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Old 13-11-2016, 12:48   #31
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
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.
Ken, you ain't getting the point! The fact that it requires "proper tension on the outhaul, winding the sail in on the proper tack along with a patient an attentive human operator," to ensure non-jamming means that in the real world of short handed cruising jams ARE possible, because us humans are fallible and stuff things up at times.

The fact that you have never had a problem is good, but not indicative of how things will be for other cruisers. Again, I too realize that for the greater part, these systems work well. The fact that there are plenty of the rare events (jams or other failures) that are reported is enough to put off conservative sailors. Is this rational? Perhaps not, but it is real!

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Old 13-11-2016, 12:50   #32
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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.
Slap reefing? Is that where you didn't reef early enough and the wife gets violent?
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Old 13-11-2016, 16:19   #33
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Ken, you ain't getting the point! The fact that it requires "proper tension on the outhaul, winding the sail in on the proper tack along with a patient an attentive human operator," to ensure non-jamming means that in the real world of short handed cruising jams ARE possible, because us humans are fallible and stuff things up at times.

The fact that you have never had a problem is good, but not indicative of how things will be for other cruisers. Again, I too realize that for the greater part, these systems work well. The fact that there are plenty of the rare events (jams or other failures) that are reported is enough to put off conservative sailors. Is this rational? Perhaps not, but it is real!

Jim
So... If you or anyone else don't feel you have the attention span required to undertake a relatively simple task which takes 18 seconds to maybe a minute or so, my advice to you is: Don't buy an in mast furling system.
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Old 13-11-2016, 16:33   #34
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Originally Posted by bvisailing32 View Post
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.
Ours is electric with manual backup. The system has a manual backup at the mast.
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Old 13-11-2016, 16:52   #35
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

My wife and I circumnavigated in an Amel Super Maramu (53 feet) 2003 2009. The Super Maramu is a ketch with in mast furling for both the main and mizzen sails. Although we were not single-handing, we effectively were when the balance of the crew was off watch and asleep. The main is electric furling but has a manual override option in the event the electric furling should fail. This happened once in six years when a pin fell out of the motor drive shaft. It was relatively easy to furl the sail using a winch handle on the override. The main outhaul was also electric and this failed twice in six years. Once because the outhaul line broke and once when the motor bolts sheared. In both cases, it was easy to rig a temporary line to tension the outhaul. There was never a failure with the mizzen in-mast furling which is manual. At no time was there any kind of jam with furling the sails that is until I made the mistake of replacing the original non-battened sails with vertical battened sails. With this set up it was necessary to be more careful with the point of sail otherwise the battens could jam, whereas before, we could furl the sails at any point of sail in just seconds. The great thing from a safety point of view is, as has been mentioned earlier, you can furl the sails without leaving the safety of the cockpit at night, or in bad weather and you can do this when heading downwind. You dont need to turn the vessel into the wind to furl as you would with either slab reefing or in-boom furling. This means of course that you tend to carry more sail than conventionally rigged vessels just because you can downshift so easily.
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Old 13-11-2016, 17:13   #36
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Ken, you ain't getting the point! The fact that it requires "proper tension on the outhaul, winding the sail in on the proper tack along with a patient an attentive human operator," to ensure non-jamming means that in the real world of short handed cruising jams ARE possible, because us humans are fallible and stuff things up at times.

If I may butt in here, I think that Ken may have over-stated the amount of care needed. We don't need to worry about boom position with our system. Rolling up the sail is never a problem. There is a critical spot in the first few feet when you unroll that you can get a jam.This is when you unroll too much without keeping outhaul tension on. Unless you are paying no attention at all you will see the problem and all you need to do is roll a bit up and then resume unrolling.

The fact that you have never had a problem is good, but not indicative of how things will be for other cruisers. Again, I too realize that for the greater part, these systems work well. The fact that there are plenty of the rare events (jams or other failures) that are reported is enough to put off conservative sailors. Is this rational? Perhaps not, but it is real!

Jim
Jim, I am not sure about these 'plentiful rare events' you talk about. I can't remember any serious cruiser we have talked to having had a serious issue with in-mast (I have heard of more issues with in-mast where the boom angle seems to matter more). On the interwebs you hear all the horror stories about having to climb the mast in Force 9 to cut away the sail but are these real? To me the charter examples are something different entirely. We all have observed the skill levels of some charterers. As suggested, the best approach is to choose a furling main only if it makes sense to you. You need to have confidence in your boat.
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Old 13-11-2016, 17:13   #37
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

I'd just add, to the sage advice above, that I keep slight tension on the out- or downhaul, depending on furling/unfurling so as to get a tight furl inside the mast when furling, or stopping the main from loosening when unfurling.
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Old 13-11-2016, 17:22   #38
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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.
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Old 13-11-2016, 17:40   #39
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

The "gentle zephyrs" we have in Wellington and Cook Strait call for keeping the mast up at all costs.
To that end, twin forestays and backstays are the order of the day.
A heads'l hanked to the f/stay can be dropped in seconds.
The Main attached the mast with slides will drop easily when head to wind.
Messy when there's rag over the decks. Point the bow to wind, gather rags, drop the topping lift if needs be, stretchy the sail securely to the boom. Stretchy the heads'l to staunchions and lifelines.
Lie a-hull or hoist the iron sail. All the unpleasantness passes.
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Old 13-11-2016, 18:03   #40
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Originally Posted by Skipper-Ingo View Post
Hallo to everybody,
I had a boat in a joint ownership for 8 years. We split and sold our boat.
I will retire in about 4 months and will buy a boat for myself which will have its home port in Spain, in Vinars (130 nm south of Barcelona).
I am looking for a Beneteau Oceanis or Clipper 393 or 373 or a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 39i or 36/37, and I have been spending about 15 hours a week during the last 5 months surfing the net for searching my I will be living on.
I think I know quite well what I want, but there is one thing I hope to find some advice here. Since I will be single handing a lot, also on ocean crossings, I need a boat according to my/this needs.
My question is: Would you single hand sailors out there consider buying a boat with a furling main? A main that either rolls up in the mast or the boom.
I do consider it unwise, for if I would encounter a problem with the furling system in bad weather so that I would not be able to get the sail rolled in, I think that could be fatal in a real storm.
Am I over cautious?
I am not a sissy, and I think I am not inexperienced. Singlehanded from the mainland Spain to Ibiza (Balearics) twice alone with our boat.
We had a furling main on that one (in mast). We never encountered major problems with the furler, but some minor which we could fix.
Because a lot of the boats I mentioned above, I have looked at, do have furling mains.
I need some help to make up my mind, if I should skip all the boats with a furling main.
General question to all that have a furling main:
Did you ever encounter problems with getting the main rolled in? If so, how did you cope with it?
Thanks a lot in advance for your thoughts an input.
Greetings from Germany
Skipper Ingo
I had similar concerns - frankly, given the choice I would not have had in-mast furling in a fit. However, when it came to finding our boat (the last of the model we wanted, and only available due to a cancelled order), we had no choice.

"Try it - it will become your friend" we were advised, and of course we could always change later if we really did not like it, and were prepared to spend the money converting.

Well, I have to say that we were convinced it was the way to go after the first few days.

Sure you lose 30% sail area, but usually that is not a problem, and it does mean you can keep the full main out for longer.

Sure, there is more weight aloft, but I have looked at many yachts in anchorages that we were in, and we roll no more than any others, and a significant amount less than some.

Sailing? Well 9.8k in 14 true on a beam reach is good enough for me.

Jamming? The only incidence I have been able to find in searching the net is during un-furling, due to a poor previous furl. I have not been able to find anyone who had trouble furling.

What to look for? As I understand it, Selden are the only ones so far to have bearings top and bottom - it means you need to service once each five years, but also means easier furling (I am told).

Again, using Selden as a reference, you furl on a stb tack as that is the way the furl goes inside the mast, and therefore you are not bending the sail back on itself over the exit slot as it goes inside the mast, and creating extra friction, and potential creases.

Single-handing? Dead easy. Furling line around the port secondary (coach-roof mounted right at the companionway in our case, and electric), with the lazy end around the stb winch for a bit of friction.
With the boat on auto-pilot, my gloved right-hand holding the lazy line, I just push the button on the winch, and the sail is in, in seconds.

Coming out again, the boom out-haul goes around the port winch , the (new) lazy line from the furling goes around the stb winch, and off we go.
Not as nice as the electric furling on more up-market yachts such as the Amel, but it works very well.

Have we had any jams? No.

Is it safe? Yes. We were sailing off the Nth African coast with wind gusting into F9, and I was able to have a little bit of main out to just give us some stability. Would not consider it safe to be up on deck in those conditions struggling with the main of a 50' yacht.

Also, frankly, there would be many times when we could not be bothered getting the big main out of it's boom-bag, and then flaking it back again and getting it in there to zip up.

If you are still not convinced, then OK, but there are a lot of us on here who are very happy with their in-mast system, and with those that aren't - just check the brand and the age - things do move on, and technology does improve.

If at the end of this, you want to go with slab, then in my view, the only way is a fully battened main with decent cars - oh what a feeling when that big beautiful sail slides up and down with ease (and you have crew to give you a hand to deal with the thing!)

In-boom? Also can be nice, but remember you now have a lot of weight in that boom, so you had better be sure your gybing technique is good, also they are critical of boom angle to the mast. I see very, very few in-boom on yachts up to 50'. 60' on - in-boom predominates.

Well, I hope all that was of interest, but I think many of us will enjoy sharing your adventure of finding your new yacht and getting her ready for sailing, so keep us informed as you progress. We wish you well.

David
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Old 13-11-2016, 18:08   #41
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

I have had inmast furling on my boat and in the begginning my operator error caused a few problems when unfurling but never fueling in. Once you get the hang of it (mainly proper boom angle and proper tension on furling and outhaul lines) IMO inmast furling is significantly safer. Performance suffers a bit as compared to traditional main but she sails well nonetheless.
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Old 13-11-2016, 19:45   #42
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Originally Posted by AiniA View Post
Jim, I am not sure about these 'plentiful rare events' you talk about. I can't remember any serious cruiser we have talked to having had a serious issue with in-mast (I have heard of more issues with in-mast where the boom angle seems to matter more). On the interwebs you hear all the horror stories about having to climb the mast in Force 9 to cut away the sail but are these real? To me the charter examples are something different entirely. We all have observed the skill levels of some charterers. As suggested, the best approach is to choose a furling main only if it makes sense to you. You need to have confidence in your boat.
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ter-44531.html
Suppose this happens after you have completely furled your mainsail due to strong winds, on the middle of an ocean and in the morning, with light winds, you need to unfurl the main and it does not come out? You will not have outside help neither easy internet contact for asking for help.

I know that it is much more frequent a jam when you pull the sail out than when you put it in, but sometimes it stays on the middle and that is no good since you cannot bring it down and many time you would have to go to the top of the mast:


From a big survey By SSCA :
"Sparcraft in-mast furler works OK - sensitive to jamming sometimes"
"Did a delivery on a boat with In Mast furling and sail blew out in weather. Would not entertain the system on our boat!"
"Selden in-mast furling. 18 years old, we have been owners for 5 years. After 3 years of problem free use it has developed the bad habit of jamming when the leach folds over in the mast slot. It furls OK but sometime does not unfurl."
"Jeanneau SO 43DS in-mast furling system. Fussy and sometimes difficult to unfurl. "
"Having had a friend lose their mast 200 miles offshore due to failure of an in-mast furler..."
"We used to have a ProFurl in boom system on our catamaran. It was a disaster. A part would break, and we would strengthen it only to have another part break. We ended up cutting our Caribbean circle cruise short to bring the boat back to Florida to replace the Profurl system with a conventional system"
"Facnor in-mast main furler. Constantly have problems furling/unfulring main."
"Forespar in-mast Main: Finicky, sail will jam in slot unless everything is just right. PITA"
"The inmast main furler is nice with one exception. You must be on a starboard tack to unfurl and furl."
"I have an in Seldon mast furling main. I would not purchase an in mast system again do to the chance of jamming. My system has never jammed but I have been on boats that have."
"The Selden in mast furling system has a slit that is too small for the sail to easily be furled and it catches. I am having to spend money to buy the thinnest sail imaginable."
"Have experienced some minor jams caused by wrinkles after furling the in-mast main in high winds."
"Amel inmast furling system mainsail has partial vertical battens and sets well. They occasionally hang up when unfurling. Have to be careful to furl the sail very tightly"
"The in mast furler seems to require removal of the drum bi-annually to rid it of the crud that falls down the mast and to lubricate the bearings. Even though the bearings are exposed, they cannot be easily accessed for lubrication..."
"In mast. We have had trouble with the sail jamming and with the splice in the endless furling line coming apart."
"On in mast furling once the sail starts to lose shape, difficult to furl"
Our boat has Selden In-Mast furling with partial vertical battens. It has hung up on us one time while pulling it out, when the second batten was caught in the slot. ...The one issue we have with this system is the inability to only pull out a portion of the mainsail. There is a ratchet position for furling and a free position for pulling out the sail. If the wind catches the sail while it is being pulled out, you cannot stop it. The lines are in the cockpit and the lock is on the mast."
"Island Packet 370 -Seldon in mast main furling. It is convenient, but I get concerned in strong winds. Occasionally the tack catches while furling, requiring a trip to the mast. I would not buy this again."
"US Spars furling mast. Furler on first mast jammed many times, top toggle jammed in retainer guide. Had to replace with US Spar mast"
"Very Poor in Mast furling Call or email me. This is the only major issue I have wiht the boat."
"In-mast furling - we've found this to be very finnicky. Have had ongoing problems with furling the main. Topping lift has to be "just so", tension on halyard has to be "just so", tension on outhaul must be correct or the sail will bind up half way through the process. Have also had trouble with the foot jamming as it goes in the slot...PITA"
"In Mast furling system provided by Amel. Gearbox for the outhaul are underdesigned."
"I think it is Profurl. It is in mast. It can get jammed when unfurling if it gets folds when furling to reef in high winds and not get fully furled if that happens. ... I had it really jammed once (at the dock) and needed someone up the mast to pull the leach out and down to the jib fairlead with the clew instead of the end of the boom. What a mess."

https://ssca.org/survey/ES_Analysis_039.htm

Note than more than the ones that did have a problem are the ones that never had a problem and say well of their in mast furling systems, many times from the same brand of others that experienced jamming.

But that is not the point. I am quite sure that modern in mast furling systems work well and that jamming is very rare but, as the survey points out, there is always a jamming possibility. it is inherent to the complexity and working of the system.

The same can be said to the furling systems on the stay sail and it have happened to me very rarely,( in many thousand miles, many years and several boats) three or four times, two times with heavy weather implying going to the bow with tools to get the jam out of the drum, to be able to reef the sail.

If you are lucky maybe you will never experience a serious jam on the in mast furling during your entire sailing live, they are very rare, but when they happen the sail cannot be brought down and in many cases it implies going to the top of the mast, a thing I am not fit to do anymore, not to mention doing that in bad weather.

Is that very important? Well, as I said, it is a very rare occurrence and with luck you will only lose the sail, with bad luck you will lose the mast but even so it would not be a life threatening occurrence unless you are very unlucky.

Life is full of risks. That is a small one that you will chose to accept or not.
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Old 13-11-2016, 20:00   #43
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

Good post, Pollux! I guess all those folks in SSCA who had problems must be short attention span idiots...

Guys, my point all along has been that despite all the plaudits, there are instances of in mast furlers giving problems. I have seen a few with my own eyes. This is reality, not some manifestation of my unreasonable dislike for a popular system. The failure rate is low, but the possible consequences severe. And this is why some folks do not want in mast furling on a long distance cruising boat... boats that go far from shore facilities where problems can get sorted out.

That they work well for many sailors is not disputed. That they can give serious problems has been demonstrated well enough that one should not ignore the possibility when deciding upon what gear to fit on your cruising boat.

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Old 13-11-2016, 20:36   #44
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

I used to skipper a 105ft sailing cat in Australia with a furling main. Got caught in a squall and the whole alloy section popped out the slot and jammed. It was only held by the tack,head and clew. Lasted about 2 mins before it broke at the tack then the head. It took about 50 people to haul it back on board as it weighed a ton. Cost $50,000 to fix back in 1988. Later on a delivery near Cabo San Lucas had a huge problem with a leisurefurl inboom main. It always had to be spot on in the right vang position otherwise it would jam but only above 30 knots..... ( right when you want it to be easiest ) The noise in those conditions makes it very hard to communicate. I still remember the warm water pouring over the cockpit combings and flooding the lockers as we had to raise it to full sail before it would stow properly. It had been reefed before the real wind kicked in but would not go further.
So I cannot say that I would ever want one if I was shorthanded.
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Old 13-11-2016, 21:35   #45
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

Also, Op, don't get the 373, terrible weather helm with non deep draft keel. 393 is much better. Pm me as I don't want to take this thread ot. Juneau 379 I think is a great choice.

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