Brewer 44 - In Mast Mainsail Furling

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10 years 5 months ago #1690 by Matt Davis
Just finished a survey and sea trial on a 1990 B44. The boat has Z-Spar mast and boom. During the sea trail, the owner could not get the mainsail to extend all the way out. The best he could get was about 3/4 of the way. I attempted but could not do any better. It appears the sail "snags" or gets jammed near the top while winching it out (extremely difficult to unfurl). It does furl back into the mast, but takes tremendous effort to grind it back in, as well. The sail is 10+ years old. The furling lines were in really bad shape, as were the cars on top of the boom for the outhaul. Were we doing something wrong? The owner sailed this boat all the way from North Carolina, down through the canal and then up to Mexico. He said it would hang-up like that 1 out of 10 times but would usually work after furling it back in and then letting it out again.

Since the mast and boom are made by Z-Spar, is it safe to assume the the in-mast furling mechanism is also a Z-Spar design/product? The schematics I have found online do not match up to this system's appearance.. Can the furling unit be serviced through the very limited access of the mast or would the whole rig need to come done to repair/replace? Furthermore, can a new sail be bent on without taking the mast down? Any idea on cost of a new in mast furling mainsail? Could the mast be retrofitted back to a conventional sail?

I would greatly appreciate any feedback, as this is what will make or break my decision of becoming owner of this particular Brewer 44. My biggest fear is that the whole furling unit/sail are shot and I would have to replace the entire mast/sail setup, which I certainly cannot afford to do.

Thanks,

Matt Davis








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10 years 5 months ago #1692 by Greg Temple
Matt,
Sorry to weigh in so strongly. I highly recommend hiring the services of a rigger to assess the condition of the furler. Main mast furlers are notorious for problems. In addition, when you keep in mind the 1st LAW of WBSailboats, never assume your installation is the same as the next boat - similar, but not the same. You are correct that a problem may be expensive or impossible to fix. Coupled with your determination that maintenance has been deferred, identify the cost of repair and proceed with caution. I don't know your location. I have experience with a couple of good riggers but limited to Annapolis and mid-Florida. Good luck, and keep us posted.
Greg Temple
My Destiny W42

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10 years 5 months ago #1693 by Jack Dexter
Greg is certainly correct that no two of our boats are identical. I have a 12.8. You're going to find my story hard to believe and it may be irrelevant but I'll shar it anyway for what it's worth.

When we sea trialed my boat the in mast furling was almost impossible to roll out. We bought her anyway with an allowance for fixing the problem. The furler was so hard to roll out that my 270 pound 6'3" son could barely pull the sail out.

When we got the boat home to my own yard the rigger began his diagnosis by grasping the sail at the clew and pulling. It was a little stiff but did pull out. He then worked his wY along the out haul all the way to the winch on the cabin top. He found friction at every block. His recommendation was that we replace all the blocks with ball bearing blocks and reduce the diameter of the furling line one size because it, too, was binding. He also adjusted the angle of the boomto make sure the sail didn't bunch up when it was furled. Believe it or not, the combination of these small fixes eliminated the problem

My system is a LiesureFurl so my experience may be no help.

Good luck.
Jack Dexter
S/V Tribute

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10 years 5 months ago #1695 by Matt Davis
Hi Greg, thank you for your input. I am going to try and source a rigger. I will be sure to update the outcome.

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10 years 5 months ago #1696 by Matt Davis
Hi Jack,

Thanks for taking the time to give a recap of your experience. That is very interesting that you experienced similar conditions to what we did. I am sure that there are elements of friction going on, probably even more than we know about. I will keep the ball bearing blocks in mind if we move ahead with the purchase. The wife really loves this boat so how can I say no?!

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10 years 5 months ago #1700 by Jack Dexter
And don't forget the diameter of the furling line. That made a big difference, too. Try the idea of starting from where it comes out of the mast and seeing where you feel big resistance. If it is in the mast you have one kind of problem. If it is downstream it may be an easy fix.

Jack

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