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Old 13-11-2016, 08:50   #16
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

I have a Ben Oceanis 41 with in mast furling. Love it. No problems yet. Reef early is fundamental advice and so very true. I'm 64 years old and wanted the electric furler for safety reasons. No regrets.
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Old 13-11-2016, 09:04   #17
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

I had a Bene 393 and the in mast fuller was a PITA, but likely because the sail was blown out. . Got a new boat with classic main. Love being able to drop and reef it in a sudden blow, singlehanded. In a like situation with my prior in mast, would have had folds in the sail as I furled it in while it was flogging about, resulting in little jams when I try to unfurl. I Just feel safer with the classic, as I sail in a very windy place. But a lot, if not most, cruisers boats around here have in mast.
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Old 13-11-2016, 09:20   #18
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

I have an early 80's Celestial 48 ketch with added on pro furling systems both masts. Once working out the idiosyncrasies, I love them. I consider that the safety aspects outweigh the very slight chance of a jam. And so fast, and as has been said you reef proactively. But I have no power winches, and due to loss of my mate I will be single handing mostly now. Would a power winch for the main furler, and perhaps even the jib furler, be worthwhile investments? Thanks.Click image for larger version

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Old 13-11-2016, 09:29   #19
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

Everybody here seems to love them. But I have some misgivings having never owned one but twice used them on chartered boats and once crewing on a delivery and all three experiences were bad. They require a certain amount of backhaul tension when furling and there is a learning curve. They got stuck due to wrinkles binding up. I'm guessing there are good ones and not so good ones or they have improved greatly since my experience. I'm not against them but would do extensive research before I purchase one and if purchasing on a used boat, I would want a through examination on survey.
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Old 13-11-2016, 09:34   #20
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
In mast furling done singlehanded on a 53 foot sailboat in 18 seconds from the safety of the cockpit. Try that with slap reefing.
With the double line slab reefing led back to the cockpit on my boat, tying in a reef takes 42 seconds longer. It's a smaller boat but has a good sized main.

The problem with in mast furling is if it screws up, and it does, you are screwed. Someone is going to have to go up the mast and cut the sail away or, hopefully, sail with reduced size main till you can get someplace to fix it. There is also the issue of reduced sail area because horizontal battens won't work.

In boom furling is better as the hardware is more accessible and and can be slab reefed in an emergency.

Wouldn't think of going offshore in a boat with in mast reefing or pay any extra for in boom reefing.
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Old 13-11-2016, 09:46   #21
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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With the double line slab reefing led back to the cockpit on my boat, tying in a reef takes 42 seconds longer. It's a smaller boat but has a good sized main.

The problem with in mast furling is if it screws up, and it does, you are screwed. Someone is going to have to go up the mast and cut the sail away or, hopefully, sail with reduced size main till you can get someplace to fix it. There is also the issue of reduced sail area because horizontal battens won't work.

In boom furling is better as the hardware is more accessible and and can be slab reefed in an emergency.

Wouldn't think of going offshore in a boat with in mast reefing or pay any extra for in boom reefing.
Six years now using in mast furling on our Oyster and boom furling on our Hunter. And guess what? No jams,

So quite possibly the issues you're worried about can be attributed more to human error or faulty design. "It" doesn't screw up as you have written, the human screws up.
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Old 13-11-2016, 11:15   #22
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

I single hand our Lafitte 44 extensively. After sailing the boat since 1989 with traditional slab reefing three years ago installed Schaffer in boom furling as part of an on going geezer up refit. Wish I had done it years ago. The ability to reef easily without leaving the cockpit alone is reason enough to do it.
I also sail more. Easy and quick up and down makes a short sail worth while.
A key if you single hand is an electric winch with a wireless remote.
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Old 13-11-2016, 11:53   #23
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

I got Reckmann furling main (hydraulic) on my boat - troubleless if used correct - first of all - furling/unfurling on the appropriate tack - see picture
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Old 13-11-2016, 12:18   #24
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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I got Reckmann furling main (hydraulic) on my boat - troubleless if used correct - first of all - furling/unfurling on the appropriate tack - see picture
Agree 100%. Proper tension on the outhaul and paying attention to what you're doing is critical. Do these things properly, then the possibility of a jam is eliminated.
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Old 13-11-2016, 12:21   #25
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

I find your question unanswerable. I would say that any furling system is more likely to fail dangerously than a non furling system because there is always the possibility that it can jam with the sail up and you won't be able to lower it. If a non furling system fail it is most likely that the sail will fall to the deck. If the sail is in a track (head-foil or mast track) that is a higher jam risk than hanks or mast hoops. Furling the sail in situ goes up another level.
This can be dangerous in some circumstances. Being caught in a squall off a lee shore springs to mind. Whether it is likely to happen and if you are comfortable with that level of risk are personal choices depending on how and where you sail. The solo crew part is that you will have less resources if it goes wrong so something that may not present and unacceptable danger on a crewed boat can do on a solo one.
I would possibly suggest that anyone who says they never jam is reflecting a level of experience. Personally I have seen everything from a multi thousand pound system on a multi million pound 60 footer to the the spini shoot on a 14ft dingy jam - sods law say if it can go wrong it will, and always at the most inconvenient time.
They are also less efficient and more expensive.
Make your decision based on the sailing you do
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Old 13-11-2016, 12:21   #26
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Six years now using in mast furling on our Oyster and boom furling on our Hunter. And guess what? No jams,

So quite possibly the issues you're worried about can be attributed more to human error or faulty design. "It" doesn't screw up as you have written, the human screws up.

Ken, it really does not matter that it is the human rather than the equipment causing a failure. If the sail is jammed for any reason, it is a problem. You have had a good run, one with zero failures. Others have not, and to me there is a reasonable concern that there could be a problem with in mast furling, one that could not occur with slab reefing. If that failure is due to human error, well, it is still a failure, leaving the skipper with a serious problem to deal with.

I can't speak as to the likelihood of such an event, and it appears that it is fairly rare. But so is keel failure, and look how much folks worry about that!

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Old 13-11-2016, 12:32   #27
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Ken, it really does not matter that it is the human rather than the equipment causing a failure. If the sail is jammed for any reason, it is a problem. You have had a good run, one with zero failures. Others have not, and to me there is a reasonable concern that there could be a problem with in mast furling, one that could not occur with slab reefing. If that failure is due to human error, well, it is still a failure, leaving the skipper with a serious problem to deal with.

I can't speak as to the likelihood of such an event, and it appears that it is fairly rare. But so is keel failure, and look how much folks worry about that!

Jim
With proper tension on the outhaul, winding the sail in on the proper tack along with a patient an attentive human operator, i can't see how a jam can possilbly take place, unless the human factor initiates a jam by allowing a wrinkle to jam in the slot then continues to wind in the sail, or vice versa hauling out the sail. Even a minor jam caused by a baggy sail is easily unjammed with a little patience by the human operator.
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Old 13-11-2016, 12:39   #28
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

Not sure my opinion counts since I don't have an in-mast or in-boom furling main, but it seems logical that if you want a furling main... a boom furling system with the addition of furling grommets in the sail would allow you to slab furl if the system jammed. I too like the idea of working on a jammed system on deck instead of up the mast.
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Old 13-11-2016, 12:43   #29
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

With our Hood inmast system you can take down the sail partially or fully furled if you had to. The bottom of the foil disconnects inside the mast (it is reachable) and you can slide the whole thing out. Never had to do it and it looks like a bit of a job but doable.

I find it interesting that those criticizing furling mains are those who don't have them but those liking them are those who actually use them and have collectively many tens of thousands of offshore miles with few complaints.
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Old 13-11-2016, 12:47   #30
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

Never use a roller furling in mast main.

I reef down when I first see white caps, and reef down at sunset.

Also, we double reef since in most instances the wind will be rising in intensity . We are all squared away, and the boat is balanced, no weather helm. Jib is furling rolled down to 100% or a lapper.

Since having no experience with a roller furling in mast main, is the procredure electric, or manual hauling ? Or both in case of electrical failure.
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