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Old 13-11-2016, 22:32   #46
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

With in boom furling, leisure furl in my case, if for some reason the furling mechanism jammed ( never had it happen) you could still drop the sail. It wouldn't be neat and would pile up on the boom like a regular sail but wouldn't be unsafe either.
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Old 13-11-2016, 22:53   #47
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

Tuesday, a week ago, 30 knots, 3 metre swell and 3 am in the morning, off Ballina NSW Australia, we shortened sail without the luxury of choosing the tack. The skipper has to be very clear, very, very, very clear that tension has to be maintained on the outhaul, cos you just know it'll jam otherwise.
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Old 13-11-2016, 23:47   #48
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

My traditional main falls down in 4seconds (ouch, the same happens to my hooked genoa)
Single-handed, i have AP...
I prefer to go to mast for any operations.

I dislike in-mast, but could consider in-boom, which i find justified only on big lazy-pig boat over 60'.

I have seen a 20' long in-boom squenched and collapsed onto the vang junction. Inherently, an in-boom design is a lot weaker than a bare boom, unless it is oversized and awfully weighting on the mast.

Yes, boom furling was instrumental to popular sailing, yet i see it so unnecessary on the small boats of the many who wrote here, in the 30's. Sorry :-)
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Old 14-11-2016, 01:24   #49
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Thumbs up Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

I have never been a world cruiser, though I would love the opportunity to become one. I know that I am addressing many that are and have experiences far outside of mine own. So I am asking for a little indulgence. But I have sailed for years and on sailboats of varying sizes and types and in all types of conditions. So my ringing self-endorsement is: I'm not a complete novice.

My observations have led me to believe that more often than not, it is the shape or condition of the sail or a failing of the operator that causes furling sail systems to fail. Most often it is the shape or condition of the sail. Not saying the hardware doesn't break, because it does; just not the majority of the time.

I've seen sails with lots of roach or leach wrinkle and jam in-mast furlers. Same with blown out sails too; those that were seasons past their due. Most of the yachts I've sailed had some type of furling mains'ls, including in mast, in boom and one exterior add-on to the mast.

Only once in decades did I ever had any serious trouble with a furling system. It was on a 44' CSY during the Kahlua Cup just after nightfall (yeah, that kinda dated me). But it wasn't really the furler that failed. On a beam reach, in 30 to 40 knots of an onshore wind, a swivel deck block broke and jammed the self-tacking stays'l sheet. We couldn't furl it though there wasn't really any need. Instead, I actually ended up using the furler to shape the stays'l as the wind shifted and died off towards dawn.

I suppose the point is, there are a lot of generalizations being made. Every layer of complexity on a sailboat brings an increased chance of failure. But innovation is usually birthed by a need. That is how furling systems came to be.

This principle is equally applicable to all sailing systems. We know that most problems can be avoided with knowledgeable preparation, good maintenance and proper training.

But there are different types of cruising sailors with different set of needs and priorities. So in this discussion, I see a real difference between the needs of the racing sailor, those sailors in or near their salty prime making ocean passages and those of the majority - the near geriatric or casually inclined, island hopping, coastal cruising sailors. Am I wrong?

Annually, for the tens of shark victims there are hundred that are killed by livestock and many tens of thousands killed by automobile accidents and mis-prescribed drugs. Not to put too fine a point on it, but seriously, how many cruising sailors can we expect to lose to furler jams, as opposed to say - MOBs in heavy weather?

Personally, for the sake of clarity and for those that come here to learn, I think a distinction should be made. But that's just my opinion.
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Old 14-11-2016, 03:14   #50
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
No problems at all.. once you have the 'balance' worked out for smooth reefing.
On one boat I had to use a boat hook to be able to hit both the required hydraulic winch buttons at the same time.. courtesy of some imaginative re-wiring/routing to get sufficient winches working to run the rig..
after the second time it was a doddle.. so no biggie..
Boom or mast.. they each have their idiosycrose's..
Hey, you used to curse in-mast furling. What happened to soften your attitude? Or are you just in a good mood today?



As others have said --

In-mast furling doesn't suck. With reasonable technique and mainsail in reasonable condition, the Mean Time Between Jams is measured in years if not decades -- not significantly worse than halyard jams or tangles with normal mainsails. Jamming is not really an issue.

The system has some big advantages:

1. Reef without heading up -- something REALLY important in big sea conditions, and in all conditions, a great convenience.

2. Ideal storage of the sail inside the mast -- I agree with Polux that this is possibly the BIGGEST advantage of in-mast reefing. Sails last longer, and you are entirely saved the work of flaking and covering the mainsail, which is a serious job on a bigger boat with a normal main.

And some big disadvantages:

1. Weight aloft

2. Loss of roach, so significant performance hit.

3. Windage of the fatter mast section.

4. No bending the mast for sail trim.


In-mast furling is actually NOT a no-brainer for single-handing however -- you need three hands for reefing with a manual in-mast system. Doing it single handed means compromising outhaul tension (let it out in sections rather than continuously). For single handing, you really want an electric or hydraulic furler, which solves this problem.


My take on in-mast versus normal reefing is this: In-mast comes into its own for blue water and higher latitude sailing where there's nearly always plenty of wind, and you don't miss the roach that much. Especially on bigger boats. In strong conditions also the ability to reef without heading up, and reefing without leaving the cockpit become really big advantages.

In lower latitudes and coastal sailing, and especially on smaller boats, these advantages are somewhat less important, and the better performance of a normal main becomes very attractive.

I still haven't decided for sure which system my next boat will have.

YMMV
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Old 14-11-2016, 03:54   #51
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pirate Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Hey, you used to curse in-mast furling. What happened to soften your attitude? Or are you just in a good mood today?
Still not crazy about it but the 64ftr I brought across the pond earlier this year had everything on hydraulic furlers..
Still would not like one on my own boat but do recognise that they can make a big difference for many who sail shorthanded or with physical/balance issues.
The 64 was wonderful.. just press a button and in or out went the genny.. same for the main.. still had to fiddle for the correct tension a couple of times when furling but kept an eye open so stopped before a jam developed.
With the right set up they can be great..
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Old 14-11-2016, 04:29   #52
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Hey, you used to curse in-mast furling. What happened to soften your attitude? Or are you just in a good mood today?



As others have said --

In-mast furling doesn't suck. With reasonable technique and mainsail in reasonable condition, the Mean Time Between Jams is measured in years if not decades -- not significantly worse than halyard jams or tangles with normal mainsails. Jamming is not really an issue.

The system has some big advantages:

1. Reef without heading up -- something REALLY important in big sea conditions, and in all conditions, a great convenience.

2. Ideal storage of the sail inside the mast -- I agree with Polux that this is possibly the BIGGEST advantage of in-mast reefing. Sails last longer, and you are entirely saved the work of flaking and covering the mainsail, which is a serious job on a bigger boat with a normal main.

And some big disadvantages:

1. Weight aloft

2. Loss of roach, so significant performance hit.

3. Windage of the fatter mast section.

4. No bending the mast for sail trim.


In-mast furling is actually NOT a no-brainer for single-handing however -- you need three hands for reefing with a manual in-mast system. Doing it single handed means compromising outhaul tension (let it out in sections rather than continuously). For single handing, you really want an electric or hydraulic furler, which solves this problem.


My take on in-mast versus normal reefing is this: In-mast comes into its own for blue water and higher latitude sailing where there's nearly always plenty of wind, and you don't miss the roach that much. Especially on bigger boats. In strong conditions also the ability to reef without heading up, and reefing without leaving the cockpit become really big advantages.

In lower latitudes and coastal sailing, and especially on smaller boats, these advantages are somewhat less important, and the better performance of a normal main becomes very attractive.

I still haven't decided for sure which system my next boat will have.

YMMV
I agree in what regards really big boats to be more problematic for reefing traditional way, not really for reefing put a PITA to stow it properly folded on the bag. Sail lasts longer but a lot more work to stow unless you have one of those booms angled with the neck near the cabin or deck.

For really big boats a very good furler boom is the best and that is what really big yachts have, if they are not sportive and have a conventional reefing. I am not sure if they jam less but that would not prevent to bring the sail down.

I don't understand why you say that you need to head to the wind or to leave the cockpit to reef the sail with a traditional system. Only if I am sailing really downwind I will have to go till a beam reaching or so and only in conditions of strong wind. Much depends on the quality of the cars you will have on the sail and regarding you having a retrieving line on top of the sail or not.

And what i really don't understand is why you say someone has to leave the cockpit to furl on a conventional system. If the system is rigged for it (and all modern boats are) you don't need to leave the cockpit at all.

Regarding in mast furling some on systems you have to winch from the mast and that means leaving the cockpit.

I certainly don't agree that the possibilities of jamming are the same in what regards a conventional system and an in mast furling, specially in what regards the possibility of haven the sail brought down if there is a problem. An in mast furling is much more complicated and have much more possibilities of jamming than a conventional one. Not meaning that it happens frequently.

And finally, most of all, I don't agree with the in mast furling being more adequate for passage sailing or high latitude sailing. I see it as the opposite, being that system more prone to eventual problems it makes more sense to use it if the sail is done coastally, where help is at hand if really a big problem happens.

It seems to be the opinion of really high latitude sailors and what you will find on on the rigs of the boats properly designed for that type of sailing. And normally the ones that sail on remote inhospitable places are very experienced sailors.












[IMG]http://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/648*360/3912645.jpg[/IMG]











A simple search on internet images regarding boats sailing in really high latitudes will tell you that almost all use a conventional reefing system and the sailors that like to sail there are not inexperienced and certainly choose that system for good reason.
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Old 14-11-2016, 04:50   #53
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pirate Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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I agree in what regards really big boats to be more problematic for reefing traditional way, not really for reefing put a PITA to stow it properly folded on the bag. Sail lasts longer but a lot more work to stow unless you have one of those booms angled with the neck near the cabin or deck.

For really big boats a very good furler boom is the best and that is what really big yachts have, if they are not sportive and have a conventional reefing. I am not sure if they jam less but that would not prevent to bring the sail down.

I don't understand why you say that you need to head to the wind or to leave the cockpit to reef the sail with a traditional system. Only if I am sailing really downwind I will have to go till a beam reaching or so and only in conditions of strong wind. Much depends on the quality of the cars you will have on the sail and regarding you having a retrieving line on top of the sail or not.

And what i really don't understand is why you say someone has to leave the cockpit to furl on a conventional system. If the system is rigged for it (and all modern boats are) you don't need to leave the cockpit at all.

Regarding in mast furling some on systems you have to winch from the mast and that means leaving the cockpit.

I certainly don't agree that the possibilities of jamming are the same in what regards a conventional system and an in mast furling, specially in what regards the possibility of haven the sail brought down if there is a problem. An in mast furling is much more complicated and have much more possibilities of jamming than a conventional one. Not meaning that it happens frequently.

And finally, most of all, I don't agree with the in mast furling being more adequate for passage sailing or high latitude sailing. I see it as the opposite, being that system more prone to eventual problems it makes more sense to use it if the sail is done coastally, where help is at hand if really a big problem happens.

It seems to be the opinion of really high latitude sailors and what you will find on on the rigs of the boats properly designed for that type of sailing. And normally the ones that sail on remote inhospitable places are very experienced sailors.












[IMG]http://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/648*360/3912645.jpg[/IMG]











A simple search on internet images regarding boats sailing in really high latitudes will tell you that almost all use a conventional reefing system and the sailors that like to sail there are not inexperienced and certainly choose that system for good reason.
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Old 14-11-2016, 06:39   #54
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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This is a IMOCA racer, the top in what regards racing solo boats:

As you can see they use lots of frontal furling sails of different sizes.

None of the many boats use a furler main, being in a in mas furling main (that would have problems in performance regarding battens and weight up when furled) not even a in boom furling that would not have any of those problems but would add weight, complication and a superior potential for Jamming.

Saying all that, on big yacht normally boom furling is used due to the size of sails but on a small boats there is no justification for in boom furling except a superior easiness of use and most of all the time one takes to put all the sail properly stored on the lazy bag while coming to port and I believe that one is really the most annoying point regarding traditional reefing and the biggest advantage regarding in mast furling.
Amen.
....just wanted to follow this subject thread
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Old 14-11-2016, 06:43   #55
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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In mast furling done singlehanded on a 53 foot sailboat in 18 seconds from the safety of the cockpit. Try that with slap reefing.
Good video, but why don't they show such an operation in REAL WINDY conditions?
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Old 14-11-2016, 06:46   #56
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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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.Attachment 136043
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Old 14-11-2016, 06:48   #57
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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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 14-11-2016, 06:51   #58
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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............

My take on in-mast versus normal reefing is this: In-mast comes into its own for blue water and higher latitude sailing where there's nearly always plenty of wind, and you don't miss the roach that much. Especially on bigger boats. In strong conditions also the ability to reef without heading up, and reefing without leaving the cockpit become really big advantages.

In lower latitudes and coastal sailing, and especially on smaller boats, these advantages are somewhat less important, and the better performance of a normal main becomes very attractive.

I still haven't decided for sure which system my next boat will have.

YMMV
Which higher latitudes would those be???

Having seen a Moody limp into Montt with an in mast furling main well and truly jammed ( it had to be cut out in bits ) and a blade missing from her folding prop MMDV....
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Old 14-11-2016, 06:56   #59
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

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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 don’t 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 14-11-2016, 07:15   #60
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Re: Is a furling main safe when singlehanding?

But oh well,,,the Op mention Beneteau and Jeaneau as posible targets,,,and if they sport those pesky Zspar gold label in mast furling units,, good luck with that....they are horrible ,, not my favorite piece of gear for real offshore sailing work, there is in mast furling gear and there is junk out there.....
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