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Old 24-02-2013, 18:06   #1
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Roller Furling Main Sail Problems

I have a Beneteau 400 with the roller furling main sail. It has never worked very well, requiring me to get on deck and pull manually on the sail to get it all the way out. Recently it has gotten harder to deploy, so I took it down. The roller furling itself, works easily without the sail, with no obvious issues. The sail is a Doyle sail, that only has a couple of years of use. The sail fabric is crisp and clean and looks to be in excelent condition. The reason the sail doesn't come out of the furling easily, it seems to me, is because it appears the previous owner who rarely used the boat and then rarely used the main sail, had rolled it up loosely and then stored it that way for long periods of time. Now after taking it down I can see that there are folds in the fabric in the upper one third of the sail which now are very difficult to flatten out so it can roll up smoothly on the furling. My question is, what is the sollution to getting these folds out of the sail so it can roll cleanly on to the furling in the mast? I am thinking about tring to Iron the folds out, but I am concerned about damaging the sail. It appears to be made of dacron. Any help would be apprciated.
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Old 24-02-2013, 18:26   #2
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Re: Roller Furling Main Sail Problems

It's hard to be accurate without seeing the setup but these things will help and maybe solve the issue.

1. Check that the mast is relatively straight while you are furling and unfurling. Look for too much prebend as well as backstay.
2. All in mast furling boats should have a permanent fixed topping lift leading to the end of the boom. A small purchase such as 2 or 3:1 makes adjustment easier. If your topping lift runs down the mast then winch the boom up a little past horizontal. The outer end of the boom has to be raised for furling and unfurling to take load off the leech which will catch on the mast slot if it goes through while loaded.
3. Tension the main halyard before unfurling not after.

Hope that helps.
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Old 24-02-2013, 19:09   #3
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Re: Roller Furling Main Sail Problems

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Originally Posted by savoir View Post
It's hard to be accurate without seeing the setup but these things will help and maybe solve the issue.

1. Check that the mast is relatively straight while you are furling and unfurling. Look for too much prebend as well as backstay.
2. All in mast furling boats should have a permanent fixed topping lift leading to the end of the boom. A small purchase such as 2 or 3:1 makes adjustment easier. If your topping lift runs down the mast then winch the boom up a little past horizontal. The outer end of the boom has to be raised for furling and unfurling to take load off the leech which will catch on the mast slot if it goes through while loaded.
3. Tension the main halyard before unfurling not after.

Hope that helps.
Thanks for the advise, I do believe the mast is very straight while furling and unfurling.

My boat does have a topping lift, and I have raised the boom at times, to attempt to help with unfurling but it didn't seem to help.

My main halyard is always under tension, are you sugesting untensioning it after furling the main?

To me, the problem seems to be that too much fabric is bunching up together as it is comming out of the furling slot. It seems that the roller tube is bending toward the slot as I am pulling the main out causing the jam. I may be missing the true cause of the problem, or as you have mentioned I may be missing an important step in the care and use of the roller main.
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Old 24-02-2013, 19:14   #4
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Re: Roller Furling Main Sail Problems

If the extrusion bends towards the slot in the mast that easily it may need more tension. Adjust the turnbuckle in the mast. Boom angle is important. I would not use an iron.
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Old 24-02-2013, 19:23   #5
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Re: Roller Furling Main Sail Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketman View Post
Thanks for the advise, I do believe the mast is very straight while furling and unfurling.

My boat does have a topping lift, and I have raised the boom at times, to attempt to help with unfurling but it didn't seem to help.

My main halyard is always under tension, are you sugesting untensioning it after furling the main?

To me, the problem seems to be that too much fabric is bunching up together as it is comming out of the furling slot. It seems that the roller tube is bending toward the slot as I am pulling the main out causing the jam. I may be missing the true cause of the problem, or as you have mentioned I may be missing an important step in the care and use of the roller main.
Giving a universal answer is impossible, but anyway raising the boom above horizontal solved my problems. My leech was catching on the slot about 2/3 of the way up.

Have you checked that the mast isn't bending forward while you are unfurling ?

Every main halyard should be eased once you are finished sailing, furled jibs too.
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Old 24-02-2013, 19:33   #6
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Sounds like typical in-mast furling to me.

Is the mainsail cut for in-mast furling with good hollow leech to reduce surface area? This helps reducing the amount of sailcloth bunching up against the slot.

I see boats strugling with this all the time, but have normal furling myself so can't really tell what to try next. Sounds like too much mast bend but if your mast is straight, the sail might be cut wrong?
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Old 24-02-2013, 20:29   #7
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Re: Roller Furling Main Sail Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by minaret View Post
If the extrusion bends towards the slot in the mast that easily it may need more tension. Adjust the turnbuckle in the mast. Boom angle is important. I would not use an iron.
If my mast furling has a turnbuckle to tighten the extrusion I would like to know where it is. This seems like a potential problem to me. I am sure that not all mast furlings are the same, but if anyone knows if my mast would have a way to tighten the extrusion I would like to know about it.
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Old 24-02-2013, 21:43   #8
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Re: Roller Furling Main Sail Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketman View Post
If my mast furling has a turnbuckle to tighten the extrusion I would like to know where it is. This seems like a potential problem to me. I am sure that not all mast furlings are the same, but if anyone knows if my mast would have a way to tighten the extrusion I would like to know about it.

Don't know what sort of unit you have, but this is how it usually works. The furler extrusion needs to go around a stay inside the mast, and that stay usually has a turnbuckle just like any other. It may be buried under the bottom piece of extrusion, or hidden in the mast, etc. Get the manual for your unit. Different units need more or less tension. Obviously back stay adjustment will affect this, which is why you generally need to slack off the back stays if you have hydraulics before furling.
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Old 26-02-2013, 13:09   #9
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Re: Roller Furling Main Sail Problems

Rocketman,

When unfurling, are you putting the wind just off the port bow with the mainsheet and inhaul fully released? I had a dock neighbor once with a 400 and we throught his slot was narrower than the one on my 393. He always put the wind on the port bow for mail sail changes/reefing. I would also apply some WD-40 to the bearings. I did this last fall and was surprised how much harder it had gotten to furl over time!

Also, when you are furling the sail are you keeping a bit of tension on the outhaul? This frequently helps with furling issues, and can also get those wrinkles out of the sail for you.

If all else fails it may be worth getting a rigger out that's familiar with roller'fuling mains to check out your set-up. Sometimes a minor adjustment can make a world of difference. I've never had a rigger come out where I didn't learn something.

Good luck.

Frank
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Old 26-02-2013, 19:16   #10
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Re: Roller Furling Main Sail Problems

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Originally Posted by GeoPowers View Post
Rocketman,

When unfurling, are you putting the wind just off the port bow with the mainsheet and inhaul fully released? I had a dock neighbor once with a 400 and we throught his slot was narrower than the one on my 393. He always put the wind on the port bow for mail sail changes/reefing. I would also apply some WD-40 to the bearings. I did this last fall and was surprised how much harder it had gotten to furl over time!

Also, when you are furling the sail are you keeping a bit of tension on the outhaul? This frequently helps with furling issues, and can also get those wrinkles out of the sail for you.

If all else fails it may be worth getting a rigger out that's familiar with roller'fuling mains to check out your set-up. Sometimes a minor adjustment can make a world of difference. I've never had a rigger come out where I didn't learn something.

Good luck.

Frank

Frank, thanks for the advise, I think that I am doing a couple of things wrong, and not respecting the need to hold some preasure on the sail when rolling it in.

A couple of things are happening, like you said I am not raising the boom enough when deploying it, and holding some presure on the sail when rolling it in. Also, I am sure the previous owner also did the same, then let the sail set for a couple of years in a poor stowage situation which has caused the sail to have folds near the top that create a jam when deploying. I got a couple of ideas to help the situation, but I may have to buy a new sail it I can't get the folds out. I believe if I pay close attention when furling I may be able to rectify the problems, but will have to see.

Thanks again.
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Old 08-03-2013, 06:12   #11
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Re: Roller Furling Main Sail Problems

Some tips:

1. Make sure you don't have too much backstay on. Too much backstay can bend the mast back and the furler won't work right.

2. Experiment with different boom angles -- in-mast furlers are extremely sensitive to this. I would not deviate too far from dead horizontal, which is the angle they usually like.

3. Are you keeping tension on the outhaul as you furl? This is important. If you just let it fly, naturally, it will tend to bunch up and jam.

4. Is your sail blown out? It needs to be quite flat, or no furler will be able to deal with it. Maybe a good excuse for a new sail.

Good luck and let us know how you get on.
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:26   #12
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Re: Roller Furling Main Sail Problems

We've replaced a lot of furling mains that lost shape. The cloth might look fantastic but if it has too much draft in it you have to replace the sail. I replaced a main on a Jeanneau 54 that was about 3 years old. It doesn't take long for them to wear out unless they are made with top quality material and finish. We take a lot of steps in building furling mains to ensure they last as long as possible.
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Old 13-03-2013, 05:30   #13
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Re: Roller Furling Main Sail Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketman View Post
Frank, thanks for the advise, I think that I am doing a couple of things wrong, and not respecting the need to hold some preasure on the sail when rolling it in.

A couple of things are happening, like you said I am not raising the boom enough when deploying it, and holding some presure on the sail when rolling it in. Also, I am sure the previous owner also did the same, then let the sail set for a couple of years in a poor stowage situation which has caused the sail to have folds near the top that create a jam when deploying. I got a couple of ideas to help the situation, but I may have to buy a new sail it I can't get the folds out. I believe if I pay close attention when furling I may be able to rectify the problems, but will have to see.

Thanks again.
The folding of the cloth could be caused by the sail being stretched and now having to much shape in the leech (which is a fairly regular occurrence on in-mast mains). If you take it to a sailmaker they should be able to open some of the seams up and flatten it back out again, a fairly simple procedure.
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Old 13-03-2013, 05:48   #14
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Re: Roller Furling Main Sail Problems

It was said further up, but it is really important to keep a slight tension on the foot of the sail when furling. Not much, just enough to keep the sailcloth from "bunching up"
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Old 13-03-2013, 06:44   #15
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Re: Roller Furling Main Sail Problems

I had a Sparcraft roller furling mast on my Catalina 380 and it worked flawlessly for the 5 years that we owned the boat.

Here are a few things to check:
1) Down load the mast manual for proper instruction and terms
2) Rigid Boom Vang is at the right angle
3) The Head, Luff and tack of the sail are really tight.
4) The Head and tack attachment loops are not twisted and will roll in the proper direction

Mast Makers:

Z Spars Masts - Fountaine Pajotwww.zsparsuk.com & www.usspars.com

Selden Mast AB – Hunter,www.seldenmast.com

Sparcraft Masts – Catalina 380,www.sparcraft.com
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