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Main As In-mast Furler Or As Reefin Sail?

  • Thread starter Jose Vicuna
  • Start date
J

Jose Vicuna

#1
New to this interesting forum and in search of the best suitable Moody for my size and age, allow me to say "Hi" and feel at ease placing my question in my yet poor English:

Background: though I will not always be sailing alone, many times I will and other times I will not be able to count on deck help. That means that I need to consider sailing mainly single-handed. And, although I am still quite fit, I have already entered my 7th decade.

Now, I have seen that many of the Moody models, from 90's onward, are fitted with Selden in-mast furlers for the main sheet. I have asked some boat owners of other makes, with and without in-mast furlers, and have not yet come to a conclusion if advantages or disadvantages overrule.
For my purpose of single-handed sailing, in-mast will be surely a great help...; but what about the dangers?

I would much appreciate if those of you Moodiers with experience on both systems could give me some guidance concerning if it is advisable. And if so, also some orientation as to the most suitable system and adequate sail (battened or not). Great will be if you can also give me some hints as to what to look this concerning when looking at a potential purchase of certain age (20 - 30 years, for my actual budget).

Thanks in advance
Jose
 

Peter Wright

Peter Wright
Boat name
WILD THYME
Berth
Suffolk Yacht Harbour
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
North Sea, English Channel, Biscay
#2
Hi Jose,

Welcome to the forum and your English is very good.

First, some history:earlier Moodys had masts built by Kemp, who were, from 1976 50% owned by Selden and I cannot perceive any design difference berween Selden and Kemp gear of that era. In 1985, Selden and Kemp launched their in-mast furling system, branded as Furlin'. In 1992 Selden acquired the remaining 50% of Kemp, but continued using the Kemp name until 1997, so British built boats pre 1997 are unlikely to have Selden branded spars, but Kemp spars are the same.

I am not aware of the term Reefin you use in your heading, so assume you are referring to conventional slab feeding, as opposed to in-mast systems such as Selden's Furlin'.

When we first bought Wild Thyme, 8 years ago, as racing sailors of many years experience, we were quite sceptical about the Kemp Furlin system she had, and looked into replacing it with conventional slab reefing. However, it became clear that the onlydecent way of achieving this would be to replacethe mast with a new one, an expense we weren't willing to bear, so we decided to stick with the in-mast system and see how well it worked. It was clear when we bought the boat that the sails needed replacement, so we discussed the possibilities with a sailmaker I have used for many years. He built us a new sail with short vertical batten, arranged so that they do not overlap when rolling up the sail - this permits a straight leach as opposed to the concave leach of the previous unbattened sail. If you want a convex leach, you can have full height vertical battens, which obviously overlap so must increase the chances of the sail jamming when furling.

Nearly 8 years and nearly 8000 miles later, this sail still sets well and the only jams we have experienced have been through laziness in setting or furling the sail, and have cleared easily, by reversing the process, rather than just pulling harder. We are now fully oersuaded if the benefits of in-mast furling for cruising yachts. It enables rapid changemof mainsail area with minimal effort so that, even when short handed, we are never reluctant to do it.

The down sides of in-mast furling are, slightly reduced mainsail area, unless you go for full height flattens. More weight aloft, reducing stability, particularly when reefed. The risk of a jam, preventing the sail being reefed or curled when needed. The first two of these should be taken into account in the design of a yacht designed for in-mast furling, and our experience suggests that Bill Dixon did this with the larger Moodys.The issue of jamming is, I believe, very dependent on the condition of the sail and how it has been treated. If it's old and baggy, a jam is much more likely. If, in response to a jam the furling line is just pulled harder, the jammed part of the sail will just be stretched more, increasing the chance of future jams. The other important thing is maintenance of the furling gear - it seems some yachtsmen expect this equipment to work forever without being cared for.

In conclusion, for short handed cruising in yachts over about 40 ft., I would say in-mast mast furling is the ideal option. However, the owner must learn how to use it properly and ensure that it is regularly maintained.

Peter.
 

Duncan Hall

Duncan Hall
Boat name
GOOSE
Berth
Mayflower, Plymouth
Boat type
Moody 42
Cruising area
South Coast
#3
I have a 2001 Moody 42 with in mast furling. I purchased it about a year ago and purchased new sails at the same time. I had considerable conversations with sail makers about the best type of sail and battens to use. I ended up with half battens and Vectran material.

I find it easy to furl and unfurl but one must take care not to get the sail jammed. The key is having the boom at the correct angle.

I often sail single handed and find it much easier to sail than my previous boat a Moody 31 as all lines are back to the cockpit.

Regards

Duncan
 
J

Jose Vicuna

#4
Thanks a lot, Peter, for your profuse information, so well explained. Thanks Duncan for sharing your experience.
By 'reefin' I meant to say "reefing", but only b'c I was lacking the word and concept "slab feeding". Thanks.

Would you then say that for sizes < 40' is not such a good idea to have the in-mast sail furler?
And, if not avoidable, any particular aspects of the furler and mast I would have to watch closer before the purchase and afterwards for maintenance and risk avoidance
If you are used to it, maybe it is not difficult to issue a few hints.

And, again, thanks a lot for your instructive guidance.
Jose
 

Paul Crickmore

Paul Crickmore
Boat name
JONIKA
Berth
Whitehaven
Boat type
Moody Eclipse 33
Cruising area
UK West Coast
#5
Hello Jose,
I have an Eclipse 33 with in-mast furling and have never been disappointed by the performance under sail in reasonable wind. The lack of sail area shows more in lighter airs as being a newbie to having more than one headsail option I've never used a cruising chute. (and since the mousing line for the spinnaker halyard rotted though I've not got the option to hoist a chute right now)
 

Barry Cundy

Barry Cundy
Boat name
SUMMER WINE
Berth
Portsmouth
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
Solent
#6
Hi Jose,
I would agree with Peter’s thoughts and advice, when we bought Summer Wine 2 years ago we had a few problems with the in-mast furling jamming when pulling the sail out despite making sure we had cleaned and lubricated what we considered were all the important parts in the system. However, it later transpired that the problem was the clew outhaul car which runs along the top of the boom, although appearing to be ‘free’ this was jamming in the boom when pulling the main sail out. Eventually, after discussing with Peter, I removed the end of the boom, took the clew outhaul car and all the rollers off, cleaned everything including the track in the boom, dry film lubricated it all then reassembled ....... result being my wife can now unfurl and furl the main 90% each way without even using a winch!
It also makes it far easier when I am single handed sailing too.
Regards Barry
 

Peter Wright

Peter Wright
Boat name
WILD THYME
Berth
Suffolk Yacht Harbour
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
North Sea, English Channel, Biscay
#7
Hi Barry,

Glad that worked for you, but the multiple delrin tollers on that car do eventually wear and are no longer available as spares. When this occurs the options are around 2 days of a turner's time at £45/hour to make replacements or to go for Selden's current arrangement which is a ball bearing track on top of the boom at the aft end. That solution, which we chose, is no cheaper!

Peter.
 
Last edited:

Barry Cundy

Barry Cundy
Boat name
SUMMER WINE
Berth
Portsmouth
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
Solent
#8
Hi Peter,
Hopefully the 'eventually wear out' will not be for a good few years yet, the history of SW shows she has not been sailed very much until we bought her, and in my opinion there didn't appear to be any noticeable 'wear' on the delrin rollers - just completely gummed up with grease and muck, which once cleaned up looked brilliant.

I take note of your modification and excellent advice, thank you .......... hopefully I can avoid this expense for a while.
BR Barry
 
J

Jose Vicuna

#9
Hi all, Paul, Barry, Peter..., and thanks for expressing your thoughts and knowledge in such an instructive way for us newbies.
From Paul I learn that in-mast furler works also on a 33 footer, although from Peter I understand that there is a diminishing advantage in correspondence with the reduction of the available sail area. From Barry and Peter, that one should pay attention to the upper delrin rollers on the upper part of the mast...
But, when one goes to purchase a boat, and even on the previously recommended inspection by a reviewer, it is rare that one is willing, or allowed, to climb to the top of the mast (safety claims, hassle avoidance by the inspector...).f
How then can excess wear, fail maintenance or bodge covered with the seller's ability to handle the deficiency?

I greatly would appreciate some hints as to where, and how, to look at a Selden or Kemp in-mast furler.
Should proper furling be difficult (as opposed to the easiness described by Barry) and the cause not be,clearly detected, would it be necessary to demast the boat for proper checking? Can an inadequate grooming of the standing rigging be also the cause for inadequate functioning of the furler?

Thanks
Jose
 

Barry Cundy

Barry Cundy
Boat name
SUMMER WINE
Berth
Portsmouth
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
Solent
#10
Hi Jose,
The delrin rollers are in the top of the boom not the top of the mast as you can see in this photo, at the end of the boom below the two pulleys;
IMG_1070.PNG
These are what mine looked like when I removed them and hence the cause of the sticking;
IMG_0822.JPG Unfortunately i didn't take any photos once they were clean and before reassembly.

In my limited experience you can access most of the 'in mast' furling gear from access ports on the side of the mast, it is a bit tricky, but I managed to successfully clean everything and then greased it with Selden Furler Grease.

I would think that even on a poorly maintained in mast furler, it should furl fairly easy and you may have problems pulling the sail out, it is also important to get the 'boom' height and wind direction right, if its too high then the sail will be pulled out along the foot, but will not unfurl properly towards the top of the mast. The wind should also be a maximum of approx 20 degres either side of on the nose, so the sail isn't trying to turn a hard corner.
To me it isn't an exact science, a bit of trial and error to find out what works ........ I would get the current owner to show you they unfurl the sail and give you any tips on what if any problems they have had and how to remedy.

Regards Barry
 

Peter Wright

Peter Wright
Boat name
WILD THYME
Berth
Suffolk Yacht Harbour
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
North Sea, English Channel, Biscay
#11
Hi Jose,

Barry's photo shows the number of rollers involed in the car that carries the flew outhaul blocks - hence my estimate of time to turn up replacements.While I agree that most of the gear can be accessed through the ports at the lower end of the mast, one crucial bearing remains at the top, even when the sail is removed. I believe these systems should be removed from the mast for a thorough overhaul every 10 years (yes, this is a mast out of the boat job) and Selden recommend lubricating all the bearings every year. Sadly, as with headsail furlers, most owners expect them to work forever with no attention at all.

A common cause of difficulty in furling and unfurling is the sheaves in the deck organiser being seized solid, adding a lot of friction. A poor setup of the standing rigging can also cause problems, the mast should have just a small amount of positive bend to protect against inversion. Too much bend will cause problems for the furler.

Lastly, I agree with all Barry says about how to furl / unfurl except for "the wind 20 degrees of either side" -20 degrees is good, but on starboard tack, the sail will have a cleaner run onto the mandrel than on port so, except in light airs, we try to furl or unfurl on starboard.

Peter.
 
J

Jose Vicuna

#12
Hi sailors,

Thanks a lot for the information, pictures, guided remarks and for your dedicated time. I have now joined your OA (though I have no boat yet and will continue looking for a while) and will hence hopefully be able to consult MOA's technical library in order to avoid plaguing you with questions...
Just two last ones here: One crucial bearing remains in the top of the mast, Peter states. Is there a way of inspecting that guy without a 'mast out of the boat job'?
And if decided to take the mast out, any other particular inspections to be carried out benefiting from that chance and occasion?
The idea of an in-mast-furler is very appealing to me for single-hand sailing, but the idea of the guy jamming at high sea and with blows gives me some shivers.

Thanks also all for the good wishes.
Jose
 

Peter Wright

Peter Wright
Boat name
WILD THYME
Berth
Suffolk Yacht Harbour
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
North Sea, English Channel, Biscay
#13
Ola Jose and welcome as a member of the MOA,

The top mandrel bearing is the one in question and I don't know or any way to inspect it w ithout taking the furler out of the mast. It is possible to lubricate it with a spray can of your preferred lubricant (like Barry, I prefer a dry film type) with a fine pipe in the nozzle. You can access the bearing through the sail slot once you've reached the top of the mast.

When the mast comes down
  • The genoa furler should be fully overhauled at the same time
  • If the standing rigging has not been replaced in the last 10 year, then it's due
  • The lenses of navigation lights become crazed with exposure to UV light over the years - if you're replacing them think about led types.
  • The steaming /deck light fitted originally is a poor design - worth replacing with a decent one
  • Check condition of the VHF aerial and its cable - replace as necessary
  • If you are updating your electronic gear, this is the time to fit the new wind instrument transducer
  • Deck penetration for the cables going up the mast were originally Dri-plugs, known to many marine electricians as wet plugs. Replace them with decent glands or, better still, a Salty John cable port, making the connections above the head lining in the saloon. This may require longer cables up the mast, which is more easily done with the mast down.
Basically, most of this kit may be 30 years old, so its all worth thinking about when the mast is out of the boat. Hopefully, it won't all need doing.

Hope your search for a Moody goes well.

Peter.
 
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