Jump to content

Recommended Posts

We're starting to shop for our next boat which will mainly be a weekender and coastal cruiser in Lake Superior and eventually as far as the Caribbean.

In our search, several otherwise suitable vessels have come up that are equipped with in-mast furling.  While we would prefer a conventional main, it is less clear whether the presence of in-mast furling is a defect of sufficient consequence that we should reject such boats out of hand.

I am aware that there is a performance penalty, though with vertical battens I understand that the penalty is minor.

Of potentially greater concern is the reliability of these systems.  It is my observation that people who have in-mast furling and like it, claim that these systems are reliable as long as they are maintained and used properly, and as long as the sail is discarded when it no longer holds its shape.  Most people who like in-mast furling will point out that conventional systems are not trouble free either -- slugs rip out, car and track systems jam and come loose with age, reefing lines foul and stick, etc.

What has been the experience with these?  Are capable sailors/boatowners still at greater risk of jams and serious problems than they would be with a conventional mainsail?  Would you pass on purchasing a boat with one even if it meant accepting a boat that was less well found in other regards?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I chartered a boat a few year backs that had in-mast furling with vertical battens. My experience was mixed. Getting the main out was pretty easy. Getting the main back in was tricky with the vertical battens. You had to tension both the outhaul and the furling line and be super careful that the battens went in perfectly vertical. Once, we had a batten go in slightly crooked (not much at all), and the furler nearly got a little jammed. we noticed and were able to free it, so it was not too traumatic. But getting the main in was a project and took a few minutes and two people every time. I am sure with practice that would come down. 

Of course, all systems have their problems. (We use sail ties and a saddle bag on our own main - so that takes time as well). And other boats we have chartered have stack packs. That can be a project too, getting the battens to clear the jack lines. But getting the main back down is a breeze! If it were between the the two for me on a cruising boat, I would take a stack pack over in-mast for sure. I like to get my work done ahead of time.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, 2airishuman said:

We're starting to shop for our next boat which will mainly be a weekender and coastal cruiser in Lake Superior and eventually as far as the Caribbean.

In our search, several otherwise suitable vessels have come up that are equipped with in-mast furling.  While we would prefer a conventional main, it is less clear whether the presence of in-mast furling is a defect of sufficient consequence that we should reject such boats out of hand.

I am aware that there is a performance penalty, though with vertical battens I understand that the penalty is minor.

Of potentially greater concern is the reliability of these systems.  It is my observation that people who have in-mast furling and like it, claim that these systems are reliable as long as they are maintained and used properly, and as long as the sail is discarded when it no longer holds its shape.  Most people who like in-mast furling will point out that conventional systems are not trouble free either -- slugs rip out, car and track systems jam and come loose with age, reefing lines foul and stick, etc.

What has been the experience with these?  Are capable sailors/boatowners still at greater risk of jams and serious problems than they would be with a conventional mainsail?  Would you pass on purchasing a boat with one even if it meant accepting a boat that was less well found in other regards?

 

I guess the first question is how big a boat?  How big a mainsail?  How physically fit are you guys?  Where do you fall on the sail vs. motor spectrum?

Off all the different systems to "assist" in getting the main down, in-mast furling seems to have the most performance compromises, along with the most challenging "what happens if the furling has a problem" issues.  So its only real advantage is it's cheaper than in the boom furling...

Link to post
Share on other sites

We bought a 2008 Jeanneau 45 in 2017 with in-spar furling.  While I wanted a stack pack/slab reefing there were too many other positives about the boat we went ahead with the purchase anyway.  We sailed south from Rhode Island and have been in the Caribbean since 2018.  Prior to departing we bought a new North batten-less main which has been great.  While I've raced for about 50 years and trimmed sails for most of that time, I just don't give a shit about what the sailshape is anymore.  I'm cruising full time and getting somewhere 15 minutes later is not a problem.  Usually I can't even see the sails with the full bimini and dodger.  The in-spar has worked well and we've furled and reefed in 35 knot gusts.  I now prefer it to slab reefing which can be more complex.  I'm not sure I would sail around the world in this boat in in-spar, but for liveaboard coastal cruising it's been great.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, Crash said:

I guess the first question is how big a boat?  How big a mainsail?  How physically fit are you guys?  Where do you fall on the sail vs. motor spectrum?

Fair questions.

1) 37-40' depending on availability and how much useful space there is for the length; i.e. if 40' it would be less beamy or have a sprit or something that drives the length up.

2) Around 350 s.f. depending on the boat.

3) I'm in good shape and am effectively singlehanded.  My wife sails with me but has a chronic illness that makes it impossible for her to do anything that requires strength or balance.

4) We sail in anything, as long as we have steerageway, and don't motor unless we're late for dinner

Quote

Off all the different systems to "assist" in getting the main down, in-mast furling seems to have the most performance compromises, along with the most challenging "what happens if the furling has a problem" issues.  So its only real advantage is it's cheaper than in the boom furling...

I have only seen one boat for sale that has in-boom furling and don't know much about it.  I would not add either system to a boat that lacks it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, freewheelin said:

And other boats we have chartered have stack packs. That can be a project too, getting the battens to clear the jack lines. But getting the main back down is a breeze!

We have a fully battened slab mainsail with a stack pack, and while I enjoy the small sense of smug satisfaction I get from knowing that I'm optimizing my sail shape, wrestling a 400-square-foot sail down into the sail bag and making sure it's folded properly is hell in any kind of breeze.  Literally the thing I hate most about sailing is getting that damn mainsail back into its bag at the end of the day, which inevitably takes 5-10 minutes of me clambering around on the cabin top straining to reach the foot of the sail while my wife releases the halyard and keeps us pointed into the wind.  Granted, if we have a real problem while we're out at sea, we can blow the halyard and it drops (most of the way) into the bag no problem, but not in any sort of shape you'd want to leave it in for any real length of time.  I'm regularly jealous of people in plastic fantastic boats with unbattened mains that they can just roll back into the mast at any point of sail, which we used to have on the crappy old Hunter that we had a share of.  If I were looking to live aboard and cruise, I'd likely go with an unbattened mast-furl main myself.  On the other hand, if I had a billion dollars, I'd have a Park Avenue boom and a lanky deckhand who was responsible for nothing at all other than properly lowering the sail each afternoon.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've sailed a fair bit on a 38' with an In-mast main.

Convenience is its only virtue and IMO it even fails there compared to a good lazy jack installation.

At one point some of the other owners had the main jam partially furled. I helped to unfuck it at the dock - it would have been an incredible, even dangerous clusterfuck in a rising wind away from a dock.

They had a new main built for it as a result.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Putting in all three reefs is a good way to douse the main in tough conditions. The last bit is usually easy to flake from there. No need to grind the clew or halyard tight. 
 

If your reefs are not easy to accomplish … well then … :eye roll:

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, ChrisJD said:

We have a fully battened slab mainsail with a stack pack, and while I enjoy the small sense of smug satisfaction I get from knowing that I'm optimizing my sail shape, wrestling a 400-square-foot sail down into the sail bag and making sure it's folded properly is hell in any kind of breeze.  Literally the thing I hate most about sailing is getting that damn mainsail back into its bag at the end of the day, which inevitably takes 5-10 minutes of me clambering around on the cabin top straining to reach the foot of the sail while my wife releases the halyard and keeps us pointed into the wind.

While they are not perfect, a Dutchman system goes a long way towards dealing with this.

Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, 2airishuman said:

While they are not perfect, a Dutchman system goes a long way towards dealing with this.

I've got the Dutchman system on my boat - the main is 300+ sq ft, full battened, and uses a Tides sailtrack.  Swing her into the wind, blow the halyard and it comes down *fast* and with no help.   Go back on course, start putting the sail ties on.  The Dutchman keeps the sail from blowing around - I only have to straighten the sail out a bit when I put the ties on.   Zip the cover around the forward Dutchman line to keep the cover from blowing around too much, and then zip the cover around the mast.  Zip the cover around the aft Dutchman line and then tie the end of the cover to the end of the boom. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ever since my days at USNA, I've been a guy who drops his main into itself (Hold 2-3ft of the base of the main out to make a "bag) and just rolls that over itself and put a couple sail ties on it to control it.  Then once in the slip, I can, at my own pace and leisure, get the sail straightened out on flaked onto the boom just the way I like it.  Unless the wind/waves are very light, then I might flake it right when dousing...

But that only worked up to the J-109 (most of my other boats were 30 footers) and it's main if only have one guy to gather up the sale.  At Navy, we were never "short-handed."  But it seems to me that if you've got lazy jacks, there is little reason not to just drop it and tie it, and then once pierside, clean up the flakes to make it look "shipshape."

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Call me a heretic but I just drop my main into the bag and zip it up. No flaking. 8 years on since I got the boat (and the main wasn't new) and it seems none the worse for wear.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, 2airishuman said:

We're starting to shop for our next boat which will mainly be a weekender and coastal cruiser in Lake Superior and eventually as far as the Caribbean.

In our search, several otherwise suitable vessels have come up that are equipped with in-mast furling.  While we would prefer a conventional main, it is less clear whether the presence of in-mast furling is a defect of sufficient consequence that we should reject such boats out of hand.

I am aware that there is a performance penalty, though with vertical battens I understand that the penalty is minor.

Of potentially greater concern is the reliability of these systems.  It is my observation that people who have in-mast furling and like it, claim that these systems are reliable as long as they are maintained and used properly, and as long as the sail is discarded when it no longer holds its shape.  Most people who like in-mast furling will point out that conventional systems are not trouble free either -- slugs rip out, car and track systems jam and come loose with age, reefing lines foul and stick, etc.

What has been the experience with these?  Are capable sailors/boatowners still at greater risk of jams and serious problems than they would be with a conventional mainsail?  Would you pass on purchasing a boat with one even if it meant accepting a boat that was less well found in other regards?

 

They use in mast furling on bareboat charter boats 

it is reliable and easy to use 

with moving parts there is always more maintenance

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had an imitation stack pack and lazyjacks on my last two boats, each over 500 sq ft.  Just head into the wind, let the halyard run free, tug down the last of the square top and zip it up.  If it's a pain to 'flake and zip' then the stack pack is likely too small...

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I generally think a lot of the issues that a furling main solves can be better and cheaper solved with an electric winch to handle the halyard and reefing lines.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, slug zitski said:

the furling main can instantly  be reefed to present conditions … you always have the correct power 

Not so.

With a furling main, you can more easily have whatever sail area you want.  But you can never have the correct power, because the sail shape is compromised.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, freewheelin said:

I chartered a boat a few year backs that had in-mast furling with vertical battens. My experience was mixed. Getting the main out was pretty easy. Getting the main back in was tricky with the vertical battens. You had to tension both the outhaul and the furling line and be super careful that the battens went in perfectly vertical. Once, we had a batten go in slightly crooked (not much at all), and the furler nearly got a little jammed. we noticed and were able to free it, so it was not too traumatic. But getting the main in was a project and took a few minutes and two people every time. I am sure with practice that would come down. 

Of course, all systems have their problems. (We use sail ties and a saddle bag on our own main - so that takes time as well). And other boats we have chartered have stack packs. That can be a project too, getting the battens to clear the jack lines. But getting the main back down is a breeze! If it were between the the two for me on a cruising boat, I would take a stack pack over in-mast for sure. I like to get my work done ahead of time.

+1 I was in the same situation.  The boat has EVERYTHING I wanted, but it has a furling main.  I have found that it very easy to use and reef short handed.  For cruising it's not much slower.  As an example - for race handicapping they gave the boat +13 seconds per mile to account for the furling main. That's 2.5 hours on a 700 mile route.   

A friend said to think of it more as a jib than a main when trimming and that helped a lot. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Crash said:

But it seems to me that if you've got lazy jacks, there is little reason not to just drop it and tie it, and then once pierside, clean up the flakes to make it look "shipshape."

I am no world cruiser, but I spent two months sailing a Lagoon 42 this past winter. The boom was so big, and so high up that I did not feel safe sending anyone up to flake or organize the main while underway. It was a really easy solution. blow the mainsheet, blow the halyard. Sure, part of the main didn't come down all the way, but it was more than enough depowering to anchor and get settled, then go up and straighten things. It was a much safer and easier solution.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Did a circumnavigation with a furling main (Bristol 45.5) and loved it. We had no battens, I think they might cause issues. We had an electric motor inside the mast to take the sail in and out. This was balanced by a winch for the outhaul. Takes a bit of care, especially when taking the sail out but basically not a problem. We had one jam in 40,000 miles. Took about 20 minutes to get it out with judicious in and out of the sail.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I had one on my Hinckley, no problems in a dozen or so years, including several races to Bermuda.

It's not a blind process. You have to watch what you are doing while you are doing it. 

You can get good sail shape, if you buy good sails. 

I have in-boom now. It works fine, also. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Cruisin Loser said:

I had one on my Hinckley, no problems in a dozen or so years, including several races to Bermuda.

It's not a blind process. You have to watch what you are doing while you are doing it. 

You can get good sail shape, if you buy good sails. 

I have in-boom now. It works fine, also. 

Any preferences between the two?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, slap said:

Any preferences between the two?

I’m glad you asked this, because reading his response I certainly didn’t think of it

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, slap said:

Any preferences between the two?

Depends.

For a typical, older masthead rig that depends on the masthead jib for the main drive, I think in-mast is fine. It makes it super easy to balance the helm, takes moments to operate. The draw back is that you normally don't have a heavily tapered spar, mine was alloy. Including the mandrel, the weight aloft is higher.

My current rig is carbon and fractional, with an enormous main, much larger than the jib, so  having the main fully battened is a big advantage for performance. 

Most people who raced on Sparky (my SW-42) were shocked at how well the main shaped out with partial vertical battens. It was also great for cruising.

If your primary power comes from the jib, I'm not sure there is enough difference between the two to let it become a determining factor in boat selection. 

For fractional rigs where the main is dominant, I think in-boom, with an electric halyard winch, is preferable, especially if you race a lot. 

A lot of older Bristols, Hinckleys and Little Harbors have in-mast. These are fine boats, I certainly wouldn't reject a pedigreed boat because of a mainsail furling system. 

3 hours ago, Bristol-Cruiser said:

Did a circumnavigation with a furling main (Bristol 45.5) and loved it. We had no battens, I think they might cause issues. We had an electric motor inside the mast to take the sail in and out. This was balanced by a winch for the outhaul. Takes a bit of care, especially when taking the sail out but basically not a problem. We had one jam in 40,000 miles. Took about 20 minutes to get it out with judicious in and out of the sail.

I believe that Chris Bouzaid, a noted racing sailor, circumnavigated on a Little Harbor with in-mast, as well. 

With either system I think you will sail more, simply because it is so easy to set or furl the main. If I couldn't have an electric halyard winch, I'd generally prefer in-mast on a larger boat (mine is 48' with a 75' mast, the 780p 3Di North main sets beautifully, but would be a pain to raise and lower manually every hour as the wind changes. )

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think we need to be careful when we say in-mast this or in-mast that. I only have experience with a Hood system and I assume the Little Harbor had that as well. They are close to bullet-proof. Ours was 30 years old by the time we finished the rtw. I took it in for maintentance and they just took it apart and cleaned and lubed it. Motor needed no attention.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

My 2 cents, after limited experience.

I got a 16 year old 35 footer with in mast furling recently. No vertical battens. It’s a coastal cruiser, and I personally like decent sail trim, but don’t care about perfect sail trim. And at my age I value ease of use and not going on deck to take the main down.

I had a Doyle stack pack on my last boat and hated the damn thing. It was nice to have the sail bag right there but the lazy jacks were just too many extra strings in my opinion and more trouble than they were worth. I would rather go back to a traditional main, and thought hard about doing that.

But I decided to try the in-mast thing. Overall, good. I am just figuring it out. When it works it makes reefing and putting the sail up and down ridiculously easy.

But today it got stuck for the first time. Turns out the main halyard was not all the way taut and I didn’t notice this until I got the main pulled out. Once I saw the sag I thought, “oh fuck”. I knew it would be a problem and so I tried to furl the main and it was stuck. I sorted it out by hoisting the halyard the rest of the way and going on deck to push the tack of the sail back into the slot and yank on it till it was moving again. I put the furling line on a sheet winch and cranked it, and after that it furled. Then I unfurled and furled it 3 more times. 

It was kind of a relief to have this problem today and know it is solvable and how to avoid it.

I concluded today that you have to make sure the sail is all the way up, and also avoid bringing the main 100% of the way out. I think if I bring it 90-95% of the way out it should be fine. Some people who want to maximize the performance of the sail would lose their minds over this. But I don’t give a shit. Frankly I think I lost 5% with my stack pack also. And also, most of the power comes from the Genoa. Boat moves along just fine.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've sailed over 50K miles on boats 53' to 87' with in-mast furling, almost all Hood systems. Never had a problem underway. Like any boat system, it will take some monitoring and maintenance. I loved having it; assuming you are cruising, not racing, any performance penalty is completely reversed by the ease of reefing and most importantly, ease of shaking out a reef. So you almost never chunter along underpowered because you can't be bothered to shake out a reef that you may have to put back in an hour or three. 

And it's great for daysailing too - all those boats you see sailing around with just their furling headsail out?? With in mast there's no cover to fool around with. Roll it out, sail, roll it in, coil the mainsheet, you're finished.

I wish I could take the push button all furling rig off my old Oyster 61 and plant it on my current Atlantic 57! 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Good topic--as we start to think about looking for a new-to-us boat to transition to cruising, we have the same question. Without having significant experience with either option (I'm used to bolt-rope racing sails...), I can't comment from a first-hand perspective, but I have thought I would probably prefer slab with an electric halyard winch, as suggested by Zonker. However, I recently read something from Quantum discussing the pros/cons of the two options that made sense. They said if you do choose in-mast, and there are lots of reasons to do so, go without battens without a question--you have already decided you are OK giving up a little performance, and giving up just a little bit more (if even that) to go batten-free will make the furling process much smoother and will greatly reduce or almost eliminate the risk of a jam (assuming proper maintenance of the moving parts, of course). It strikes me that many on this thread who have had good experience with in-mast did not have battens, consistent with this advice. With what I've read here and elsewhere, I think I would be fine with in-mast in the right boat with the right setup.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Zonker said:

I generally think a lot of the issues that a furling main solves can be better, more reliable and cheaper solved with an electric winch to handle the halyard and reefing lines.

FIFY.

I saw a 60' French boat in Secret Cove once with the clew ripped off the main and the rest of the sail well stuck inside the furler.  Looked like a huge mess that likely couldn't be fixed without literally cutting/tearing the mainsail out of the furling system by someone in a bosun's chair. 

Yeah.  Nah.  I plan to convert my boat to a stack pack at some point - that would be awesome.  

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't help wondering whether one of the major issues pushing people to furling mains is a problem of opulence: loadsamoney lets people buy bigger boats than they can handle, so they load the boat up with more systems to allow them to sail it without sharing their ride with extra crew.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've done a few crossings and a fair bit of maintenance/sail installs on in-mast furling boats - for me they're a mixed bag. Here are my negatives/points to be aware of;

I wouldn't consider full vertical battens - they add a lot of weight, increase wear on the sails (more chafe as you furl through the slot in the mast) and can make install/removal of the sail a LOT harder. If the OP is effectively single handed then any incidents that might require dropping the mainsail whilst underway (or at the dock) will turn into a major drama. For me the very slight improvement in sail shape is not at all worth the trade-off in this situation.

Above point about wear/chafe on sail - furling/reefing whilst underway with sails drawing is possible but creates a lot of chafe through the slot. To best preserve the sail you'll need to be diligent to furl head to wind whenever possible. 

Furling issues - almost all issues when furling are a result of operator error, you need to maintain enough clew tension to get a clean furl to avoid bunching inside the mast. I fucked this up on my first crossing and spent a few hours at the gooseneck hand winding the gear-box to extract a bunched section of the mainsail - definitely do not recommend. Having said that it's not very difficult to get it right - just needs some concentration rather being a 'push and forget' operation.

A lot of the 'terminal' issues such as torn clew patches etc are typically a result of people trying to grunt their way out of a problem. If you get a wrap/bunch or the sail stops furling - stop winding and go investigate.

Dirt on sails - this may be bit superfluous for some people but for others not; with the in mast set up you can get a lot of 'rain dirt' and also grease etc from the internal mechanics running down the inside of the rig and staining the sail. This is obviously going to more apparent on white sails than grey/black sails. 

Sail shape - this has been covered enough above but there is a clear trade-off with sail shape compared to slab-reefing and even in-boom furling. 

Mandrel noise -this is typically only an issue when the mainsail is removed as there is less tension on the foil section and it slaps around inside the rig. It can be solved by hoisting a loop up the mandrel and pulling a line aft from this point to stabilise the foil. For the sake of everyone else in the marina or anchorage - tension your foil!

And now the positives;

Ease-of-use - it is a very simple and labour-free system to operate. Given OPs situation with his wife, I would think this system (along with in-boom) are the only systems where his wife could reliably/consistently be part of the sail handling, assuming the outhaul is on an electric winch along with the mandrel. Even if OP operates the system alone it's again one of the few systems where he would theoretically never have to leave the cockpit - even good lazy-jacks/Dutchman etc typically need some tidying up plus there's the additional mainsail cover/zipping the stackpack shut. 

One of the biggest 'adverts' for this system are the Oyster yachts - the majority of their yachts up to about 70ft use the in-mast system, this is hundreds of boats now, and many of these have successfully circumnavigated or done big 'blue water' cruising miles without any issues. 

For short-handed cruising where ease-of-use is the priority I would definitely consider it. It's not fool-proof but nothing is.

 

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, TwoLegged said:
13 hours ago, slug zitski said:

the furling main can instantly  be reefed to present conditions … you always have the correct power 

Not so.

With a furling main, you can more easily have whatever sail area you want.  But you can never have the correct power, because the sail shape is compromised.

Given that I don't race this boat and never will, I've found the ease and handling and the quick reefing far outweigh the loss in sail performance. And once you start reefing, it makes a lot less difference.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, NZK said:

I've done a few crossings and a fair bit of maintenance/sail installs on in-mast furling boats - for me they're a mixed bag. Here are my negatives/points to be aware of;

I wouldn't consider full vertical battens - they add a lot of weight, increase wear on the sails (more chafe as you furl through the slot in the mast) and can make install/removal of the sail a LOT harder. If the OP is effectively single handed then any incidents that might require dropping the mainsail whilst underway (or at the dock) will turn into a major drama. For me the very slight improvement in sail shape is not at all worth the trade-off in this situation.

Above point about wear/chafe on sail - furling/reefing whilst underway with sails drawing is possible but creates a lot of chafe through the slot. To best preserve the sail you'll need to be diligent to furl head to wind whenever possible. 

Furling issues - almost all issues when furling are a result of operator error, you need to maintain enough clew tension to get a clean furl to avoid bunching inside the mast. I fucked this up on my first crossing and spent a few hours at the gooseneck hand winding the gear-box to extract a bunched section of the mainsail - definitely do not recommend. Having said that it's not very difficult to get it right - just needs some concentration rather being a 'push and forget' operation.

A lot of the 'terminal' issues such as torn clew patches etc are typically a result of people trying to grunt their way out of a problem. If you get a wrap/bunch or the sail stops furling - stop winding and go investigate.

Dirt on sails - this may be bit superfluous for some people but for others not; with the in mast set up you can get a lot of 'rain dirt' and also grease etc from the internal mechanics running down the inside of the rig and staining the sail. This is obviously going to more apparent on white sails than grey/black sails. 

Sail shape - this has been covered enough above but there is a clear trade-off with sail shape compared to slab-reefing and even in-boom furling. 

Mandrel noise -this is typically only an issue when the mainsail is removed as there is less tension on the foil section and it slaps around inside the rig. It can be solved by hoisting a loop up the mandrel and pulling a line aft from this point to stabilise the foil. For the sake of everyone else in the marina or anchorage - tension your foil!

And now the positives;

Ease-of-use - it is a very simple and labour-free system to operate. Given OPs situation with his wife, I would think this system (along with in-boom) are the only systems where his wife could reliably/consistently be part of the sail handling, assuming the outhaul is on an electric winch along with the mandrel. Even if OP operates the system alone it's again one of the few systems where he would theoretically never have to leave the cockpit - even good lazy-jacks/Dutchman etc typically need some tidying up plus there's the additional mainsail cover/zipping the stackpack shut. 

One of the biggest 'adverts' for this system are the Oyster yachts - the majority of their yachts up to about 70ft use the in-mast system, this is hundreds of boats now, and many of these have successfully circumnavigated or done big 'blue water' cruising miles without any issues. 

For short-handed cruising where ease-of-use is the priority I would definitely consider it. It's not fool-proof but nothing is.

 

Many good points on both sides here, and consistent with our experience.

Hallberg-Rassy also put in-mast on their boats.

We've never had a problem which was not self-inflicted. Once you learn the right want to set and douse the sail, there are few problems to be had. And the ease of handling means you aren't at all shy about trying to sail a broader ranger of wind conditions. To light and too slow? You can put it away in a minute with no effort.

Our main is about 130 lbs, which is a pretty hefty sail to be cranking up and down.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:
14 hours ago, TwoLegged said:
14 hours ago, slug zitski said:

the furling main can instantly  be reefed to present conditions … you always have the correct power 

Not so.

With a furling main, you can more easily have whatever sail area you want.  But you can never have the correct power, because the sail shape is compromised.

Given that I don't race this boat and never will, I've found the ease and handling and the quick reefing far outweigh the loss in sail performance. And once you start reefing, it makes a lot less difference.

Sure, you are aware of the trade-off, and you are happy with the trade-off.  Fair enough.

I was replying to a post which seemed to imply that there is no trade-off

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

I can't help wondering whether one of the major issues pushing people to furling mains is a problem of opulence: loadsamoney lets people buy bigger boats than they can handle, so they load the boat up with more systems to allow them to sail it without sharing their ride with extra crew.

You should come to rural Minnesota, where we still live in the shadow of Thorstein Veblen.  You'd fit right in. They've turned the house where Veblen grew up into a historic site, which (irony of ironies) is now occupied by semi-retired scholars who don't have to work, making it manifest exactly the sort of conspicuous consumption of positional goods that he wrote about so eloquently.  It's open to public tours one day a year, and I went once.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, 2airishuman said:

You should come to rural Minnesota, where we still live in the shadow of Thorstein Veblen.  You'd fit right in. They've turned the house where Veblen grew up into a historic site, which (irony of ironies) is now occupied by semi-retired scholars who don't have to work, making it manifest exactly the sort of conspicuous consumption of positional goods that he wrote about so eloquently.  It's open to public tours one day a year, and I went once.

I had to Google Thorstein Veblen.  He sounds like an interesting, if erratic, figure of the progressive Era.

But that use of his house does not surprise me.  Sadly, such relics of the thinkers are rarely managed by people with much respect for the ideas.  William Morris's house in Kelmscott is run by craft fans who merchandise gifts, but entirely omit an mention of the fact hat he was a prominent, pioneering socialist.

Similar, Victor Hugo's house in Guernsey is run by the French govt, who organise it as a museum of the stuff which Hugo collected.  The tour gives no hint of his radical politics.

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, NZK said:

I've done a few crossings and a fair bit of maintenance/sail installs on in-mast furling boats - for me they're a mixed bag. Here are my negatives/points to be aware of;

I wouldn't consider full vertical battens - they add a lot of weight, increase wear on the sails (more chafe as you furl through the slot in the mast) and can make install/removal of the sail a LOT harder. If the OP is effectively single handed then any incidents that might require dropping the mainsail whilst underway (or at the dock) will turn into a major drama. For me the very slight improvement in sail shape is not at all worth the trade-off in this situation.

Above point about wear/chafe on sail - furling/reefing whilst underway with sails drawing is possible but creates a lot of chafe through the slot. To best preserve the sail you'll need to be diligent to furl head to wind whenever possible. 

Furling issues - almost all issues when furling are a result of operator error, you need to maintain enough clew tension to get a clean furl to avoid bunching inside the mast. I fucked this up on my first crossing and spent a few hours at the gooseneck hand winding the gear-box to extract a bunched section of the mainsail - definitely do not recommend. Having said that it's not very difficult to get it right - just needs some concentration rather being a 'push and forget' operation.

A lot of the 'terminal' issues such as torn clew patches etc are typically a result of people trying to grunt their way out of a problem. If you get a wrap/bunch or the sail stops furling - stop winding and go investigate.

Dirt on sails - this may be bit superfluous for some people but for others not; with the in mast set up you can get a lot of 'rain dirt' and also grease etc from the internal mechanics running down the inside of the rig and staining the sail. This is obviously going to more apparent on white sails than grey/black sails. 

Sail shape - this has been covered enough above but there is a clear trade-off with sail shape compared to slab-reefing and even in-boom furling. 

Mandrel noise -this is typically only an issue when the mainsail is removed as there is less tension on the foil section and it slaps around inside the rig. It can be solved by hoisting a loop up the mandrel and pulling a line aft from this point to stabilise the foil. For the sake of everyone else in the marina or anchorage - tension your foil!

And now the positives;

Ease-of-use - it is a very simple and labour-free system to operate. Given OPs situation with his wife, I would think this system (along with in-boom) are the only systems where his wife could reliably/consistently be part of the sail handling, assuming the outhaul is on an electric winch along with the mandrel. Even if OP operates the system alone it's again one of the few systems where he would theoretically never have to leave the cockpit - even good lazy-jacks/Dutchman etc typically need some tidying up plus there's the additional mainsail cover/zipping the stackpack shut. 

One of the biggest 'adverts' for this system are the Oyster yachts - the majority of their yachts up to about 70ft use the in-mast system, this is hundreds of boats now, and many of these have successfully circumnavigated or done big 'blue water' cruising miles without any issues. 

For short-handed cruising where ease-of-use is the priority I would definitely consider it. It's not fool-proof but nothing is.

 

Great post. I'll add one point.

Chafe and friction can be hugely  reduced by treating your  sails with McLube Sailkote. IMO, this should be standard procedure for in-mast sails. Also, teflon (millionaires) tape at the edges of the slot is worth it's weight in gold. 

Your point about maintaining clew tension while rolling out is important, and reinforces that this is not a blind process. 

The reason the process is not fool-proof is that fools are more determined than the rest of us, and I'm a fool myself, frequently.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

I can't help wondering whether one of the major issues pushing people to furling mains is a problem of opulence: loadsamoney lets people buy bigger boats than they can handle, so they load the boat up with more systems to allow them to sail it without sharing their ride with extra crew.

Old and lazy both play their parts as well.

It's becoming almost uncommon to see sailboats with both sails up around here.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

I can't help wondering whether one of the major issues pushing people to furling mains is a problem of opulence: loadsamoney lets people buy bigger boats than they can handle, so they load the boat up with more systems to allow them to sail it without sharing their ride with extra crew.

Maybe but for me it is age, plain and simple. I used to have tremendous athletic balance but now after knee replacements and normal aging I CAN go up on deck, but I am just not as comfortable and confident about it as I used to be and don’t want to do it every damn day. It really has zero to do with the size of the boat. I felt exactly the same about it on my 28 footer as I do on the 35.

Why judge people? Just do what you want and be happy with it.

Also regarding the comments about vertical battens, I completely agree, they are like tits on a bull for this use case.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, loneshark64 said:

Why judge people? Just do what you want and be happy with it.

Judging others is what some people have to do to feel better about themselves. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, loneshark64 said:

Why judge people? Just do what you want and be happy with it.

i was trying to understand, but it's interesting that you choose to take it as a judgement.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, TwoLegged said:

i was trying to understand, but it's interesting that you choose to take it as a judgement.

:lol::lol::lol:

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, TwoLegged said:

i was trying to understand, but it's interesting that you choose to take it as a judgement.

ok so your way of ”understanding” is to say people want these things because they have too much money, want more than they need and don’t want to share?

You understand by judging, apparently. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, loneshark64 said:

ok so your way of ”understanding” is to say people want these things because they have too much money, want more than they need and don’t want to share?

You understand by judging, apparently. 

methinks you protest too much.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Back to the question. I race on an Oyster 53 with in-mast during. As a serious racing sailor, I was skeptical, but with a properly-designed main, sail shape was surprisingly good.

The owner and his wife (both around 70) sail the boat double handed when not racing.

Reefing and un-reefing take coordination between outhaul and furler. It can be done by one person, but is easier with two when racing.

This boat has electric furling and an electric outhaul winch, which make life a lot easier on a boat this big.

I have another friend (about 75) who double-hands his Baltic 51 with his wife. They put on a Leisurefurl boom and electric winches.

From a pure performance perspective, the in-boom furler is probably better. From a functionality perspective, there are advantages to each. 

The quality of the equipment, and the way it is maintained, matter.

Bottom line, I would not reject a boat with a high-quality in-mast furling system, but I think those come into their own on boats of 40+ feet.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was a teenager in the 1970s, there were no furling headsails, and headsails were most of the sail area.  There were no electonic autopilots, and hardly anyone had self-steering.

Boats over 30 feet were not easily single-handed, esp on coastal trips.   So the older rich people who owned the 35+ footers  had boats with plenty of berths to accommodate extra crew.  Those boats rarely sailed with less than three or four people, so there was a mixing of the generations and a transfer of skills and experience. 

Nowadays, an electric-furling pushbutton-everything boat can be sailed without that crew, so the social mixing and skill transfer doesn't happen.

Gollom approves, but the lack of sharing doesn't make the world a better place. There are good reasons why every major religion advocates sharing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 40,000lb 50'er with about 110m^2 worth of white sails and a 100m^2 asymmetric. She's also got a couple of power winches, a below-decks autopilot, battcars, a stackpack, a roller furled jib, and two helms. All of these things make it far easier for me to sail the boat solo or with just one other person, yet we almost always go out with two to six other people, generally one or two generations younger than us. Why? Because we like to.  

I realize that you have a narrative to maintain and that you prefer the last word on almost everything, but you should realize that your overgeneralizations come at the expense of credibility.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Right, well, one of the themes I'm drawing from this thread is that in-mast furling doesn't necessarily make it more practical to be shorthanded.  Rather, it makes it faster and more practical to go on short daysails and, on passage, to increase and decrease the amount of sail that's up.

In that light, if we're going to look for a connection to social trends, it would fit in more with a different broad shift in outdoor recreation.  There is a strong trend towards more day trips and fewer overnight trips.  To save our TwoLegged the trouble, I will blame exploitative capitalist employers and the decline of the union and worker protections.  There have been many other explanations put forth also.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, IStream said:

I have a 40,000lb 50'er with about 110m^2 worth of white sails and a 100m^2 asymmetric. She's also got a couple of power winches, a below-decks autopilot, battcars, a stackpack, a roller furled jib, and two helms. All of these things make it far easier for me to sail the boat solo or with just one other person, yet we almost always go out with two to six other people, generally one or two generations younger than us. Why? Because we like to.  

I realize that you have a narrative to maintain and that you prefer the last word on almost everything, but you should realize that your overgeneralizations come at the expense of credibility.

So you like haring.  Good for you.

That doesn't alter the fact that others go for this gadgetry so that they don't have to share.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

When I was a teenager in the 1970s, there were no furling headsails, and headsails were most of the sail area.  There were no electonic autopilots, and hardly anyone had self-steering.

Boats over 30 feet were not easily single-handed, esp on coastal trips.   So the older rich people who owned the 35+ footers  had boats with plenty of berths to accommodate extra crew.  Those boats rarely sailed with less than three or four people, so there was a mixing of the generations and a transfer of skills and experience. 

Nowadays, an electric-furling pushbutton-everything boat can be sailed without that crew, so the social mixing and skill transfer doesn't happen.

Gollom approves, but the lack of sharing doesn't make the world a better place. There are good reasons why every major religion advocates sharing.

I know a fair number of people with yachts that they don't sail as much as they'd like to because they can't always find people to sail as much as they'd like to sail then. They enjoy sailing with others when they can.

I know others who are very good at persuading people to come sailing with them. Sometimes they still take people who aren't that 'useful', perhaps slightly frail non sailors or grand children.

These labor saving devices are useful to all these people.

I'd like to say now that I'd never own a boat with a furling main, but I'm starting to understand how my strongly held views change as I get older...

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, European Bloke said:

I'd like to say now that I'd never own a boat with a furling main, but I'm starting to understand how my strongly held views change as I get older...

I think there are two possible solutions to sailing when less able, and they are not mutually exclusive.

  1. Start now to build a network of people who like to come sailing with you, and who you like sailing with.  Train them up if needed, and figure out how to do that in away that's enjoyable for all.  Figure out how to keep them interested.
  2. Start saving for a boat with electro-furling everything.

My all-time favourite boat was a small offshore cruiser-racer.  Not my favourite design, but favourite for its spirit.  It was raced heavily offshore, and cruised a lot.  The skipper would take her on a long cruise with some of his family, and then some of the crew would cruise back with their family.  Then they'd all go racing again.  Whichever port she arrived in, there always seemed to be lots of people on board, with most berths in use including the pilot berths.

Its owner from new began to age, and realised he was a bit beyond managing her, so he sold the boat to one of his crew.  Ex-owner kept sailing, but slowly stepped back from skipper duties as the new owner gained confidence.  A decade later, the cycle repeated: a younger crew member bought her, and continued the tradition.  There were lots of very happy people on that boat, and a lot who learnt on her then went on to skipper boats of their own.

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, TwoLegged said:

I think there are two possible solutions to sailing when less able, and they are not mutually exclusive.

  1. Start now to build a network of people who like to come sailing with you, and who you like sailing with.  Train them up if needed, and figure out how to do that in away that's enjoyable for all.  Figure out how to keep them interested.
  2. Start saving for a boat with electro-furling everything.

My all-time favourite boat was a small offshore cruiser-racer.  Not my favourite design, but favourite for its spirit.  It was raced heavily offshore, and cruised a lot.  The skipper would take her on a long cruise with some of his family, and then some of the crew would cruise back with their family.  Then they'd all go racing again.  Whichever port she arrived in, there always seemed to be lots of people on board, with most berths in use including the pilot berths.

Its owner from new began to age, and realised he was a bit beyond managing her, so he sold the boat to one of his crew.  Ex-owner kept sailing, but slowly stepped back from skipper duties as the new owner gained confidence.  A decade later, the cycle repeated: a younger crew member bought her, and continued the tradition.  There were lots of very happy people on that boat, and a lot who learnt on her then went on to skipper boats of their own.

I have the impression that a fair number of people have tried to do (1), failed,  and are now falling back on (2). Maybe they should have tried harder? Maybe it's just more difficult than it used to be? I don't ķnow.

 I'm just unpopular (and poor) so looking at smaller boats that don't need electric assistance.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

 

  1. Start now to build a network of people who like to come sailing with you, and who you like sailing with.  Train them up if needed, and figure out how to do that in away that's enjoyable for all.  Figure out how to keep them interested.
  2. Start saving for a boat with electro-furling everything.

3. Buy a trawler. 

There’s a group of crusty old Maine bastards (good guys actually; I do not malign them unfairly, they know they’re bastards, it is kind of the goal) in our town who take it upon themselves to tell me what to do, because I am a young boy of 57.

I got so much “advice” on this boat purchase. One is still trying to sell me his 1960s ketch which looks like it was made of old growth forest and pitch. If it doesn’t have teak, a fisherman’s anchor and astrolabe, it’s a newfangled pussy boat. 

Fortunately, as my wife (an Irish woman who “understands” sarcasm, is immune to irony, and always gets the last word) often says, I don’t give a shit what other people think. 

I love this furling contraption.

By the way, over the last 4 years, to a man, all four of the “old Maine bastards” have gone with “option 3”. Ranger Tug, Grady White, and two big trawlers with flat screen TVs, front loading refrigerators and electric windlasses big enough for an aircraft carrier. I will do what I have to do to keep sailing.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

 

That doesn't alter the fact that others go for this gadgetry so that they don't have to share.

I think we've found the right person to lead an army of social justice warriors to attack the Selden and Leisure Furl factories. "Bout time! 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Cruisin Loser said:

I think we've found the right person to lead an army of social justice warriors to attack the Selden and Leisure Furl factories. "Bout time! 

I thought that CL was more mature than that.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a 38 foot boat in a slip near to my boat.   The owner is 89 years old and he and his wife go cruising for up to a week at a time.   The only concession to age is an electric halyard winch.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/8/2021 at 2:27 AM, slug zitski said:

For a cruiser a furling main is faster than a slab 

the furling main can instantly  be reefed to present conditions … you always have the correct power 

furl/reef an in mast sail and you get a worse parachute and theres nothing you can do about the shape

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Sailabout said:

furl/reef an in mast sail and you get a worse parachute and theres nothing you can do about the shape

 

12 hours ago, accnick said:

Back to the question. I race on an Oyster 53 with in-mast during. As a serious racing sailor, I was skeptical, but with a properly-designed main, sail shape was surprisingly good.

 

On 9/7/2021 at 3:57 PM, Cruisin Loser said:

You can get good sail shape, if you buy good sails. 

 

37 minutes ago, TwoLegged said:

I thought that CL was more mature than that.

Wrong. :lol:

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, AnIdiot said:

I have the impression that a fair number of people have tried to do (1), failed,  and are now falling back on (2). Maybe they should have tried harder? Maybe it's just more difficult than it used to be? I don't ķnow.

 I'm just unpopular (and poor) so looking at smaller boats that don't need electric assistance.

When you are shopping for a new boat, you don't know what gadgetry you will end up with. This summer I came really close to buying a boat with in-mast furling. Ended up at the last minute switching to a boat I liked better, which happened to have a new strong track and an electric winch. Of course I now am a big proponent of the electric winch. :D  I could have easily ended up a furling-main fan.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

It’s hard to over-state how critical the sailmaker is for creating a successful mainsail for in-mast furling.

Gary Leduc  of Quantum designed the furling main for the Oyster 53 I sail on. He then spent a day sailing with the crew to teach us how to shape it and use it effectively.

That makes all the difference.

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

That doesn't alter the fact that others go for this gadgetry so that they don't have to share.

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

I think there are two possible solutions to sailing when less able, and they are not mutually exclusive.

  1. Start now to build a network of people who like to come sailing with you, and who you like sailing with.  Train them up if needed, and figure out how to do that in away that's enjoyable for all.  Figure out how to keep them interested.
  2. Start saving for a boat with electro-furling everything.

We (my wife and I) have, for the last three years, made as much of an effort as we know how to involve other people in our sailing.  We invite our adult children to go sailing,  We invite other relatives to go sailing,  We invite friends to go sailing.  We invite people we don't know well who express interest in sailing to join us for a day.

Out of all of this, there are a total of four people who genuinely enjoy the activity and come back often.  Three of them due to age and infirmity are essentially along for the ride, and one (my youngest daughter) is capable help and will someday be able to do this herself.

I don't think this is a problem we can solve.  There are a number of contributing factors:

  1. Scheduling.  People don't have time.  Some of them work retail and have unpredictable schedules with few weekend days off.  Some of them have kids that are in dance or gymnastics or soccer or whatever, and the demands of those activities are now so great that they don't have free time.
  2. The physicality of sailing.  At 55 I do not see myself as young or thin but I enjoy moving around the foredeck, enjoy the motion of the boat, like to swim, etc., and don't see that changing anytime soon.  Many if not most friends and acquaintances my age are way overweight and lack the strength and balance to move around the boat comfortably even if they do not assist with sailing.
  3. Small boat.  26'.  We're selling it and moving up as mentioned in the OP, but I'm not sure that will make much difference.
  4. Lack of much of a boat-related social scene locally where we might meet people who like to sail.
  5. No doubt my lack of social skills and poor choice of swimwear also contribute.

Anyway I don't need or want automatic electric everything, I just want lines to the cockpit and an autopilot that mostly works.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

With the size boat you are looking at, all the sail handling gear can be manual.

If you want to cruise more than casually, you’ll want a good autopilot and a good electric anchor windlass.

My wife and I circumnavigated when we were in our 50s and sixties. We had a heavy, powerful 40-foot cutter that we designed and built for the purpose. We went oversize on deck gear—with no regret—treating it as a 50-footer for purposes of specifying gear from winches to rigging to ground tackle.

In hindsight, I wish we had an electric main halyard winch for the sole purpose of going aloft, not for hoisting the main. Even with oversized two-speed halyard winches, it was hard for my 42kg/92lb 60+ year-old wife to put me up the mast. Yes, we had steps to the first set of spreaders, but not above that.

As you get older, sometimes you adapt the boat to yourself, sometimes you adapt yourself to the boat.
 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, accnick said:

With the size boat you are looking at, all the sail handling gear can be manual.

I agree. (For clarity, I started this thread to try to understand whether and how fast to run away from any boat for sale that already has a furling main, not because I had any intention of seeking out such a boat or adding the gear to a boat without it)

1 minute ago, accnick said:

In hindsight, I wish we had an electric main halyard winch for the sole purpose of going aloft, not for hoisting the main. Even with oversized two-speed halyard winches, it was hard for my 42kg/92lb 60+ year-old wife to put me up the mast. Yes, we had steps to the first set of spreaders, but not above that.

I haven't climbed the mast on my H26 beyond the point of standing on the boom to reach the lazyjack blocks.  It's small enough that I lower the mast for maintenance.

But if I did, I would be far more comfortable using ascenders rather than being hoisted up using an electric winch.  There have been serious accidents using winches to hoist people.  I recall one on a boat where the button jammed and the winch operator couldn't get the line out of the self-tailer quickly enough.  On radio towers it's a common accident scenario for tower climbers to be injured or killed when using the equipment hoist to haul people up who are tired and don't want to climb the hard way.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, 2airishuman said:

I agree. (For clarity, I started this thread to try to understand whether and how fast to run away from any boat for sale that already has a furling main, not because I had any intention of seeking out such a boat or adding the gear to a boat without it)

I haven't climbed the mast on my H26 beyond the point of standing on the boom to reach the lazyjack blocks.  It's small enough that I lower the mast for maintenance.

But if I did, I would be far more comfortable using ascenders rather than being hoisted up using an electric winch.  There have been serious accidents using winches to hoist people.  I recall one on a boat where the button jammed and the winch operator couldn't get the line out of the self-tailer quickly enough.  On radio towers it's a common accident scenario for tower climbers to be injured or killed when using the equipment hoist to haul people up who are tired and don't want to climb the hard way.

Been there done that 

hoisting a man, power winch , winch went wild ….I shouted out, runaway! !…mast man scrambled out of the chair and onto the top spreader, chair wound into masthead

 

be alert 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I put the winch breakers physically close to my winches so they could be tripped in such a scenario. However, I've never seen it happen.

The bigger danger, in my mind, is lowering the chair (with a manual winch or a one-direction powered winch without power down). When the hauler takes the line off the tailer and is letting it slip through their hands, it only takes a moment of distraction to let that line get out of control. When I'm in the chair, it's on the way down that I'm sweating.

Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, IStream said:

The bigger danger, in my mind, is lowering the chair (with a manual winch or a one-direction powered winch without power down). When the hauler takes the line off the tailer and is letting it slip through their hands, it only takes a moment of distraction to let that line get out of control. When I'm in the chair, it's on the way down that I'm sweating.

You don't use a belay line???

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, 2airishuman said:

You don't use a belay line???

Of course, but that's a second halyard that's also managed by the helper. What if they forget to close the clutch properly, etc? Whether it's a 6' fall on the belay slack, a 60' fall to the deck, I still think the getting down process is more failure prone than the electric hoisting process.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Cruisin Loser said:

I think we've found the right person to lead an army of social justice warriors to attack the Selden and Leisure Furl factories. "Bout time! 

 

Take it to PA.

 

Damn bit I've waited a long time to say that.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, IStream said:

Of course, but that's a second halyard that's also managed by the helper. What if they forget to close the clutch properly, etc? Whether it's a 6' fall on the belay slack, a 60' fall to the deck, I still think the getting down process is more failure prone than the electric hoisting process.

Why would you not tie it off yourself on deck before ascent and use a belay/rappel device on your harness?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

So you like haring.  Good for you.

That doesn't alter the fact that others go for this gadgetry so that they don't have to share.

What's wrong with not always sharing?  Like others here, I've spent my life owning PHRF racer/cruisers...6 of them over 32 plus years.  Raced and cruised them with family and friends.  Recruited new folks to the crew and have become life long friends with them.  In one case, I had 2 non sailor friends, who met crewing on my boat, got engaged crewing on my boat, and proposed on my boat.  They then went off and have had 2 of their own boats.  So what you say about sharing definitely can work.

That said, my wife is an introvert.  Professionally, first as a Naval Aviator, and now as a Corporate Executive, her work required/requires her to act the extrovert.  So by the end of the work week, she has what she lightly terms, "people headaches."  While she used to be my foredeck, now if I want her to come sailing with me, nevermind race with me, she doesn't want it to involve a crowd.  So I do want a boat that we can sail together and very specifically, "not share" - at least some of the time, when she is on it.  Personally, there's nothing wrong with that in my mind.

Some people want to sail with others.  Some don't.  To each his own.  It doesn't make one of us better or morally superior to the other.  It just makes us different...

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/7/2021 at 7:31 PM, IStream said:

Call me a heretic but I just drop my main into the bag and zip it up. No flaking. 8 years on since I got the boat (and the main wasn't new) and it seems none the worse for wear.

We are at least 2 heretics!

IME If once a year you spray a bit of Teflon in the mast track, opening the jammer is good enough to get the main down. It might not be very neat but in my book safety trumps neatness and I would avoid anything that is less convenient than a stack pack on a cruising boat.

I think that it is better for the sail longevity as if you insist on adding creases in the same place again and again the fabric will suffer in those places.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, 2airishuman said:

Why would you not tie it off yourself on deck before ascent and use a belay/rappel device on your harness?

Funny you should mention it, I just bought a couple of ascenders...

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Take it to PA.

 

Damn bit I've waited a long time to say that.

:lol::lol:!

Link to post
Share on other sites

To me, a full battened mainsail is the way to go for cruising, so yeah, I'd bypass boats that don't have it.

One reason is that you can get huge mileage out of the sail, lose less shape, not have to worry about it as a safety issue if it starts to lose shape, and get it re-cut for pennies on the dollar(compared to buying a whole new sail) once it does lose shape, and it'll be 95% of what it was the day you bought it, for many, many more miles.

But I'll stop there, don't want to start a culture war...

...instead maybe I'll just say that these so-called 'performance losses' actually translate to comfort losses, especially upwind higher up through the wind range. Why even bother contemplating getting to the point that your mainsail is blown, it could snag, and your boat will underperform badly until you get a whole new main, when you can get to way more than acceptable with a recut of your old full battened main...

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/9/2021 at 4:24 PM, TwoLegged said:

So you like haring.  Good for you.

That doesn't alter the fact that others go for this gadgetry so that they don't have to share.

Or maybe they want a boat that a couple can handle easily, so they don't have to depend on the availability of others to use their boat.

We invited a LOT more people out on our boat over the years than ever came sailing with us. For every 10 people that said "that sounds like fun, I'd love to come out with you" maybe 1 or 2 ever made it out.

When we had our C&C37 the first season, we also had a toddler and a newborn and we thought we needed help to handle the boat while someone wrangled the children. What happened, is we missed about half the good weekends because I couldn't scrounge up an extra pair of hands to take off for a weekend with us.

After one season of that happy horseshit we decided we were sailing the boat with the two of us, period, otherwise we simply didn't have good control of our destiny when it came to using our boat.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, B.J. Porter said:
On 9/9/2021 at 5:24 AM, TwoLegged said:

That doesn't alter the fact that others go for this gadgetry so that they don't have to share.

Or maybe they want a boat that a couple can handle, so they don't have to depend on the availability of others to use their boat.

That's much the same thing, isn't it?  The difference is how proactively the crew search is done.

Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, d'ranger said:

CL has a wicked sense of humor - and I think subscribes to "you have to grow older, you don't have to grow up" as do I. 

In this case, crass comments about "social justice warriors" are evidence not of a sense of humour, but of lazy thinking spewing out one of the cliché abuse terms of the contemporary American I'm-all-right-jack brigade.

Link to post
Share on other sites