From a slightly different perspective…
You are certainly right, changing from a 150% on a foil to a smaller sail in wind conditions where that would actually be needed, is a real handful for a short handed crew. Corralling that sail coming down is not something that one or even two people can easily handle in 25 knots of wind and a seaway. It can be done… but it’s not my idea of fun.
I have found from experience that rigging a GaleSail most certainly IS a challenge. Of course it is! You only do it when the wind is blowing the oysters off the rocks and the bow is underwater half the time! But it is no worse than taking down a large hanked-on sail and putting up a smaller one. When you see comments about them, you have to remember that everybody who buys one has a roller furling jib, and the idea of going forward to install a new sail in rough conditions is not something they are used to. Having said that, I don’t have one on my Amel, and it isn’t on my list of things to add.
I think you would find the difference in performance between a roller furling 150% and a 135% to be very small, except under a very narrow range of wind speeds and angles. Especially if the large sail is heavy enough to be useful in heavy winds, it then collapses in the light winds that should be its forte. While it is certainly true that a sail that comes down as low to the deck as possible is more efficient, the loss of visibility to leeward can be a big deal if you sail shorthanded where there are other boats or obstacles around. I watched somebody run down hard on a buoy they didn’t see coming under their big decksweeping genoa. Is small performance difference worth the extra hassle? That is something only you can answer for yourself. It’s just a priority thing. I don’t let Formula 1 drivers tell me how to set up my car, and I don’t let racing sailors tell me how to rig my boat.
I have sailed boats with vertical battens in the mainsail. I found them to be fussy on rolling. Not impossible or fatally flawed, just fussy. The very opposite of a standard Amel mainsail, but some people are fine with the the bit of fussy needed. Again, priorities. If your sailmaker convinces you that they are the way to go, I would insist on a guarantee they work--for you--the way you sail--and a free recut to a batten-less hollow leech if you are not happy. Again, there is, of course, a performance penalty for the hollow leech when close hauled, but it is not huge. And on other points of sail, it would be almost unnoticeable. The best argument in favor of battens might be to reduce leech flutter and help the sail last longer.
One consideration: Can you get the sail out and useful if the engine is not available to help hold the boat into the wind? Engines are not 100% reliable, and the ability to put up sail in an emergency is not something I would trade for a small performance benefit. If the jib alone will hold you high enough into the wind to get out the mainsail, then good enough.
Lot’s of good sailmakers in the world, many with Amel sail experience. I needed a new ballooner recently, and I crossed off everybody on my list who didn’t know what that was.
SM #160, Harmonie
Fort Lauderdale, FL
“Ships and men rot in port."
You asked: "Can anyone tell me if the special Amel locking mechanism for the ballooner which allows the removal of the halyard is adaptable to the Maramu?"
The swivel is what needs to be changed and I understand from a rigger in Malta that the swivel is available, but since I never looked into it, I am not sure where. Possibly from Amel. You would need the swivel, a 3 slot foil, a "hooker" and a "de-hooker."
Since you would need a 3-slot foil, I am not sure that you would consider this unless you were replacing the foil.
Several SM owners have bought tri-radial cut hydranet sails from a sailmaker in Ismir, Turkey. I have toured the loft and was impressed. All that I know bought from them, are as satisfied as we were. They ship worldwide. Email: Tahsin Oge ogemar.com>.
I do not have direct experience with a Maramu, but I would NOT use vertical battens in a Super Maramu furling mast. It was not made to accommodate battens and you will have some issues with wear and the ability to furl at any angle other than the wind at 0 degrees...and the difficulty is proportional with the wind speed.