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Old 14-02-2009, 09:06   #1
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furling main sail mast into normal main usage?

We are busy purchasing a Jeanneau with iinmast main sail furling

we like to change this into normal main sail without changing mast =

is that possible?

Mast is 'Francespar' alu mast from 1986
picture below

Appreciate any input /experience


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Old 14-02-2009, 09:13   #2
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There's no easy way to do it. This would be a deal breaker for me.

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Old 14-02-2009, 09:27   #3
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are these masts not much stronger at the back than the newer ones? Not possible to simply slide in a proper main ?
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Old 15-02-2009, 21:07   #4
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Not likely possible

There is no hardware ability to hoist a non-furling main on such a mast so far as I am aware. No track or slot for the luff, and possibly no main halyard.

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Old 15-02-2009, 21:12   #5
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Could someone explain to a newb the drawbacks of an in-mast furling main?
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Old 15-02-2009, 22:09   #6
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In mast furling has been reported to have screwed up too many times for me to consider it. I've done an informal survey and 3 of the 4 in our marina have had problems with the furling at different times. There seems to be a learning curve to successful furling when the wind kicks up. When you can't furl the main you are stuck with it flapping in the wind till it self destructs, at best. Some people have sailed with them for many miles without a problem. but they seem to be in the minority of people I've talked with.

There is also the problem with sail cut and battens. You can't get an optimum sail with furling.

In boom furling is better though god awful expensive and not that easy to work without an electric winch. At least with in boom, you can drop the sail if it fails.

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Old 15-02-2009, 22:20   #7
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I operated an 77' ketch that had furling masts. The owner was a sailor with lots of money and wanted his boat to perform. He had won the Fastnet twice (in another boat). He also was going to have the boat stretched 10 feet and it would need a new rig. Like I said he had lots of money.
The boat had a mast furling system by Hood. I recommended standard aluminum masts and full batten sails for the new rig. He had purchased the boat with the furling system new, and wanted to make sure the crew sailed the boat allot. I told him that with 4 crew if they couldn't hall up a main now and then there was a problem.
I left the boat in France and went back as skipper a year later. The difference in the boats performance was AMAZING! Why you ask?
1) the furling main mast weighed 2000lbs vs 800lb for a standard. A substantial savings of weight aloft. She just sailed better, not as tender. And she rolled allot less at anchor. And of course the sail shape with the full battens was GREAT!
2) They installed a large electric winch that was located in the cockpit and halyard led aft to it. Also they had some lazy jacks installed. To raise the main you just took a few turns on the winch and phffft! the main us up. To drop the main you just cast off the halyard and brrrpt the main was down. I found this a lot easier than the furling main. Also we had a few failures with the furler. Main stuck out could not furl (not good if you have a nasty squall coming down on ya). Or motor broken and the need to manually roll that sucker in....what a PIA that was.

to summarize.
Standard mast has far less weight aloft resulting in much improved sailing performance and comfort. Also improved sail shape.

Standard mast can be just as easy if not more so to handle main. If set up properly.

Safety, maintenance and cost is better with a standard mast.
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Old 20-02-2009, 05:50   #8
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I just wanted to put in a positive comment on in-mast furling. We have it and love it. All the above points about performance are true, but like everything else it depends what your planned usage is.
We sail short handed (my wife and I) and have sailed in the north sea, the bay of biscay, the med and across the atlantic with our Seldom in-mast furling, with a vertical batten mainsail. The ease of reefing means we reef and un-reef more often than we would with a regular main. And when squalls arrived during the night watch while crossing the Atlantic, either of us could reef the main quickly without waking the other.
Of course, this is from a short handed cruising view and not a racing view.
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Old 20-02-2009, 07:00   #9
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Cover Plate?

If Eric prefers a classic mast to in-mast furling, it seems to me that there is no reason why one could not simply attach a cover-plate to the aft side of the existing mast, over the slot, and attach an extenal track to that. The plate(s) could be affixed with high strength rivets or properly bedded machine screws. (One could weld the plate to the mast but doing-so would eliminate the possibility of returning to in-mast furling at some future time.) A 4" wide plate section could be curved to meet fit the mast fairly easily. Or, inexpensive shaped plate might also be obtained by cutting sections from a cast off mast which might be obtained from a spar maker. As a continuous track will be attached to the plate, there is no reason why the plate itself would have to be continuous.


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Old 20-02-2009, 08:52   #10
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We have in-mast furling and are a little tentative about possible failures but love the infinite reefing. On our mast (I believe it's a Z-spar), there is a track built in just to the left of the slot for the main. I don't know if it's meant to allow for a trysail or the ability to sail with a standard main. I'm not sure the cross section of the mast - a U shape rather than an O shape - could take the forces of main with out the slot being reinforced. I'm going to pose the question to a rigger when we have our rig surveyed.


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