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Old 15-11-2007, 08:57   #1
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Roller furler main sail

Is there any inconvenients to a roller furler main sail ?
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Old 15-11-2007, 09:27   #2
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Is there any inconvenients to a roller furler main sail ?
I would say the advantages of not having to go to the foredeck outweighs any disadvantages. Hanked on sails of the correct size will out perform a roller furling mounted sail when it is reefed. You can't reef a hanked on sail however.

In the early days it was thought that a roller furling was unreliable. This is clearly not the case today. The only problem I've ever had with a roller urling is when the halyard tension was slack. This can lead to halyard wrap on the head of the roller furling.
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Old 15-11-2007, 09:49   #3
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You also cannot have any battens, which limits your options concerning sail shape.
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Old 15-11-2007, 10:24   #4
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You can't reef a hanked on sail however.
My staysail (with boom) says otherwise . My "storm jib" is a triple reefed staysail. Sure, it's got a boom, but a lot of people would ditch that whole thing in favor of roller reefing.

To the original poster, I think the disadvantage is that it's an increase of complexity. One by one, adding doo-dads to your boat isn't going to amount to much, but limiting the amount of moving parts and doo-dads is important to me, and in my world, a roller furling mast is not a level of complexity I want to engage in.
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Old 15-11-2007, 10:26   #5
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Originally Posted by esse0esse View Post
Is there any inconvenients to a roller furler main sail ?
Do you mean in-mast furling or in-boom furling? In mast is not a good idea on a cat as it give you a lot of weight up high. Not what you want.

In boom is a good idea though I think.
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Old 15-11-2007, 10:50   #6
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My staysail (with boom) says otherwise . My "storm jib" is a triple reefed staysail. Sure, it's got a boom, but a lot of people would ditch that whole thing in favor of roller reefing.
I've had both for a stay sail. When I had the boom the sail was small enough it didn't have / need reef points but the self tacking staysail is a great thing. It did well in very nasty weather too. The current staysail is on a roller furling and at 30 knots I roll up a bit of it. The clew isn't on a boom but it is on a traveler with a 3:1 purchase.

I think the argument that roller furling is overly complicated was proven wrong 20 years ago. The unit on the last boat was a 25 year old Shaefer and the current is a 16 year old Harkin. They never have had much of anything done to them except washing the crap out of the bearings once in a while when the sail gets hauled down. Rain tends to wash it for the most part. Neither requires lubrication.
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Old 15-11-2007, 11:13   #7
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I'm not saying it's "overly complicated", but you would be hard pressed to show how it has less moving parts, parts total, and parts easily inspectable, than a hanked on main.

I'm going to dump my roller yankee and switch it out with a hanked on, to lower the complexity level of my boat. I *know* how a sail works on a stay. I know exactly, in all ways, how the thing functions, and if there's a problem, I am fully confident that I can fix whatever is wrong with it. I can't say the same for a roller furler, and I certainly couldn't say that for an in mast (or boom) mainsail.

I like simplicity. There is all this crap on the market that is supposed to make sailing easier, but all around me I see these boats that have so many doo-dads on them, typically installed by someone who was hired to do so by the owner, because the owner sure as heck doesn't know how they all work.

I want to know how *everything* on my boat works, and be qualified to do such. In order to do that, still manage to go places, and not work on boats every minute of the day, I have to strip things down and make them simple for me.
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Old 15-11-2007, 11:26   #8
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The guy is talking roller furling mainsail, not a jib.

In mast furling is a disaster waiting to happen. They are very prone to jamming unless procedures are followed exactly and in order when furling/reefing. A jammed sail in serious conditions could be fatal. You lose sail area because the sail needs a hollow roach as you don't have battens. It is a non starter for me.

In boom furling systems are more reliable but the cost is stupid. I can slab reef my 350 sf main in 1 minute from the cockpit. Why would I want to pay $5,000 plus to have a system that has to have the boom at an absolute perfect angle with all it's prone to failure mechanical accoutrements and will take more time to reef and probably a trip to the mast. Besides, those fat booms are ugly.

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Old 15-11-2007, 12:24   #9
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furler

You guys are great ; i have enough here to make a sensible decision...

And yes;i was talking" in-boom" " main "sail furler , i should have been more precise...
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Old 15-11-2007, 12:33   #10
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Plus you cant have a kicker/vang which renders the boom weaker . . .
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Old 15-11-2007, 13:17   #11
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A Roller furling main can be very hard, to impossible to reef in severe conditions.

I helped deliver a brand new, custom-built 65' ketch from NZ to Fiji in '96. It had a roller furling main. I hadn't used one before and I was a bit skeptical. The guy that built the system was nice enough to go out on a sail with us in the Hauraki Gulf on a pretty breezy day. The system was easy to use and we left feeling pretty confident in the system.

About 100 miles out of Aukland, we were hit with the usual cold front with about 40-50kts of wind. We had the main reefed about 50%, long before the front reached us. When it hit, it became obvious that we needed to get to a reefed jib & mizzen.

When I attempted to pull the main in, it jammed. I couldn't get it in and I couldn't get it out. I had to cut the sail away at the clew, roll it up by hand (while running down-wind) and wrap the spinakker halyard around it and the mast, to keep it close to the mast. That was not a pleasant experience and I would never take a vessel, off-shore, with a furling main again. They may be OK for day-sailing but when the crap hits the fan, you'd better have something that works every single time.

I would hate to think what would have happened if that was a 40' boat. We may well have been knocked down or broached running downwind in big seas. The bigger boat is a lot more forgiving when stuff like that happens.

Thankfully, that boat sailed very well under jib & jigger and we didn't really miss the mainsail. We still made the 1100 mile passage in 8 days.

Needless to say, the owner of the boat was not happy when we pulled into Lautoka, Fiji with that boat.
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Old 15-11-2007, 13:42   #12
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Roller furling jibs are pretty much bullet proof but roller furling mains still scare me. The problem is you are trying to wrap someting inside a tube. If it jambs you are screwed with no way to get rid of the sail. Not a place I want to be.
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Old 15-11-2007, 14:38   #13
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Been using an in mast furler for four years now. No problems so far. It takes a bit of learning and most problems arise from inexperienced users. Wouldn't do without one now. Mine is by US Spars. Before I got one I was of the same mind as most of the posters having seen a few screw ups like a crew spending an hour or two trying to unjam one in a Hinkley about ten years ago. Sail flogging, nobody knowing what to do. (it was a charter boat). I think they must have improved them over the years. All my cruising friends who don't have one say they wished they had one. Just zip it in and out. Usually having a drink in the anchorage while others are flaking and covering. No system is idiot proof. Remember a guy sailing around the world in a Nonsuch, lost the main halyard and drifted for god knows how many days before being rescued. As for performance, probably a full battened main would perform better but I wouldn't know, if I wanted to go faster I'd have bought a power boat. Look at headsail furlers, if you get a bad halyard wrap which is not uncommon with inexperienced users (especially with Harkens) what are you going to do? Go aloft, try to fix it. Most jammed mains can be unjammed by going aloft and tugging at the right spots. Of course in heavy weather this'll be a problem but the same can be said for a furling headsail. Who out there doesn't have a furling headsail? OK you purists with hanked on headsails, your turn.
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Old 15-11-2007, 14:48   #14
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Quote:
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Roller furling jibs are pretty much bullet proof
I really disagree with this statement. Just at a day to day level, the roller furler on a foresail probably accounts for half of the overall rig problems I've seen, whether it's a simple jam, a tattered sail, or otherwise.

Lynn and Larry Pardey mention it in an even more clear way. Not putting words in their mouth, a roller furler is going to account for the majority of stay failures, which would quickly turn into a dismast.

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The most common at-sea rigging failures we observe tend to be shrouds or headstays failing due to metal fatigue. The majority seem to be the stays inside roller furling headsails. The weight of the furling drum, foil and rolled up sail swinging around at sea increases the advent of metal fatigue in the wire headstay.
Sailing with Lin & Larry Pardey

There are certainly ways to mitigate the risk, but this general tone of roller systems being just as safe and secure as hanks is really beyond me, and is in contrast to all the riggers I know.
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Old 15-11-2007, 16:08   #15
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I've had in-mast (Hood Stoway) and In-boom (Leisurefurl) systems in 12 metre cruising yachts. The Hood in-mast system scared the hell out of me as it jammed if you got the tensions wrong. This always happened when it was blowing a gale and you needed to reef down a bit more in big seas. It weighs a ton and if you do decide to go this way you must check your stabilty calculations as this kind if weight up so high has a significant lever-arm working against you. You can fit vertical battens to these now, but IMHO they look crap.

Leisurefurl and other newer in-boom systems (like Schaefer, Profurl, etc ) are a much better choice. They are more reliable and you can reef from the cockpit. They all take a bit of practice. You can have a full roached mainsail with normal horizontal full-length battens. In most cases you will need a new mainsail as they use boltropes to attach to the mast and tend to be cut flatter. My experience dealing with the local NZ Leisurefurl manufacturer was that he didn't care a bit about smaller customers - really lousy service. In the States the agent is Forespar I think so this should be better.

Having used both I'm more happy with dependable old-fashioned slab reefing.

You pays your money.....


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