In Mast Furling


Eric Forster
 

Ok so here it is. I have been thinking about getting an Amel for quite a while and am about ready to make the leap, but with all things I over think everything. I love the boat, but the inmast furling scares me quite a bit. I have only been on one boat with it and we had issues a couple of the times that we went out. Seeing that I plan on doing the first sail in our new boat from Hawaii to California I am a bit nervous to say the least. Going up the mast in the middle of the Pacific is not my idea of a good time. Just looking to hear from people about their experience with the inmast furling on the Amels, good, bad, and ugley.

Eric


Arno Luijten
 

I had the same reservation. Actually I still have it to some extent. The Amel system is good but it is very much dependent on proper maintenance and the condition of your (main)sail.
The Mizzen is hardly ever a problem but I’m not big on the way the mainsail works as you have hardly an idea how much force you are putting on the system. The only thing you have is your eyes, your ears and two switches. I think I would prefer the outhaul working unidirectional with a slipping line when furling in the main.
That said, with proper care and careful operation the system will be quite reliable. There are some current limiters in the system to prevent you from really messing up the system. So the motors will halt when too much force is put on the system. On the A54 Amel introduced short battens in the sail that do add some complexity but also enable an increase of the surface area of the main sail.
I have had some minor issues with the main but most of them were related to a old mainsail with a very floppy leach. My new mainsail rolls in much nicer.
This is my first in-mast furling system so I have little to compare but I do think that slab reefing on a sail this size is a challenge as well when shorthanded. I guess it is a trade-off.
The good thing is that the system is fairly simple compared to some other systems in the market so there is not too much that can go wrong. I think the most problematic are the 90-degree gearboxes on the outhaul and the main spindle for the older Amels.

Hope that helps,

Arno Luijten
SV Luna,
A54-121


Mark Erdos
 

Eric,

 

Just about every new Amel owner jams their main sail during the first months of ownership. Me included – more than once – because I like being an over-achiever. The good news is the sail will furl but will not unfurl if you don’t pay attention to the furling orientation. So this means, no going up the mast in the ocean. If you can’t get the sail out, just use the jib and mizzen sail. The mizzen has never jammed on me.

 

The key to the furling is to point to windward, and while furling the main, keep just a small amount of tension on the outhaul (not too much) with the boom level and fastened. At first, perhaps furling a couple of feet at a time until you get used to the motors.  

 

If you are trying to pull out the sail and it gets stuck at the top while coming out of the mast, the trick is to turn the furling winch the other way (furling it back into the mast) while keeping the outhaul tight (but not too tight). Work the furling back and forth a little bit and it will come loose. This is true with both the main and the mizzen mast. On the main sail, do not over strain the motors. If you burn the motor out, it is an expensive mistake. Keep the outhaul snug and slowly furl in and out. It will come loose. Sometimes it will come out a little bit at a time but keep going back and forth and it will all come out. Do not over strain the motor. If it get hot, wait! Let it cool and try again later.

 

If it were me, I would not let this small detail deter me from buying one of the best blue water cruising boats ever built.

 

You asked about the plus side. For us it is never having to leave the cockpit to adjust the sails. One person can very easily reef or shake out a reef from the safety of the helm position.

There is a good thread on this:
https://amelyachtowners.groups.io/g/main/message/33787

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

With best regards,

 

Mark

 

Skipper

Sailing Vessel - Cream Puff - SM2K - #275

Currently cruising - Tahiti, French Polynesia

www.creampuff.us

 

From: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io [mailto:main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io] On Behalf Of Eric Forster
Sent: Friday, July 16, 2021 3:50 PM
To: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io
Subject: [AmelYachtOwners] In Mast Furling

 

Ok so here it is. I have been thinking about getting an Amel for quite a while and am about ready to make the leap, but with all things I over think everything. I love the boat, but the inmast furling scares me quite a bit. I have only been on one boat with it and we had issues a couple of the times that we went out. Seeing that I plan on doing the first sail in our new boat from Hawaii to California I am a bit nervous to say the least. Going up the mast in the middle of the Pacific is not my idea of a good time. Just looking to hear from people about their experience with the inmast furling on the Amels, good, bad, and ugley.

Eric


Alan Leslie
 
Edited

Agree with all of that. When I bought Elyse, the first few goes at unfurling and furling the mainsail I completely stuffed it up and I wondered if I would ever get the hang of it. Well, I did and now we don't have any issues and we have short vertical battens in our main.

A number of "tricks" help.
1. try always to unfurl and furl on starboard tack heading just off dead up wind - that's because of the rotation of the foil in the mast feeds the sail in on the starboard side, do it on port tack and the sail is rubbing on the mast opening causing friction and possible sail damage.
2. make sure the boom is at 90 degrees to the mast, if it is too high the sail will bunch up at the top when furling and you will have a lot of problems unfurling it. We have a tape mark on the main sheet at my eye level to know that the boom is in the correct position.
3. Use the motor switches to keep the outhaul just tight enough to prevent flogging the sail. Unfurling keep the outhaul switch on and toggle the mast motor switch to keep things under control. The opposite when furling, keep the mast motor switch on and toggle the outhaul to ensure a smooth wrap of the sail on the foil.

Once you get the hang of it, it's easy and as others have said it shouldn't put you off buying what is arguably the best blue water cruising yacht out there.

cheers
Alan
Elyse SM437


Danny and Yvonne SIMMS
 

Hi Eric. I own SM 299. I have never had a jam on the main. I dont have battens. I find the system very forgiving. I just work the two switches to keep the sail off tight as it rolls

 I have never done it but I suspect the biggest cause of jamming would be rolling very loose causing bunching. I find if I overload the motors the breakers pop long before any damage. This is my first in.mast furling. I was a lifetime racer so had a strong predudice against in mast sustems. Now as a cruiser (performance orientated) I would have nothing else. I would never add battens.

Regards

Danny

SM 299 Ocean Pearl


On 17 July 2021 at 13:50 Eric Forster <eforster70@...> wrote:

Ok so here it is. I have been thinking about getting an Amel for quite a while and am about ready to make the leap, but with all things I over think everything. I love the boat, but the inmast furling scares me quite a bit. I have only been on one boat with it and we had issues a couple of the times that we went out. Seeing that I plan on doing the first sail in our new boat from Hawaii to California I am a bit nervous to say the least. Going up the mast in the middle of the Pacific is not my idea of a good time. Just looking to hear from people about their experience with the inmast furling on the Amels, good, bad, and ugley.

Eric


ianjenkins1946 <ianjudyjenkins@hotmail.com>
 

Hi Eric , 
I would not hesitate to use an Amel main furler . We have done so in both a Maramu (5 years ) and an SM (21). Close to 100,000 miles . Often abused , including furling a partly reefed main sailing in the south Atlantic  with the wind from 130 degrees when the wind went instantly from 40 to 60 knots . No question then of turning head to wind so we just pressed the two buttons and the sail disappeared into the mast . 
I don’t recommend that you try to replicate those conditions but it  worked .

Ian and Judy , Pen Azen , SM 302 , Kilada , Greece


On 17 Jul 2021, at 03:54, Mark Erdos <mcerdos@...> wrote:



Eric,

 

Just about every new Amel owner jams their main sail during the first months of ownership. Me included – more than once – because I like being an over-achiever. The good news is the sail will furl but will not unfurl if you don’t pay attention to the furling orientation. So this means, no going up the mast in the ocean. If you can’t get the sail out, just use the jib and mizzen sail. The mizzen has never jammed on me.

 

The key to the furling is to point to windward, and while furling the main, keep just a small amount of tension on the outhaul (not too much) with the boom level and fastened. At first, perhaps furling a couple of feet at a time until you get used to the motors.  

 

If you are trying to pull out the sail and it gets stuck at the top while coming out of the mast, the trick is to turn the furling winch the other way (furling it back into the mast) while keeping the outhaul tight (but not too tight). Work the furling back and forth a little bit and it will come loose. This is true with both the main and the mizzen mast. On the main sail, do not over strain the motors. If you burn the motor out, it is an expensive mistake. Keep the outhaul snug and slowly furl in and out. It will come loose. Sometimes it will come out a little bit at a time but keep going back and forth and it will all come out. Do not over strain the motor. If it get hot, wait! Let it cool and try again later.

 

If it were me, I would not let this small detail deter me from buying one of the best blue water cruising boats ever built.

 

You asked about the plus side. For us it is never having to leave the cockpit to adjust the sails. One person can very easily reef or shake out a reef from the safety of the helm position.

There is a good thread on this:
https://amelyachtowners.groups.io/g/main/message/33787

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

With best regards,

 

Mark

 

Skipper

Sailing Vessel - Cream Puff - SM2K - #275

Currently cruising - Tahiti, French Polynesia

www.creampuff.us

 

From: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io [mailto:main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io] On Behalf Of Eric Forster
Sent: Friday, July 16, 2021 3:50 PM
To: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io
Subject: [AmelYachtOwners] In Mast Furling

 

Ok so here it is. I have been thinking about getting an Amel for quite a while and am about ready to make the leap, but with all things I over think everything. I love the boat, but the inmast furling scares me quite a bit. I have only been on one boat with it and we had issues a couple of the times that we went out. Seeing that I plan on doing the first sail in our new boat from Hawaii to California I am a bit nervous to say the least. Going up the mast in the middle of the Pacific is not my idea of a good time. Just looking to hear from people about their experience with the inmast furling on the Amels, good, bad, and ugley.

Eric


Juan de Zulueta
 

Eric,

the in Mast Furling is not a problem but a big advantage of the Super Maramu since it helps you to steer your boat from the cockpit alone in all see conditions.
we have been sailing with my wife since 1999 on on Santorin and now a Super Maramu across the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean with no problem at all.
it just require a bit of practice and Caution.
Don’t hesitate to buy this fantastic boat !

best regards
--
Juan de Zulueta
OPHELIE X
Super Maramu #32
Carriacou, Grenada


 

There is one more potential issue, but you did not state which Amel model, nor did you state if your Amel mainsail has battens.

image.png
CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School
Address: 720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 
View My Training Calendar


On Sat, Jul 17, 2021 at 5:54 AM Juan de Zulueta via groups.io <jdezulueta=icloud.com@groups.io> wrote:
Eric,

the in Mast Furling is not a problem but a big advantage of the Super Maramu since it helps you to steer your boat from the cockpit alone in all see conditions.
we have been sailing with my wife since 1999 on on Santorin and now a Super Maramu across the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean with no problem at all.
it just require a bit of practice and Caution.
Don’t hesitate to buy this fantastic boat !

best regards
--
Juan de Zulueta
OPHELIE X
Super Maramu #32
Carriacou, Grenada


Eric Forster
 

currently looking at a 2004 SM 2000. The only other inmast furling that I have been on was in a Beneteau, do they use a different furlying system?


 

Yes, I have owned both. Amel makes their own in-house-designed masts. Beneteau buys off-the-shelf masts from the lowest bidder. Amel designed its electric and manual furling system. 

The SM didn't originally have battens and hopefully the one that you are buying does not have vertical battens. If it does, let me know. 

Best,

CW Bill Rouse 
Amel Owners Yacht School
+1 832-380-4970 | brouse@...
720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 
www.AmelOwnersYachtSchool.com 
Yacht School Calendar: www.preparetocastoff.blogspot.com/p/calendar.html


   


On Sat, Jul 17, 2021, 11:00 AM Eric Forster <eforster70@...> wrote:
currently looking at a 2004 SM 2000. The only other inmast furling that I have been on was in a Beneteau, do they use a different furlying system?


Alan Leslie
 
Edited

This is what can happen if the mainsail is not furled properly.
It's not the batten's fault.
This batten has been twisted around the mast foil and consequently broke.
It got twisted and broke  because the boom wasn't level when furling, much more than just once.
We have short vertical battens in our Deme Voiles (sadly out of business) hydranet mainsail and in 8 years we haven't broken one.
It's like anything on a boat (or in life), if you don't learn to do it properly you will create problems that can turn into disasters.
Cheers
Alan
Elyse SM437


 

Alan,

You are one of the best Amel owners I know with extensive knowledge and extremely experienced. Your knowledge and experience are far beyond the average sailor. A large portion of my SM & 54 clients who have mainsail battens have experienced issues from torn or chafed sails to fractured and broken foils. And, this always seems to happen with unexpected weather with a rush to furl. Many of the Amel mainsails I have seen with battens use a 25mm wide batten, some like the one in the photo I posted earlier are 14mm. There have been more issues with the 25mm batten than the 14mm, but as you can see in my photo, the 14mm verticle batten also jams, twists, and breaks.

I believe the biggest issue is that none of us want to be mid-ocean with a sail fouled because of verticle battens, when, at best, battens are going to possibly improve your 3000-mile passage by hours, not days. I believe the risk of an issue increases with the lack of experience, but even the experienced sailor may have an issue caused by vertical battens in a furling sail. I firmly believe that the risk of an incident on an ocean passage is not worth the reward of arriving a few hours early. 

That said, if the Amel owner sails his Amel competitively, even if he competes only with himself, vertical battens will give that owner an edge that will be measured in tenths of a knot.

Bill
CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School
Address: 720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 
View My Training Calendar


On Sat, Jul 17, 2021 at 5:08 PM Alan Leslie <s.v.elyse@...> wrote:

[Edited Message Follows]

This is what can happen if the mainsail is not furled properly.
It's not the batten's fault.
This batten has been twisted around the mast foil and consequently broke.
It got twisted and broke  because the boom wasn't level when furling, much more than just once.
We have short vertical battens in our Deme Voiles (sadly out of business) hydranet mainsail and in 8 years we haven't broken one.
It's like anything on a boat (or in life), if you don't learn to do it properly you will create problems that can turn into disasters.
Cheers
Alan
Elyse SM437


Martin Birkhoff
 

Hi All,

we follow the discussion with great interest. But up to now we did not see any comment of an experienced sailmaker. So we decided to ask Jens Nickel 
and his oppinion. Jens is a well known German sailmaker (Segelwerkstatt Stade) with excellent reputation. We think his answer of interest to all of you. Here my “free” translation:

“A furling mainsail without battens (excuse the expression) is simply crap. The top 18 to 20% of the sail only create drag (resistance) and no lift/buoyancy (more heeling, more rudder pressure, less speed).

- A mainsail with short vertical battens is already better, but the leech rounding is still limited, which mitigates the points described above but does not really cancel them out. Furthermore the short battens have no reefing function (see below). The main reason against short battens, however, is that they can get jammed in the mast on the starboard inner mast edge (when, as usual, furled anti-clockwise). This does not happen often, but when it does you have a real problem.

- The only argument against full battening is the higher price. These sails produce more propulsion, less heeling, less rudder pressure. Furthermore, the battens are perfect reefing steps. The battens are not parallel to the luff, but slightly slanted. Reefing should now always be done in such a way that the batten is always completely furled into the mast. It then winds itself slightly around the pole in the mast as a spiral and thus stretches the "new luff" a little.

After more than 25 years of producing fully battened furling mainsails we have never had one owner who was not satisfied with the conversion.”

 

I have to add: The battens are round (diameter some 8 to 10 mm) and made of two different materials: glass fibre and carbon, the latter used in the upper part of the sail to keep the aft part stiff.

Further I have to add this: When we got our Mago del Sur in March 2016 she was fitted with original genoa, main and mizzen. (The jib had disappeared.) Main and mizzen were bare of the vertical battens. The leeches of all three sails were worn out and causing enormous flapping and vibrations. In spite of that the performance of these sails was surprisingly good. When we had to furl in the main the first time during our delivery trip (with winds of some 7 Beaufort) the furling system blocked because of overload. Thus giving us the chance to furl in the main by hand. Which worked very well.

In July 2016 we ordered new genoa, jib, full battened main and full battened mizzen from Jens Nickel. Since then we never had any problem to furl in or out main and mizzen. We can do it on all angles to the apparent wind and in all wind speeds we have met until now. The furling systems never blocked. Meanwhile we sail the full batten sails some six years without any problems.

But there is one aspect you have to know if you think about a full batten sail. The connection between halyard and sail has to be reliable. Once it happened that a boatyard fitted our main to the mast with an unreliable connection. I insisted to change it but I forget to proof the connection after the main mast was fitted on the boat. After 3 hours of sailing the main came down -  more or less half way and creating an interesting S-shaped new sail design because the battens blocked the rest of its way down. It was quite a nice job to get the battens out of their pockets piece by piece …
But finally we managed it to get the sail down.


Martin Birkhoff
Mago del Sur 54#40
sailing near Cap Trafalgar heading east


Randall Walker
 

I believe the best description is best explained if you can attach some pictures.

Randall
A54#56

On Mon, Jul 19, 2021 at 09:27 Martin Birkhoff <mbirkhoff@...> wrote:

Hi All,

we follow the discussion with great interest. But up to now we did not see any comment of an experienced sailmaker. So we decided to ask Jens Nickel 
and his oppinion. Jens is a well known German sailmaker (Segelwerkstatt Stade) with excellent reputation. We think his answer of interest to all of you. Here my “free” translation:

“A furling mainsail without battens (excuse the expression) is simply crap. The top 18 to 20% of the sail only create drag (resistance) and no lift/buoyancy (more heeling, more rudder pressure, less speed).

- A mainsail with short vertical battens is already better, but the leech rounding is still limited, which mitigates the points described above but does not really cancel them out. Furthermore the short battens have no reefing function (see below). The main reason against short battens, however, is that they can get jammed in the mast on the starboard inner mast edge (when, as usual, furled anti-clockwise). This does not happen often, but when it does you have a real problem.

- The only argument against full battening is the higher price. These sails produce more propulsion, less heeling, less rudder pressure. Furthermore, the battens are perfect reefing steps. The battens are not parallel to the luff, but slightly slanted. Reefing should now always be done in such a way that the batten is always completely furled into the mast. It then winds itself slightly around the pole in the mast as a spiral and thus stretches the "new luff" a little.

After more than 25 years of producing fully battened furling mainsails we have never had one owner who was not satisfied with the conversion.”

 

I have to add: The battens are round (diameter some 8 to 10 mm) and made of two different materials: glass fibre and carbon, the latter used in the upper part of the sail to keep the aft part stiff.

Further I have to add this: When we got our Mago del Sur in March 2016 she was fitted with original genoa, main and mizzen. (The jib had disappeared.) Main and mizzen were bare of the vertical battens. The leeches of all three sails were worn out and causing enormous flapping and vibrations. In spite of that the performance of these sails was surprisingly good. When we had to furl in the main the first time during our delivery trip (with winds of some 7 Beaufort) the furling system blocked because of overload. Thus giving us the chance to furl in the main by hand. Which worked very well.

In July 2016 we ordered new genoa, jib, full battened main and full battened mizzen from Jens Nickel. Since then we never had any problem to furl in or out main and mizzen. We can do it on all angles to the apparent wind and in all wind speeds we have met until now. The furling systems never blocked. Meanwhile we sail the full batten sails some six years without any problems.

But there is one aspect you have to know if you think about a full batten sail. The connection between halyard and sail has to be reliable. Once it happened that a boatyard fitted our main to the mast with an unreliable connection. I insisted to change it but I forget to proof the connection after the main mast was fitted on the boat. After 3 hours of sailing the main came down -  more or less half way and creating an interesting S-shaped new sail design because the battens blocked the rest of its way down. It was quite a nice job to get the battens out of their pockets piece by piece …
But finally we managed it to get the sail down.


Martin Birkhoff
Mago del Sur 54#40
sailing near Cap Trafalgar heading east


Martin Birkhoff
 

Hi Randall,
here some pics.
The mizzen (2 pics) is unfurled completely. You can see the first batten is in a closer distance to the mast, the space between the next battens is larger. Its not to see that the battens are slightly slanted, but they are. The mizzen is trimmed to go as close to the wind as possible with quite some knots of wind. Otherwise we would release the outhawl of course. 
The main is in its "first" reef meaning the first batten is furled in.  

Regards

Martin
Mago del Sur - 54#40
La Linea, Spain


Martin Birkhoff
 

Hi,
here a pic I made today. It shows the fourth of five battens of the main. I furled it to a position to demonstrate the slant of the batten. The top of the batten pocket has disapeared in the mast, only the last stitching is visible. At the lower end the batten pocket is 2 cm out of the mast. The longer the batten (first, second and third batten) the bigger this effect.
Hope this pic is helpful.

Regards

Martin

Mago del Sur - 54#40
La Línea, Spain


 

Interesting. None of the 54s I have seen (probably 30-40) have battens this low. Everyone I have seen has battens in about the top 1/3rd to top 1/2 of the sail.
CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School
Address: 720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 
View My Training Calendar


On Wed, Jul 21, 2021 at 1:45 PM Martin Birkhoff <mbirkhoff@...> wrote:

Hi,
here a pic I made today. It shows the fourth of five battens of the main. I furled it to a position to demonstrate the slant of the batten. The top of the batten pocket has disapeared in the mast, only the last stitching is visible. At the lower end the batten pocket is 2 cm out of the mast. The longer the batten (first, second and third batten) the bigger this effect.
Hope this pic is helpful.

Regards

Martin

Mago del Sur - 54#40
La Línea, Spain


Laurens Vos
 

Hi Martin,

Very interesting and many thanks that you made us aware of the way a sail can be build.
I checked the website of Stade and almost sure I’m going to visit them soon to discuss the possibilities for our 54.
Regarding the furling, you wrote that you never had problems with furling in any wind and any direction you furled the sail. Is that correct ? 
But with the battens all the way down doesn’t get the rolled sail too big for the space inside the mast ? 
Did you experienced a difference in power of the sail or less or helm compared to the sail with the short battens ? 
Do you still need a leech line to prevent slapping ? 
Are there any negative effects to this way of battens in a sail ? 

Best regards 

Laurens Vos 
Fun@Sea - 54#92
La Rochelle 


Martin Birkhoff
 

Hi Laurens,

1. Until today, we had no problems furling and unfurling the main and mizzen, no matter which angle to the wind the boat was facing and how strong the wind was.


2. We had these concerns too. However, there is enough room in the mast. When fully furled, the mainsail leaves about 1.75 to 2 cm of space between the sail and the mast chamber measured at the bottom of the mast chamber. It should be noted that on Mago del Sur both the main foil and the mizzen foil have a diameter of 35 mm. You should explicitly point this out to Stade if you have a 40 mm profile for the main. In all cases it is an advantage if the foils are reinforced by an additional aluminum element which is inserted in the foil (available by Amel).


3. We cannot answer the question about differences. The old sails had lost their battens and their leeches and aft parts including the leech genoa were no longer standing. We changed all sails at the same time so we could not recognize which effects were caused by the genoa and which by main and mizzen. I beg your pardon, we cannot make a reliable comparison.

4. 
Both the main and the mizzen are equipped with a leech line, which is usually not necessary. (This is different with the gennua, where we have to use it regularly).


5. The negative effects are

  •         The sails are more expensive.
  •         It takes a lot more work to take down the sails, as it is not easy to get the long battens out. At the jetty, we always take the battens out completely and disassemble them into their parts when they are lying on the jetty.
  • If the halyard comes off the sail, you have a problem because the long battens prevent the sail from sinking down completely or from being pulled down. You then have to pull the battens out part by part, which requires a lot of work with the sagged sail. It is therefore important that the halyard and the knot at the head of the sail are in perfect condition and reliable.

Regards

Martin
Mago del Sur - 54#40
La Línea, Spain