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Old 16-11-2007, 16:17   #31
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The question was about mainsail furling guys. Headsail furling is almost universally accepted. IMHO the possible slight increase in the chance of forestay failure is more than compensated for by not having to venture out on the foredeck to reduce the headsail. One is something that MIGHT happen, but probably will never happen. The other is something that WILL happen almost as often as you go sailing.

I don't have the statistics to hand,but I'm willing to bet more people die from falling overboard than from having their forestay fail.

For a cat I wouldn't even consider in-mast mainsail furling. (For any boat for that matter) There are just too many things against it - weight aloft, no posibility of having battens, the loss of sail area, the need for lightweight sailcloth, the fact that if it won't furl you could be stuck with a full main until you go up the mast and cut it down.....

I have thought about in-boom furling though, but probably the cost and potential unreliability will keep me from going that way. At least with an in-boom furler you can have some roach, and battens, and if the thing fails, you can still just drop and flake the sail in the conventional manner.
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Old 16-11-2007, 16:46   #32
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I think it's great!

I have roller furling main, genoa, and staysail on my boat. I love it. After several thousand miles, I'm very confident in the system and how it works. Mine is made by Charleston Spars and is as simple as the RF for the main. I wouldn't have wanted the first in-mast main furling system, but the concept has evolved to the point where I believe they can become better accepted, much like the RF headsails.

Yes, I have a smaller main and no battens. I can live with that.

The key advantages for me: Never leaving the cockpit, sail is put away before the anchors is down, main is well protected inside the mast, infinite reefing, easy in and out means it gets used more on short trips.
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Old 16-11-2007, 16:58   #33
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Well, call me crazy or silly, but furling to me (be it on a staysail, yankee, main, or mizzen) doesn't buy me much. I've had hanks and furlers, on a typical sloop and cutter rigged sloop.

I don't agree with the idea that they are universally accepted, and I really stand behind the concept that it results in a less flexible sail configuration, as the majority of roller jib owners I've seen consider their foresail options to be a fully rolled out genoa, or rolled up, in varying degrees.

I think they are very convenient, especially for people with bigger boats that don't want to muscle a sail around. I'll quit arguing now, as I can tell I'm not winning any converts and people are going to believe what they're going to believe.

And really, if they work for you, they do. As much I would hope people wouldn't lecture me on on my vessel, I'll stop doing the same to others (in this thread, anyway).
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Old 16-11-2007, 18:46   #34
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Boom furler

A mast furler would have the main sail "inside" the mast ? ...that ; i did not know ,now i understand why you would have some reservations about such a system...
The boat i was looking at specified a "boom " furler and the pictures showed the main sail rolled "around " the boom...a much simplier system than the mast system...
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Old 16-11-2007, 19:48   #35
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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Well, call me crazy or silly, but furling to me (be it on a staysail, yankee, main, or mizzen) doesn't buy me much. I've had hanks and furlers, on a typical sloop and cutter rigged sloop.

I don't agree with the idea that they are universally accepted, and I really stand behind the concept that it results in a less flexible sail configuration, as the majority of roller jib owners I've seen consider their foresail options to be a fully rolled out genoa, or rolled up, in varying degrees.

I think they are very convenient, especially for people with bigger boats that don't want to muscle a sail around. I'll quit arguing now, as I can tell I'm not winning any converts and people are going to believe what they're going to believe.

And really, if they work for you, they do. As much I would hope people wouldn't lecture me on on my vessel, I'll stop doing the same to others (in this thread, anyway).

I didn't say they were universally accepted. I said ALMOST universally accepted. Some people still think the world is flat.

So with a roller furler you are limited to the full sail or partially furled sail, and with a hanked on sail you are limited to either the reef points on that sail (if any) or another size of sail (if you have any) A boat with a roller furling headsail can still have an inner forestay for a storm jib, and can also have provision for a light air sail or spinnaker.

I'll have a furler, a removable inner forestay, and luff furling reacher/drifter in front of the headsail on a prodder, which should give me plenty of options in a wide range of conditions, without having a stack of sails stowed away below decks.

But for the main, it's most likely to be conventional slab reefing, with lazy jacks.
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Old 17-11-2007, 00:04   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
I didn't say they were universally accepted. I said ALMOST universally accepted. Some people still think the world is flat.

So with a roller furler you are limited to the full sail or partially furled sail, and with a hanked on sail you are limited to either the reef points on that sail (if any) or another size of sail (if you have any) A boat with a roller furling headsail can still have an inner forestay for a storm jib, and can also have provision for a light air sail or spinnaker.

I'll have a furler, a removable inner forestay, and luff furling reacher/drifter in front of the headsail on a prodder, which should give me plenty of options in a wide range of conditions, without having a stack of sails stowed away below decks.

But for the main, it's most likely to be conventional slab reefing, with lazy jacks.

Ditto!!!

I couldn't agree more!
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Old 17-11-2007, 06:06   #37
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I have an Isomat mast-furling system for my main, and after about 10,000 nm and 5-1/2 years of sailing in with it in all wind and sea state conditions up to Force 8, I think it's great. Mechanically, it's never failed me--in or out smoothly, every time. The boat sails great, even with no battens and a negative roach.

Besides the convenience and safety of being able to reef from the cockpit, it (along with the roller reefing staysail and 110% genoa), allows me to make small sail adjustments to the sailplan in order to keep the helm balanced. I've found that rolling the main in or out by as little as 6" can make a noticable difference in helm pressure under heavy weather condtions. And because it can be done easily and quickly by one person, from the cockpit, I don't tend to put it off, waiting to see if conditions will change.

BTW, I had foam luff pads sewn into my genoa, so I can roll it in to any position and it maintains a flat shape--absolutely critical in strong winds.
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Old 17-11-2007, 13:17   #38
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Originally Posted by David M View Post
You also cannot have any battens, which limits your options concerning sail shape.
The latest in-mast furling has vertical battens. Don't know how well it works but, as you can see, this is an area where developments are continuing.
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Old 17-11-2007, 16:27   #39
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CONFESSIONS OF A VERY RELUCTANT CONVERT

PRELUDE

Or, of a very traditional and stubborn one!

Much of my sailing since the mid 50's (yes, the 1950's) has been in boats without the niceties of roller furling jibs or mains or....even...engines. For years, I sailed my 10-ton gaff-rigged ketch with NO engine.

Eighteen years ago I fell in love with my present boat, a Bob Perry-designed 42' sloop. She's got a tall rig, an efficient underbody, and she sails like a witch. For the first years I sailed her, I had only hank-on sails (#s 1,2,3 genoas, stormsail) and a slab-reefed main. I put many thousands of coastal and offshore miles on her with this configuration, sailed her down to the Eastern Caribbean and to Grenada and back to the Virgins and...all over. My favorite headsail was a huge hank-on 2.5oz drifter, which I managed to blow out quite a few times in the trade winds. I named that sail, "Luke the Drifter" after Hank Williams -- his first stage name.

PART ONE: THE SEDUCTION

Then, alas, there came the time when in Nanny Cay, Tortola, we were having a dockside sundowner and someone I deeply respected asked me to have a look around the marina. Bill had many, many thousands of sea miles, had written a wonderful book on offshore sailing, was production manager for two big New England yards, etc., etc. He said, "Look around you. Out of several hundred boats in this marina, you are the ONLY boat without a roller furling headsail."

I was still reluctant. But after a few Mt. Gays he convinced me that "I'd love it".

So, reluctantly, I did the research. I checked with the riggers on the island to see which brand was best. In particular, I noted that the Moorings had several hundred vessels and ALL of them had ProFurls. Their riggers said they NEVER had problems with them, even with the hundreds of clueless charterers who can break just about anything.

So, I had the best rigger on the island install a ProFurl LC-42 for me, and my local sailmaker -- very experienced in sewing up my drifter and other sails I'd blown out -- cut down my excellent #2 genoa and put luff tape on it to fit the ProFurl.

I can't say I was ecstatic. Right out of the box, my assessment was that I probably lost a bit of speed with the roller-furling genoa. A tiny bit. But after living with furler for a few weeks in the tradewinds, I DID come to love it. Now, some 10 years later, I'm still in love.

PART TWO: THE FURTHER SEDUCTION

When I passed 60, I began to slow just a bit. Used to sailing my 42-footer alone much of the time, I just didn't relish going forward in sloppy weather to reef or drop the main. The slab reefing was just as efficient and sure as it had always been, but I wasn't. Perhaps the roller furling genoa had made a wimp of me. Whatever the reason, I began researching roller-furling options for the mainsail.

Early on I decided against in-mast furlers of any kind. For all the reasons cited above and elsewhere. Especially on smaller boats (say, less than 60'), they can and will eventually jam. And, Murphy's Law, it will be at a very inconvenient time.

That left either behind-the-mast furlers or in-boom furlers. I seriously considered the former. Simple, proven technology (hey, it's just taking a ProFurl and installing it right behind the mast), relatively inexpensive, and lots of cruising sailors are using and swearing by them. Still, I was concerned at the extra weight and windage up high when the sail is furled, and the fact that you can't have battens or a big roach with such a sail. Could compromise the sailing characteristics somewhat.

In-boom furlers were just maturing. It seemed at the time that Leisure Furl was just ahead of the pack, with a proven technology used by yachts of all sizes, including 100+ footers. In-boom furling would mean I could keep a mainsail with a big roach, and full horizontal battens. I could reduce it by any amount desired as winds increased and, if something failed, I could drop it just like a regular mainsail. Only problem: it was far more expensive than a ProFurl installed behind the mast. And, it would require a new, purpose-built mainsail.

In the end, after months of agonizing and trying to justify the additional cost, I decided to throw caution to the winds and just go for it. Chesapeake Rigging in Annapolis did a heroic job of installing the LeisureFurl boom. As it turned out, because of the special characteristics of my mast extrusion, it was necessary to pull the rig. In mid-winter. Just before Christmas.

So we did. And they did a great job of surgery on the mast so the new LeisureFurl would fit. North Sails did a nice job on the new main, and by the New Year I was ready to go.

Since fitting the roller furling main, I've put a few thousand more miles on the boat, including two trips to Maine and back.

Here's a pic of 'Born Free' at the Trump Marina in Atlantic City this summer. You can see her LeisureFurl boom. Gallery :: Born Free Maine Trip 2007 :: DSC_0452e

Was it worth it?

For me, I'd have to say, "yes". Because I can handle both sails on my boat in almost any weather without leaving the cockpit. We left Rockland, ME this fall with 30-35 knots of wind as we blew down Penobscot Bay and into the Gulf of Maine. Sail handling was a breeze (sorry for the pun); no problems whatsoever. I could easily adjust the amount of headsail and mainsail to fit conditions and they evolved. Without leaving the cockpit.

For others, and particularly for much younger sailors with young crews, I'd say it would be a tossup whether or not you'd want to spend all that money on a roller-furling main. I still think slab-reefing is great, but at my age I just don't wanna be on a slippery foredeck reefing the main at night in a blow.

Sailing performance overall? Just about the same. 'Born Free' still makes her 160-165nm days runs just as before her master succumbed to this madness of roller furling :-)

Bill
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Old 19-11-2007, 03:21   #40
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Very well said, Bill.
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Old 19-11-2007, 04:20   #41
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Certainly got me thinking!! Very well written Bill! I'm not familiar with In-boom reefing, and assumed a rolling boom and not an internal roller such as in-mast, i.e, a system with no vang, but I'll certainly research it now. . . .
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Old 19-11-2007, 09:36   #42
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There is in boom furling and then there is roller reefing. The former may be the wave of the future but is very expensive, nearly the cost of a full suit of sails, if I'm hearing right. They seem to work well and don't leave you stuck with a sail out in the wind if the furling mechanism jams. My question for Bill is how do you supply the torque to roll the sail from the cockpit?? Is there an electric motor or a crank on the end of the boom??

Roller reefing, rolling up the sail around the boom, is an abomination that I can't figure out why it ever got invented. It offers no advantage to slab reefing and has a whole host of disadvantages, the least of which is it ruins the shape of the main in a hurry. It's impossible to get a decent setting sail with roller reefing. You end up with a terrible bag in the middle and a tight leech. That puts tremendous force on the leach stretching it out of shape almost the first time you use it. To reef, you have to go to the mast and crank in the reef with a handle at the gooseneck. It's slow and not easy to deal with the crank and luff and slides as they have to come off the track as the sail is reefed. Heaven help if you lose control of the halyard and dump the sail all over the deck. It's an abomination that, to me, meets the definition of 'Porn', it has no redeeming value, social or otherwise.

I've replaced my old roller reefing boom with slab reefing mod. and now have a new internal reefing boom. Then I went to a double line reefing system to the cockpit. One set of lines at the tack and another to the leech, all with sheet stoppers and self tailing winches. Combined with lazy jacks, I only have to go on deck to flake the sail down in preparation for the sail cover or when I'd need to sail sans main. I've got three reef points so I'll hopefully never have to deal with tieing off the main in really nasty conditions. I can reef in under a minute without leaving the cockpit. In fact, it takes longer to shake out a reef than to put one in because of the grunt labor of hoisting the sail. On one recent afternoon sail I reefed and unreefed 5 different times largely because it was so easy to do.

I was not a fan of leading the reefing lines, or any lines back to the cockpit till I raced on another boat with a similar set up. I was a pick-up 3rd man recruited from my foredeck for a no show crew on a 34' Peterson. I ran the main and was able to tuck a reef in, with no previous experience, almost instantly. Take tension on the topping lift, slack off the halyard and pull in the tack reefing line, tension the halyard, slip over to the other side of the cabin top and pull in the leech line. Didn't even need the winch to get tension on the clew. Even at my advanced age, can't see needing a different system until I get so feeble I HAVE to sail with a crew.

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Old 19-11-2007, 10:11   #43
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Peter,

The LeisureFurl system uses a platten inside the boom (like a roll-up window shade) which is connected to a precision-machined s/s universal joint at the forward end of the boom. This joint, in turn, is connected to a s/s rod about the diameter of your thumb which passes completely through the mast and connects to a reel mechanism on the leading edge of the mast. This reel is easily visible in the pic mentioned above.

A line from this reel is led through blocks back to the cockpit winches. Originally, I had hoped that I could use the existing self-tailing winches to furl the main, but after doing it a few times it was clear that an electric winch was needed. This was both because of the sustained effort involved to furl the sail and, just as important, the need to keep proper tension on the halyard when furling, and on the reefing line when hoisting the mainsail. With the electric winch I can take one turn around a cockpit winch with the 'lazy' line and, while holding it easily in one hand can operate the self-tailing electric winch with the other.

If the reefing line should break, the reel can be operated directly using a standard winch handle.

Once you get the boom angle correct, and have hoisted the sail and furled it a few times, you get the hang of how to control it so that it furls neatly every time. With practice, you also learn how it sometimes can be hoisted or furled when not pointing directly into the wind, without doing damage.

Bottom line: it's not really foolproof, but even an old fool like me can operate it with ease :-)

Bill
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Old 19-11-2007, 11:11   #44
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"how do you supply the torque to roll the sail from the cockpit??"

See web site below.



In boom furling system - Furling Masts
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Old 19-11-2007, 13:03   #45
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T


. One set of lines at the tack and another to the leech, all with sheet stoppers and self tailing winches.

Aloha
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Peter,

I'm curious why you went with two reefing lines. I have a similar set-up on my CS36M but with a single line that hauls down both the tack and clew. This is done through a couple of sheaves inside the boom. I can reef in about thirty seconds with this. Ease the mainsheet so that the sail no longer draws. Ease the halyard to the mark (I have marked the halyard at the two reef points, ) grind down the tack and clew (1 reefing line), tighten the halyard a bit. I have a solid vang so don't have to worry about the topping lift.
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