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Old 04-06-2016, 05:59   #1
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Why Don"t Most Catamarans Come with Furling Main Sails?

Question:

Why do most catamarans come equipped with a fully battened main sail, usually equipped with a stack pack and cover, instead of with in-mast furling or a boom furling system such as a ProFurl system? Especially when the catamarans become large and over 50ft. It seems to me the main sail would be easier to handle with a short handed crew, like for a cuising couple if there was more automation.

Does it have to do with the shape of the main sail?

Thanks

Ken
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Old 04-06-2016, 06:18   #2
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Re: Why Don"t Most Catamarans Come with Furling Main Sails?

In Mast furling in a catamaran make no sense, i cant imagine a jam in a squall and loosing the large roach penalizes perfomance , the mainsail is pure HP in a multi, in the other hand i see some good improvments in boom furling and by fact lots of multis are taking advantage of boom furling ... Cheers.
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Old 04-06-2016, 06:41   #3
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Re: Why Don"t Most Catamarans Come with Furling Main Sails?

In mast mains are just a performance nightmare any way you look at it. Boom furling mains have their proponents (http://svbeachhouse.com/ for one). But we have a sizeable main and have no problem reefing it with lazyjacks and good blocks and sheaves. They may have fixed these problems, but boom furlers typically had to deal with keeping precise angles of the boom and couldn't furl without turning into the wind. Our jiffy reefing can't jam and can be reefed by going only slightly off the wind by easing the traveller all the way down and pulling the headsail in.

Re sail shape. Cats run with lots of roach. Can't get that with mast furling despite what the vertical batten folks will say. You can use full length battens and maintain a good shape, albeit it with less ability to tweak, on a furling boom. So its not necessarily a performance issue with a furling boom.
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:47   #4
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Re: Why Don"t Most Catamarans Come with Furling Main Sails?

With no back stay a multi main can be very large mainsail. Considering that much of the power in the main comes from the roach area an in mast furler is not a good rig for a multi. Monos can get by with furling mains by having larger headsails kinda the opposite of multis.
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:53   #5
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Re: Why Don"t Most Catamarans Come with Furling Main Sails?

Thanks for the explanations. It's kind of what I thought, but wasn't sure.

Ken
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:14   #6
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Re: Why Don"t Most Catamarans Come with Furling Main Sails?

Just go lazy jacks and fully batterned main, so easy to get rid of it in a pinch and thats what cruising sailors need. We know of sails ripped because they needed to be furled, bugger that.
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:29   #7
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Re: Why Don"t Most Catamarans Come with Furling Main Sails?

On a larger catamaran, how do you secure and cover the main sail when the boom seems so high off the deck? Does someone always need to climb up there and walk along the boom to zip it up?

The reason I'm asking, is on our previous Hunter 450 one of us was always required to climb a few steps up the mast and up the arch in order to secure a cover. Is there a way around doing this?
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:39   #8
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Re: Why Don"t Most Catamarans Come with Furling Main Sails?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
On a larger catamaran, how do you secure and cover the main sail when the boom seems so high off the deck? Does someone always need to climb up there and walk along the boom to zip it up?

The reason I'm asking, is on our previous Hunter 450 one of us was always required to climb a few steps up the mast and up the arch in order to secure a cover. Is there a way around doing this?

Those lazy bags and bat car systems work nice, drop the mainsail and it fall down in a fashion manner , tight the boom and climb on top of the boom to grab the zipper and done, most long booms lazy bags covers have a small tie rope secure to the end of the zipper so you can just grab it and work from the coach roof , 1 or 2 mast steps at deck level also help to finish the job at the mast side.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:07   #9
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Re: Why Don"t Most Catamarans Come with Furling Main Sails?

Other considerations are that in-mast furlers leave the weight up high where you don't want it and that, while in-boom furlers are an option, they are crazy expensive.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:17   #10
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Re: Why Don"t Most Catamarans Come with Furling Main Sails?

One of the reasons, not the principal, why I dont like elevated helms. On some cats the boom is massively high, and despite being 6'6" I cannot reach some of them. Many rely on the user starting the zip and then using a cord to drag the zip closed. Ive seen many Heath Robinson arrangements to provide access to zip up the stack pack. On the question of furling, many cats have raked masts - precluding the use of sensible boom furling. With the use of quality batten cars etc we have not found any significant disadvantages to conventional slab reefing. If the lazy jacks are also rigged with trip lines to lead them out of the way when raising the main then there are no issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
On a larger catamaran, how do you secure and cover the main sail when the boom seems so high off the deck? Does someone always need to climb up there and walk along the boom to zip it up?

The reason I'm asking, is on our previous Hunter 450 one of us was always required to climb a few steps up the mast and up the arch in order to secure a cover. Is there a way around doing this?
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:21   #11
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Re: Why Don"t Most Catamarans Come with Furling Main Sails?

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Other considerations are that in-mast furlers leave the weight up high where you don't want it and that, while in-boom furlers are an option, they are crazy expensive.
The mast section is a bit larger and you have a foil and spinner and the sail so there is some extra weight for sure but it isn't that much. When it's all out its almost the same and when it's all furled then it's not a problem. In boom furler are nice but big bucks and very sensitive to the angle on the boom.
The standard main with a square top or really large roach is the way to go on most cruising multis because they come from the factory already depowered from low sail areas and the last thing you want to do is take it a big step down by putting an in mast furler on it. Just doesn't make sense.
In mast furling is just fine on most mono hull cruising boats in my opinion.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:28   #12
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Re: Why Don"t Most Catamarans Come with Furling Main Sails?

Regarding opening and closing the sail cover on a cat, I came up with what I think is a pretty good solution. I attached a very small block to the boom topping lift just above the aft end of the sail bag and another on the side of the mast just above the forward end of the sail cover. I then ran a small line thru each, connecting them at the zipper of the sail cover, forming a continuous loop. If you apply a good lubricant to the zipper a couple of times a year, you will have no problem opening and closing the sail cover zipper from the mast end, which in our case, came with a couple of fold-out "steps" to gain access to the forward end of the boom.


Regarding the furling main issue. As a well seasoned citizen, I am looking seriously at the furling boom option. I want to sail on a cat equipped with one first to see it up close and personal in a variety of wind conditions before taking the plunge. Yes, like most things on a boat, it ain't cheap, but it would hopefully extend my usually short handed sailing years by quite a bit - and that's worth it.
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Old 04-06-2016, 11:10   #13
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Re: Why Don"t Most Catamarans Come with Furling Main Sails?

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The mast section is a bit larger and you have a foil and spinner and the sail so there is some extra weight for sure but it isn't that much. When it's all out its almost the same and when it's all furled then it's not a problem.
This I don't agree with at all. Cats need to excise as much unnecessary weight as possible, and the best place to start is aloft. That's why you'll see so many cats with synthetic rigging.
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Old 04-06-2016, 11:48   #14
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Re: Why Don"t Most Catamarans Come with Furling Main Sails?

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This I don't agree with at all. Cats need to excise as much unnecessary weight as possible, and the best place to start is aloft. That's why you'll see so many cats with synthetic rigging.
Reread my entire post and it will be obvious that I don't think in mast furling is right for Cats, fine on cruising mono hulls though.
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Old 04-06-2016, 15:34   #15
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Why Don"t Most Catamarans Come with Furling Main Sails?

We're building a St Francis 50 which will have a Southern Spar supplied rig with an in-boom mainsail furler (made by KZ in New Zealand).

Genoa will have a Reckmann EF-90 electric furler and we have powered Lewmar REVO's #65 primaries and #55 secondaries which also handle main halyard and mainsail furling line.

Sails are Ullman in Hydranet.

I noticed the Balance 521 is being offered with a similar main furling system.

Will let you know how it works out - we launch year end 2016.


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