Well-known member
28 Mar 2005
hampshire, uk
Advice please: I have a Barbary ketch motorsailor ,( built 1979)with the original sparlight mast on which has been retrofitted a Bamar reefing system, at least 15 years old, with a crusader main about 4 seasons old.

The system is getting more difficult to unfurl, the sail seems to bunch in the slot, which I realised once the boat went back in and the sails reattached after the winter.

I have tried different halyard tensions, lubricants, trying to prebend the mast but difficult as in tabernacle and limited adjustment.

Is the problem the sail streching or in the furling system, is the solution a new sail, a recut sail as only 4 seasons, abandon the Bamar and revert to a conventional system, a new sail or secondhand from say seateach. Has anyone tried to drill out the rivets and remove the bamar system with the mast up ( idon`t really want to have the boat back out of the water after just going in). We are a motor sailor but it would be nice to improve sailing performance but I do sail single handed sometimes,
any advice welcome /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif


24 Jun 2002
co.Wicklow, Ireland
Hi John,
I bought a Westerly Merlin this year with a Bamar behind-the-mast reefing system. I've just finished taking off the Bamar system, as I dont trust it (mine was old system, and while the newer ones may be better I prefer slab reefing).

Taking the Bamar system off was fairly easy - I drilled the rivets out by drilling with a large wide bit to pop the head off, then with a 5mm bit to remove the rivet body (my DIY drill kept jamming, the monel rivets seem to be fairly strong stuff) The furling system came off fairly easy then, with a bit of pusing and shoving and I filled the holes with Monel rivets.

All this was done with the mast on the ground though, I cant' image doing it with the mast up. Drilling the rivets wouldnt be a problem if you are happy sitting around in a bosuns chair to do it, but removing the mechanism could be tricky, although you could drill a hole in the aluminium, and tie it to a halyard to prevent it falling on deck. Mine was in two sections.

Hope that helps. It would probably be possible to do what you want to do, but I would personally take the mast down to do it.

ps. we will be sailing short-handed also, and are replacing the system with a new slab-reefed Mainsail and lazyjack pack from Quay Sails. Despite the obvious advantages of the Roller main, I feel happier with the slab/stackpack system myself.


Active member
31 Dec 2001
Cumbria. UK

Although we have a different system ( Kemp ) I would guess the problems are the same.

I would suggest checking that the mast is straight - any prebend will cause bagging of the sail. If that's O.K. the problem may be that the sail has stretched.

We have had this problem and initially a sailmaker recut the luff which solved the problem for a while but in the end we bought a new sail from MaxiRoach which has vertical battens and this has been great.

Hope this helps.


Well-known member
7 May 2003
Exmoor. Boat in Dartmuff.
We inherited a behind mast furling system with the boat and retained it for the fist season. I could never see any advantage to it - the sail was too flat and undersized and furling/unfurling was harder work than lowering/raising the main. We took the infernal gadget off (mast lowered though) and replaced it with a conventional main and "stack pack" system. The boat now sails faster and stowing is simply a matter of dropping the sail and pulling the zip. Higly recommended.

If you do decide to remove it don't forget to plug the rivet holes or you'll play your own flute concerto. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif