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Old 26-05-2022, 12:28   #1
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The ins and outs of mainsail in-mast furling

Like the pun? Ins AND outs. Get it?


I have an offer in on a Wauquiez 41ps. It has a furling main. Given the choice, I would not choose it. I would want the performance back especially given the already low SA/D. The admiral LOVES the idea of no mainsail cover and not even having to go up top to pretty up the sail before zipping the stackpack. I get it; we ARE in our sixties and less effort sailing IS becoming a priority. The boat hits SO many of our other check marks that the in mast is not a deal killer. I've got two owners on my dock who adore theirs.



So, what should I know? At the moment I don't know what system is on there but it does have the grooved drum.



infinite reefing is not a bad idea. Can it be reefed when the wind is not dead ahead?



Years ago, when the Hood was about the only system, a rigger told me NEVER to use the powered winch to furl because without the feedback of increasing friction it was too easy to pull in a jam that you would never get out until back in port. Is this fully true today?


Anything else except snark will be apprecitated,


Thanks



Kurt
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Old 26-05-2022, 12:45   #2
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Re: The ins and outs of mainsail furling

Quote:
Originally Posted by KayZee View Post
Like the pun? Ins AND outs. Get it?



Years ago, when the Hood was about the only system, a rigger told me NEVER to use the powered winch to furl because without the feedback of increasing friction it was too easy to pull in a jam that you would never get out until back in port. Is this fully true today?




Kurt
YES. I wouldn't do that.

ANY furler is easy to jam.

If you don't want to go up to tie a stackpack, you won't want to go up to cut out a jammed pigtail from your furler either.

IF you are careful to remove line twists, a new crispy mainsail shouldn't have any jamming issues, or be hard to furl.
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Old 26-05-2022, 13:35   #3
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Re: The ins and outs of mainsail furling

it will take only one time for you to have a problem with a furling main...usually happens when you are entering a channel....at night...or in a building breeze, etc..for you to come to despise them ...
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Old 26-05-2022, 14:12   #4
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Re: The ins and outs of mainsail furling

Jib furlers also jam, yet most of us use them.
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Old 26-05-2022, 14:14   #5
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Re: The ins and outs of mainsail furling

No one can answer this without knowing what system it is.


If it's a bad one, walk away.


If it's Selden or Hood, then it might be ok.


In-mast furling has pluses and minuses.


It sucks UNLESS:


1. The mainsail is good and flat -- no blown out dacron sail. Laminate is the right choice.


2. You know how to use it.


3. You keep it maintained -- lubricate all elements, and keep the foil properly tensioned.


If you do all that, then it actually doesn't suck and you will enjoy the advantages, including the ones you already mentioned.
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Old 26-05-2022, 14:44   #6
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Re: The ins and outs of mainsail furling

We have it and yes, you have to pay attention and maintain the system. But isn't that true with anything? I don't use the electric winch until the last bit and then monitor carefully. Having the sail in the mast with the clew wrapped around the mast and tied down is reassuring during hurricane season. It's not perfect but what is? We'd do it again.
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Old 26-05-2022, 14:52   #7
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Re: The ins and outs of mainsail furling

A benefit is that you can generally reef on any point of sail. It is good to ensure the sail isn't against the stays or bent across the furling slot (typically this means furl on starboard tack).

Quote:
Originally Posted by KayZee View Post
Years ago, when the Hood was about the only system, a rigger told me NEVER to use the powered winch to furl because without the feedback of increasing friction it was too easy to pull in a jam that you would never get out until back in port. Is this fully true today?
Not fully true, as you can always send someone up the mast to sort out a jam at sea. I do suggest furling by hand, as it shouldn't be hard and excess tension indicates a problem elsewhere (left the mainsheet on?) that should be addressed.

I do recommend:
- Knowing and maintaining the system (reducing friction, proper boom angle, etc).
- Keeping an eye on the sail as it enters the mast to avoid folds and bunching.
- Alternating furling and easing the outhaul to ensure a close wrap.
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Old 26-05-2022, 14:55   #8
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Re: The ins and outs of mainsail furling

If you enjoy sailing to the fullest the in mast furling genie is a big troublesome compromise. In a big blow it will take time to furl if not jam. Just sold it after barely 2 years in a 46 Bene after sailing a Bene 52 for 9 years with a stack pack. With what you got you can drop it in a New York minute plus you can fly full battens with a nice twist. In mast furling it’s always nice in a neighbors boat but not in mine.
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Old 26-05-2022, 14:55   #9
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Re: The ins and outs of mainsail furling

Hi KayZee,

I own a boat with a seldon furling main. I found this guide to be quite helpful when I first started. https://www.modernsailing.com/articl...ling-mainsails


That being said, I still have jammed it once, thankfully on a light-wind day. In my experience, the best way to avoid jams is to make sure to get a tight furl when furling the sail. If you quickly and loosely furl it, you won't know that it is jammed until you try to get it back out

You should point to the wind when reefing, otherwise you will be fighting a loaded sail. I would not recommend using a power winch to operate the outhaul or your furling line. Feeling an abnormal amount of tension on the winch, coupled with the sail not moving in or out will quickly let you know that you are having a problem before you make it worse by continuing to add tension to the outhaul/furling line. I fear using a power winch would almost instantly jam it badly enough to do damage to your furler or even rip the clew....see this thread!


https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ff-235312.html


Hope that helps!
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Old 26-05-2022, 15:21   #10
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Re: The ins and outs of mainsail furling

Had/have furling mainsails on our last two sailboats. Works great when operated properly. My furling masts were/are made by Selden. In my case, the key is furling into the mast tight with tension on the outhaul and unfurling with tension on the inhaul line on a slight starboard tack. Also, tri-radial cruising laminate sails furl in and out easier than a cross-cut Dacron sail. I discovered that when I replaced my Dacron mainsail.
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Old 26-05-2022, 15:28   #11
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Re: The ins and outs of mainsail furling

anything that makes sailing easier especially for us older sailors is a huge plus. Mast furling, boom furling, I will take either one and remember most boats come with jib furling and it is not often that they jam
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Old 26-05-2022, 16:12   #12
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Re: The ins and outs of mainsail furling

From Lazy 2 "I own a boat with a seldon furling main. I found this guide to be quite helpful when I first started. https://www.modernsailing.com/articl...ling-mainsails"

This url is useful, particularly the advise about the vang: ease it when furling out to allow the boom to lift and tighten when furling in to flatten the sail.
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Old 26-05-2022, 17:15   #13
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Re: The ins and outs of mainsail furling

The one time I had an experience with an in-mast furling main was on another boat. It was quite the cluster. Wind had picked up considerably and it was time to reef the main, 'cept the main was not being co-operative. Probable causes were likely many. We did finally get it in after about 30 minutes of cursing, ranting and raving, while the boat was pitching like crazy, by which time I swore I'd rather have red hot needles poked into my eyes rather than having such a contrivance on my boat. The big feature....easy of handling does not account for having to leave the cockpit to stand by the mast to fix any number of screwups, while someone in the cockpit has to try and steer the boat and pull mightily on a number of lines. off course, the boom will be dancing a merry jig in tune with your cursing, threatening grievous bodily harm to anyone in it's proximity.

I would suggest anyone considering such a rig to try it out first in some moderate winds and waves.
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Old 26-05-2022, 18:25   #14
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Re: The ins and outs of mainsail furling

We've had our boat, and the inmast furler, since 1998. With just 2 on board, and now being 77+, organization and workload are important considerations. We did (past tense) have an issue with our Italian (no longer made) in mast furler, when the top swivel bearings jambed and froze up. Once that was determined and fixed, we've had no (as in "0" issues with either pulling the sail out, or with furling it. We generally go into the wind to furl, but sailing the gusty trades in the Caribb have frequently found us over-canvased, and we've routinely furled with a loaded m/s. It has been totally problem-free since we had the upper bearing issue resolved (2015), and a real plus for 2-handed sailing. We would not have it any other way. Yes, we don't have a sq-top or a big roach-our Main is a little smaller-but then we're cruising, not racing. And after seeing other boats fight with dropping and/or stowing the Main, in big wind conditions.....we would NOT have it any other way.
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Old 26-05-2022, 19:18   #15
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Re: The ins and outs of mainsail furling

I am Not a fan of in-mast furlers especially if they are hydraulic, for me it’s not worth it. I am 58 and I sail a 44 ft boat because it is the max size that I can handle without power furlers.
Some have mentioned previously that forsail furlers are used regularly, agreed, the do not need power. For me the in mast systems are to powerful when there is too much at stake.
Another point and this is a personal issue, I have trouble with the systems that I have used adjusting the outhaul tension with the furler using controls that are just on/off, engaged/disengaged not something that can be adjusted like a fast/ slow dial. This type of energy engagement especially with hydraulics is prone to overpowering. My understanding of mishaps with in mast systems is a great deal of the issues associated are with overpowering, snapping halyards, ripping sails,and jamming sails in mast.
After a Recent delivery of a vessel with hydraulic everything I got back to my vessel my sweet manual main and furling gib and I was so happy to sail without the stress of “doing it right”.
Hypocrite warning: I do use an cordless joist hole drill to raise the main when I single hand
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