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Old 12-08-2008, 13:35   #1
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In-boom mainsail reefing furling system

It is possible that this is like "swearing in the church" but then blame it me being a newbie to catamarans.

Is there some drawbacks on this system, and similarly are there some good points for this from a catamaran point of view??

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

From producer home page...

Designed to reef or furl your mainsail, the PROFURL in-boom system provides safe reefing for your mainsail from the cockpit. The main halyard and the reefing line can also be operated from the cockpit.

Hoisting the mainsail is made easy: just turn the boat into the wind, release the furling line and pull on the halyard.

Reefing or furling is just as easy: simply control the tension on the halyard and pull the furling line.

Thanks to a number of patented design features, controlling your mainsail is a smooth operation.
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Old 12-08-2008, 14:03   #2
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I posted a link to this product on another thread about 2 hours ago.

For a multihull, the advantages of in-boom over in-mast

weight is much lower.
when reefed, centre of effort is lower
allows full length horizontal battens, so sail shape is better
Profurl system allows you to adjust luff tension due to their special vang
if something goes wrong, and/or it jams, you can still get the sail down from the mast.

The biggest problem with it, is that it significantly increases the weight of the boom. Thus gybes MUST be controlled (good seamanship means they should be anyway - none of those racer style crashes across the deck. On a multihull with good clearance under the boom, this is not a particularly big problem.
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Old 12-08-2008, 15:21   #3
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If it jams with the sail up - yes you can drop the sail onto the deck - a fair mess I think but is it usable again?

Is any performance lost with in boom? Sail shape lost?

I like the idea a lot but have been turned away by advice - I am now considering it again.
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Old 12-08-2008, 15:31   #4
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WILL full length battens work?

The battens aren't necessarily parallel to the boom are they? My cat had special cars for the battens on the mast track due to the huge forces, obviously you couldnt have those. Is there a special bolt rope with the system? I smell a lot of trouble for a lot of bucks, but hey... maybe not...
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Old 12-08-2008, 16:43   #5
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one more thing...

I'm not sure what that system costs, but after outfitting several boats for sea over the years, and spending too much money, I have started looking at it a different way: Let's say the Pro Furl system, modifications, new mainsail (or revise the old one)totals out at $15000. If you are at anchor 2 weeks and move in between you will be moving about 25-30 times a year. Do you think you will reef maybe 100 times in 3 years? If so, each reef with that system will cost you $150. If it jams, you are going to be really mad that it cost you $150 to jam. Nothing simpler than a slab reef once you get the process down.
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Old 12-08-2008, 17:02   #6
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I caught this thread. We have a Profurl in-boom furler on our mono hull. Frankly, it's a total PITA. We've gotten better with it - we've only had the boat a year - but it's still a pain. The single most critical issue is the mast/boom angle while raising and lowering it. If it's not PERFECT, the sail catches at every batten, and when lowering, it bunches up in the boom. When raising it, you MUST keep tension on the downhaul (furling line), and the halyard when lowering. It's a 2 person job - as long as the autopilot is driving the boat.

The boom is HEAVY. We have a hydraulic vang.

As noted above, you CAN dump it on the deck. BUT, if a batten hangs coming down, that doesn't really do you much good, does it?
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Old 12-08-2008, 17:16   #7
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I just like the simplicity of slab reefing....you can always see what is going on, nothing to jam at the most inconvenient time.
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Old 12-08-2008, 18:38   #8
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IMHO, nothing beats slab reefing for simplicity and functionality -- providing, that there is a relatively agile crew aboard to handle the reefing task. I used, and loved slab reefing for many years on my 42' sloop.

However, there came a time when I felt I really didn't want to go forward in nasty weather to reef, or to deal with lowering the mainsail. What to do?

I investigated the options. On smaller boats, in-mast furling is just too fraught with problems, including that inevitable jam which leaves you in real danger.

Behind-the-mast furling (mount a ProFurl behind the mast, just like the genoa setup) is a good option for many cruising sailboats, but I wasn't willing to give up the performance since my boat is a fast passagemaker.

All the other reefing and sail handling methods left me cold: the Dutchman, lazyjacks, etc. Messy, inefficient, not for me.

That left just one option: in-boom furling. At the time (five years ago) there was only one game in town if you wanted a proven system of real quality: the New Zealand designed LeisureFurl system, just hooked up with Foprespar in the U.S.

They built me a boom, Hood built me a full-batten main, and five years later I'm still thrilled with the system. Treat it right, and it is a real joy. I can single-hand my 28K displacement sloop tall rig in just about any wind conditions, and can set the right amount of sail from the cockpit.

It's not for everyone, and it's costly, but it's a real joy for some. Including me!

Bill
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Old 12-08-2008, 18:42   #9
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Interesting - does it require you to get the angle of the boom/mast just right?

Has it ever jammed?

Does it cost anything in performance?
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Old 12-08-2008, 19:14   #10
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I had a roller furling boom on my boat 25 years ago. The boom was on a rotating gooseneck and the sail simply rolled round the boom. The sail was cut flat, no battens, (we were cruising for goodness sake, battens are not worth the aggravation), and a concave roach which lost me all of 15 square feet on a 500 main. It always worked perfectly except you had to go forward to turn the handle and rotate the boom which was direct drive, so sometimes it was tough. This can easily be geared nowadays and the boom rotated from the cockpit. Why do we now have to buy fancy systems with oversize booms and hydraulic kickers, costing mega bucks, which sound like they need a rocket scientist to operate?
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Old 12-08-2008, 19:17   #11
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Yes, the boom angle is fairly critical. I have a rigid boom (Forespar) and that is set at the correct angle.

No, it's never jammed. I had hoped to get by with manual furling, but after the first few tries it was evident that some power was needed. So, I installed an electric winch, a Lewmar. This allows me to control the sail very well.

It does take a bit of practice, which you do in calm conditions at the dock or at anchor. Once you've got the hang of it, however, it's really easy. You need to apply the correct tension to BOTH the furling line (if you're raising the sail), and to the halyard (if you're furling the sail) in order to ensure a clean, tight roll. Not really rocket science, just a bit of practice. With the electric winch, it's really easy.

No cost at all in performance. The full-batten main has a large roach (which you can't do with an in-mast system). The only thing I'd mention is that the sail is VERY, VERY quiet. It doesn't flog, even in substantial wind conditions.

Moreover, it appears to have a good set almost all the time, so you have to pay more attention to sail trim than you normally would with a partial-batten sail.

Last year we left Rockland, ME in Penobscot Bay in 35-knot wind conditions. It was forecast to shift to a favorable NE direction (we were headed back to the Chesapeake Bay). It didn't. Just a nasty slog to windward in increasing sea conditions nearly on the nose as we ran down Penobscot Bay and into the Gulf of Maine. Never a worry about too much or too little sail. It was very easy to carry just the right amount for the (very nasty) wind and sea conditions. All without needing to go forward from the cockpit.

Guess I'm not as young as I used to be, because I'm not keen to go forward on deck in such conditions to reef or furl a sail. Color me a wimp :-)

Bill
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Old 12-08-2008, 19:23   #12
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Thanks for the info.

I just phoned the guy Richard in New Zealand and chatted to him about the system. I am impressed and he is quoting me. The ball park figures are not that expensive either.

They will do the boom and match it to a sail made over there so that they deliver the boom with the sail.

Thanks once again - it seems all furling systems are not made alike.
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Old 12-08-2008, 19:25   #13
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Jolly Roger,

Come sail with me and I'll show you why :-)

Modern in-boom systems bear absolutely no comparison to the old roll-around booms.

And a modern, well-cut full-batten main? You've just gotta sail with one to appreciate it. Difference between a nag and a thoroughbred!

Is it worth all the money? Hey, is any sailboat worth the real cost?

IMHO, there are things in life you just can't put a price on :-)

Bill
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Old 12-08-2008, 19:28   #14
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Gludy,

Yes, they're not all made alike. For my money, LeisureFurl is still the best. They're fitted to even megayachts. But Schaefer has "come of age" also...their system is very good, too.

Yes, you need a purpose-built sail, not a cut-down old main. North Sails built mine, and did a superb job.

Good luck. I'm sure you're gonna love it.

Bill
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Old 12-08-2008, 19:29   #15
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My current boat is my second w/LiesureFurl. I like the system - the weight comes down when reefed, The sail has full battens and full roach, If it breaks-the sail can be tied to the boom. I mark the topping lift and vang so that I can repeat the angle on the boom. I also mark the main halyard at each reef point - the sail can be reefed at each batten.
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