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Old 14-07-2007, 11:57   #1
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in-boom furlor for Cat

Having spent 2 years sailing with my wife on a monohull and having an
seldon in-mast electric furlor I'd like to understand the implications of using an in-boom furlor on a cat.

With our monohull, I loved the ability to infinitely reef with the push of a button. I could get the sail in quickly and never needed any assistance. Reefing the sail was no harder than trimming the sail and as a result we rarely had too much sail out and were able to control our comfort and speed effortlessly.

We are looking at something in the fairly fast 50+ foot range for our circumnavigation. Top 5 include Gunboat, Catana, FastCat, Privilege, Chris White. I've talked to the Gunboat folks and they were fairly adamant that the extra weight up high would be a huge mistake. I haven't seen many Cat's with main furlors although my Dad had a small FP with an in Mast furlor. (I always thought his boat had a motion somewhat like a top but for coastal cruising it was probably safe enough.)

When cruising the 7 Seas does it make sense that having an in-boom furlor might actually be safer than some other reefing system? More likely to lower the main a bit extra and therefor lower center of gravity than jiffy reefing? No need to do deck work in a storm. Furl in 30 seconds instead of 3 minutes when a squall comes up, etc.

So what do folks think about the trade off for ease of sail handing over weight up high? Does weight become a non-issue with a carbon boom? Are there other negatives of in-boom sails that make it bad for Cat's.

Thanks,
A lazy (mostly) single hander
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Old 14-07-2007, 14:40   #2
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There's an excellent discussion of boom furling on a 52' Melvin & Morrelli custom cat, at: Adagio's Adventures

Look under "techno" and "boom furling issues". They looked at several different designs and the author gives a nice discussion of the various pros and cons.

Nice boat, too.

ID
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Old 14-07-2007, 22:43   #3
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Thanks, Adagio's comments were interesting but mostly on ways to improve his Reff-Right Boom Furler. I didn't see any comments regarding any unique issues associated with a Multi-hulls.
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Old 15-07-2007, 05:27   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueRhapCity
We are looking at something in the fairly fast 50+ foot range for our circumnavigation. Top 5 include Gunboat, Catana, FastCat, Privilege, Chris White. I've talked to the Gunboat folks and they were fairly adamant that the extra weight up high would be a huge mistake.
What extra weight up high? I can see their point if you were talking about an in-mast furler, but how does an in-boom furler cause extra weight up high?

I would think that for a 50 foot plus boat, anything that helps reduce sail handling effort would be a good thing.
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Old 16-07-2007, 08:51   #5
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I'm sure it would work out fine. It would be an easy way to reef with such huge sails. The Catana is not very fast IMHO. Unless you are thinking of an older one.
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Old 16-07-2007, 10:00   #6
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With African Cats I believe they use the dutchman self flaking system, which should make the lowering and reefing of the main super simple. Couple that with something like a carbon fiber park avenue boom Offshore Spars - Carbon Fiber and Aluminum Mast Systems
and you'll have the easy storage advantage of an in boom reefing or furling system.
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Old 16-07-2007, 12:09   #7
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TNFAKBAIT:
Why do you say the a Catane is not vary fast?
I'll be buying a 431 in another year and your the first person that I have ever read or talk to that say's that.

As for weight up high...... are they talking about the sail being rolled up high in the mast vs. down on the boom?

David
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Old 16-07-2007, 21:54   #8
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I bought a Catana 48 last year and one of the first things I did was replace the LeisureFurl Boom with the original traditional boom and have a new roachy main built. A couple of comments:

- The leisurefurl is a nicely engineered unit - if I had a big mono-hull I would be tempted to install one (let me know if anyone is looking for one at a good price)

- It added significant weight and as we all know cats perform best if light (boom with hydraulic motor at the end; solid vang to keep the boom at the right angle; hydraulic pump)

- The sail on it was not very good. I could have replaced just the sail, but I still could not have put on anywhere near as nice a main as I now have. (If you are looking for sails built by someone who knows catamarans, I would recommend Dave Calvert in FL)

- I'm a fan of simple systems - lazy jacks and good battcars make it simple to manage the main. Maybe I'm just old school, but my wife and I find it just as easy to reef a traditionally set up main.

But each to his own. I'm concerned about performance and simplicity so the choice was clear to me. You may well evaluate the trade-offs differently.

And as an aside whatever one might say about the weight and speed of the newer catana's, I can confirm that the older ones are fast.

Mark.
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Old 17-07-2007, 10:52   #9
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F27 boom furler

I singlehanded my F27 trimaran for much the her 20 years.
It has a system where the main is rolled around the boom. You set the topping lift at the right position (the boom must be horizontal), unlock the boom crank, free out the halyard and crank down the main. Once in position you can crank the main down while easing out the halyard, and have it neatly rolled around the boom, and secure in seconds (much less than a minute) - singlehanded. Simple, and no creases in the sail. Sail ties are not needed. The caveat is that it is extremely difficult if you are not pointing directly into the wind, or the boom is not horizontal.
I am have heard good things about the Stackpack which comes with the Leopard 40 (Changing Spots, to take delivery 2/08). I will try it, but have reservations.
I am certainly interested in in-boom furling systems (and wouldn't take a mast furling system for free). The question is cost, weight, and which is best. I have no idea why somebody would want it motorized.
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Old 17-07-2007, 11:03   #10
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The reason for motorizing is the size of the mainsail. E.g on my boat, a catana 48, the inboom furling mainsail was around 800 sq ft and the boom is 20' long. Managing this much sail is very different to the 260 sq ft main sail on a F-27.

The stackpack is a modern variant on the traditional lazy jacks. They work well in my experience.

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Old 17-07-2007, 14:00   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueRhapCity
When cruising the 7 Seas does it make sense that having an in-boom furlor might actually be safer than some other reefing system? More likely to lower the main a bit extra and therefor lower center of gravity than jiffy reefing? No need to do deck work in a storm. Furl in 30 seconds instead of 3 minutes when a squall comes up, etc.
I have never seen an "automatic" reefing system that I'd want on a cruising boat. FWIW I used a Selden single-line system on Endless Summer and found it entirely adequate. Ease halyard while gathering in reefing lines, stop halyard, winch in reefing line and you're done. Much closer to 30 seconds than 3 minutes. Powerful electric winches or furlers, are a great way to destroy your sail. And, what do you do when they break?

-Scott
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Old 28-07-2007, 09:46   #12
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I just spent 9 days in the Gulf Islands and Straits of Georgia on a Lagoon 380 with the Profurl main boom furling system. This design is different from the others in that are no motors and/or holes on the mast. It would also seem to be lighter than the others, too.

PROFURL - sail reefing systems for boats (headsail, mainsail)

It worked like a charm. This was my first experience on a boat with a main sail furling system other than the conventional lazy jacks and reef points, but we were very impressed with the ease of sail handling and ability to have many possible reef points (which we used, since we had several times of 20 to 30 knot winds). We could really dial in the main. Reefing and lowering the sail was accomplished using the cabin top winches. Although electric on this boat, if they crapped out, there is always the winch handles. Raising the sail is conventional with the halyard, only keeping a slight tension on the reefing line.

While in Comox, there was a recently completed, custom built 52' Melvin and Morelli cat (very similar to the Gunboats). I talked with the owners about furling mains. They considered the various systems, but opted to go with conventional due to the weight issue. However, they had not seen the Profurl system.

I wasn't too crazy about the luff extensions, but the sail shape nonetheless was good and I don't think there was a significant loss of power. The other thing we noted is that the Profurl systems uses two bolt ropes -- one is quite short and is used to really to properly position the second one which runs the length of the luff. The short one had begun to chafe at the point where it enters the luff groove and this was a hassle getting it started. Watching this more closely to prevent the chafe is needed.

Not having lazy jacks that always seem to catch on the battens was very nice. The overall operation of the system was smooth and quick. We liked it.

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Old 28-07-2007, 11:19   #13
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That's pretty interesting ID, any idea on the cost? Although I'm selling my 380 here in San Francisco, I might go for this on my next boat which should be in the 45-50 foot range.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 28-07-2007, 20:26   #14
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Sorry, Steve, I have no idea how much they cost. But, I bet Profurl would be more than happen to give you a quote! (I have no connection with them, by the way, and don't sell anything.)

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Old 29-07-2007, 17:05   #15
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My experience in mostly with in-mast furlers, which for a "lazy/single handed" cruiser like me was a dream to use. It's been many years since I've used a reffing system. Mostly what I remember was healing over with ocean spray and one hand to hold on while 3 of us attempted to fix a failed reefing procedure.

Can someone help me understand how easy it is to use a reefing system with lazy jacks and a full batten Mainsail on a 50 foot cat.
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