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Old 13-10-2019, 02:07   #1
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Stack vs Inmast

Hi All,

Shortly to place order for a new boat and the age old decision of stack vs inmast is troubling me. The options I have is Dacron inmast or Hydronet stack for the same money. Understand the arguments of sailing performance but for simple ease and you are not in a rush, then surely inmast must win, my thought so far unless anyone has arguments to the contrary.

I am planning to cruise the med and my current boat which has stack main is a pain in the a**e. Getting the sail to fall neatly, managing the lazy bag, reefing, putting it away (very high boom) which requires good balance on tip toes, pulling reefing lines through which go everywhere etc etc.

I have not had an inmast system before but the simplicity and management seems obvious. Assume reefing is also a doddle and is it true no need for a trysail?

Thoughts appreciated.
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Old 13-10-2019, 02:10   #2
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Re: Stack vs Inmast

Inmast is a much cleaner setup. Less lines and crap everywhere and less ongoing maintenance. But a dacron main with inmast will stretch over time and eventually make furling less easy.
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Old 13-10-2019, 02:24   #3
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Re: Stack vs Inmast

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Originally Posted by mikedefieslife View Post
Inmast is a much cleaner setup. Less lines and crap everywhere and less ongoing maintenance. But a dacron main with inmast will stretch over time and eventually make furling less easy.

I'll second that.


If you go with in-mast furling, then don't save money on the sail (which will last twice as long as a conventional main anyway). You want a laminate sail with straight leech and vertical battens, and make sure the in-mast furling system is a good one.



I would probably not want in-mast furling for cruising in the Med. With all the light conditions there, a roachy full batten main would give more sailing pleasure, and you will have less need for the advantages of in-mast furling, which shines in tough windy ocean conditions.



But Mikedefies life is correct that in-mast is much cleaner, fewer lines, much better storage of the sail, and that might make it worthwhile for you, even in the Med. But do NOT use a Dacron sail -- go with laminate. You don't want any bagginess to the sail with in-mast furling. And have it treated with SailKote. If you're on a budget, stick to a conventional main.
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Old 13-10-2019, 02:29   #4
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Re: Stack vs Inmast

Well - an eager racer will go for stack and an expensive sail.


If moving around on a pitching deck while fighting with sail and boom is not high on the list of priorities, than the in mast is definitely worth a thought. As it is the more complex system, regular inspection and maintenance are needed. A jammed in mast can ruin a good day or even several days. From that aspect, it might make sense to say, that for long journeys, the simpler stack may have advantages.


Now, back to you: Are you the young keen racer or would you rather avoid fighting sail and boom on a pitching deck?
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Old 13-10-2019, 02:36   #5
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Re: Stack vs Inmast

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Well - an eager racer will go for stack and an expensive sail. . . .

I would say that anyone who likes to sail, whatever kind of furling system he has, will go with the expensive sail, and not just the racer. I don't know why it would be surprising, that good sails are just about the best money you can spend on a sailboat.


Good laminate sails with carbon, aramid or UHMWPE matrix have almost no stretch at all and keep their shape throughout their whole lifetimes. Problems of early laminate technology with mold and delamination have been more or less completely solved now. They are expensive compared to woven sails, but they absolutely transform the way a boat sails. I wouldn't ever want woven sails again.
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Old 13-10-2019, 04:16   #6
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Re: Stack vs Inmast

I think it really depends on the intended cruising area and the capabilities of the crew.

We have a stack pack, and I would almost certainly choose inmast for our next boat, if we stick with sailing in the Med. The distances are not that large, mostly less than 40 NM days, often less than 30 NM, but the winds are highly variable with very localised effects between and behind islands. As a small family crew (read one adult male running around on deck and one adult female working lines in the cockpit), it sometimes feels like raising the main is not worth it, or even risky, if we get caught out.

I expect we would actually sail more, and sail farther, if we had the option of progressively furling an inmast main from the safety of the cockpit.
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Old 13-10-2019, 05:00   #7
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Re: Stack vs Inmast

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. . . I expect we would actually sail more, and sail farther, if we had the option of progressively furling an inmast main from the safety of the cockpit.

One of the advantages of in-mast furling is that you have the practical usable ability to vary the sail area in an instant. As you say, it makes you much less reluctant to use the main sail, because you stop worrying about being caught out if the wind blows up.


This also means that you are more likely to have the right amount of sail area up, because have so much instant control over it and it is no trouble to take some in or put more out. Totally different from putting a reef in or taking one out of a conventional main.



Yes, this is a big plus. But in my experience in the Med you have a lot of high pressure dome situations in the summer with 5 to 10 knots of wind for days or even weeks on end. Don't neglect the advantage of a nice roachy full batten main in such conditions.
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Old 13-10-2019, 06:41   #8
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Re: Stack vs Inmast

In the med, the wind is either too light or too much We love our inmast, period. We live on the boat so going slow is not an issue, and besides, there's always the parasailor if you're on anything from dead downwind to almost a beam reach, works in 5-20 knots. And when things get spirited, I love that I can reef on a whim and shake it out ten minutes later if the wind changes (which it does a lot), in our case from the cockpit. Furlers have come a long way I think. Unless you're racing, you won't regret it if it is a good system.
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Old 13-10-2019, 07:08   #9
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Re: Stack vs Inmast

Real sailors don’t use furling masts. They aren’t reliable.

No doubt someone will come along in protest saying that he never had a problem - such statements should always come with the words “so far” attached after that phrase. Or that anyone who’s sail got stuck didn’t know how to roll it up as though the village idiots are the only people who had that experience.

They can foul, get stuck (often unless you are very careful), affect performance negatively, add weight aloft and become less reliable as sails age.

If you can’t afford boom furling, stick with a traditional main sail.
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Old 13-10-2019, 07:40   #10
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Re: Stack vs Inmast

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Real sailors donít use furling masts. They arenít reliable.

No doubt someone will come along in protest saying that he never had a problem - such statements should always come with the words ďso farĒ attached after that phrase. Or that anyone whoís sail got stuck didnít know how to roll it up as though the village idiots are the only people who had that experience.

They can foul, get stuck (often unless you are very careful), affect performance negatively, add weight aloft and become less reliable as sails age.

If you canít afford boom furling, stick with a traditional main sail.
At least the Amel owners will disagree with your statement. Maybe they are not sailors but cruisers?

I would not change my in-mast furling with anything else. I've had a traditional mainsail setup on my ex Lagoon 450 and it was a pain and much less reliable than my current in-mast furling setup. Not to mention, that my current setup is SO MUCH easier to handle in bad weather.

Just my personal experience...
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Old 13-10-2019, 07:43   #11
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Re: Stack vs Inmast

Quote:
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Real sailors donít use furling masts.

Dockhead, I think Illusion is calling you out lol...!!


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Old 13-10-2019, 07:47   #12
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Re: Stack vs Inmast

I have a conventional main with three reefs. Bought new and ordered that way. I don't regret it at all. My next change is to add an Anderson electric winch for the halyard - one of the ones with the motor inside the winch drum so there is nothing hanging below. I'm going to mount it on the mast.
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Old 13-10-2019, 08:12   #13
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Re: Stack vs Inmast

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Real sailors donít use furling masts. They arenít reliable.

No doubt someone will come along in protest saying that he never had a problem - such statements should always come with the words ďso farĒ attached after that phrase. Or that anyone whoís sail got stuck didnít know how to roll it up as though the village idiots are the only people who had that experience.

They can foul, get stuck (often unless you are very careful), affect performance negatively, add weight aloft and become less reliable as sails age.

If you canít afford boom furling, stick with a traditional main sail.
I could just as easily say how many sailors have been injured or become MOBs while trying to reef or pack away a mainsail up on deck? Reefing lines can be a source of failure as well. In any conditions I can push a few buttons and reef or put away my main from the safety of the cockpit.
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Old 13-10-2019, 08:24   #14
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Re: Stack vs Inmast

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Dockhead, I think Illusion is calling you out lol...!!


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Old 13-10-2019, 09:00   #15
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Re: Stack vs Inmast

There are two big issues with inmast. First it puts more weights loft, thereby raising the center of mass. Second, when it get buggered, it will compromise the boat.

The first is physics, you can only adjust for it by engineering in mast boats differently than conventional rigs. An interesting alternative is in-boom furling, as it lowers the center of mass vs in-mast.

The second requires meticulous birder OCD operating of furling and un-furling. As well as changing the sail when it gets worn. The times I have had issues with in-mast, the sail was getting baggy, and resulted in folds in the bundled sail. While in-boom does not solve the problem, if in-boom gets fouled, there are work arounds.

And yes it is very hard to, get a sweet shape out of in-mast. Whereas, in-boom have battens, but are still difficult to get a good shape out of.
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