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View Poll Results: Are in-mast furling mainsails the bomb?
Duh. 3 4.11%
I'm a sailor. I've heard of "bomb ketch" but don't understand your question. 1 1.37%
You do know that polls should have questions that can be answered, right? 3 4.11%
In-mast furling mainsails are really convenient. I stand by them. 46 63.01%
Honestly, between you and me, I hate 'em 20 27.40%
Voters: 73. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-05-2021, 20:39   #1
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So walk me through the in-mast furling mainsail

I wanna know what love is...
I want you to showwww me....


...love for in-mast furling mainsails, anyway.

I've sailed a lot of different kinds of cruisers, but never one with in-mast furling mainsails.

What do you do if it gets stuck just before a squall? Is there a way to drop it?

Also, is that an outhaul in my attached picture? I know what an outhaul does (I often sail racers) but how does that come into play here?

Also, I'm trying to work out vertical battens.

Just treat me like an 8-year-old, spell it out for me, and tell me that once I have an in-mast furling mainsail, I'll never go back.
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Old 06-05-2021, 00:21   #2
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Re: So walk me through the in-mast furling mainsail

WTF does the bomb mean. Is this some sort of dumbspeak?
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Old 06-05-2021, 00:51   #3
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Re: So walk me through the in-mast furling mainsail

I'm getting interested in those as well!

Premise: modern systems with well-designed composite sails are great.

Here's one interesting (sales) article mentioning the composite issue:
https://www.quantumsails.com/en/reso...ling-mainsails

Here's another with some interesting quotes:
https://www.yachtingmonthly.com/sail...rt-guide-75261

Quote:
Furling mainsail systems can now offer more sail area than a traditional slab-reefed mainsail.
Quote:
In 2018, 38% of boats sailing round the world in the World ARC had furling mainsail.
Quote:
Hallberg Rassy reports that almost all new owners buying boats over 40ft opt for furling mainsail systems, with Discovery reporting a similar trend.
And finally, a video from Selden about their electric furling system

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Old 06-05-2021, 03:07   #4
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Re: So walk me through the in-mast furling mainsail

If you have a good working system and you learn to use it correctly, in-mast furling is fast and very easy to use. Similar level of ease of use to a furling jib compared to a hank-on.
I went from a stack pack system to a boat with in mast furling and now back to a roachy main flaked onto the boom with a sail cover. By far the easiest system to go out for a quick sail is the in mast furling.
You will lose sail are typically as they have negative roach and you need to school the people using it properly. A worn out main will likely be harder to furl.
Finally, to answer your question, you can drop a furling main but not if it is partly furled and jammed.
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Old 06-05-2021, 04:29   #5
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Re: So walk me through the in-mast furling mainsail

I have only sailed twice on an in mast furler boat. I know we must have rolled in in wrong at the end because it jumped off the furler or something and wouldn't come out next time.

But overall for a short handed cruising boat I see it as a big plus once you learn to operate it.
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Old 06-05-2021, 06:13   #6
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Re: So walk me through the in-mast furling mainsail

In boom furling is a much better and more easily managed in every respect than in mast furling of any type ,plus the noise of the wind in the slot when the sail is furled in the mast will drive you off the boat ,your neighbours are an other matter .⚓️⛵️
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Old 06-05-2021, 06:13   #7
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Re: So walk me through the in-mast furling mainsail

We deliver lots of yachts with in-mast furling mainsails and lots without. My personal preference would be to have slab reefing. It's a more simple system and less prone to going wrong.

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Old 06-05-2021, 07:02   #8
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Re: So walk me through the in-mast furling mainsail

So I have a Beneteau 373 since 2008 with in mast furling and here are a few tips.
When unfurling, pointed into the wind (mostly) everything should be loose, mainsheet, vang, topping lift. This gives the best chance for the sail to find its way out.

When furling again have everything loose, except a little tension on the outhaul to make sure the sail furls tight and even. If not then when trying to unfurl next time the loose sail can bunch up and bulge out the slot, causing a jam, pulling harder makes it worse to the point you can no longer furl or unfurl. Resolution is to go up the mast to the point the sail is bulging out and stuff it back in, unfurl, then furl with proper tension.
Mine came with vertical battens which seem to add unwanted weight at the top of the sail causing a sag in light winds.
I have new sails coming without vertical battens and hope it is a better design.
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Old 06-05-2021, 07:18   #9
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Re: So walk me through the in-mast furling mainsail

Quote:
Originally Posted by Searles View Post
In boom furling is a much better and more easily managed in every respect than in mast furling of any type ,plus the noise of the wind in the slot when the sail is furled in the mast will drive you off the boat ,your neighbours are an other matter .⚓️⛵️
pretty doubtful really as you see 20+ in mast boats for every in boom unit. If anything my 20+ estimate is waaaaay low

BTW have never heard any noise from the sail from in mast boats around me ever!
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Old 06-05-2021, 07:54   #10
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Re: So walk me through the in-mast furling mainsail

My experience is limited, but so far, I am liking it a lot more than I thought I would. I have a main with slightly negative roach and no battens, which definitely simplifies things. I have a Selden mast furler.

I find that it's easy to unfurl the sail on pretty much any point of tack, if it has been furled properly. To furl it well, I find that's it's easiest to be on a starboard tack with a little bit of pressure on the sail. This prevents any looseness or folds when furling the sail in. I just have to keep an eye on the outhaul tension and make sure I'm feeding the sail into the mast with consistent tension.

I think it would actually be worse to try to furl the sail pointed dead up wind with the sail flapping around. Because I have no battens, I don't have to worry about them catching on the mast slot. Getting the sail jammed partway is my biggest fear about the system, so I try to be very careful when I am furling it.

Prior to getting my boat, I had read a lot about in-mast vs in-boom vs slab reefing on this forum, and I was dead set against in-mast based on all the horror stories and theoretical downsides (various jams and no roach/horizontal battens). I was hoping to find an in-boom system, because it seemed (in my head) to have all the benefits with none of the downsides. This is despite a friend of mine who has a Schaefer system telling me how much he hates it. If you do some more research on boom furling, you'll find that it is sensitive to a lot of factors as well, especially boom angle.

After using it for half a season, I think it all comes down to if you are able to figure out the idiosyncrasies of the systems and what the best way to use them are. So many of the jam stories I've read seem like they are probably due to user error. While it's true that in-mast furling does have the undeniable risk of getting jammed and not being able to pull your sail down, I think it's not as hard as people claim to prevent against that.

All that being said, I've probably jinxed myself and soon I'll mess it all up and swear off in-mast furling forever.
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Old 06-05-2021, 08:24   #11
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Re: So walk me through the in-mast furling mainsail

Almost everyone I know who has an in-mast furler has had problems with it. Some multiple times. For no other reason than that, I would never own one. Convenience is never a good reason to do something wrong.
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Old 06-05-2021, 08:27   #12
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Re: So walk me through the in-mast furling mainsail

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Old 06-05-2021, 08:32   #13
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Re: So walk me through the in-mast furling mainsail

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Convenience is never a good reason to do something wrong.
This is a ridiculous thing to say, for a couple reasons. One being that it implies that there is a definite right and wrong about furling systems. The other being the implication that you shouldn't do something for convenience that increases risk, which is something that everyone does all the time.
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Old 06-05-2021, 08:40   #14
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Re: So walk me through the in-mast furling mainsail

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muaddib1116 View Post
This is a ridiculous thing to say, for a couple reasons. One being that it implies that there is a definite right and wrong about furling systems. The other being the implication that you shouldn't do something for convenience that increases risk, which is something that everyone does all the time.
Why you categorize as "ridiculous" a perspective with which you apparently disagree is interesting. Presumably, pride of ownership????


Regardless, the message is true even when you attack the messenger. These are problematic in many cases and only a few people can claim to have never had a problem. They have them as a matter of convenience and consequently that convenience brings the attendant problems. Stated differently, the problems are self-inflicted simply because some prefer convenience over reliability.
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Old 06-05-2021, 08:42   #15
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Re: So walk me through the in-mast furling mainsail

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMF Sailing View Post
[I]...............What do you do if it gets stuck just before a squall.......Is there a way to drop it? YES Also, is that an outhaul in my attached picture? I know what an outhaul does (I often sail racers) but how does that come into play here? Also, I'm trying to work out vertical battens..................
Always have your furler winch at the mast in the "ratchet" position and "furl-in" line wrapped on the winch after you set your mainsail. Then just before a squall turn the engine on, furl the head sail ins, slack the main and boom vang, put the boat on a 30 degree starboard tack, release the jam cleats for the furl-in, furl-out line and outline (holding it firmly) lines and winch the furl-in line while keeping slight tension on the outhaul to allow the mainsail to furl tightly into the mast.

I cannot tell from the photo if that is the outhaul. The outhaul is attached to the mainsail clew so follow it from the clew.

If your furling mainsail has vertical battens they should be "partial", not "full" battens otherwise you risk getting the battens stuck in the mast. I had partial vertical battens on my in-mast furling mainsail. Just be sure to unfurl the mainsail out of the mast with tension on the "furl-in" line and furl it is with tension on the outhaul while on a starboard tack.
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