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Old 07-11-2005, 17:10   #16
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Common Jeff, I believe that you race as much as you cruise - I suspect you seldom reef. Just look at the photo.

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Old 07-11-2005, 18:01   #17
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this thread spun off a discussion on the problems with other forms of furing and products made to assist. it was gord who quickly reminded us in this thread that reefing should be the priority.

correct as usual, gord.
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Old 07-11-2005, 18:13   #18
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I have just finished

my first season with a roller furling main. Over the summer, we have sailed in virtually all conditions short of a full gale and have never had so much fun. I would sooner give up sailing than give up my roller furling main or genoa either for that matter. Going on deck when the weather turns from bad to worse to reef a sail or change a head sail is a job for fools. I desire to stay in the cockpit and simply release the main sheet and roll the sail into the mast and re-sheet. There are those of you who choose to employ other methods, but this one works for me.
As for the premature wear of in mast furlering sails, so what. All sails wear out eventually and most blow out long before that happens. It would seem that if the wear period shortens then it would probably equal the mis-shapen period and new sails will be the order of the day.
My only hope is that in my waning years, more labor saving devices come along to prolong my sailing.

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Old 07-11-2005, 18:28   #19
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jim - do you know who's furler beneteau is installing ? capt. lar
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Old 07-11-2005, 19:52   #20
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Beneteau furlers

The headsail is Profurl. The main is US Spars. http://www.usspars.com/
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Old 07-11-2005, 22:13   #21
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A few years back, I saw an inexpensive rooler furling/reefing system at the boat show. I looked at it for 3 years, and got to know the manufacturers. I finally bought, not only one for my headsail, but eventually one for the main, and for the mizzen. I was partly inspired by a day sail on a friend's boat who had a profurl behind the mast. The system I have is a Reefurl. One moving part. I installed the headsail system, but have yet to install the other two. I will. This is the first furling system that I have ever used that has not jammed. Before I purchased it, I read an article condemning furling systems. I discussed this with a local rigger friend of mine. He pointed out that for the cost of slightly less optimal sail shape, a little more weight aloft, and a few more systems to go wrong, he gains one GIANT benefit. The easier the boat is for his wife to sail, the more she wants to sail, and the more he gets to sail. The first time my wife furled in the 130 on our 40 footer by herself, without heading up, and without using the winch, she was the one who wrote the check for the other two units. Behind the mast systems can be very simple, inexpensive (as opposed to a $15000 boom furler), and operate very effectively.
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Old 07-11-2005, 22:15   #22
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A few years back, I saw an inexpensive rooler furling/reefing system at the boat show. I looked at it for 3 years, and got to know the manufacturers. I finally bought, not only one for my headsail, but eventually one for the main, and for the mizzen. I was partly inspired by a day sail on a friend's boat who had a profurl behind the mast. The system I have is a Reefurl. One moving part. I installed the headsail system, but have yet to install the other two. I will. This is the first furling system that I have ever used that has not jammed. Before I purchased it, I read an article condemning furling systems. I discussed this with a local rigger friend of mine. He pointed out that for the cost of slightly less optimal sail shape, a little more weight aloft, and a few more systems to go wrong, he gains one GIANT benefit. The easier the boat is for his wife to sail, the more she wants to sail, and the more he gets to sail. The first time my wife furled in the 130 on our 40 footer by herself, without heading up, and without using the winch, she was the one who wrote the check for the other two units. Behind the mast systems can be very simple, inexpensive (as opposed to a $15000 boom furler), and operate very effectively.
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Old 08-11-2005, 04:37   #23
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(From Jim):
"Going on deck when the weather turns from bad to worse to reef a sail or change a head sail is a job for fools."

For those of us who are odd enough to be cruising our boats offshore, the opposite is true - it's only a fool who fails to reef and/or change down as conditions worsen. But I understand his point and the comment did make me chuckle...

I guess this also relates back to Gord's observation: what you say is *initially* true, Gord - one really doesn't want to wait until conditions get bad before reefing, altho' winds can increase so rapidly in some cases (near a squall you can't see at night, or anywhere in the Med) that it's understandable to find yourself surprised. But of course the offshore sailor has to *keep on reefing*; tying in a single reef is not on occasion enough. I remember this past season when we were crossing Biscay and getting pasted pretty good, I was sitting on the foredeck (genoa furled, main reefed, unsnapping the bag from around the small solent jib so I could raise it) and getting drenched while feeling like I was on a Theme Park ride. I looked back at my seasick wife who was waiting to see if I stayed aboard or departed, and I wondered which of us was having more fun. This was one of those times when Jim's preference would no longer suffice; he'd have to do something beyond just furling.

IMO while at sea one of the most important things one does is a full deck and mast inspection, multiple times a day. It's really quite surprising what you find that you "shouldn't", as things come amiss, work under load and stretch, how a fair lead becomes slightly less so. (Of course, the rougher & tougher it is, the more important it becomes to walk the deck). And then there are times when being on deck is a natural part of sailing one's boat, as e.g. when hoisting or dousing an asym or a mizzen staysail. Yet the attitude that seems to have emerged, admittedly along with labor-saving furling systems, is that going on deck is a bad thing and to be avoided. As I mentioned earlier, there are times when I'd love to pull a string rather than hang on with one hand while tying in a reef with the other while being doused...but that's just me being lazy, I think. Crew who are averse to being on the deck of their boats, routinely, are in for some surprises, I suspect...

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Old 08-11-2005, 05:22   #24
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I just want to touch on a couple points that have been raised in the discussion above.

Regarding going on deck, with a two line reefing system, you can safely reef from the cockpit on-the-fly on all points pretty much in all windspeeds. Sometimes you don't have the luxury of knowing when a reef will be needed and sometimes you don't have the luxury of rounding up on the wind to reef, as is required with in-mast furling. When cruising short handed, I keep both reefs rigged and ready to go.

If I were offshore I would also keep my storm trisail rigged and be thankful that I did not have the windage of a spar with the huge windage required by an in-mast furler spar.

As Jentine points out, most mainsails lose shape before the stitching fails. As sailmakers are consistently telling me, mainsails used with in-mast furler typically lose shape sooner and have faster abrasion wear than conventional mainsails.

Jack's point about checking the deck is really a good one. I have been surprised to find loose shackle pins, missing cotter pins and wing-dings, frozen sheaves, chafing lines, and all kinds of potential mayhem producing discoveries. Frequent deck inspections make sense whether offshore or coastal cruising.

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Old 08-11-2005, 09:01   #25
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in reading the installation manual and maintenance manuals for US Spars furling mains, i don't see the problem. the mechanism is similar to furling on a headsail, and the maintenance seems straight forward. since most newer boats, including mine, have mains much smaller than jenny, the aggrevation associated with dealing with a failure, (jambs seems to be avoidable, or rectifiable) is no worse, probably less, than the same problem occuring on the bow. it does appear that removal of the sail is more involved than the headsail furler, and not something i would want to have to do in bad weather, but the bearing could sieze (and did once) on the headsail furler and leave me in the same spot. the benefits are substantial. for my near coastal sailing - i would love it. i do not doubt that sailors much better than i have had problems, but i know many sailor better than i who always push it. too much sail for too long. the furler lets you reef with a minimum of effort. some days, especially when trying to get somewhere, it seems all we do is change the reef. it gets old. if its ok for the jib, why not the main ?

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Old 08-11-2005, 09:31   #26
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The difference between a furling headsail and in-mast furling is that the mainsail is in a confined pocket so that if it is not furled tightly it can jamb in the pocket. With a jambed headsail furler there are a lot of options for dealing with a half in- half out jambed furler. Those options do not exist on an in mast furler. The other component of this is that a completely unfurled furling jib does not give up all that much performance to a non-furling headsail, but a mainsail cut for a furler really does. This is so much the case that the boat should really be designed for an in-mast furler (mast position, sail area and ballasting) if in mast furling is being contemplated.

While the lack of reliability of in-mast furling makes more sense for coastal cruising, frequently confined sailing and rapidly changable conditions would seem to make slab reefing preferable for coastal cruising as well.

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Old 08-11-2005, 10:07   #27
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I think sometimes we talk apples and oranges here. One group emphasizing performance the other convenience and never the twain shall meet. My personal view is from that of a coastal cruiser, interested in decent performance but not too interested in tweaking the last tenth of a knot out of the rig. I have yet to see a serious racer with a furling main but most cruisers I meet love them. Then again, racers at one time viewed furling headsails with disdain but I think the BOC crowd took care of that. I sailed eight months last winter (yeah, that's a Canadian winter -November to June ) with a furling main. Maybe I was lucky but I had absolutely no problems. I was very satisfied with the performance and ecstatic with how much easier it made sailing. This is a big factor when we're all aging. I have tried both and still sail both but I must say I much prefer my furling main to my "traditional" slab reefing main.
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Old 08-11-2005, 16:33   #28
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I agree that this is a discussion of apples and oranges except that from my perspective one group is talking safety, reliability, simplicity, and sail longevity vs. the other group talking convenience. Clearly this is a discussion about priorities.

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Old 09-11-2005, 06:50   #29
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Quote:
Jeff H once whispered in the wind:
I agree that this is a discussion of apples and oranges except that from my perspective one group is talking safety, reliability, simplicity, and sail longevity vs. the other group talking convenience. Clearly this is a discussion about priorities.

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Jeff,

I think the safety issue is specious. Todays in mast furlers are no less safe or more safe than a conventional main. I have heard theories about "weight aloft" and "large sections" and "windage" but there is no evidence that this alone makes a boat un safe. In fact the mast on my furling boat appears to be lighter than the one on my CS36. I have not checked the exact specs and there might be more weight aloft due to the furler and sail but the section appears lighter on the 39.

As far as reliability goes, again there is no evidence to say one is more unreliable than the other. I have heard a lot of anecdotes about jamming but again this is anecdotal and, without, proper data it is difficult to make a judgement. On a personal note, I have had my in boom reefing lines jam. This was my fault as the boom had just come back from the rigger and I didn't test it at the dock before heading out.

This brings us to what I think is the main factor in both the safety and reliability arguments. They both seem to turn on maintenance and competence of the sailor. A sailboat, or for that matter, any vessel will always require this.

As for simplicity, my conventional main has as many moving parts or parts which require attention.

If I understand you correctly you are implying that some sailors value convenience over safety, reliability and simplicity. Clearly this is not the case. Rather than priorities, this discussion is about progress. As for convenience, this is no sin. Many improvements in sail have been driven by ease of operation. Sailing doesn't have to be hard work.

Written under my bimini, sitting on cockpit cushions, staring at my self-tailing winches (unfortunately not power driven), with a cool one just out of the 12v fridge. Anchored out in nowhere but with a good wi-fi antenna. (actually staring out my study window looking at the cold rain and colder wind stripping all the leaves from the trees).
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Old 09-11-2005, 08:28   #30
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When doing an Atlantic crossing, our first stop in St. Georges provided us with a scene where boats carrying both types of mainsail furling systems discussed here - in-mast & in-boom, of various brands - limped into port looking for a sail loft because of a failed mainsail furl. This was the first, not the last time we would see this parade. These failures were a minority of all the boats so equipped but IME, when Jeff characterizes the choices as being between safety & reliabilty vs. convenience, he's quite correct insofar as heavy users are concerned. For coastal cruising where one elects to avoid sailing in tough conditions and/or where the window of exposure is short and/or where the boat is used for far less total time than when offshore cruising, perhaps it *seems* as tho' one gets convenience AND reliability...and in fact, for many part-time users that may be true.

If I remember Jeff's previous discriptions of his two-line reefing system, it would for WHOOSH require a lot of changes - both in how the reef lines would need to be run, plus adding or relocating winches, and then facing a real estate issue on the aft cabin trunk. When the alternative is to simply make one or a few more trips to the mast in a given period, that seems the far easier alternative...but there I go, being lazy again.

Jack
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