does allow some movement, but to furl or un-furl you must be at that ll important correct angle.

Boom isn't much heavier at all, it's bigger, but not much more weight on mine, but enough to where the boom is more likely to swing in light air.

I like mine, I really like mine, I'll keep it, but I wouldn't have bought it, it's just too expensive in my opinion for the benefits, it's nice, but I've been told they are about $20K?
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Old 06-10-2015, 13:22   #4
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Re: Mainsail boom furlers

Check out schaefer boom furlers. They are supposed to be very reliable and easy to use. Boom Furlers - Schaefer Marine

Down side is going to be the cost.
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Old 06-10-2015, 13:36   #5
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Re: Mainsail boom furlers

I threw my Pro-Furl out (couldn't give it away), installed a new boom and main and a Stack Pack. Points higher, lowers easier, stores easier, and is a real main sail.
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Old 06-10-2015, 13:44   #6
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Re: Mainsail boom furlers

I don't own a boat with a furling boom. So take my comments with a splash of salt water. But I am interested in them and would consider it a possible plus to have one on a short handed boat, especially larger boats.

I hope if others add to this thread, they will post some photos of their system.

The topic has been discussed on CF before, here is a link to my Google Custom Search showing earlier threads with comments.

Boom furling - Google Search
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Old 06-10-2015, 15:27   #7
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Re: Mainsail boom furlers

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I have a pro-furl on my boat, came that way.

To answer some of the above, yes boom to mast angle is critical and cannot be changed, on mine it's 86 degrees, any more and when the sail furls it will move toward the stern any less and when it furls it moves towards the mast, think of it like a window shade and it makes sense. I don't see how you could jam this thing, but if you did you can still drop the sail normally, that and you can have a full roach, full batten main are the advantages.

I don't have an electric winch, I have a Milwaukee drill, if you don't have something electric, you will become a force to be reckoned with in a bar fight.

Topping lift on mine would cause problems as it could alter that all important boom to mast angle, PO put a topping lift on, he apparently had all kinds of issues with the system because the mast and boom were at 90 degrees.

Pro furl's Vang is a sort of gas shock, it does allow some movement, but to furl or un-furl you must be at that ll important correct angle.

Boom isn't much heavier at all, it's bigger, but not much more weight on mine, but enough to where the boom is more likely to swing in light air.

I like mine, I really like mine, I'll keep it, but I wouldn't have bought it, it's just too expensive in my opinion for the benefits, it's nice, but I've been told they are about $20K?
On the Leisure Furl Coastal version
the furling reel is on the aft end of the boom, therefore the furling line
Makes a circuitous run through
many blocks to reach any winch in the
cockpit. To fit around the drum
It has to be a thinish line.
So the combination leads to jamming
This can be overcome a bit by back tension on the opposite line
Furling line of hoisting
Halyard if furling
As for the topping lift
I believe it's a manufacturer recommendation to be a safety factor
I can think of many many toys
and gear I'd rather have for
20,000, for sure
Cheers
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Old 06-10-2015, 15:29   #8
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Re: Mainsail boom furlers

I use a mast furler. Very little force needs to operate. Retro fit makes mast very wide. Very easy to to haul in and out solo. Setup is important.
Have you tried easing the topping lift to access the boom ? Pull boom over to one side rather than work in the cockpit.
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Old 06-10-2015, 15:38   #9
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Re: Mainsail boom furlers

Gamechanger,

I realize this is a bit of lateral thinking, but what if you installed a hard dodger that you could stand on to deal with the main? Or is your boat center cockpit?

I certainly understand the appeal of the concept of the furling main for you, and allow that you might be able to learn to make it work, possibly w/o ever jamming it.

On our somewhat larger boat, with an approximately 19 ft. boom, we have slab reefing, and we have a boom bag with lazy jacks. We drop the main, with Jim at the halyard, and myself steering the boat straight upwind, the lazy jacks corral it. From there, it is a question of one sail tie about 2 1/2 ft. aft of the mast. The boom bag has a zipper with a long string on it, and, standing on tiptoe, and whatnot, Jim is able to zip it. The forward part is covered by a cowl.

With your boom topped up so high, maybe a sailbag with lazy jacks, that zipped from aft to forward might be designed by your sailmaker, so that you could pull the string to secure and open it? Might that be a possibility for you? You may have to drop the sail a bit off center and stand on the cockpit coaming if it's a center cockpit boat (ours is aft).

Due to the potential for jamming at an awkward time, we have avoided all forms of main furling, but we have better access, I really appreciate the aggro of having to carry the step ladder all the time!

Good luck with it, the boom being topped up so high is not way easy to work with.

Ann
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Old 06-10-2015, 15:53   #10
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Re: Mainsail boom furlers

Quote:
Originally Posted by ontherocks83 View Post
Check out schaefer boom furlers. They are supposed to be very reliable and easy to use. Boom Furlers - Schaefer Marine

Down side is going to be the cost.
+1

The Schaeffer is the only boom furler on our short list for our Liberty 458.

The cost constraint is null and void with only one practical option for us.

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Old 06-10-2015, 16:23   #11
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Re: Mainsail boom furlers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamechanger View Post
I have an Irwin 43 MkIII center cockpit monohull. Reaching the lowered mainsail to install the sail cover is a nearly impossible task, even if I first remove the bimini and center portion of the cockpit enclosure. I'm getting tired of carrying a small stepladder to reach the boom above the cockpit. On that basis I'm considering installing a boom furler and having the mainsail modified or replaced (It's only one year old so I hope it can be modified).
I've done some research on boom furlers but would like to hear from those of you with first hand experience with them. Cost is unfortunately one element that will influence my decision about make and model.
Any input/guidance would be truly appreciated.
Hi, my boat came with a leisure furl, works well once the required paramaters are achieved. As others have said, the angle of the boom to the mast is critical to the operation, I just marked the topping lift at the clutch, correct angle every time.
They allow infinite reefing, all done from the cockpit and I don't find it difficult to furl the sail at all, by hand usually without use of a winch .I mostly single-hand.
On mine the drum is on the front of the mast with only two blocks to the clutch.
I have become very happy with the system as I learned to use it to best advantage.
Would I buy another boat with one fitted?, sure would!
Cheers
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Old 06-10-2015, 16:37   #12
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Re: Mainsail boom furlers

I have a Schaefer boom furler and like it a lot (much prefer it to in-mast furling on my last boat). Have never experienced a jamb. Also, unlike some systems, the Schaefer doesn't chew up the luff tape.

My experience.

1 - Use an electric winch

2 - Get the angle right on the vang/kicker and then leave it alone.

3 - Get a new mainsail from a sailmaker with lots of experience with Schaefers. Since you can't adjust the boom angle, the draft and leech have to be just right.

4- Do not use a laminate cloth unless you like the black mildew that loves to grow in a tightly wrapped damp sail inside an aluminum tube.

5 - Get the sail treated by the sailmaker with SailKote Plus. There will be much less friction furling and it will furl more tightly around the mandrel providing more room in the boom. Expensive but worth it.

.
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Old 06-10-2015, 17:23   #13
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Re: Mainsail boom furlers

What is the cause of the luff tape being chewed up? Mine was chewed when I got the boat only at the top of the sail. local sail loft looked at it and trimmed it, it got chewed up even worse.
Since then I've had the top portion of the tape replaced and so far, no damage and I've sailed a lot since then some reefed and sometimes with wind I should have reefed, even got knocked down, but so far luff tape is holding in there?


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Old 06-10-2015, 18:22   #14
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Re: Mainsail boom furlers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Gamechanger,
On our somewhat larger boat, with an approximately 19 ft. boom, we have slab reefing, and we have a boom bag with lazy jacks. We drop the main, with Jim at the halyard, and myself steering the boat straight upwind, the lazy jacks corral it. From there, it is a question of one sail tie about 2 1/2 ft. aft of the mast. The boom bag has a zipper with a long string on it, and, standing on tiptoe, and whatnot, Jim is able to zip it. The forward part is covered by a cowl.
Ann
Hi Ann. Your option sounds the most simple & reliable system.
Where did you get yours made? Our cover is on its way out
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Old 06-10-2015, 18:49   #15
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Re: Mainsail boom furlers

Gamechanger, if your priority is a KISS method of furling at a budget, then consider AFT mast furling.

Minor modifications to mainsail, same in the form of attachments to existing mast and boom.

I have those installed which furl easily and manually without any problems.

Not the rig if you are into racing, but definitely user friendly.
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