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Old 11-02-2011, 08:12   #91
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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
Well if I were custom building a boat, in-mast furling would not be my first choice. My first choice would be either a Schaeffer or Leisure Furl boom furler, although I would also give serious consideration to a stack pack (but with a third reef).

However, if I were looking at a used boat that I otherwise loved and it had in-mast furling, I would live with it, especially since the cost of retrofitting some other reefing system would likely be prohibitive. However, I would make sure that both the furling system and the vang were properly serviced (by a professional) and that I knew fine points of using the system.
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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
The extra weight aloft for in-mast furling is not just the extra height of the mast and the furler hardware; the whole mast weighs (much) more, plus it has much more windage than a regular mast.

Somebody commented that "Lack of roach will reduce heeling moment, though" which isn't true of course. Even when taking a simplified view of things, it is still the surface area that counts. A furling main should still have the designed surface area at minimum; if it doesn't, it is under-powered.

But there's more to it: a full-battened bat-wing shaped main (ellipse shaped) will actually provide more speed with less heel than a furling main with the same surface area. The main reason is that the furling main will give more drag.

I also noticed comments that furling mains are just as fast or even faster than regular mains. If that were so, all racers would have them so please don't go that way :-)

I can give another big negative for these furling mains: the position of the boom. If you reef with a furling main (no matter which system) the boom basically stays at 90 degrees angle to the mast. This is bad. A slab-reefed main will lift the end of the boom more and more as you put in extra reefs, so that it will keep clear of the water (passing waves) as weather gets heavier. Dipping the end of the boom into the water is often the trigger to disaster.

cheers,
Nick.
As to you last "big negative", not on my boat. My boom only stays at the angle that I want it to based mostly on vang tension and a bit on paying attention to mainsheet trim and even minding the toping lift. Depending on my point of sail I change the boom angle, to optimize my supposed non trimmable mainsail. Of course, there is no where near the shaping of the main as in a classic well cut, well maintained, newer mainsail though! But my boom does not stay at 90 degrees to the main mast. So maybe this is not a universal truth?

Greg
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:05   #92
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A couple of questions I have about vertical battens, because I've never laid hands on them and few on the Great Lakes have them:

a) what is their size in terms of width and thickness compared to horizontal full battens?

b) are they installed from the bottom up into pockets as are "regular" full battens? Are they flexible enough to be installed with the main already on, or must this be done on deck or on shore, and then hoisted onto the in-mast furler?

c) is there a beefier batten pocket for vertical battens and is chafe a problem here, given that the weight of the whole batten essentially is focused on one end, which is presumably only an inch or two wide?

I have five vertical battens for my 60 sq. m. mainsail.

The sizing of the battens is rather similar to the horizontal ones.
I will remember to post the measurements here in spring, after taking measures on board.

They are installed in pockets, and it is possible to put them in with a sail up, but it is difficult a little. Part (not too long) of the pocket is opening and after placing the batten inside is closed by a light, but extremely strong velcro. To close the pockets on my boat You need to stand on the boom.
Normally I'm putting battens inside during the hoisting the sail - hoisting the sail halfway up, putting the battens in, hoisting two thirds up, closing the pockets, hoisting fully up.

Only down part (about one feet) of the pockets are beefier than for horizontal battens. There is also a additional patch at the feet of the sail.

When I will be on the boat I will take some photos and will post them.

Important thing about vertical battens is - all of them should be full length.
Some sailmakers make every second batten only half long. The shape of the sail is compromised just minimally by this (You must look close and carefully to notice it), but sometime such a half batten can be a cause of jam, if furling is not done properly enough, without enough tension on haul out line. With full length battens the only reason of jam I can imagine (except something in hardware brake - but this is possible with any rig) is a loose line near the entrance of sail into the mast. You can tell it is not probable, but I saw several charter boats with mains jammed by some loose flagline or something similar
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:16   #93
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d) Can you get any roach with vertical battens?
Do they affect camber and it's position?
I have some roach, but definitely less than it is possible with classic main.
Let's put it this way - I have 60 sq.m of mainsail. Sisterboat with the classic main has a boom 0.3 m. shorter and normal, not extensive roach. Her main area is 59.2 sq.m

The sail shape is a little different, but works well.
The boat yard used to organize regattas for owners, and I never missed the trophy position racing against sisterboats both with classic and not battened furling mains.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:25   #94
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I guess the potential problem is that the system with vertical battens may be more sensitive to the boom angle, and may need a specially made mast with more room for the battens.
In-Mast Furling
At least with my main I have not any problems regarding boom angle.
My mast is the same Sparcraft profile the Yard use for not battened furling mains. I ordered boat for in - mast furling but without the sails and ordered the sails separately in Poland. Gave the sailmaker the symbol for mast profile, asking if it will be enough room in the mast for battens, and was told that most of profiles are made with more than enough room for battens.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:59   #95
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I have five vertical battens for my 60 sq. m. mainsail.
Thanks for the detail. I doubt that I will own a boat with a main like this, but there's every chance I would crew on one, and understanding these fine points is a distinct advantage.

It reminds me of understanding "paddle shifting" on a sports car!
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Old 11-02-2011, 14:12   #96
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As to you last "big negative", not on my boat. My boom only stays at the angle that I want it to based mostly on vang tension and a bit on paying attention to mainsheet trim and even minding the toping lift.
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At least with my main I have not any problems regarding boom angle.
Hmm, I don't think you guys understand what I mean... with in-mast furling, when you move the end of the boom up, the mainsail gets fuller. This doesn't change when you reef the main. This means that you can't flatten the main while lifting the end of the boom up.

With slab reefing, each extra reef will be positioned so that the end of the boom will lift up more and more as extra reefs are put in (the reef at the leech is bigger than at the luff). So, with a reefed main flattened to de-power it, the end of the boom is lifted up to put more distance between it and the sea while reaching.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 11-02-2011, 15:12   #97
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Like most subjects on this forum there are a range of opinions and like many of those opinions they are based on the posters bias as to modern versus traditional. If its a new way to do things many will immediately form an opinion based on there like or dislike for things modern. Some dislike modern cars because they use lots of plastic and will never concede that they are superior. This bias makes it hard for many who just wish to find out the real +- wading through all these views to get a true picture is the hardest part. Having used slab & Dutchman system but not having used in mast I have deducted that for pure speed as in racing in mast is probably not the way to go. As this is a cruising forum me thinks in mast will be my preference, I must admit though I do like modern every things.
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Old 11-02-2011, 17:34   #98
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As this is a cruising forum me thinks in mast will be my preference, I must admit though I do like modern every things.
I can follow your way of thinking but I'm afraid you miss the point. R&D on slab reefing has been much more intense than for in-mast furling and there are slab reefing systems for both racing and, completely different ones, for cruising.

Modern slab reefing systems for cruising boats are more modern, more high-tech, more reliable, safer (more so when conditions become rough), faster, lighter, and at least just as user-friendly as in-mast furling. In case of a problem, slab reefing is more user friendly for dealing with the problem.

It might be hard to understand this when you think of slab reefing as it was 30 years ago; instead, think about full-battens, lazy-jacks, stack-packs, cradle-covers, winged booms (or racks or whatever they call them), luff-cars or track-slides etc.

While in-mast furling manufacturers have been working on making their systems work good, slab reefing has catched up and surpassed it. The only innovation for in-mast furling I have seen is the vertical battens and inflatable battens. The vertical battens require an even fatter mast profile and increase the risk of jamming and making it impossible to quickly lower the main even if you have it completely unfurled. The inflatable battens... well, don't let me start on that subject What is important to understand is that without battens, the sail has negative roach (hollow leech) meaning the surface area is less than that of the triangle formed by boom and mast which is less than 50% of the rectangle formed by boom and mast, while a fully battened main can achieve 80% of that rectangle. This is the reason that a furling mast is (should be) much taller than a regular mast and that efforts are made to introduce battens for the system.

While a modern slab reefing main gives more performance, this doesn't mean at all that it is just for racers... a cruising design is allowed to be fast(er) too; for sailing yachts, performance, although not the primary design-goal, is a positive factor which improves boat handling and safety. The same is valid for optimal sail-shape: cruisers are supposed to trim their sails too, not just to go faster but also to reduce heel and balance the boat with all the secondary positive effects that come with that.

Sometimes, new materials, or just the evolution of an old idea, is better than new ideas. A good example is the simple spectra lashing that outperforms any shackle or the traditional wooden deadeyes that are now emerging again in modern form for fiber rigging.

In the end, the boat buyer must make a decision about what he/she wants. Many who consider in-mast furling are thinking about the comfort-aspect of it and they must understand that besides other aspects, there are comfort-negatives with in-mast furling too. Not many cruisers like the idea of heeling more and going slower for example. Many end up motoring instead of sailing without realizing that comfort doesn't get any worse than that.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 11-02-2011, 18:18   #99
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Nick when I said Slab I should have said - Full-battens, lazy-jacks, stack-packs, cradle-covers, winged booms (or racks or whatever they call them), luff-cars or track-slides etc.
Your bias to the above system is obvious by the amount you have written so your not in the undecided category and I would put my house on the fact you will never change. This was the whole point of my reply just like the plastic boat debate.
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Old 11-02-2011, 19:57   #100
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Nick when I said Slab I should have said - Full-battens, lazy-jacks, stack-packs, cradle-covers, winged booms (or racks or whatever they call them), luff-cars or track-slides etc.
Your bias to the above system is obvious by the amount you have written so your not in the undecided category and I would put my house on the fact you will never change. This was the whole point of my reply just like the plastic boat debate.
As I am 100% behind all new & high tech things around boats and even have every gadget aboard that I can think of: you must still be missing my point. I don't mean that you should have said anything else than slab reefing; I tried to explain that there are so many variations on slab reefing that one can't compare them with another system as one entity... each variation should be evaluated separately to get a clear picture.

I am pro innovation and have no bias in this matter at all. I base my preference on technical aspects and observations. The only reason I wouldn't change my reefing system is the costs involved. I just did a $8k upgrade on our main & mizzen reefing system so I am prepared to do significant investments on it when I see that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages enough for me. I would need to see a lot of good reasons before I would replace two masts, but in that case I would write that I would prefer that but don't want to spend that much cash to get it.

I have sailed with every imaginable reefing system except the aerorig and junk-rig in the past 40 years and have helped countless sailors improving their system, incl. furling systems. When you compare them after having used them all, you see the pro's and con's of each system: there is no perfect system. It's easy to list the pro's and con's in such a way that everybody agrees with them; it's assigning a weight to them in a selection process where the differences come up, like race-oriented sailors vs cruising oriented sailors or even diversity within those groups, like weekend sailing vs long offshore passages etc. This means that you get different decisions even when all aspects are carefully evaluated.

I have listed a number of arguments in this thread and have yet to see somebody demonstrate that they don't hold. last but not least, I fail to see why my personal preference for slab reefing would invalidate the arguments I made, but would love to discuss that

ciao!
ick.
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Old 11-02-2011, 20:54   #101
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I know where you are coming from but it has great points too. We were looking for a conventional main when we bought our cruising boat but we found our best choice had the in mast furler. It has extended our years of sailing when age or physical ability starts you looking at trawlers. You lose a small bit of speed but it doesn't seem to be that much compared to the ease of pulling it in and out. We have never had it jam (5000 miles now) but we are careful to get a good wrap on the way in. Good luck.
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Old 11-02-2011, 21:28   #102
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I know where you are coming from but it has great points too. We were looking for a conventional main when we bought our cruising boat but we found our best choice had the in mast furler. It has extended our years of sailing when age or physical ability starts you looking at trawlers. You lose a small bit of speed but it doesn't seem to be that much compared to the ease of pulling it in and out. We have never had it jam (5000 miles now) but we are careful to get a good wrap on the way in. Good luck.
Welcome to CF Sailor g .. good to see that my posts convinced you to do your 1st post here

Yes, 2nd hand boats come with a reefing system and it often makes no sense to change that system. Here it becomes a factor that weighs in on the selection of which boat to buy. I actually requested a quote once for changing from in-mast to slab reefing for a boat I wanted to buy... it came to 35% of the asking price of that boat which is madness.

When a certain type of boat is offered with both options I always look at what changes were made other than the different mast profile, like length of the mast, different position of the mast, change in ballast, surface areas of all working sails, number & size of spreaders, sizing of rigging etc. The difference is more than just a different mast profile.

For a cruising boat I think the speed difference is low on the list of arguments for either system. I would rate reliability and heel higher.

Ease of operation when growing older: there's no question that a furler wins this when all works like it's supposed to. But the age factor works against you when something goes wrong while age is much less a problem for clearing a jammed slab-reefing sail (just winch it down until it frees or something like a slide breaks to make it come down).

I also believe that (years of) experience with an in-mast furling system reduces the chances of it jamming because it eliminates operator error. I have seen boats with a reefing system that nobody but the owner could operate without trouble (in-boom furling in that case). The trick is to get to that experienced level of course

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 11-02-2011, 23:40   #103
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I didn't think I'd like a furling Main either. I originally intended to buy a jeanneau and ended up getting a Hunter 49 with in-mast furling. The Hunter has vertical battens with a large roach, a huge and effective mainsail. I've been very satisfied with it. I can get plenty of exercise without trying to wrestle with a huge main everyday. I had a jam one time which I think was caused by the fact that I had not furled the sail tightly enough the last time it was used and which was easily unjammed by tightening the furling line.
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Old 12-02-2011, 20:42   #104
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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
As I am 100% behind all new & high tech things around boats and even have every gadget aboard that I can think of: you must still be missing my point. I don't mean that you should have said anything else than slab reefing; I tried to explain that there are so many variations on slab reefing that one can't compare them with another system as one entity... each variation should be evaluated separately to get a clear picture.

I am pro innovation and have no bias in this matter at all. I base my preference on technical aspects and observations. The only reason I wouldn't change my reefing system is the costs involved. I just did a $8k upgrade on our main & mizzen reefing system so I am prepared to do significant investments on it when I see that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages enough for me. I would need to see a lot of good reasons before I would replace two masts, but in that case I would write that I would prefer that but don't want to spend that much cash to get it.

I have sailed with every imaginable reefing system except the aerorig and junk-rig in the past 40 years and have helped countless sailors improving their system, incl. furling systems. When you compare them after having used them all, you see the pro's and con's of each system: there is no perfect system. It's easy to list the pro's and con's in such a way that everybody agrees with them; it's assigning a weight to them in a selection process where the differences come up, like race-oriented sailors vs cruising oriented sailors or even diversity within those groups, like weekend sailing vs long offshore passages etc. This means that you get different decisions even when all aspects are carefully evaluated.

I have listed a number of arguments in this thread and have yet to see somebody demonstrate that they don't hold. last but not least, I fail to see why my personal preference for slab reefing would invalidate the arguments I made, but would love to discuss that

ciao!
ick.
So Nick,
You were right I did not follow your advantage on the boom position with slab reefing being more adjustable and allowing for a more properly trimmed mainsail. Thanks for the clearity!

As I read your love for the modern slab reefing systems I cannot figure out why you don't think Neil Pryde, for example, has not been working just as hard at perfecting modern InMastFurling mains. It is probably not just the new vertical battens and air battens that make them so useful and desireable. I imagine that the sail cut has evolved as well.

I can imagine, as a Beneteau IMF customer, that it is assumed that they don't care about proper IMF performance and reliability. Too many short cuts, to cheaply designed and put together...whatever, I can live with the torture...
But why on earth would Oyster, and Hinkley be using such unseaman like hardware???

I happen to think IMF design and construction is advancing just as well as slab reefing is, perhaps, maybe, any chance???

I am glad we all seem to like what we have
Greg
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Old 13-02-2011, 07:50   #105
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But why on earth would Oyster, and Hinkley be using such unseaman like hardware???
You think Oysters and Hinkleys are build for seamen? Well, I guess there will be some that own one but I haven't met them yet. It is my impression that these are bought to show off in the marina or to impress potential customers when they are invited for an afternoon sail or drink aboard the owners yacht.

We actually slow down a bit when we overtake them because we don't want to embarrass them too much I heard Oyster threatened to stop sponsoring the ARC after they had a humiliating defeat by a Sundeer 64. Jimmy Cornell fixed this by giving the Sundeer64 such a handicap that it could never win again

But seriously, I think the choice for in-mast furling for new boats is made by salesmen and not by the designer. My guess is that offering it with in-mast furling "proves" it is an easy to handle boat or something.

cheers,
Nick.
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