Reefing a Main with in-mast Furling...

aadams1x

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This is my first post.. please be gentle! Also noted so many threads about in mast furling but none that addressed my concerns directly...

Have recently bought a boat which is fitted with in-mast furling.. this is the first boat of this type and I have a reefing question...

We have the Seldon Furling system which has a Ratchet and Free Setting..

If we want full main out, no issues, release both lines from the continuous loop and pull the outhaul... But what if we want to pull out to a reefed main...?

When it is windy as soon as we start pulling on the outhaul the flapping of the sail pulls out the rest of the main. We then need to furl the sail into the desired position, clamp the continous loop and tighten sail on the outhaul... is this the correct method? It seems hit and miss that the sail has to fly out before we bring it back in again.

Can someone walk me through the reefing procedure with the in-mast furling for both putting in and taking out reefs... sorry if this is a really simple question but i just cant get my head around the correct procedure and found nothing in the manuals...
 

PabloPicasso

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There should be a method of controlling the release of the continuous furling line. Can it be wrapped around a winch? If not you may well need to fit something.

If you are head to wind when you unfurl it is easier to control the release. Once the wind catches it the sail will be under pressure.
 

Tranona

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This is my first post.. please be gentle! Also noted so many threads about in mast furling but none that addressed my concerns directly...

Have recently bought a boat which is fitted with in-mast furling.. this is the first boat of this type and I have a reefing question...

We have the Seldon Furling system which has a Ratchet and Free Setting..

If we want full main out, no issues, release both lines from the continuous loop and pull the outhaul... But what if we want to pull out to a reefed main...?

When it is windy as soon as we start pulling on the outhaul the flapping of the sail pulls out the rest of the main. We then need to furl the sail into the desired position, clamp the continous loop and tighten sail on the outhaul... is this the correct method? It seems hit and miss that the sail has to fly out before we bring it back in again.

Can someone walk me through the reefing procedure with the in-mast furling for both putting in and taking out reefs... sorry if this is a really simple question but i just cant get my head around the correct procedure and found nothing in the manuals...
Easiest way is to control the rate at which the main comes out with the furling line. I usually surge it round the winch in the cockpit while pulling the outhaul a bit at a time until I get just as much as I want out.
 

Talulah

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Following applies to Selden system. It may not apply to other systems.
As a general rule I never use the continous loop furling line. The only time I use it is when it is too rough to work on deck. The rest of the time it needs to remain slack. The topping lift is also set so that it never needs adjusting.
Assuming you are currently sailing along quite happily and want to put a reef in the main:
Sail along on the foresail. Make sure the pin on the furling winch is in the ratchet position. With the mainsail depowered (boom into wind) slacken off the outhaul whilst one person winds away some mainsail using the furling winch at the mast. Once reefed, tighten the outhaul. Pull in the main sheet and off you go.
The pin remains in the ratchet position.

To shake out the reef. Continue sailing with the foresail. De-power the mainsail. (Boom into wind.) Put a winch handle in the furling winch at the mast. Put the pin in the 'free' position. Unwind the mainsail using the winch handle to control the main coming out. Tighten the outhaul at the same time as necessary. Once enough mainsail is out put the pin back in the 'ratchet' position. Tighten the outhaul. Pull in the mainsheet and off you go.
If I am doing away with the reef altogether I rarely use the winch handle to control the main coming out.
If I am pulling a lot of main out, i.e fully furled to two thirds out I won't use the winch handle to control the sail coming out. Once enough sail is out I'll pull down on the continuous loop line at the winch to grip it whilst I then put the pin back in to the ratchet position.
It is much harder to constantly use the mainsail continous loop line and if up to know you have only been doing that then I think you'll find the mast winch a revelation.
 

Ricd

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Following applies to Selden system. It may not apply to other systems.
As a general rule I never use the continous loop furling line. The only time I use it is when it is too rough to work on deck. The rest of the time it needs to remain slack. The topping lift is also set so that it never needs adjusting.
Assuming you are currently sailing along quite happily and want to put a reef in the main:
Sail along on the foresail. Make sure the pin on the furling winch is in the ratchet position. With the mainsail depowered (boom into wind) slacken off the outhaul whilst one person winds away some mainsail using the furling winch at the mast. Once reefed, tighten the outhaul. Pull in the main sheet and off you go.
The pin remains in the ratchet position.

To shake out the reef. Continue sailing with the foresail. De-power the mainsail. (Boom into wind.) Put a winch handle in the furling winch at the mast. Put the pin in the 'free' position. Unwind the mainsail using the winch handle to control the main coming out. Tighten the outhaul at the same time as necessary. Once enough mainsail is out put the pin back in the 'ratchet' position. Tighten the outhaul. Pull in the mainsheet and off you go.
If I am doing away with the reef altogether I rarely use the winch handle to control the main coming out.
If I am pulling a lot of main out, i.e fully furled to two thirds out I won't use the winch handle to control the sail coming out. Once enough sail is out I'll pull down on the continuous loop line at the winch to grip it whilst I then put the pin back in to the ratchet position.
It is much harder to constantly use the mainsail continous loop line and if up to know you have only been doing that then I think you'll find the mast winch a revelation.
Interesting. My wife and i have sailed with a Seldon in-Mast system for about 11 years and have only once ever had to go out of the cockpit to put the mast winch into ratchet mode to reduce sail. That was when we started to put a reef in and found the continuous reefing line had been left slack earlier and come off the mast winch thus was pretty useless. We leave it permanently in Free and use the continuous reefing line to control the amount of sail we let out and to reef down, irrespective of weather/sea-state its a simple task controlling the outhaul with left hand and reefing line with the right hand.
To limit the amount of sail coming out of the mast, with both reefing line clutches open you need only pull both sides of the reefing line together to stop the sail coming out when you have enough, then close the clutches. No winches necessary. The sail can then be flattened either by tensioning the out haul using the coach roof winch or by re-opening the lazy clutch of the continuous reefing line and winding back on the reefing line to pull the slack back.
Putting a reef in at sea like you we sail to the headsail, de-power the main and while letting off the outhaul a little at a time with the left hand, reduce the sail by winding in on the reefing line via the self -tailing coach roof winch. As I said its a one man job, no drama and nobody leaving the cockpit.
 
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wklein

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You should never 'need' to use the ratchet setting, it's useful on long legs or in harbour to prevent slippage of the drum. Best way to do is to leave a couple of loose turns around the winch of the lazy side of the furling line. This will provide enough friction to prevent line slipping on drum. The drums on these don't last forever, the are only frp, cheap (for selden) and easy to replace of teeth wear.
 

Arcady

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You should never 'need' to use the ratchet setting, it's useful on long legs or in harbour to prevent slippage of the drum. Best way to do is to leave a couple of loose turns around the winch of the lazy side of the furling line. This will provide enough friction to prevent line slipping on drum. The drums on these don't last forever, the are only frp, cheap (for selden) and easy to replace of teeth wear.
+1. Likewise!
 

Pagetslady

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In 15 years sailing with a Selden inmast main, I never sail with the ratchet in the open position when reefer, you will find one day that you have far more sail out than intended in a big blow. I never go on deck to release the ratchet either. I have rigged lines back to the cockpit so that I can operate the ratchet from the cockpit I never leave my ratchet in the released position especially when unattended in the marina, in case the sail should manage to get free and come right out, I don't have pictures of my ratchet arrangement at home but will send pictures when back on the boat at the weekend. When I wand to make sail, I pull on the line to pull the ratchet over to the starboard side and jam it in a small jammer, haul on the out haul, if I only want a reefer main I let out a little more than I need hold the two ends of the continuous reefing line tight to stop the sail form unfurling any more, release the ratchet line the ratchet is pulled back into the lock position by a bungy now I wind in the little extra sail tighten up on the out haul and set the sail with the main sheet. I see no point in having inmast if it's still necessary to leave the cockpit. I know this sounds complicated but in use its so easy. If a reef is needed when sailing on the wind then it's simply a matter of easing off the main sheet so that the main is luffing release the out haul a little haul the slack sail in release a little more sail haul that in then tighten the out haul easy all done from the cockpit, my boat is a Westerly Corsair 35 ft I sail single handed all the time I have vertical batons in my sail, this makes a great deal of difference when sailing up wind, much closer to the wind.
Mike.
 

Talulah

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Interesting to read how other people use their in-mast furling. It can be bit of an eye opener!
Some of the things I agree with and other things I disagree with but yet if I looked at how it worked on your boat then I could be persuaded to change my mind.
A couple of comments though. Pagetslady commented the ratchet is always used when reefed. I agree with this. I have been in strong winds where the wrong clutch has been released and all of a sudden the entire sail has come out. As a general rule once the sail is out the ratchet goes on ready for reefing or putting away.
I can't see though how pagetslady operates the pin from the cockpit so it would be useful to see some pics.
I don't understand wklein's post. The winch at the mast on ours is steel, not plastic and the insides are also steel. So it sounds like there are cheaper alternatives. I also wouldn't want to leave a couple of loose turns on the furling winch. The winch on ours is used for other jobs as well. So once the sail is set, outhaul tensioned etc the lines need to be off the winch, leaving the winch free for other purposes.
Some people have commented they never leave the cockpit and I would agree with this in a blow. I will reef from the cockpit if I don't want to go on deck due to wind or rain. However, all other times I furl at the mast. As I said earlier it is just so much quicker and easier. However, we have a large flat deck. No clambering on or around a coach roof so whilst it works for us it may not work for others.
For those not using their ratchets I would suggest you give them a go to check they still function correctly. These winches need to be serviced just like regular winches. Ours usually has to dismantled every other year or else the paws start sticking and the ratchet doesn't work. Also, I found that if I leave it too long corrosion makes it extremely difficult to dismantle. The inner mitre gear is held onto the winch shaft with a drift pin. The pin is drifted out and the mitre gear removed. (Don't loose the bearings.) If left too long corrosion makes it extremely difficult to remove the gears without resorting to substantial force. In fact the entire mechansim can be difficult to remove due to the securing bolts seizing to the mast.
 

Pagetslady

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Hi I will attempt to post pictures tomorrow , I have never had my furling winch in bits but I guess that as I as I am continually using it all I do is grease is occasionally, as for being quicker to reef at the mast I can't how this can be but everybody has their own way. If I need to reef all I do is let off the out haul a little haul in on the furling line, possibly if a deep reef is needed do this again then tighten up on the out haul, obviously I let the main sheet off first. Until tomorrow then. Mike
 

Pagetslady

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Here goes I will try and attach pictures. I have tried to list the views but as I added a couple of pictures the order has gone to pot. You can see how i have attached the small turning blocks to the casting by drilling and tapping four holes and making some small 5 mm studs from bolts the bungie is to lock the ratchet when the unlock line is released from the small jamer. the lock line is also run to the cockpit and can be cleated in the locked position
 

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wizard

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Here goes I will try and attach pictures. I have tried to list the views but as I added a couple of pictures the order has gone to pot. You can see how i have attached the small turning blocks to the casting by drilling and tapping four holes and making some small 5 mm studs from bolts the bungie is to lock the ratchet when the unlock line is released from the small jamer. the lock line is also run to the cockpit and can be cleated in the locked position

Great idea. I am going to try and replicate that.
Love the way you piggybacked on to the side of the jammers.
 

tudorsailor

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I have in mast furling but not Selden. I often wondered how much sail to roll in to be equivalent to one and then two reefs. In the end, and after some research, I decided that each reef is about 20% of the sail area. Then with the help of Pythagorus I worked out how much along the foot of the sail was 1, 2 and 3 reefs and marked these with sail marking stuff. First reef is surprisingly a short distance from the luff. Useful thing to do

TudorSailor
 

l'escargot

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I have in mast furling but not Selden. I often wondered how much sail to roll in to be equivalent to one and then two reefs. In the end, and after some research, I decided that each reef is about 20% of the sail area. Then with the help of Pythagorus I worked out how much along the foot of the sail was 1, 2 and 3 reefs and marked these with sail marking stuff. First reef is surprisingly a short distance from the luff. Useful thing to do

TudorSailor
But with roller reefing you have total flexibility to reef the boat so she is balanced and has just the right amount of sail for the conditions - you don't need a reef 1,2 &3...
 

Tranona

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But with roller reefing you have total flexibility to reef the boat so she is balanced and has just the right amount of sail for the conditions - you don't need a reef 1,2 &3...
Agree - can never see the point of defining fixed increments of either jib or main when one of the major benefits of having roller furling is to do away with fixed increment reefing or changing jibs.
 

tudorsailor

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But with roller reefing you have total flexibility to reef the boat so she is balanced and has just the right amount of sail for the conditions - you don't need a reef 1,2 &3...
I accept this but........ I had not appreciated how little I had to roll away to be the equivalent of a first reef. Also SWMBO kept saying that we had not reefed enough. Now with the markings I can say I have the equivalent to x reefs in the sail. So not a hard and fast guide, but helpful nevertheless

TudorSailor
 

KevinT1

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It may be that the OP doesn't have a rope led back into the cockpit as everybody else has described and as such will be trying to unfurl the main from the mast ( which is the set up on our Hallberg Rassy 36

In which case - the way to manage how much comes out is :

  1. Set the Rachet to free
  2. Insert a winch handle into the furling gear
  3. Pull out the main ( using the outhaul ( clew ) rope ), whilst controlling the amount that comes out with the winch handle


1 Beware of letting go of the winch handle as it will spin extremely fast and could break bones
2 Don't try and wind the main out using the winch handle as you will end up wrapping the sail inside the mast - you have to control the unfurl


Adding markers to the main - we use 3 vertical stripes - allows the crew and helm to discuss and agree how much to unfurl before the crew goes to the mast and it's very easy for the crew to see how much has unfurled as it's where he or she is looking

Kevin
 

KevinT1

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And another quick suggestion - see how the Mainsail enters and furls inside the mast.

On our Selden mast it furls anticlockwise ( when looking down (/ from above )

Thus ( and to make it easier, prevent damage and it all getting tangled up) I put the boat on a Starboard tack of around 30 degrees so the boom and sail are over the Port Quarter - that way the sail goes out / comes in through the mast track slot in a straight line before furling around the internal spar

Doing it the other way ( ie on Port Tack / Boom over Starboard quarter ) means the sail cloth has to perform a "S" bend - increasing friction etc

Kevin
 

haydude

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Here goes I will try and attach pictures. I have tried to list the views but as I added a couple of pictures the order has gone to pot. You can see how i have attached the small turning blocks to the casting by drilling and tapping four holes and making some small 5 mm studs from bolts the bungie is to lock the ratchet when the unlock line is released from the small jamer. the lock line is also run to the cockpit and can be cleated in the locked position
Really???
 
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