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Old 10-08-2008, 17:43   #1
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Beneteau 50 In Mast Reefing vs Slab Reefing

When I ordered a beneteau 50 last year I choose Slab Reefing, but I think it was a mistake. This is a large sail to deal with and the boom is quite high. To attach the Halyard or pull down the sail, I have to use the steps on the mast, the battens catch in the fixed lazy jacks, and unless the boat is dead into wind, the sail won’t go up or down because of the cheap sliders jamming in the track, so up the mast I go again. Then after all that I have to try and flake it and bag it, what a pain in the arse.

Is the only answer to get the Mast changed to a Sparcraft In Mast Furling system which is a about £15,000 (making this a expensive mistake) this is the only mast that Beneteau offer, its the same make as my current mast and will use the existing rigging.

I would have preferred a Selden In Mast Option because it has a winch on the mast if the In Hawl breaks, you have a second chance. But this is looking like £25,000.
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Old 10-08-2008, 18:00   #2
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Do you have a jiffy reefing setup? To slab reef I loosen the mainsheet, use the jiffy reefing to raise the boom to the reef point then lower the halyard till the boom is horizontal. the reefing point near the mast is prerigged and pulled down snug and cleated on a designated cleat. Then its a matter of flaking and tieing off center reef points. I think lazy jacks and stack packs are more pain in the butt than anything, but I still end up building them quite often. It takes me a whopping 10 minutes to stuff my jib into the bag and main in boomcover. Im firm believer in KISS principle keep it simple stupid
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Old 10-08-2008, 18:03   #3
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You mention cheap sliders that jam. Maybe a cheaper and better option would be to fit some good quality battcars?

Also the lazy jacks could be set up to slide forward to the mast when raisng the sail.

I'm not keen on in mast furling. The trouble being, if it fails, you could be stuck with a full main, and the only solution might be to climb to the top of the mast.
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Old 10-08-2008, 18:56   #4
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Get a dutchman. We have one on a 47.7 and it is awesome.
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Old 10-08-2008, 19:06   #5
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I love my in mast main. Before I go it I was against in mast furling. Once I got it (it was standard on the new boat) and learned how to work it I loved it. I am quite familiar with single line reefing and could reef with that in about 45 seconds but there is more to in mast than just the infinite reefing. The best part of the in mast set-up is that when the hook's down there's no flaking and covering.
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Old 11-08-2008, 14:05   #6
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Thanks for the advise, and yes I do have Single Line Reefing.
I have just had a couple of quotes to fit Harken B track system, alter the sail, and lazy jacks the best is a massive £4000.00, still not sure if this is best put towards a new Sparcraft In Mast Furling.
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Old 11-08-2008, 14:43   #7
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It seems your broker was not especially helpful. Plastic sliders on a rig that big with as much sail as you have is not going to work worth a damn, as you have already seen.

The least expensive solution is to go with a load bearing car, Harken is good we like ours but it needs a Harken track. There is a car that fits into the existing track but I cannot remember who amkes it. If you go this route, meet with your local sailamker and talk it over, listen to what they say, if they race big boats they have alot of knowledge about sail handling. I would guess you have full length battens that are compression loading against your track (hence the problem gets worse).

We use Harken Batt Cars, the sail weighs around 250 pounds, it lives in a lazy cradle, the gooseneck is 6 foot off the deck, the headboard is 12 foot off the deck. We do not use mast steps but ready the sail with a bosun chair. Getting ready is about 5 minutes, cleaning up is about 10 minutes. We use two line reeefing and an electric winch to raise and lower (generally we bring it back to a primary so I can watch it as it is going up). The lazy cradles are spectra and although you need to be mindful when raising the sail it is not a bad job. I have no experience with a sail this size and Dutchman's.

Hope this helps,

Joli
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Old 11-08-2008, 16:36   #8
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Thanks Joli for your advice about needing a Harken track. The £4000 estimate did include this, not sure what spectra cradles are? I think the headboard would be about 8 foot off deck with the cars. The main is about 52 square meters and the boat has got a very handy power halyard winch.

As I am not into race sailing and I am often sailing with just my wife, and friends that are along for the ride with little experience. Is in Mast Furling the answer? Can anyone tell be more please about the problems that are mentioned with In Mast are just through bad handing? How many people regret this system with this size of sail?
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Old 11-08-2008, 17:58   #9
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We have the dutchman on a 47.7 and it is a breeze. I can flake it by myself. Set the autopilot into the wind, lead the halyard forward and at the mast I just need to guide things a bit as they mostly go the way they are supposed to. Then we have 3 steps at the mast to help get the cover over the top of the headboard. We also have the Harken batcar system, which is great.
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Old 11-08-2008, 18:12   #10
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Though my boat is a bit smaller, I found that when I replaced my old small batten main with a full batten one, it instantly got far harder to raise due to the slides binding as others have mentioned. To solve the problem I installed a strong track system that cut way down on binding and friction, ran a stronger/lower stretch halyard of smaller diameter to also lessen fiction, and for the last few feet use a Milwaukee right angle drill motor with a winch bit in the chuck on the halyard winch to avoid a cranking angle that is not good for my back. I have lazy jacks which nicely contain the sail when dropped, but that is the only time they re deployed, so they dont interfere with raising, reefing, or covering the sail. All in all, pretty inexpensive compared to the other remedies you are contemplating.
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Old 11-08-2008, 21:13   #11
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Dutchman system

I can second for the Dutchman system.. I had it on my Hunter 430 and it works great!

Best to you,
Claudius.
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:38   #12
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Thanks for all the advice; I will look at the Dutchman system. It looks like keeping the current mast with a Harken ball bearing track is the best option.

I am surprised that more people are not talking about In Mast benefits or problems.
I thought the advise would have been to go this way.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:04   #13
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I'll chime in. We have a Charleston Spar (Isomat) in-mast furler, which was standard equipment on our 2001 Island Packet 380. It's performed flawlessly, offshore and coastal, in all weather conditions up to Force 9 storms and 50 kt squalls for about 12,000 nm. It's very easy to reef from the cockpit, so I never hesitate to make small sail changes to keep the helm balanced. The negative-roach, battenless, loose-footed main performs very well. I'm a single-hander, and it makes it easy.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:46   #14
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I'll chime in. We have a Charleston Spar (Isomat) in-mast furler, which was standard equipment on our 2001 Island Packet 380. It's performed flawlessly, offshore and coastal, in all weather conditions up to Force 9 storms and 50 kt squalls for about 12,000 nm. It's very easy to reef from the cockpit, so I never hesitate to make small sail changes to keep the helm balanced. The negative-roach, battenless, loose-footed main performs very well. I'm a single-hander, and it makes it easy.
Hud 3.. Thanks for the info on your charleston spar mast. I had a look on the website I think this is the same company as Sparcraft, which is the same mast I was thinking of. One of my biggest concerns was if the In Hawl breaks, how would you deal with sail, is there another way of furling it?

Or can anyone please tell me what do you do if it jams or the In Hawl Breaks?

Thanks
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:57   #15
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Originally Posted by simon10 View Post

Can anyone tell be more please about the problems that are mentioned with In Mast are just through bad handing?
There has been much discussion on this site regarding in mast furling. Those that have it love it, those that don't relate tales of jamming sails. They do jam if not properly furled. Most of these jams are due to inexperience. I would never go back to the old way.
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