Secret to a happy life with a furling main, and by this I mean in mast furling, is to mark the kicker
at the optimum angle for furling and to keep tension on the outhaul
whilst you bring the sail in.
In an emergency
, ie the wind
picks up suddenly, you can reef in without setting the kicker
height but be prepared to have to unfurl to get it back into the mast nice and neatly later on.
We have a continuous furling/reefing line from the mast back to the cockpit
so we don't even have to leave the safety
of the cockpit even if we do forget to flick the mechanism from free to ratchet (ratchet being the default setting as it stops the sail self unfurling). To do this takes an extra pair of hands but you basically keep tension on the furling/reefing line as well as the outhaul
so the furling line does not slip off the mechanism.
Your basic in mast furling mainsail
is a compromise but if you set it more like a genoa
then you will get good performance out of it. We've had hull speed
in moderate winds and frequently cruise
along at 7kts plus, even overtaking similar sized vessels who are on the motor
. There are vertical battened sails
available and I have even seen adverts for high performance in mast furling racing sails
with full roach and battens.
We like the infinite reefing positions, the simple nature of reefing and the fact it all looks neat and tidy when furled away. Nothing against traditional mains but even with a sail bag they do make the boom look a tad untidy. It's also easier to drape the duvet over the boom to air it with the sail away in the mast
Hope this helps in your decision process