I'll take a contrary view on this issue, and say that a furled in-mast main is an awfully good storm sail.
The reason is that in-mast furling
mains for some reason actually get flatter as they are furled, and work surprisingly well when furled way down. This is completely different from how furling
I know a number of people with furling mains who own trysails because they were required by RORC rules or some other racing rule
, and none of them has ever used one of them in anger, ever.
Better safe than sorry, and if you have space to keep it, and money
to buy it, and would feel better having it on board -- then go for it. But if you are reluctant to do it, my own personal opinion is that it is not really essential gear
I have had my own boat in all kinds of wild conditions, and never felt any need for a storm trysail. My staysail is specifically designed to work as a storm jib
, and that plus deeply reefed main works brilliantly in just about any quantity of wind
When it really starts blowing (F9 and above), I am not doing anything but running off anyway, and I don't use any kind of mainsail
for that -- just a bit of headsail for stability and a bit of drive.
The furling main has another advantage -- a big advantage -- over the storm trysail in that you don't lose the ability to vary the sail area. After a really big storm passes and the wind
drops is often the most dangerous time, with abatement of the sea state lagging sometimes by hours. Sometimes you need to get more sail up to keep sailing and maintain control, and if you're like me, you don't like futzing around the mast
, or God forbid, the foredeck, in big sea conditions, if there is any possible way to avoid it. You will really love your in-mast furling then.