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Old 21-05-2008, 17:57   #1
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In Boom Furler

Been thinking of installing the "IN-BOOM" furler system on my boat.
Im kinda stuck on the full batton system and with this furler I could still keep it.
Has anybody spent the bucks for the system, and did you go power or not......
I know there is a couple systems out there, any feedback from THOSE THAT HAVE ONE?
Thanks, Randy
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Old 21-05-2008, 20:22   #2
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I currently have in-mast furling but will go to in-boom in my next boat (soon). I've like the in-mast furling but like you miss the sail shape of horizontal battens. The greatest advantage with either system is that you don't delay reefing. I'll reef 8" just to balance the helm. Never again will you drop the traveler to leeward to de-power the main.

I've been asking a lot of questions about boom furler systems - as I imagine you have. The good news is that most folks with in-boom systems and in-mast systems installed in the last 10 years seem very happy. The horror stories (and there are quite a few) usually date to earlier systems and the person telling the story wasn't actually there.

There's also a weird hemispherical issue. More people in the Pacific prefer furling booms. Folks in the Atlantic and Med prefer furling masts. They collect the horror stories accordingly.

Practical Sailor did a roller boom review fairly recently. They basically liked them all. Leisure Furl continues to lead but I hear cautions about it being heavy (you don't want to get hit by one in a jibe). I hear a lot of good things about Schaefer. I have no relation to any of these companies.

Everyone seems to recommend that you buy a new mainsail from a sailmaker that has experience with your chosen system. Retrofitted sails seem more likely to jamb.

An electric halyard winch seems to also make life a lot easier (but I haven't found many who have - or feel the need - for power in the boom itself.) You also must have a solid boom vang that can hold the boom at precisely the right angle.

Like you, I'd love to hear first hand reports.

Carl
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Old 21-05-2008, 21:07   #3
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There are a number of posts re: in-boom furling systems, including reports by owners. You can find them on this Board, the SSCA Board, and SailNet.

Here's a post I did two years ago. It's still applicable.

"However, after much research I installed a LeisureFurl in-boom furler 3-years ago, with a North Sails purpose-built full batten main, a rigid boom vang, and a Lewmar electric winch to help raise/lower the sail.

I was a slab-reefing affectionado, having used that system for many years. To my mind, slab reefing is the only way to go with manual systems.

But, getting up there in years, I thought that the ability to raise or lower the main from the cockpit, and to carry it in any percentage of "reef" would be worth trying.

Now, three years later, I'm sold on the system. It's very convenient, very efficient, and extremely effective. Notice I didn't say, "cost-effective". It is costly. The furler itself, plus the purpose-built sail, plus the electric winch, plus the rigid boom (required) eat up a lot of bucks. But, it IS wonderful. And, thus far at least, it's been bullet-proof.

A couple of misconceptions regarding furling this system:

1. Some have said you must be directly into the wind to furl the sail. This is NOT true. The important thing is to depower the main. Normally, this is done by turning up toward the wind, leaving the boom free (NOT sheeted amidships), and taking in sail as possible. In light conditions, I can even lower my mainsail while running DOWNWIND.

2. While it is true that you must maintain some tension on the halyard when lowering the sail, and on the furler while raising the sail, this is very easily done with an electric winch. After the first couple of times, you get the hang of it, and it's no problem at all.

3. The topping lift doesn't come into play at all. A good rigid boom vang takes its place in maintaining the proper boom angle. A few raising and lowerings, and adjustments to the boom vang, will get the right settings nailed down. Then, you just mark the control lines.

4. It's not true at all that the furler boom is heavier than a regular boom. In fact, I'd bet mine is lighter than the old boom. Anyway, the boom vang determines the angle of the boom, not its weight.

5. LeisureFurl booms are installed on megayachts worldwide, and over the past years have proven their worth in all conditions.

6. Unlike in-mast systems, if the furler jams or breaks you can just lower the sail like you would a normal one, and flake it down on the boom.

7. The ability to adjust mainsail size to any desired area, and to raise or lower the sail completely without leaving the cockpit is just plain wonderful.

No, modern in-boom furlers aren't the most wonderful things to come down the pike in awhile. But, they're close to being so. Don't knock 'em 'til you've lived with them awhile. "

Now, two years and several thousand miles later, I still love my LeisureFurl.

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Old 21-05-2008, 22:32   #4
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We own an in-boom furler, in a 47. We've owned the boat less than a year, and the furler dates to 1995 - so, it's an early one. For the life of me, I can't remember the mfg.

As noted above, an electric winch is pretty much a must. This would be a TOTAL PITA without it.

Keeping the correct tension - up or down - is the critical part of deploying or furling. It takes practice

The technology HAS evolved. Ours pretty much requires facing into the wind, OR a very light wind. In doing some research, there have been some significant improvements.

As your mainsail wears, it becomes more difficult to furl. There is no tolerance for small tears or a loose luff. As long as you understand that you might not get the most life out of your main, you'll be ok. I'm not REALLY ok with this, can you tell????

Having a full batten main that furls, is just soooo cool. And the performance is cool too.

Finally: The main scares the heck out of me in a pinch. Just remember, you HAVE to furl early. If you have to furl in a panic, it really, really sucks.

Oh, yeah. We have a Navtech hydraulic vang.
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Old 22-04-2010, 12:29   #5
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I've been using the Leisure Furl boom for the past 2 years on a Catalina Morgan 440. I have to give it mixed results though.

It's great in that the center of gravity is lower than an in-mast rig, you get full battens, you can reef at any point, and no main sail cover to mess with (it has its own built in).

One negative I, personally, have experienced is that the downhaul drum on the front of the mast is too small and the downhaul line can become jammed. Couple this with an electric winch and you can have problems very quickly.

Four months after taking delivery of our 2008 CM 440, I was raising the main and about 2/3 of the way up, there was a loud bang. Checking everything the luff tape had parted about 18" from the top of the sail. After taking pictures of the damage and my dealer checked things out, Forespar determined that I had wrapped the main halyard around the top spreader. However this did not happen. They claimed that they "could not reproduce the problem in their lab," to which I replied " I do not sail in the lab."

For the past year and half, I have lived with the fact that I did not wrap that halyard, yet had no proof. Last month, I was raising the main by hand to clean the main and, about 2/3 of the way up, it became jammed. Releasing the tension, I checked everything. Coming to the downhaul drum, I found that the line going in had wrapped on top and over itself multiple times. The mass of line was pressing on the inside of the drum preventing any more line from going in. This, of course, prevented the entire boom assembly from spinning. Had I been using the electric winch, I might have had a repeat failure.

Checking with other 440 owners who have the Leisure Furl installed, the problem is a known one. Later model boats, like mine, had an eyebolt added below the drum to help guide the downhaul line into the drum. Forespar has even recommended that owners remove the inner core from the downhaul line so that the flattened line may better wrap within the drum. Mine was delivered with that inner core already removed, so it was a known issue then. Yet they still blamed me.

So, make your own decision, but be advised that there issues with the Leisure Furl system. Just wanted to let everyone know, so you're not wrongly accused of inept sailing like I was....
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Old 22-04-2010, 12:43   #6
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I have the Pro Furl in boom on a Lagoon 380. PO told us the boat was ordered with it 10 years ago and it is still going strong. As mentioned several times getting used to the tension required takes a bit of practice. Not having tension on the furler when raising the sail can get a little crazy on deck when all the sail is pulled out by the wind, or so I'm told We have electric winches as well. As far as I am concerned it is a great system.
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Old 22-04-2010, 12:48   #7
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Agreed, tension on the downhaul line would help. However, as anyone knows, whenever you coil anything whether it be an electric cord, wire, garden hose, etc, there can be the tendency for it to wrap upon itself. Going with a smaller line is not the answer, as the clutch might not be able to hold it. Plus, thinner lines are harder on the hands and don't work as well on the winch.
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Old 22-04-2010, 12:55   #8
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I now have my second boat with Leisure Furl. I use an electric winch for hauling the main and for the furling line. Because of the number of turns in the lines back to the cockpit, it would be very difficult to raise the main manually - even on my 44 Taswell and impossible on my current boat, a 58 Taswell. Advantages - full battened, full roach sail, when yor reef, the weight comes down, reef at each batten with batten on the bottom of the roll to mainatain goodsail shape, if it braks - you can still get the sail down and tie it to the boom. Disadvantages - Cost - on the 44 it was a 25k upgrade over in mast furling, difficult to reef off the wind- probably no worse than in-mast furling. Never had a problem with the furling line - use stay set x and keep tension on the line as the sail is raised.
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Old 22-04-2010, 13:08   #9
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I've had the LeisureFurl system on my 42' sloop for 7.5 years. Never had the problem of furling line getting snarled on the drum, and my line was delivered with -- and still has -- the center core.

I agree with others in believing the problem you're experiencing on the 440 is due to improper tensioning both when raising and lowering the sail. I have an electric winch, too, but it takes two hands and two eyeballs to raise or lower the sail: one hand to push the button on the self-tailing electric winch, one hand to take a turn around a cleat with the lazy line (halyard or furling line), and two eyeballs to keep watch on the entire process.

The tension on the lazy line is critical, both to avoid over-wraps on the furling drum and to assure that, when furling, the mainsail rolls up properly on the platten. If you take these precautions, and with a bit of experience, I think you'll avoid the jamming problem. NB: this is very similar to the situation with roller furling headsails...you always keep some tension on the lazy line to avoid jamming on the drum.

I've only got two (little) gripes. The built-in sailcover is really nice, but like many newbies with this system it took me less than a week to tear the first foot or two of it when trying to raise the sail with the sailcover in place! Dummy, dummy, dummy.

Second gripe is that the new sail -- purpose-built by North with full battens and a big roach -- sets beautifully, but it's so quiet that it's very hard to tell sometimes when it's properly trimmed. It always looks good and is quiet, even when it's not properly trimmed.

Bill
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Old 22-04-2010, 13:23   #10
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I looked into the Leisure Furl and ended up buying a Strong Track system and a Stack Pack type lazy jacks/sailcover system instead. Next step would be a power winch if I become too lazy. Things come down very well, but you still need to deal with the weight/friction of putting up the (full batten) main. Have sailed with both in boom and in mast systems, decided I preferred the simplicity of avoiding them. Plus the outrageous costs, of course.
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Old 22-04-2010, 14:51   #11
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Once the sail is fully hoisted on the Leisure Furl, I allow the spring loaded pin to lock the drum, taking all the tension off the furling line. When I reef, I tension the line on the furling line and pull the sail down. Only when I want to take the reef out, do I need to relaese the drum ratchet. This technique keeps the small Stayset-X line from pulling through the line stopper.
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Old 23-04-2010, 02:04   #12
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We had a reefrite (NZ made boom furler) worked well I found that by throwing furling line or halyard overboard while furling or raising provided enough drag to keep tension on lazy line, we could also furl downwind with a bit of an eye on boom angle
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Old 23-04-2010, 05:09   #13
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We've considered it but alas have two kids in college.
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