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Old 28-08-2010, 05:59   #16
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Contrary to what was stated above, in-boom furling is actually much more reliable than in-mast furling. And, if something breaks, you can still lower the sail the "normal" way. Not so if you get a jam with in-mast furling. And, you's just a matter of time. When it jams, it will of course be the worst time, and there's no way you can go up the mast and sort it out. I wouldn't give in-mast furling hellroom on any boat of mine.

The comment about slab-reefing being complicated or worse also runs contrary to my experience and that of most sailors. Slab-reefing is a wonderful system....simple, nearly foolproof, very quick to implement, and very inexpensive. But, you gotta go up on a bouncing deck which is likely to be wet and slippery and heavily canted. And it may be dark and stormy. I had slab reefing on my 42' sloop in the Caribbean for 11 years when I was younger. Only got tossed into the lifelines once, but believe me it ain't fun unless you're 20-something!

In-boom furling offers many advantages, some mentioned above. And, it's perfectly possible to raise the main, reef to any desired sail area (with good shape), have a full-batten main with a large roach, and furl the main to any desired size....all without leaving the cockpit. Great for singlehanders, too.

My LeisureFurl in now eight years old. I love it. Have a Lemar electric winch located in the cockpit just aft of the multi jam cleat which carries the main halyard, the furling line, and the boom vang adjusting line. Makes short work of mainsail size adjustments.

As was mentioned, full-batten mains are VERY flapping about even in strong winds.

Is there a downside? Yes, of course, like almost everything else on a boat.

1. Cost...not cheap for the furler, and you need a purpose-built mainsail;

2. Electric winch...on any but the smallest boats, you really need one;

3. Learning have to learn a few things in order to get a good furl every time; and

4. Depowering the have to be careful when you furl the main that it is not full of wind. It IS possible to furl when off the wind if you take your time and spill as much wind as possible from the main, but it's faster and easier if you can spill most of the wind as in heading up.

Like the roller-furling headsail, the modern in-boom furlers like the LeisureFurl and Schaefer are a godsend in managing sail area, especially when short-handed or with an aging (aged?) crew!


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Old 28-08-2010, 06:46   #17
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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
3. Learning have to learn a few things in order to get a good furl every time; and


Yes Bill, this is the secret not only with in-boom furling but also with in-mast furling. And with in-mast you should take a lot more care with the furling. If you furl it properly it will not jam when you deploy it. Most problems are the result of improper furling. With in-mast it's usually not enough tension on the outhaul as you furl resulting in creases in the sail which end up jamming when you un-furl. All furling systems, including head sail furling systems have their little idiosyncrasies. Once you get the hang of it they should work as intended. I'm a very happy convert to in-mast furling. As for loss of roach etc., it's usually blowing too hard in my sailing grounds to sail without a reef!

Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
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Old 31-08-2010, 08:22   #18
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Another disadvantage of in-boom furlers is that the boom is heavier. But I view that as a minor issue.

And quite apart from the operational advantages, a huge plus for either in-boom or in-mast furlers is not having to mess with a sail cover.

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furling, mast

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