Mailport April 1, 2001 Issue

Mailport 04/01/01

In-Boom Mainsail Furling
Mr. Reed’s “Leisure Furl Experience” (August 15, 2000) could well be compared to the experience I have with the Profurl system. I must say that I was also helped by your feature, “In-Boom Mainsail Furling” (August 1, 1998). I took, however, your conclusions with a grain of salt and selected a Profurl Mk II. Since the Luff Profile turns in sync with the boom, aligning the boom with the wind should relieve the pressure on the sail and allow reefing without the need to turn the boat into the wind.

Indeed, the system works very well for me 90% of the time. When winching up the halyard with one hand, the other one easily controls the tension on the furling line, or vice versa. The sail is always in good, controllable shape. That is all! At 74, I do not yet see the need for an electric winch. The system performed very well during our recent 65 days sailing through the Bahamas and I must say that I am very satisfied with my choice.

The installation was straightforward and as you have pointed out, the hardware is well engineered and well made. When considering the cost of an in-boom furling system one should seriously think of what it involves to properly install the lead blocks for the halyard and the furling line, the deck organizer, the rope clutches and a new winch, and then the boom brake with its turning blocks and a dedicated winch…and oops! the new mainsail! None of these are included. It is a major undertaking but worthwhile, and I fully agree with Mr. Reed in his praise of the system. What made me buy one was the realization that manning the main in a conventional way was taking a considerable amount of time and effort for our mostly coastal type of cruising.

One final note: At first I was led to believe that the smaller, Mk I model would be adequate for my boat…as if everyone tried to save me some money. I avoided, however, a major mistake and got instead the next size, Mk II. By all measures this happened to be perfect for my 21,000-pound Endeavour 37. The cavity of the boom in the Mk 1 is smaller and that would have imposed undesirable compromises in the size or the thickness of the sail.

Peter Gradeff
Via e-mail

We have specified a Leisure Furl on our New Tartan 4100. I performed considerable research prior to selecting the system. Most, if not all, of Mr. Reed’s problems or concerns were quickly revealed or should be avoided as a result of our research.

1. It is a well-engineered but complex system. Proper installation is important for successful operation. Without hesitation, we chose to have the system installed by a professional. There would be no “error correction” with an installer familiar with the boom. The installation charge is $2,000 for our boom, or about 16% of the cost of the boom with tax—money well spent.

2. We were told up front of the long lead times. We were quoted a lead time of 12 to 16 weeks from both our professional installer, as well as Hall Spars, the Eastern U.S. distributor. This was in February of 2000. We were also aware that manufacturing was going to shift to the U.S., which would solve the problem with lead times.

3. We were told by several sources familiar with the boom (Sound Rigging Services in Essex Connecticut, the installer; Halsey Lidgard, our sail loft; and a professional at our marina with America’s Cup experience) that an electric mainsheet winch is highly recommended, so we ordered one. All of these sources highly recommended the Leisurefurl.

4. The reason we chose Halsey Lidgard for our sail is that they have considerable experience with the boom and the proper cut of the sail. This experience comes in large part from their lofts in New Zealand. Are the instructions for the sail “unusual?” Well, I would fully expect such a system to have specific requirements that are not unusual for a loft experienced with the boom, or even any quality loft.

5. I fully expect a learning curve on the use of the system. Isn’t this true with any new system on a boat? The ways to control sail shape are different than with a traditional boom. All furling systems take some time to master. Even with our Harken headsail furling system we use two lines while furling and unfurling in order to control how tight the furling line winds around the drum and how tight the sail rolls around the foil. I fully expect the line control to be second nature after using it for a while.

We chose the Leisure Furl because we want easier shorthanded sailhandling without compromising sailing performance. I’m glad that Mr. Reed is apparently pleased with the system now that he is through his initial learning curve, problems related to installing it himself, and, perhaps, some insufficient advance research. We will write back next summer after some extensive hands-on experience.

Jeff Lennox
Shelton, Connecticut

Cedar and Batteries
Thanks for your very readable and helpful piece on AGM batteries (October 1, 2000). Perhaps the wooden boat enthusiasts among your readers will find special interest in this bit of lead-acid battery history.

The Port Orford cedar (Chalmaecyparis lawsoniana), sometimes known as Lawson cypress, grows only in a narrow region along the coast of southern Oregon. It is far and away the best wood ever cut for planking ships and boats. Easy to work, it also gives off a pleasant, spicy fragrance. These old-growth majestic giants provided long lengths of strong, medium-density, straight and close-grain timber highly resistant to decay and marine borers. Sadly, those stands were decimated long ago, not for shipbuilding but for manufacturing of lead-acid batteries. It seems the wood is also highly resistant to acid and was the best available material for battery separators.

Both the open bight with a southwest exposure and the picturesque little town left over from Oregon’s logging heyday bear the name. You can go there and buy Port Orford cedar today, but only what my dad would have called “junk,” stuff from poor second and new growth timber. You might be able to get some really good stuff if you can wait a couple of hundred years.

Raymond H. Richards, NA, PE
Newport Beach, California

Freewheeling The Prop
In reference to the correspondence on freewheeling the prop (January 15, 2001), I have a Hurth Model HBW 150 gearbox in my sailboat. The following is an excerpt from the Hurth manual. “Rotation of the propeller without load while the boat is sailing, being towed, or anchored, as well as operation of the engine with the propeller stopped, will have no detrimental effects on the gear box. IMPORTANT, when the boat is sailing (engine stopped), the gear lever must be in zero position. Never put the gear lever in the position corresponding to the direction of travel of the boat. Locking of the propeller shaft by an additional brake is not required: use the gear lever position opposite your direction of travel for this purpose.”

Rodger Carr
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

More on Diesel Engine Idling
In your November issue you mention Nick Nicholson’s diesel idling in gear to avoid damage from prolonged idling. While placing a load on the engine will keep fuel build-up (aka cylinder washdown) from occurring, there is a much simpler solution. Cylinder washdown occurs at idle because the injectors deliver more fuel than the idling engine is capable of burning. Simply increasing the engine’s RPM by 50-150 RPM will completely prevent washdown.

During engine warm-up, it is especially critical to bump the RPM up because the cold engine can’t burn as much fuel at idle as one that is at operating temp. Any time you need to leave your diesel running under no load, take it up off of idle. At the least, this practice prevents premature cylinder wall damage. In some applications, accessories such as compressors and high-output alternators put enough of a load on the engine at idle, but just play it safe and come off idle. You’ll notice that most engines will run smoother there as well.

Dave Starr
Certified Diesel Tech
Via e-mail

David Bell, from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, did a fine job illustrating and describing his “Homemade Lazy Jack System” in the December 2000 issue. However, let’s give credit where credit is due. North Sails introduced this system about 10 years ago under the name “LazyMate.” It included brass fittings for the sail to be attached to the mainsail track in an alternating twisted fashion to facilitate the flaking. I have had one on my 1974 Pearson 33 since it was first introduced and have found it to be a tremendous help. Yes, having a plastic-coated topping lift is desirable.

Gary L. Schechter
Mathews County, Virginia

The Rot Doctor
In the January 1, 2001 issue a reader asked about epoxying his deck [because the core was wet]. I have a similar situation on my Ranger 28. I contacted Steve Smith at Smith & Co. in Richmond, California (800/234-0330), which makes Smith’s CPES™ (Clear Penetrating Epoxy System—a top-rated product in PS teak treatment tests). Several people told me that this product is the best of its kind.

I was told not to drill into the underside of the deck as the penetrating epoxy, when applied, would have no place to go but down and out. It is better to drill into the topside so gravity will work with you to draw the epoxy deep into the core. It was also suggested that I visit the website, which I did. It is very helpful in that it provides detailed explanations and diagrams of the process. It also has helpful hints such as using acetone to help remove the water moisture from the core.

Chris Chomyn
Via e-mail

Link 2000R
Two years ago I thought I was buying the best when I sprung for a Link 2000R monitor. What a mistake!

First, it’s superb as a monitoring device but unfortunately the R model is also a controller for both the Freedom 25 battery charger and the engine-powered voltage regulator. Three months ago, when a lightning strike took out the Link, not only couldn’t I monitor my stricken system, I couldn’t charge my batteries! Without the Link unit, the charger and voltage regulator are just dumb, useless boxes! I was shocked to learn how vulnerable I’d made myself.

Second, the replacement unit failed after three months, proving itself unreliable.

Third, although warranted, Heart said they wouldn’t have a replacement for six to eight weeks.

Kudos to West Marine. When my Link 2000R crapped out, West Marine came through. Manager Jim Bittel at the Daytona/Halifax store found a unit at another West Marine store, shipped it in, and exchanged it for my failed unit even though I didn’t buy the original Link at West Marine. Unbelievable!

Jim Lyons
Via e-mail

Tanzer 22 Correction
I can’t believe that Practical Sailor blew it so badly: My list shows the basic PHRF rating for the Tanzer 22 at 237 to 246 depending on its keel, not the 92 to 98 indicated in your article!

G. B. Vickery
Via e-mail

Our apologies. We misread the PHRF tables and never caught the mistake.

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