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Moody 425 And In-mast Furling

Discussion in 'Thinking of buying a Moody ask a question here' started by Thomas Hay, 15/7/17.

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  1. The Moody 425 looks like the right boat for me and my wife in most every way, except that every one we have found has in-mast furling for the main. We hate what that does to the act of sailing and are really struggling with that being a deal breaker for us. (Yes we know all the arguments, this question isn't about whether our bias is right or not.)
    What are the options for replacing it with a traditional faking mainsail and any implications for resale or handling? I can't be the first person to ask this and hoping there is a cut and paste answer someone can easily pull from a member's forum.

    Thanks
     
  2. Peter Wright

    Peter Wright Peter Wright

    Messages:
    1,683
    Boat name:
    WILD THYME
    Berth:
    Suffolk Yacht Harbour
    Boat type:
    Moody 425
    Cruising area:
    North Sea, English Channel, Biscay
    Hi Thomas,

    I'm not sure what you mean by what in-mast furling does to the act of sailing, perhaps you would explain, meanwhile I'll try to answer your question.

    I'm afraid the only real answer is a new mast, which we looked into when we bought Wild Thyme, but rejected on cost grounds. Of course, it must be possible to take the furling gear out of a furling mast and rivet on a sail track, but this won't be easy because of the wide entry slot for the furling sail and the trysail track close to each other on the aft face of the furling mast and will not give a properly engineered solution. Personally I've never seen it done, but I would class such a solution along with the after market conversions to in-mast furling.

    Having set out with a bias against in-mast furling, we started with it 7 years ago and have come to like it. If you're an ex racer and enjoy constantly tweaking your sails, just as much is possible with this rig and reefing in a gale is certainly easier than slab reefing when you're short handed (1 or 2 up). Our main has short (non overlapping) vertical battens, so has a straight leech with no roach. That loses a bit of area, compared to a full roach but, if you want it, you can have a full roach with full height battens in the maxiroach style.

    Our Dacron mainsail, still sets well and we can control both the depth and position of its draught, 7 years and 6000 miles after John Parker built it along with a triradial furling genoa, so we've moved on from our past prejudice and enjoy our Moody 425 immensely - we never intended her for racing. which we have mostly left as an enjoyable memory.

    It's worth remembering that Bill Dixon designed the 425 for 2 roller furling sails - so you don't end up short canvased. Admittedly, below 10 knots true, she's a bit sluggish but as soon as the wind gets to that magic number she suddenly comes alive. At 18knots true, to windward you should think of the first reef and if you leave it to 20knots, you will see her speed up as she heels less and some helm comes off.

    How you reef or stow the sails has little effect on boat handling and the sail handing with a roller is easier for a small crew. I'm not sure about resale, but a lot of these boats are sailed by a couple, so it's possible that the lack of in-mast furling may devalue them a bit.

    Last thought, I think that on the very similar 422. in-mast furling was an option, so some were sold without it - I've certainly seen a 422 at sea with a standard main - if you're really set against in-mast, that may be your best option.

    Peter
     
  3. Peter,
    I want to thank you for the thoughtful response. Dawn and I have spent much time reading, talking and reflecting on your comments and they have been most helpful.

    First of all you have confirmed what I suspected about retrofitting an in-furling mast for a flaking sail.
    You were also honest about your own original misgivings. Can you talk more about that?

    For one thing you say that "reefing in a gale is easier". We have also read how important it is to get just the right tack before reefing an in-mast furling sail, and wonder how it is easier in a big blow?

    But the big thing for us you identified immediately -- our enjoyment of tweaking with the sails. You say you can tweak "just as much as possible with this rig". Exactly how is that done? How can you adjust the shape of the sail? Is there a cunningham? How are you adjusting the depth and position of the draught? How much do you miss having any roach?

    Maybe this is a discussion to take offline but we are intrigued and your experience has caused us to pause in our thinking.

    So thank you again. Hope to hear more.

    Tom
     
  4. Peter Wright

    Peter Wright Peter Wright

    Messages:
    1,683
    Boat name:
    WILD THYME
    Berth:
    Suffolk Yacht Harbour
    Boat type:
    Moody 425
    Cruising area:
    North Sea, English Channel, Biscay
    Hi Tom,

    Firstly, we share Wild Thyme with another couple and three out of the four of us have many decades of offshore racing experience, so we have a fair understanding of sail trim.

    Our initial misgivings about in-mast furling were based on our minimal experience of the system and the fact that the little experience comprised chartering in Croatia (Elan 333's) with blown out mainsails which were so baggy they had no chance of rolling up flat - hardly a fair basis on which to judge the system.

    As regards reefing a furling main in a gale, we find the easiest way is to come close hauled on starboard tack, dump the kicker, ease the main sheet to take all power out of the main then ease the outhaul (not let it go altogether) and wind in some sail, then repeat the last two steps until you've wound in as much as you want. Re-tension outhaul, sheet and set up the kicker. If you've enough hands available to have one easing the outhaul as the other winds up the sail, so much the better, but we only have one non ST winch for the control lines, so this isn't straightforward if there's a lot of load in the outhaul.

    No need to touch the halyard nor struggle getting eyes onto rams horns. It may sound a lot but, like a spinnaker gybe, it's far easier to do than to describe. The starboard tack thing makes it easier, but is not essential. When we bought her in 2010, she was on Gareloch and Chris and I delivered her to her new home port in Suffolk 2 up in NW gales. After the first 24 hours, we were reefing and shaking out confidently without calling the off-watch.

    The arrangements for tweaking are much as with any other masthead rig. The backstay has little influence on mast shape - the mast is a telegraph pole with no taper and little flexibility. Cranking on the backstay does wonders for the forestay tension (better than in a fractional because so little of the work goes into mast bend) but very little to flatten the main. To get the position of the draught right, use the main halyard (like we always did before Mr Cunningham) You should have it good and tight before you start reefing, as it's of little use thereafter.. For depth of draught you have the outhaul and for twist you have the kicker - just like any other main.

    With the in-mast furling, you don't want much mast bend in fact just enough to be sure it won't invert. The key to getting this is the way you set up the lowers - as I said, the backstay wont have much effect as it's directly counteracted by the identical gauge forestay.

    It's important, as always, to have your sails built by someone who understands how your rig works - the first thing we ordered for Wild Thyme was a new suit of sails from John Parker of Parker & Kay at Suffolk Yacht Harbour. nearly 6000 miles later, they're still setting beautifully.

    The only mod we have made to the in-mast system is to replace the outhaul car in the boom with a new ball race track on top as the delrin rollers / sliders in the boom were all shot and obsolete so replacements (about 50) would have to be individually machined up. We took the cheaper option - but not cheap!

    Hope that helps you reach your decision. If it's OK with you, I'd prefer to keep this on the forum to allow others to join in and leave a record for other interested parties.

    Peter
     
  5. Thanks. Dawn and I want to walk through this answer together more carefully but a great help. Glad to keep this in the forum -- wasn't sure what the protocol was but suits me. Also found a 425 whose owners have already replaced the mast for a flaking sail, but now we're not so certain. Want to talk to them about why/how/impact.

    Thanks again. Tom