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Old 17-11-2016, 03:58   #151
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Indeed -- and that's part of the point I was trying to make earlier -- in-mast furling is more useful and works better in strong conditions. The harder the wind blows, the better it works, and the gladder you are to have it. And at the same time, the lack of roach is less noticeable and at some point already becomes irrelevant.

In my subjective opinion, in-mast furling is not really useful in lower latitudes.
Ironic isn't it. Lower latitudes is where you find it almost exclusively - excellent marketing skills!
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Old 17-11-2016, 04:16   #152
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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I agree totally about retrofitting in-mast furling. Crazy.

My sails are just like yours. Film -- carbon/technora -- taffeta. Sounds GREAT, the kind of life you're getting -- WOW!
Yes very similar if not slightly better than dacron for that particular sail at least. On that boat the staysail does pretty much that, it stays there all the time so it would have done just about every mile that the boat did.

It was showing some signs of delamination but Quantum (as the loft was then) wanted us to keep using it until it failed so that we could observe the failure mode.

It failed upwind in a little over 30 apparent. I was on watch it was quite a pleasant evening and I was in the cockpit (pilothouse boat) sitting at the wheel looking at the stars when the staysail started to luff. I thought the pilot had gone walkabout and flicked it to standby and took the wheel but soon realised something was amiss. I couldn't see the leech of the sail from the wheel but it had torn a few metres from the head. Furled it. Dropped it the next morning and fitted the spare that was already aboard.

Would have been worried about furling it in an in-mast furler as the broken bits would probably have jammed when trying to get it out again. On the other hand if we had in mast furling we would have not risked a sail with that many miles on it and would have changed it.

When film sails let go they really let go. I don't think we could have repaired that one aboard.
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Old 17-11-2016, 06:17   #153
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

Like the little girl with the curl, 'When she is good, she is very, very good, but when she is bad she is horrid.' I've sailed thousands of miles offshore with in mast furling, and generally like it. I did have one trip when the gearing inside the mast had worn and with tiny bits of aluminum, had gummed up the works. With still about 500 miles to go, I had to work for hours to get it reefed down to what I thought would suit the worst weather I would encounter for the rest of the trip (somewhere between a double and triple reef, I reckoned) and left it like that for the rest of the trip, which worked. If I hadn't been able to do that, I would have had to take it off entirely, which would have been a disaster if it were partially reefed and unmovable when I decided that it had to come off. Trying it single handed would have been disaster squared. Maybe I could have separated it from the boom (cutting it loose, if necessary) and manually wrapped and tied it around the mast? So glad I never had to figure that one out.
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Old 17-11-2016, 06:46   #154
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Originally Posted by Littlechay View Post
Ironic isn't it. Lower latitudes is where you find it almost exclusively - excellent marketing skills!
I was trying to avoid talking about its prevalence, as I don't have any exact knowledge, but I'm not sure that's true.

It seems to me that in-mast furling is much less common on Continental boats used in the Med and warmer parts of Europe, especially mass produced boats used in charter fleets. It's also practically unknown on catamarans.

But it's just about universal on larger, modern (actually, since before 2000) cruising boats in the UK, and also pretty much universal on Swedish and Finnish boats, excluding racing boats of course, and cruiser/racers. Note that very large boats from all these countries might have in-boom instead of in-mast.

When I was buying my boat in 2008-9, I really wanted a normal battened mainsail and really did not want in-mast furling. I was looking mostly at Oysters, Discoveries, and Moodys. Practically 100% in-mast furling, all using the same Selden system. I saw one Oyster 55 ketch with beautiful laminate, full batten sails, but this boat was built in 1988 (IIRC). Otherwise every single Oyster in my size range (47 - 55 feet) had Selden in-mast furling.

Another thing you see is much higher SA/D numbers on boats made for warm places. This is also logical I think.
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Old 17-11-2016, 07:00   #155
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Like the little girl with the curl, 'When she is good, she is very, very good, but when she is bad she is horrid.' I've sailed thousands of miles offshore with in mast furling, and generally like it. I did have one trip when the gearing inside the mast had worn and with tiny bits of aluminum, had gummed up the works. With still about 500 miles to go, I had to work for hours to get it reefed down to what I thought would suit the worst weather I would encounter for the rest of the trip (somewhere between a double and triple reef, I reckoned) and left it like that for the rest of the trip, which worked. If I hadn't been able to do that, I would have had to take it off entirely, which would have been a disaster if it were partially reefed and unmovable when I decided that it had to come off. Trying it single handed would have been disaster squared. Maybe I could have separated it from the boom (cutting it loose, if necessary) and manually wrapped and tied it around the mast? So glad I never had to figure that one out.
Any worn out gear can produce a disaster. Maintenance and inspection are pretty indispensable and not only with these systems.

If I had screwed up my maintenance and inspection and ended up with such a situation, I would have dropped the sail down and then hoisted it in the trisail track using the spare main halyard. The only thing you would have to do then is rig a cunningham. Also not a big deal -- you could for example pop some cringles into the luff tape reinforcement area.
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Old 17-11-2016, 07:24   #156
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Dale,

We've been clobbered twice by unexpected high winds and caught with our mainsail fully deployed 40 knots+ causing us to round up into the wind. Both times we were able to furl in the sails within a minute thanks to in-mast furling. The sail actually furled tighter and easier with some pressure on it, but we did need to turn slightly into the wind on one of those situations because we were on the wrong tack and needed to reduce the pressure on the slot.
I was with Ken on the occasion he had of having to turn into the wind slightly. I was off watch. The boat was cruising comfortably in lightish winds according to the sounds of the water on the hull. Next thing I knew we were rounding up severly. I ran up on deck without my glasses. I am near sighted. Ken was preparing to roll up the main but needed to head into the wind in order to do it. He is very conscientious about how he handles the sails. I tried to steer the boat into the wind but didn't have enough way on. I checked for lines in the water slipped the engine on and got the boat in position and Ken furled the main in less then a minute. Much better time then would have been achievable with slab reefing.

I was not a proponent of in mast furling but seeing it in action gained a new respect for it. I like the simplicity of slab reefing but mast furling is faster. I think that trips to remote places where parts are not available for weeks or months should stick to slab reefing otherwise I would not mind a furler. Each system has its place.
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Old 17-11-2016, 07:55   #157
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Originally Posted by capnjack.morton View Post
Like the little girl with the curl, 'When she is good, she is very, very good, but when she is bad she is horrid.' I've sailed thousands of miles offshore with in mast furling, and generally like it. I did have one trip when the gearing inside the mast had worn and with tiny bits of aluminum, had gummed up the works. With still about 500 miles to go, I had to work for hours to get it reefed down to what I thought would suit the worst weather I would encounter for the rest of the trip (somewhere between a double and triple reef, I reckoned) and left it like that for the rest of the trip, which worked. If I hadn't been able to do that, I would have had to take it off entirely, which would have been a disaster if it were partially reefed and unmovable when I decided that it had to come off. Trying it single handed would have been disaster squared. Maybe I could have separated it from the boom (cutting it loose, if necessary) and manually wrapped and tied it around the mast? So glad I never had to figure that one out.
Yes that is about it: it works better more than 99% of the time but when there is a problem (and sh*t has always a way to happen) you are screwed because you cannot take the sail down.

You were lucky to be at only 500 miles from the coast and not on the middle of the Ocean.. Making thousands of miles double reefed is not funny, specially if the weather is fine.

Lucky that the stronger winds that were coming and that lead you to reef the mast had not arrived suddenly and strongly, accompanied with heavy seas. If so probably you could not have performed that patch repair that allowed you to reef deeply saving the sail and eventually the mast.
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Old 17-11-2016, 15:27   #158
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

Ok, so we've pretty much determined that they are a great idea 99% of the time from ease of cruising perspective
How could in mast furling be improved to take that 1% risk out of it?
Now ,ive never sailed with one and knowing nothing about them so my question maybe ridiculous and there may be no way to illuminate the risk, but I always assume there is something that hasn't been thought of yet.

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Old 17-11-2016, 15:35   #159
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

Mainsail furled, best done facing windward.

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Old 17-11-2016, 15:38   #160
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Ok, so we've pretty much determined that they are a great idea 99% of the time from ease of cruising perspective
How could in mast furling be improved to take that 1% risk out of it?
Now ,ive never sailed with one and knowing nothing about them so my question maybe ridiculous and there may be no way to illuminate the risk, but I always assume there is something that hasn't been thought of yet.

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Imho this cannot be done.

No equipment on a sailing boat is 100% risk free. Flat spanners are close to perfection and yet these too are know to break at times.

Sailing is not a 100% risk free attraction. Few things are.

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Old 17-11-2016, 15:41   #161
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Ok, so we've pretty much determined that they are a great idea 99% of the time from ease of cruising perspective
How could in mast furling be improved to take that 1% risk out of it?
Now ,ive never sailed with one and knowing nothing about them so my question maybe ridiculous and there may be no way to illuminate the risk, but I always assume there is something that hasn't been thought of yet.

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I learned the hard way how to clear a jam, from having a really bad jam years ago in my first months using my system, a jam caused by my own ignorance.

I think it's almost impossible, at least with the Selden system, to get a jam you couldn't clear fairly easily, provided your sails are in reasonable condition and you have just a minimal level of skill.

The sail condition is relevant to something bagging out or falling apart and getting wadded up in the slot, which could be bad. The minimal level of skill is to be aware of what is going on when the sail is coming out of the slot, to keep the roll in the right state, and pull on the outhaul from the right angle, and to STOP if it's not coming out smoothly.

Jams in in-mast furling occur when furling out, not when furling in. This is important -- it means that it's almost impossible for you to be unable to get the sail back in, once it's out all the way. A really bad jam can only occur if you keep pulling hard with an electric winch after the jam was well started. If you STOP when a jam just starts to form, then it's a doddle to clear it.


I'm not selling them, and I'm leaning towards a roachy full batten main for my next boat. In-mast furling has some significant disadvantages. But I really don't think that any propensity to jam is one of those disadvantages. That's just my opinion and YMMV.
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Old 17-11-2016, 15:46   #162
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
Ok, so we've pretty much determined that they are a great idea 99% of the time from ease of cruising perspective
How could in mast furling be improved to take that 1% risk out of it?
Now ,ive never sailed with one and knowing nothing about them so my question maybe ridiculous and there may be no way to illuminate the risk, but I always assume there is something that hasn't been thought of yet.

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I agree with Barney -- the risks are much like the risk of a halyard wrap or other ugly stuff which can happen at the masthead.

Mitigate per usual -- inspection, maintenance, awareness, care, skill.

With decent sails and decent technique, jams are exceptionally rare -- mean time between them in years or even decades. And if they do occur, nearly all can be cleared, unless someone has ripped on the outhaul with an electric winch well after the jam started.

People who use in-mast furling, do not lie awake worrying about jams, any more than you lie awake worrying about halyard wraps. There are as many risks on board as there are items of gear -- through hulls, sea cocks, propane on board, wet exhausts, etc., etc., etc.
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Old 17-11-2016, 15:48   #163
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

A problem with a sail:

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Old 17-11-2016, 16:10   #164
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Originally Posted by daletournier View Post
Ok, so we've pretty much determined that they are a great idea 99% of the time from ease of cruising perspective
How could in mast furling be improved to take that 1% risk out of it?
Now ,ive never sailed with one and knowing nothing about them so my question maybe ridiculous and there may be no way to illuminate the risk, but I always assume there is something that hasn't been thought of yet.

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You can't, but:
Maintain the bearings (bottom and top)
Maintain the gears and furling system including the line
Every now and again check the sail as it goes back in, with regard to the bagginess (easier to see when it is referenced to the straight mast-slot.
Keep an eye on the leech so that it is in good condition, not too stretched, and retains sufficient stiffness to minimise any chance of it wanting to fold over as it is being pulled out of the slot
At all times ensure there is enough tension on the vang/kicker, so that the leech is tight when pulling out.
When un-furling, and furling, keep you eyes on the sail, and be tuned-in to any increases in tension on the out-haul or furling lines, indicating something is not right. As others have mentioned, a jam is only a mild thing (speaking from others experiences so far ....) if it is caught early, but keep winding that winch on, and you can really jam things in the slot. Same as with a halyard wrap on the headsail - early detection - no problem, but keep cranking and you can really cause some big problems.

There is always a lot going on with a sail boat (one of the good things for aging minds ). Rope on winch, jammers un-jammed, lazy ends managed, tension as expected, wind where it should be, sails where they should be, ahead clear under the sail, no 'dark water' heading your way, no lines in the water ......

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Old 17-11-2016, 16:29   #165
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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A problem with a sail:

Looks more like the boat has a problem with a knucklehead.
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