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By the lee

Mast or boom furling?

Mainsail furling systems  

36 members have voted

  1. 1. Which produces better (faster) sail shape and is more reliable, in mast or boom furling systems?

    • In mast furling
      3
    • Boom furling
      33


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Boom, by a long shot.  Get to have roach, so more power.  Can drop main if furler gets f'ed up.  Weight of main down lower when furled, so better when anchored or motoring compared to weight aloft.  You can generally reach everything if there is an issue with furler.  Can't do that nearly as easily if its up the mast.  Bigger diameter mast creates drag and screws up airflow over main with in mast furler.  Boom furler doesn't suffer same issues.  Etc, etc.

 

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Boom, for the reasons above.  When (not IF) it fails you can still strike sail; in mast furling fails and you can't reef or drop sail and may wind up having to pull the stick to fix it.

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19 minutes ago, sailronin said:

Boom, for the reasons above.  When (not IF) it fails you can still strike sail; in mast furling fails and you can't reef or drop sail and may wind up having to pull the stick to fix it.

+1

Full battens, sufficient controls to shape the sail, plus all the reasons above.

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^^^ Simple both systems are fucked by any measure as they are not true reefing systems. The in-mast when combined with matching sail cost (which compared to in-boom with battens etc is fuck all) has the lower overall capital cost, looks nicer and ready to go to the uninitiated and in a lot of charter vessels  (which represent a large slice  of the production market) where these systems end up, they seldom even get rolled out as the punters motor everywhere, particularly in cats. 

Having said that both systems have found a niche in small sail plan high end boats, (particularly ketch rigs) where the target market is older husband and wife cruisers with bucket loads of money.

They are both an abomination IMHO.

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I'm glad we are in Cruising Anarchy - I'd hate to think how non-constructive the advice in the racing fora might be.

I'd prefer the boom approach out of the two, but haven't used it. Amel owners rate their mast system reliability - Doesn't stop the weight aloft etc tho. I'm hanging out for the Arkema soft wings to trickle down. Benefits of a wing, and could concertina-reefing like the world's best lazy jacks or stackpack.

 

IMG_1036.JPG

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Having sailed with an in-boom system (the patented Leisure Furl) for 12 years, I'm a huge fan.

Has never jammed, exquisite shape, especially reefed. Allows a flattening reef. Dead simple to operate, only requires one line other than the halyard.

cwqGMfs.jpg

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27 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Having said that both systems have found a niche in small sail plan high end boats, (particularly ketch rigs) where the target market is older husband and wife cruisers with bucket loads of money.

 

10 minutes ago, HFC Hunter said:

Amel owners rate their mast system reliability

Agree.

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Neither. They both are designed for people who really can't  sail. I can raise, lower and reef my slab reefing main on my Sydney 41 single handed faster than any in mast or boom furled ever designed. And when I have done this is still looks like a mainsail instead of something you would put over your car when it is going to hail. Instead of looking for complex solutions it is a lot quicker and simpler to just learn basic seamanship. 

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2 hours ago, kdh said:

Has never jammed, exquisite shape, especially reefed. 

If you think your tortured main has an exquisite shape the your wife can let herself go as much as she likes. You arn't going to notice. If you think that tent of yours is 'exquisite'  Go sailing on a boat with a real mainsail sometime mate- it will blow your mind.

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Why either ???/

What is wrong with a stack pack?? if you must catch or confine  your sail when not in use.

Lots of folks in  my harbour raise the main then loosen lines and secure bag to boom and voila you have main you can work with! At end of day lift stack pack  lines and drop sail in bag!    

Jesus if your going to waist money can you send some to me ?? I can waist it on all sorts of shit I don't need. 

 

 

 

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A lot of reefing lines are used in slab reefing and reefing is more difficult than simply rolling up the sail.

But I wouldn't want to deprive you of your deeply held views. Sail with whatever the fuck you want and I'll do the same.

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Stack pack or lazy jacks.  

Boom if you had to furl, because maybe you can still have battens and roach, and there's a *lot* less weight aloft.  Furlers are always wonky, and untrustworthy in a blow. 

Crewed earlier this year with the friend-of-a-friend who had a nice mid-40's Jeanneau that he races very successfully, with in-mast furling.  Accomplished racer for many years on his other boats, this is his fun racer / retirement cruiser, I think - I know that huge mast has to irritate him.  He hated the original sail and had UK Sails built him a main with "air battens," which he said a lot of good things about.  Never heard of 'em.  So we unfurl the thing before the start, and he, no shit, whips out a bicycle tire pump, we connect up to some rubber tubes that stick out of the foot of the sail, and we inflate the air battens.  They show up as tubular bulges a little smaller than your wrist, perpendicular to the mast, running out to the leech of what looked like a solid cruising laminate cloth sail.  It had a pretty decent curve to it, not quite optimized shape but close.  We took overall and our PHRF band, so it's possible to sail well with in-mast furling... but it was still weird.

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Love the Leisure Furl.  We sail a 50' boat, with a fully battened 3DL sail that is easy to manage.  Great shape and control.  Easy reefing.  Sail cover is easy.  We likely sail harder as a result.   What's not to love?  Oh, the cost is an issue...

 

 

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Have a Liesure Furl on our 40. Good sail shape and roach to the backstay. But if I was still racing I would go with reefing tackle. Even better shape. More draft for light air days. Lighter! Have you ever weighed a Liesure Furl boom and mandrel?

And with all the money saved I could have a few more sails. These systems are expensive.

You won't find in boom on most charter boats because if the topping lift isn't set correctly you have a cluster f on your hands.

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I've used in-mast and it sucks in every way but ease of handling - when it works. When it doesn't you are truly screwed. 1 1/2 hours at the dock to unfuck a jam up high. Can't imagine what would have happened if it occurred when trying to shorten sail - probably a shredded sail and other breakage..

Never used in-boom but it can't be as bad as in-mast.

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 1. Personally, I like my full-battened main, Harken batt-car system, with lazy-jacks. It's super smooth, way faster up and down than ANY mast/boom furling system,  the battens help with sail shape when reefed, and if you need to drop your main in a hurry, it'll come down fast and virtually flake itself. 

2. I've heard of in boom reefing being called 'an over-priced sail cover'. True, it's better than in-mast for less weight aloft and the ability to use a wider range of battens. It can also come down on it's own if the furling mechanism jams...but wlll not have the benefit of lazy jacks to help reel in the mainsail. This could be problematic with a big sail in a blow if short-handed. That said, some friends just went to boom furling(57 ft mono) and are liking it a lot. If it promotes 'reefing early and often' maybe that would be the one benefit.

3. As for in-mast furling, the notion of putting more weight aloft at exactly when you'd want to bring it down lower(in a blow) is tough to get past. (Not to mention that the mast with inside furler tube will be heavier from the get-go.) Jamming the sail in the slot could put any fix out of reach without going aloft. Anyway, I've heard users anecdotal satisfaction(of which I'm still skeptical). I've also noticed that in-mast has gotten some play on mega-yachts(where scale might dictate this choice), and where they might be designed with extra-ballast/shorter rig for the furling systems from the get-go. Maybe that was a phase and this market sector(Perini Navi etc.) has gone back to in-boom from 20 years ago...?

--I also question what differences in longevity, shape, moisture levels when not optimally stowed(put away wet) would arise between repeatedly rolling vs flaking the sail during take down (stretch when improperly rolled?) and storage(sail cover vs rolled). I know one thing for sure, a canvas sail cover will breath and a flaked sail has at least a shot of releasing humidity or droplets, but a tightly rolled sail...?--The baseline comparison would be a carefully folded race sail in a long sail bag stored in dehumidified conditions.

 

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I've sailed extensively with both, including several thousand miles offshore with in-mast in all conditions.

For sail shape and performance, take the in-boom.

For convenience, a good in-mast system is better than the reputation would have you believe. For the record, mine is a Hood system, fabricated by Hinckley, so is very robust.

We've found that you can tweak helm balance with the in-mast by rolling in or out small amount of sail. You can also shorten or add sail going downwind in all but very strong conditions. With vertical battens don't get roach, but it you don't get negative roach either. The sail shape on mine always surprises racing sailors I have aboard, in a good way.

In light conditions you sail more, since it's so easy to roll sail in or out.

The biggest drawback to in-mast is not jamming or screw-ups. In 13 years with our system, that has never happened. The drawback is the larger, untapered mast section  with an internal mandrel that increases weight aloft and windage. This is somewhat ameliorated if you use carbon.

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20 minutes ago, Nirie said:

Have a Liesure Furl on our 40. Good sail shape and roach to the backstay. But if I was still racing I would go with reefing tackle. Even better shape. More draft for light air days. Lighter! Have you ever weighed a Liesure Furl boom and mandrel?

And with all the money saved I could have a few more sails. These systems are expensive.

You won't find in boom on most charter boats because if the topping lift isn't set correctly you have a cluster f on your hands.

As you can see in the above pic I had a carbon shell custom made, and I already had a carbon mandrel. It makes a big difference compared to the heavier aluminum I replaced. Sailors don't want a heavy boom swinging around in light air and a bit of swell.

Leisure Furl booms are expensive because there is a patent on the important bits. I found the patent and it's due to expire this year. Some competition would surely bring the cost down. As someone with experience with them, I think they're great, as is a good rigid vang.

How many times do you see a boat under sail with genny only? It's because the typical mainsail handling system is a pain in the ass.

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Weird - just read earlier this week something to the effect that mainsail furling has come of age and it's time to stop arguing about it. :huh:

Dunno - I sailed one boat with in-mast furling. The only time there was actually wind, it jammed.  Fortunately (?) all the way out, so we could drop the sail and sort of wad it up on the boom.  

I just figure that by the time I can afford it, I'll be old enough to need it.  :lol:

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16 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

Neither. Why eat a shit sandwich when you can have steak?.

+1

OTOH, my ex-BIL has a Rhodes 22 with in-mast furling. It's a hoot for cocktail sailing (or setting sail after too many cocktails). Pull two strings and bang you're sailing.

On a bigger boat going anywhere at all I'd rather suck the third rail of the IRT than have either.

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2 hours ago, kdh said:

How many times do you see a boat under sail with genny only? It's because they  typical mainsail handling system is a pain in the ass.should have bought a power boat.

 

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4 hours ago, Lex Teredo said:

Stack pack or lazy jacks.  

Boom if you had to furl, because maybe you can still have battens and roach, and there's a *lot* less weight aloft.  Furlers are always wonky, and untrustworthy in a blow. 

Crewed earlier this year with the friend-of-a-friend who had a nice mid-40's Jeanneau that he races very successfully, with in-mast furling.  Accomplished racer for many years on his other boats, this is his fun racer / retirement cruiser, I think - I know that huge mast has to irritate him.  He hated the original sail and had UK Sails built him a main with "air battens," which he said a lot of good things about.  Never heard of 'em.  So we unfurl the thing before the start, and he, no shit, whips out a bicycle tire pump, we connect up to some rubber tubes that stick out of the foot of the sail, and we inflate the air battens.  They show up as tubular bulges a little smaller than your wrist, perpendicular to the mast, running out to the leech of what looked like a solid cruising laminate cloth sail.  It had a pretty decent curve to it, not quite optimized shape but close.  We took overall and our PHRF band, so it's possible to sail well with in-mast furling... but it was still weird.

You mean it's possible to sail to a rating with them.

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1 hour ago, Grrr... said:

You mean it's possible to sail to a rating with them.

For this guy who is a very good racing skipper, sure, in a steady breeze.  Didn't point amazingly (messed up slot perhaps?) but it went okay if we footed off a little.  Rates in the low 130's I think, not bad for a boat with two refrigerators and nicer bedroom furniture than I have in my house. 

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5 hours ago, Lex Teredo said:

....and had UK Sails built him a main with "air battens," which he said a lot of good things about.  Never heard of 'em.  So we unfurl the thing before the start, and he, no shit, whips out a bicycle tire pump, we connect up to some rubber tubes that stick out of the foot of the sail, and we inflate the air battens.  They show up as tubular bulges a little smaller than your wrist, perpendicular to the mast, running out to the leech...

I hope you didn't forget to also pump up the bunks.

 

images (7).jpg

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4 hours ago, fufkin said:

...I like my full-battened main, Harken batt-car system, with lazy-jacks. I

I have exactly that Fufkin on a 550 sq foot main. I can reef (well first one anyway) and unreef from the cockpit (and it is not one of those single line fuckers) by myself in any conditions quickly and without fuss. The added benefit when reefed during a squall is the fresh water spa bath that materialises. Literally flakes itself, Jacks go forward and either boom tent or a conventional main cover goes on so the dacron dries out.

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433 SF on my mainsail with Dutchman system, pull the topper to the mark, ease the sail down, as long as you get the first flake right it drops nearly perfectly on the boom and tidies up nicely,   all by my lonesome. It came with the boat and I admit, if I had the choice to make, I'd prefer the lazy jack-Harken bat car setup but I have to say the Dutchman setup is a pretty good alternative, at least for this old guy and his wife. They say the pennants have as much impact on performance as a flag halyard. Probably why my boat doesn't have one. ;)

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Beginning with KDH's comment: sail with whatever you want, if I were to choose, I think in-boom would be my choice. The sail shape and reefing looks far superior to in-mast, and the PITA factor with fixing in-mast is very high.

Fortunately, I have a 27' boat with a main that drops like a stone, and is easily furled. If I had a bigger boat, I would definitely look at in-boom.

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I've done 3 offshore passages and a week of island cruising on a 54' boat with the Leisure Furl boom.  Also did a week's charter in the BVI on a 50' with in-mast.

Ease of use - in mast system hands down.  It furled and unfurled easily, it was easy to shorten sail, it just worked.

The boom furler - not so much.  Very difficult to raise the sail (scary amounts of load and friction, even using electric winches and gobs of sail lube).  A challenge to get it down and furled properly, lots of load on the furling line.  The lift was set for the boom angle but it's still a finicky bitch.  The halyard ran free, no excess friction there, it just seems to be the nature of the beast. 

A later passage was done with brand new sails, and honestly the up and down experience was not much improved than the original sail. 

For the around the island stuff (Antigua FYI) we did the headsail only thing sometimes, just too much work to raise the main for a short sail.

I suppose if I had to have one of the two, if the primary consideration was offshore I'd opt for the boom just so you can still drop the sail when it all goes Tango Uniform.  If the primary use is coastal, I'd say the mast unit for convenience.

I've also sailed a charter cat with a stack pack, that seemed easier to use than the boom system.

My own boat (38') had the Harken battcar system, that sail went up and down nice! 

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2 hours ago, Suijin said:

+1

OTOH, my ex-BIL has a Rhodes 22 with in-mast furling. It's a hoot for cocktail sailing (or setting sail after too many cocktails). Pull two strings and bang you're sailing.

On a bigger boat going anywhere at all I'd rather suck the third rail of the IRT than have either.

I have friends with a Rhodes 22. The furled jammed a few times when they first got it, but I think they have the kinks worked out now. Mind you it's a 20-year-old boat.

 

I just got back from a charter on a 49' with in-mast. Blech. Putting it away was nice and easy, but bringing it out was a bitch. The car wanted to jam so it would repeatedly tension up the outhaul then pop out in a burst. Never could get it out quite as far as I wanted for outhaul tension.

 

It had an old sail that was a bit saggy. I think some battens would have helped that a bit, but of course it couldn't have battens. It has that inverse roach and the leech was all floppy and there didn't seem to be anything we could do to tighten it.

 

Lazy jacks and a stack pack is such an easy system. It works great on my little boat and it works great on the bigger boats I've chartered. I don't see why the need to complicate things.

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I don't get the "raising/lowering the mainsail is too much work" thing, but it is obviously highly prevalent as I see tons of boats out with just jib out (even in light air.

I really don't get it.

I've got conventional lazy jacks, batt cars, slab reefing, and full battens and I love it.  Not once have I ever gone out without uncovering and hoisting the main, even for just a short daysail.

I suppose if the day comes where I am no longer physically able to manage my conventional sail, I'd look at in-boom.  Wouldn't touch in-mast.

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My main is 700 square feet and weighs 125#.

I have simple lazy jacks, I have sailed the vessel single handed (and I will be 70 years old next June.)

(I do hoist the main with an electric winch when alone or short handed.)

I have checked out the Lesure Furl Boom system and might add it as an 80th birthday present to myself in 10 years.

But a well designed lazy jack system seems to work very well in my experience, especially if you can loosen it a tad while sailing and them firm it up a bit just before you drop the main.

As always YMMV........

I loosen and pull them to the aft end of the boom when the main is down so the cover goes on easily.E5780A76-9D82-4D50-B5D1-611188B6CE79.jpeg.e749028a19830acc7f14dc89d69a7873.jpeg

 

Here they are deployed for sailing, super simple and easy. The full battens seem to help when the main is dropped.

7888A415-E68A-41D6-AB37-131AD9D8A99F.thumb.jpeg.7cf464ead1addfa72595f921c52e139c.jpeg

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7 hours ago, Cruisin Loser said:

I've sailed extensively with both, including several thousand miles offshore with in-mast in all conditions.

For sail shape and performance, take the in-boom.

For convenience, a good in-mast system is better than the reputation would have you believe. For the record, mine is a Hood system, fabricated by Hinckley, so is very robust.

We've found that you can tweak helm balance with the in-mast by rolling in or out small amount of sail. You can also shorten or add sail going downwind in all but very strong conditions. With vertical battens don't get roach, but it you don't get negative roach either. The sail shape on mine always surprises racing sailors I have aboard, in a good way.

In light conditions you sail more, since it's so easy to roll sail in or out.

The biggest drawback to in-mast is not jamming or screw-ups. In 13 years with our system, that has never happened. The drawback is the larger, untapered mast section  with an internal mandrel that increases weight aloft and windage. This is somewhat ameliorated if you use carbon.

Well, since I posted that I've made a deal on a boat with in-boom furling.  The boat has, to me, an enormous mains'l. Since 90% of my sailing is with the bride who is not a great sailor, the in-boom was an important consideration.

 

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I think like any other piece of mechanical gear, they work best when well maintained by a conscientious owner.  Having seen pics of KDH's boat reefed, I can say the shape of the main looks awfully good.  Maybe not as perfect as a race boat with a slab reefing system, but certainly not bad, and more than good enough to cruise or club point to point race with. (any time you're looking for crew for a point to point race, KDH, I'm your man).

I too prefer just slab reefing.  But all my boats to day have been club racer/cruisers.  The biggest was a J/109, so the main on that was still manageable by two of us with no issues...As the boat and main get bigger, and crews smaller, some help is needed.  For all the reasons I stated in the beginning, I think in boom is superior.  Other disadvantage of in mast is inability to bend mast to any substantial degree for heavy air main shape.  I've sailed with a bent boom, but it was a result of a mistake as opposed to an attempt to shape the sail : )

 

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2 hours ago, Cruisin Loser said:

Well, since I posted that I've made a deal on a boat with in-boom furling.  The boat has, to me, an enormous mains'l. Since 90% of my sailing is with the bride who is not a great sailor, the in-boom was an important consideration.

 

Congrats CL, that's awesome.  Hope you find the new boat as much fun as the previous boat. 

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12 hours ago, Cruisin Loser said:

I've sailed extensively with both, including several thousand miles offshore with in-mast in all conditions.

I have sailed about 10 thousand miles with both boom and mast furlers and they suck. The day will come when your in mast furler jams two thirds out in a rising gale and you are fucked. I broke 3 ribs and my cheekbone while i was up the rig cutting the sail away. I had to wrap my arms around the mast so i could use both hands to run the hacksaw back and forward. If you want to know what pain is try sailing offshore for a few days with 3 broken ribs. Normally with broken ribs it is laughing that is the problem but i can assure you that won't be an issue. An in-mast furler very nearly cost me my life. I would never go offshore with one again.

For sail shape and performance, take the in-boom.

Or for even better performance, stick with a slab reefing main and lazy jacks. In-boom means that if it does jam or the luff tape pulls out of the sail track in a rising gale you can still get the thing down. The infernal sound of the sail track rattling in the wind is something you will get used to but those boats moored nearby in the marina might take longer to share your enthusiasm for the system.

For convenience, a good in-mast system is better than the reputation would have you believe. For the record, mine is a Hood system, fabricated by Hinckley, so is very robust.

So was the Titanic according to the bloke that made it.

We've found that you can tweak helm balance with the in-mast by rolling in or out small amount of sail.

Or alternatively you simply ease or pull up the traveler with far better results and much less effort.. You probably don't even have to move from the helm.

You can also shorten or add sail going downwind in all but very strong conditions. 

As long as you you call anything over 25 knots 'very strong winds'. And when that clew block gets away from you that the fun really starts.

With vertical battens don't get roach, but it you don't get negative roach either. The sail shape on mine always surprises racing sailors I have aboard, in a good way.

The only surprise that a real racing sailor will get is how someone can complicate their life so badly. And that mainsail roach is so overrated. That is is why modern racing sails are having less and less of it.

In light conditions you sail more, since it's so easy to roll sail in or out.

yes that 3-4 minites that it takes to raise a properly designed and maintained slab reefing main can really fuck with your day.

The biggest drawback to in-mast is not jamming or screw-ups. In 13 years with our system, that has never happened.

Yet. But trust we when it happens you will have a new definition for 'Biggest drawback'.

The drawback is the larger, untapered mast section  with an internal mandrel that increases weight aloft and windage. This is somewhat ameliorated if you use carbon.

Yes if you go carbon you do reduce the weight to around only twice what a slab reefing mast would wiegh. Ever heard of the concept of metacentric height? That nice slow period of roll all that weight aloft might come back to bite you on the arse on day. 

As I tell my students, those labor saving devises sure take up a lot of your time. Look no further than those stupid spinnaker socks. Chandleries and rigging shops  are full of great ideas that can help people to avoid having to learn how to sail properly. Leave them there. If you want to see if something is more efficient then a good test is always to go see if you can find one on a racing yacht. People who race love shit that is inefficient and heavy. 

 

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The OP was asking a question about the differences between two types of furling. Simple enough. I'm not sure I understand all the angst about furling. Sailboats are full of compromises. You pick what suits your sailing. I race a lot and my mains are all traditional. That said, I have furling headsails. I've made the decisions that suit what I am doing. 

I will echo the sentiment that some underestimate the simplicity of well rigged lazy jacks. 

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12 hours ago, Cruisin Loser said:

Well, since I posted that I've made a deal on a boat with in-boom furling.  The boat has, to me, an enormous mains'l. Since 90% of my sailing is with the bride who is not a great sailor, the in-boom was an important consideration.

 

Good on you mate. Enjoy and fair winds. Nothing beats a new boat for putting a smile on your face.

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We bought a boat with a Profurl in-boom system. This is our retirement boat (soon). We are in our sixties and hope to sail into our old age. We bought a cruiser, not a racer and don't care if the mainsail is less than optimal in shape. Having the furler makes it easy to drop a bit of sail to de-power when it is honking. We are more likely to use the boat in marginal conditions/forecasts. If it jammed (a possibility of course), we can drop the main and flake it to the boom. I have not had a jam......

The ad for the boat claimed power winching (with a 24v right angle drill with a winch bit). I laughed my ass off and almost never put it on the boat. That thing makes the hoist easy. My crew practically fights over who gets to use my "big tool". Hoisting the sail does require muscle without it.

All in all, I am delighted with the in-boom furling. I have chartered boats with in-mast and was not as impressed.

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4 hours ago, mal5033 said:

"Having the furler makes it easy to drop a bit of sail to de-power when it is honking".

There is also 

Feed a cold, starve a fever;

Hair of the dog;

Do not open the oven door when baking a soufflé; and

You will catch a cold with wet hair.

There must be a lot of poor excuses for slab reefing floating around for this wives tales to get traction.

 

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Yup, slab reefing is (sometimes)preferable to in-boom furling. String sails are better than dacron. Feathering props are better than 3 blade solid ones. Light boats are faster than heavy boats.

 

I       just     don't    care.

 

I just go sailing and love (almost) every minute of it.

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1 hour ago, mal5033 said:

I       just     don't    care.

So      why      would      you      comment       ?

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Been years since I had anything to do with it, I think I actually took the dingy past a big alum boat that got a new leisure furl when I was at sound rigging.  I would guess it's mostly a patent thing. If seldom could do in boom furling they probably would and it would be pretty nice. Leisure furl has it with the in joint and drum on the mast end Schaefer with the drum on the other end.  Kinda stupid patent tweeks compramising overall engineered quality.  In boom seems to make the most sense for all the above.  I would guess when the patents run out some one can do it better.

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On October 6, 2017 at 5:48 PM, jack_sparrow said:

I have exactly that Fufkin on a 550 sq foot main. I can reef (well first one anyway) and unreef from the cockpit (and it is not one of those single line fuckers) by myself in any conditions quickly and without fuss. The added benefit when reefed during a squall is the fresh water spa bath that materialises. Literally flakes itself, Jacks go forward and either boom tent or a conventional main cover goes on so the dacron dries out.

Jack,

Ya it's been a great set up for me. I've been using it for longer than I care to mention and, the only thing that I ever ran into is...don't lose bearings. My main has the cars woven in, as opposed to other/most setups that leave the cars on the mast track during storage.

I store my rig 5 months every winter, so early on, lost a few of those pesky bearings every time I'd put the main back on. Suffice to say, at one point the main jammed up. I now have a system for not losing bearings during storage(cellophane), and keep a bag of spares for when I re attach the main each season.

But, hey, one jam up in 20 yrs plus due to owner negligence vs the general ease, speed and safety...I'll take it.

 

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I was sailing large circles with my wife a week or so ago, trying to helping her understand the points of sail and appropriate sail trim, when we noticed a 40-ish Beneteau type doing smaller circles under power.  Poor guy was standing on his cabin top, looking up the mast and yanking on the clew of his in-mast furling mainsail.  When we finally left the area to continue on our sail, my wife looked back at him and observed, "no sailing for him today".

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3 minutes ago, Shu said:

I was sailing large circles with my wife a week or so ago, trying to helping her understand the points of sail and appropriate sail trim, when we noticed a 40-ish Beneteau type doing smaller circles under power.  Poor guy was standing on his cabin top, looking up the mast and yanking on the clew of his in-mast furling mainsail.  When we finally left the area to continue on our sail, my wife looked back at him and observed, "no sailing for him today". But then a squall hit and he now thinks in-mast furling is better than sliced bread.

Fixed

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And another personal anecdote to illustrate the difference between in-mast mainsail furling and a furling jib:

We went to furl our jib earlier this summer and the drum spun, but the jib did not.  I simply released the halyard and pulled the jib down onto the foredeck.  Now, given the right set of circumstances, a failure of an in-mast mainsail furler may have allowed me to release the halyard and pull the main down, but maybe not.

Btw, back at the dock, a couple of replacement machine screws and some loctite fixed the jib furler.

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On 10/6/2017 at 4:39 AM, kdh said:

Having sailed with an in-boom system (the patented Leisure Furl) for 12 years, I'm a huge fan.

Has never jammed, exquisite shape, especially reefed. Allows a flattening reef. Dead simple to operate, only requires one line other than the halyard.

cwqGMfs.jpg

I dunno KDH. I looked after a 56 footer with a Leisure Furl. It worked well but we never did any hard offshore work so it was never tested. I could always see the potential for failure if the boom height wasn't just right or if the bolt rope became worn or compressed. I used to always worry about the zipper effect... ie if the bolt rope started to pull out nothing would stop it ripping all the way up. A main has a lot more load on it (than a genoa) with battens and the weight of a boom. I had a friend with a Hood boom furling main system which had the bolt rope rip out in a mid Tasman gale. He had a main flogging from the end of a halyard for a short time and he swore the rig should have come out.

I'm all for a Park avenue boom and lazy jacks. Now that I've used one on a small sailboat I reckon spar makers will work out how to make them for smaller boats more cheaply soon.

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Actually, I've discovered how to make your own in-mast furler for free!

Just let the boat's previous owner use a too-long sheet metal screw in your mast's VHF antenna bracket, then when the screw works too low the pointy tip will grab your halyard, and you will have no way to pull your mainsail in a squall. You will desperately pull it in off the boom to wrap it around the mast ... it's all the fun and excitement of an expensive inevitably-jammed in-mast furler with none of the extra cost!

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27 minutes ago, Trickypig said:

I dunno KDH. I looked after a 56 footer with a Leisure Furl. It worked well but we never did any hard offshore work so it was never tested. I could always see the potential for failure if the boom height wasn't just right or if the bolt rope became worn or compressed. I used to always worry about the zipper effect... ie if the bolt rope started to pull out nothing would stop it ripping all the way up. A main has a lot more load on it (than a genoa) with battens and the weight of a boom. I had a friend with a Hood boom furling main system which had the bolt rope rip out in a mid Tasman gale. He had a main flogging from the end of a halyard for a short time and he swore the rig should have come out.

I'm all for a Park avenue boom and lazy jacks. Now that I've used one on a small sailboat I reckon spar makers will work out how to make them for smaller boats more cheaply soon.

Tricky, you make good points. I only speak from my experience. I will point out that my system is no ordinary Leisure Furl setup. Hall did a fantastic job with the integrated luff track. Offshore made a really nice boom shell and mandrel, and since North switched to spectra for the luff tape I've had no problems with sails. The Hood systems were notorious.

As I like to point out in these conversations, "Can I imagine conditions when I'd rather have cars and not have to worry about a roll?" Yes. "Am I willing to suffer the tradeoff for the many benefits, especially for my style of cruising?" Absolutely. No contest.

What I won't accept is the idea that my boom furler setup is complex. A halyard, a furling line, a universal joint driving a mandrel. Compare that to cars and reefing lines, lazy jacks, and other gear associated with slab reefing.

To me this is like the full-keel or skeg-hung rudder conversations. "Can I imagine conditions in which I'd rather have a rudder hung on a keel rather than a spade rudder?" Absolutely. That doesn't make a spade rudder bad.

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30 minutes ago, kdh said:

Tricky, you make good points. I only speak from my experience. I will point out that my system is no ordinary Leisure Furl setup. Hall did a fantastic job with the integrated luff track. Offshore made a really nice boom shell and mandrel, and since North switched to spectra for the luff tape I've had no problems with sails. The Hood systems were notorious.

As I like to point out in these conversations, "Can I imagine conditions when I'd rather have cars and not have to worry about a roll?" Yes. "Am I willing to suffer the tradeoff for the many benefits, especially for my style of cruising?" Absolutely. No contest.

What I won't accept is the idea that my boom furler setup is complex. A halyard, a furling line, a universal joint driving a mandrel. Compare that to cars and reefing lines, lazy jacks, and other gear associated with slab reefing.

To me this is like the full-keel or skeg-hung rudder conversations. "Can I imagine conditions in which I'd rather have a rudder hung on a keel rather than a spade rudder?" Absolutely. That doesn't make a spade rudder bad.

KDH, I omitted to say that it was convenient to use; I could raise/lower/reef sail from the cockpit with electric winches. It was a little like patting your head and rubbing your stomach but once you got the knack.... You know it.

Also, it was a decade ago.

It is all about the bolt rope and feeder and perhaps that has have evolved further as you've described

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In mast or boom furling? who cares they both suck if you're interested in simplicity and performance. Anyone who says they get a good shape while reefed with those systems is bullshitting. Slab reefing is simpler, cheaper, better performing, not perfect but usually a lot better.

I can understand why people have them, usually its a bigger boat thing " I am a rich old guy and want to go cruising on my 80 footer with my wife but Im not rich enough to hire a crew to handle the sails"

Sail and spar makers have filled the marketing gap for smaller craft, and to be fair these systems mostly work ok, until they dont. If you're happy with average performance and the system is well maintained you'll be fine with either, plenty have sailed the globe successfully. If I had to choose I'd go in boom mainly because the weight is lower and the mechanicals are easier to get at.

 

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43 minutes ago, Gutterblack said:

In mast or boom furling? who cares they both suck if you're interested in simplicity and performance. Anyone who says they get a good shape while reefed with those systems is bullshitting. Slab reefing is simpler, cheaper, better performing, not perfect but usually a lot better

How insightful. I've never gotten this perspective before. :huh:

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repetition helps;

 

In mast or boom furling? who cares they both suck if you're interested in simplicity and performance. Anyone who says they get a good shape while reefed with those systems is bullshitting. Slab reefing is simpler, cheaper, better performing, not perfect but usually a lot better

:)

 

 

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6 hours ago, kdh said:

 "Can I imagine conditions in which I'd rather have a rudder hung on a keel rather than a spade rudder?" Absolutely. 

I agree. You can't get enough of that shit leeway in my opinion.

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So given it seems sailors prefer (with reservations) in-boom furling, why are almost all major producers using in-mast systems?

Beneteau, Hallberg-Rassy, Amel, Grand Soleil, Jeanneau..........

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7 hours ago, kdh said:

...To me this is like the full-keel or skeg-hung rudder conversations. "Can I imagine conditions in which I'd rather have a rudder hung on a keel rather than a spade rudder?" Absolutely...

Good converse anologue where scorn is  directed upon the spade rudder brigade and with twice the intensity to those poor people who have a twin rudder arrangement on account they have a boat with an arse bigger than a elephant.

Having politely listened to more than my fair share of lectures from these Pardy lookalikes I found they all had a lot in common other than rudder preference. Most of these keel/skeg hung rudder wankers had been driven up on a reef and love to regale to anyone who will listen how their housebrick of a rudder saved their arse.

However the common denominator didn't stop there. Nearly without exception it was caused by not enough scope and their anchor saying goodbye in a deep water anchorage (on account of a large reef drop off) when a sudden squall hit from the opposite direction (not unexpected as typical weather near the equator in the convergence zone) driving them backwards rudder first onto the reef. However after cranking up the twin cylinder Gardner they managed to crawl off to tell the story not once but a thousand fuckin times.

The conversation should not have been about what saved them, but what got them into that predicament in the first place, and that was ordinary seamanship. Anyone who believes good seamanship is synonymous with having a mainsail controlled no differently than a roller blind is on crack.

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50 minutes ago, By the lee said:

So given it seems sailors prefer (with reservations) in-boom furling, why are almost all major producers using in-mast systems?

Beneteau, Hallberg-Rassy, Amel, Grand Soleil, Jeanneau..........

Because Leisurefurl and Furlboom hold all the patents on boom furling and are astronomically expensive?

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Is inverse analogue the same as a backhanded complement or closer to an insultament?

In lieu of imagining the conditions that a certain sail handling set up might fail(and I'll add, any one of the three discussed can fuck up), I'd like to point out the standard set-up for an Open 60 Vendee Globe entrant. Even though the fleet doesn't have the best finishing record, the speed of reefing and handling on all points of sail, in a wide variety of conditions has pointed everyone of these shorthanded competitors towards a robust boom-furling system. 

Just joking.

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39 minutes ago, Suijin said:

Because Leisurefurl and Furlboom hold all the patents on boom furling and are astronomically expensive?

And why they put in roller blinds...the top end production builders build to a older husband and wife RTW market and the others to a charter market for those that can't sail and usually motor between mooring buoys.

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4 hours ago, Suijin said:

Because Leisurefurl and Furlboom hold all the patents on boom furling and are astronomically expensive?

Yeah that was the part I forgot to put in.....can't believe some clever enginerd can't come up w/a workaround. 

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7 hours ago, fufkin said:

...I'd like to point out the standard set-up for an Open 60 Vendee Globe entrant...

Just joking.

Fuf maybe Pieter Heerema should have installed a roller blind on "No Way Back"..it would have at least given him more to bitch about.

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18 hours ago, By the lee said:

So given it seems sailors prefer (with reservations) in-boom furling, why are almost all major producers using in-mast systems?

Beneteau, Hallberg-Rassy, Amel, Grand Soleil, Jeanneau..........

If you are basing this preference on the responses here, I don't think we statistically represent the new boat buying market.  

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I had some hairy moments with an in mast furler: in strong wind the system was just stuck... no way to furl or unfurl, you just have to wait for a calmer moment and rush to furl.

No experience with boom furling. But slab reefing is working quite well. Even single handed on a 46footer.

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Both the first x2 X-Yacht X6s are for sale....!!?

http://www.yachtworld.co.uk/boats/2016/X-Yachts-X6-3112056/Spain

6312777_20170726054128657_1_XLARGE.jpg.317983e71c32520c189ddfa7083e8e0e.jpg

http://www.yachtworld.co.uk/boats/2016/X-Yachts-X6-3070815/United-Kingdom

6180680_20170323032047421_1_XLARGE.jpg.133f155250411ff51d0291347ab8ffdf.jpg

Not sure why an owner goes to all that trouble, toil and heart-ache of building their new baby..... then so soon after the joy wears off and they dump it?

Perhaps no one told them at the brochure stage that despite the multi-mi$$ls spent... can take a further 6-12 months to sort all the niggles out...

 

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What do you mean "like"? 

Let's stop beating around the bush and get to the heart of the matter: 1) Which works better with in-mast furling, a Manson Boss or a stainless steel Ultra? 2) I have a Sarca Excel, should I upgrade to a Leisure Furl in-boom system, or is my current Park Avenue boom with slab-reefing sufficient in a soft mud bottom?

There. Now if we could just get Jack to stop double-posting threads, we could clean this place up a little.

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4 minutes ago, Bob Perry said:

Next it will be Vodka tasting.

 

Yeah, I forgot that bit. #3 should have been 3) will drinking better vodka help me answer these questions. Thanks for pointing out my lapse Bob.

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Yes, this thread has a "you can write, but you can't make them read" quality to it.

Some of us really don't want opinions or to learn something.

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If your boat is heavy enough so that you actually need a furling main, IMO you should either change boat for a lighter one or accept that you need more crew.

A slab reef sail with lazy jacks works so well that I can't think how you could possibly justify using an alternative system that will eventually jam itself. As for the wisdom of sailing a boat so big that you actually need a furler for your main, think about what's going to happen when something goes slightly wrong and you won't have the strength to even bring under control a flapping sheet.

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   One of the biggest factors driving main furling systems is the boom is almost inaccessible due to deckhouse and/or dodger configurations.  There is no other practical way to stow the main.

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3 hours ago, kdh said:

Yes, this thread has a "you can write, but you can't make them read" quality to it.

Some of us really don't want opinions or to learn something.

Mmmmmm....I think that is the Science thread in SA...

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3 hours ago, Panoramix said:

If your boat is heavy enough so that you actually need a furling main, IMO you should either change boat for a lighter one or accept that you need more crew.

A slab reef sail with lazy jacks works so well that I can't think how you could possibly justify using an alternative system that will eventually jam itself. As for the wisdom of sailing a boat so big that you actually need a furler for your main, think about what's going to happen when something goes slightly wrong and you won't have the strength to even bring under control a flapping sheet.

Sailing a big boat is not about strength, it's about technique, thoughtfulness and using the equipment onboard appropriately to manage the loads.  

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24 minutes ago, Bryanjb said:

Sailing a big boat is not about strength, it's about technique, thoughtfulness and using the equipment onboard appropriately to manage the loads.  

Up to a point... There is a reason why every single time the Route du Rhum went fully no limits shortly after skippers sat together to agree on a limit, it was initially 60 feet and now is 32 meters (about 100 feet). There is a massive difference between 60 feet and 100 feet but that's because modern kit is better than 1980s kit.

To manage a 100ft boat they need to be top athletes and use bike powered winches. The average cruising crew is not as dedicated. If hoisting/reefing the mainsail is a chore you are either very unfit or the mainsail is gigantic. If you aren't fit enough to hoist/reef it, it is obvious that minor niggles will soon become major issues. For instance loads in the sheets will be too big to manage if your electric winch stops working.

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16 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

It is custom and a patent killer or one that lawyers are already getting rich off.

 

Look close at the mast and I think that there is a Hall Spars logo sticker on it. No use for a lawyer going after them for that boom if they made it now...

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