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I’m sure some who might read here are probably tired of the continuing saga of our behind the mast auto furler. I can assure you all that no one is as tired of the issue as we are.

Our boat came with a behind the mast auto furler for the main sail. We have hated the system since viewing it on Yacht World…before we ever even visited the boat. For the uninitiated, a behind the mast auto furler was a first generation mainsail furling system that essentially used a headsail auto furler mounted to, and aft of, the mast. Just looking at the system is enough to scream cluster fuck.

Though the system was not a deal killer in buying our boat, it was certainly something we very much wished had not been. Not wanting to initially spend any more money than we absolutely had to until we knew more of the boat, we sincerely tried to work with the behind the mast system…to no avail. Though we only completely hung up the sail once – unable to either furl or unfurl it – the truth is that in the past year we never, not even once used this furling system that it went smoothly. Every time we deployed the sail we worried if we’d be able to get it back in. When two weeks ago we completely hung up the sail and broke a piece of the furler track we decided it was time to reevaluate.

The plan was to replace the bearings and track section in the system and then do a retake. Well, last week that was done and this weekend the system went back on the mast…without the sail. We then wound the drum line up and, without the sail on, tested the ease of turning the furler. It was most difficult to turn the drum.

Later, we sat in the pool having a cocktail when Captain Husband says, “That roller furling system is a piece of crap.” I nodded, “Yep.” He continues, “I don’t even think I want to put the canvas back up. I think we should just get that piece of crap off of our mast, have a new sail made, and put in a sail track system.”

I agreed. Perhaps at one time it was the bomb…but no more.

There are a couple of consequences for chunking the system; the most obvious is that we’ll need a new mainsail. However, the mainsail that came with the boat almost certainly was cut quite flat to conform to the roller furling. And, for sure, the gentleman we bought the boat from said that North Sails recut the sail even flatter when he had the boat. The sail has a loose foot and no battens. There is no doubt the boat will sail much better with a fully battened conventional mainsail. Then we’ll need to decide on a sail track system. So, the outlay is going to be thousands of dollars.

A negative is that we are going to miss the Harvest Moon Regatta. We will noty be able to have the new sail made and installed in the 10 weeks or so before the race.

Not to worry, I’m pleased with our decision. We both felt that the mainsail system we had on our yacht would sooner or later get us into big trouble.


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