Catalina 34

General Activities => Main Message Board => Topic started by: PaulJacobs on August 13, 2021, 07:52:12 AM

Title: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: PaulJacobs on August 13, 2021, 07:52:12 AM
I want to know if anyone on this forum has installed in-the-boom furling, and if so which system did you select, and after using it, what do you consider to be its plusses and minuses?

I am 82 and Nancy is 71.  We LOVE our C-34 Pleiades in particular, and sailing in general.  However, with each passing year things that were easy twenty years ago become slightly more difficult.  Rather than sell our beloved Pleiades and go over to "the dark side" (viz. powerboating), I am looking at ways to make sailing easier, without compromising on performance, or spending vast amounts of money.  I do not like in-the-mast mainsail systems because they do not allow proper horizontal battens to maintain mainsail shape.  In-the-boom systems do not suffer from this problem, but can be rather expensive.  I am currently checking out Furl Boom, Pro-Furl, Schaefer, and Leisure Furl.

As an example, simply raising the C-34 mainsail using our starboard coach-roof winch now gets me winded, so instead I go to the mast and manually "sweat" the main halyard while Nancy takes up the slack in the cockpit.  Then, I return to the cockpit to crank up the last few feet on our self-tailing coach roof starboard winch.  Dropping the mainsail in a stiff wind involves again going up onto the coach roof, alternately flaking a heavy, flapping mainsail, securing it to the boom with sail ties, and later covering it with Pleiades mainsail cover.  None of these tasks are especially difficult, but they can be exhausting at my age. I have thought about converting the starboard coach roof winch to an electric version, but that is also rather expensive, and the motor would also significantly diminish head-room on entering the quarterberth.  Recently I have looked into the WinchRite system which is basically a geared, battery powered portable motor.  Presumably, the WinchRite unit can raise a mainsail the size and weight of a C-34's about four times before needing to be re-charged.  Has anyone on this forum purchased one, and if so, how do you like it.

I wish I were 21 all over again - for many reasons - and did not need any of this "stuff".  Unfortunately, I am not, and if such devices are not TOO expensive, and can help Nancy and I continue to sail for another 3-5 years, then I will gladly install and use them.

Dr. Paul F. Jacobs
1990 Mk 1.5 No. 1068
Wickford, RI
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: Jon W on August 13, 2021, 08:49:27 AM
FWIW in the meantime - A lot of us have mounted a cam cleat on the side of the mast to hold the halyard, and free your hands to make the next pull. Once the main is up and the halyard is in the cam cleat, ensure the halyard on the deck is free to run thru the deck organizer then go to the cockpit, and pull in the halyard. It will pop out of the cam cleat, close your rope clutch, and tidy up your lines. It makes raising the main at the mast easier. For dropping the main, do you have lazy jacks?
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: Noah on August 13, 2021, 08:53:00 AM
Some folks on this forum have/tried Winchrite, with mixed success. You will find posts if you keyword search. There are also some electric winches (Selden, Anderson) that have integral motors with nothing protruding below decks. Some have also tried Milwaukee 1/2 drill drivers with a winch handle bit adapter. Very heavy and awkward, but some cruisers use them. Also a new member in the UK is currently shopping/purchasing a C34 with a Liesurefurl. Might search for that too… good luck!
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: Stu Jackson on August 13, 2021, 09:39:52 AM

I have read many reviews of in-boom systems on cruisersforum.  Contrary to popular belief, they do not seem to offer "the magic bullet" you are looking for because one still has to raise the mainsail.   :cry4`

Jon's suggestion, which is included IIRC in one of my 101 Topics, shows this cam cleat.  Either that or I should have found pictures of it that former Commodore Rick Allen installed on his boat in the early 2000s.    [Edit: I just looked, and found that in all these years I never did find that photo that I was so sure Rick had posted.  Here's the only reference I did find:,5522.msg34374.html#msg34374.  Perhaps Jon has a photo of his.  Sorry...]

I did something similar with just a small cleat on the side of the mast - same concept but requires a second trip up to the mast.  I never did get around to the wonderfully efficient cam cleat.
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: Stu Jackson on August 13, 2021, 09:48:32 AM

Also a new member in the UK is currently shopping/purchasing a C34 with a Liesurefurl. Might search for that too… good luck!

Here's a link to that new respondent and hopefully a new IA member:,11131.0.html
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: Noah on August 13, 2021, 10:17:21 AM
Here is a pic of my cam cleat for mainsail hoisting. It works well, but I could/should have placed it a bit higher on the mast but I wanted to make sure it released when I pulled out the slack from cockpit once hoisted. Jon put his higher and I believe it works too, with less bending.
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: Stu Jackson on August 13, 2021, 11:01:50 AM
Thx Noah added to the 101 Topics, Single Handing 101.3.  (That's why your post shows an edit by me - to capture the URL.)
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: ewengstrom on August 13, 2021, 12:30:14 PM
Noah's mod came up in an earlier thread and since I just happened to have an extra jamb cleat, I copied it!!!
I'm very, very happy with this seemingly minor modification, it's a snap to raise the main and the cleat also helps when reefing.  :clap
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: awesome34 on August 13, 2021, 12:39:37 PM
The PO installed the Schaefer boom furling system on my 1988. That, combined with the electric winch he also installed, makes raising and lowering the main a breeze. I have owned the boat for 10 years and haven't had any issues with the furling system. I don't reef very often, but you have a lot more flexibility there. Performance doesn't take a huge hit because you can still have a fully battened main. You do lose some ability to adjust your main sail. No outhaul, or cunningham, extra weight in the boom, so you will need to upgrade your vang as well. I think it might extend the life of the mainsail as it's really well protected when furled. I have heard they are quite expensive, though.
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: Jon W on August 13, 2021, 01:19:58 PM
Photo of mine. The the cam cleat screw CL is 36" vertical from the top of the mast collar flange. Location depends on what you have on the mast in that area.
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: PaulJacobs on August 15, 2021, 06:16:20 AM
It would seem that the discussion has devolved from one focused on in-the-boom furling systems into installing a cam cleat on the lower starboard side of the mast.  I do NOT have trouble raising the mainsail ONCE I go to the mast.  I sweat it up, while Nancy hauls in the slack in the cockpit, during which "Otto" keeps Pleiades headed into the wind.  By using the starboard coach roof sheet-stopper and the starboard coach roof winch in self-tailing mode the main halyard can only come "in" and will not go back "out" when I inevitably release halyard tension between pulls.  The central issue of my inquiry was;  is there a system where I do NOT have to go forward onto the coach roof to accomplish all of these actions, including raising and lowering the mainsail, as well as reefing?  Then I realized that even with a Leisure furl in-the-boom furling system (about $8K) I STILL would have to go forward to connect the main halyard.  Plus, with such a system one also needs a new, specially cut mainsail (another 2-3K).

Electric winches, and even winch conversions are expensive (about 5K), and would require unsightly wiring running along the quarterberth overhead, and potential head-banging, or, even more money for an above deck motor, still having the same overhead wiring issue.  Altogether the concept, while lovely, and not in any way reducing mainsail performance, would like cost 15-18K; a significant fraction of the value of a 1990 C-34.

Hence my possible interest in the WinchRite unit.  Using a Milwaukee cordless right angle drill motor would require a "star" adapter to fit the winch, and some sort of converter to adjust RPM.

For the time being I will continue to remove the mainsail cover, connect the main halyard, raise, reef, lower, fold, flake, secure, re-cover and reposition the main halyard in "the usual manner" and hope that none of this leads to a heart attack on the coach roof.  Not only would that permanently end the joys of sailing for me, but Nancy would then need to learn to sail Pleiades single handed, and the opportunity to revel in the joys of sailing together, tell silly stories, remark about the sound of water gurgling along the hull, comment on the skipper's latest idea. and sip wine together in the cockpit would all sadly end.

Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: scgunner on August 15, 2021, 10:34:53 AM

The WinchRite looks like a pretty nice piece of kit, if it will keep you on the water $900 seems pretty reasonable, when you consider what you've already got invested in this passion, boat, maintenance, etc. Also, like you I don't see the point of adding a cam cleat to the mast, seems like all it will do is create more drag while raising the main. Like you my boat came with a sheet stopper ahead of the winch so I never go to the mast to raise the main, don't see the point.
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: Noah on August 15, 2021, 11:51:39 AM
The cam cleat at the mast allows you to quickly raise the main halyard, almost to the top, with no friction while standing at the mast. Raise, jam the halyard in the cleat, then go aft and take in the slack and crank up the last foot or two. As soon as you take in the slack the cleat releases, then you rely on the coach roof clutch and winch. This is a great benefit for single-handing or with short-handed, weaker, or inexperienced crew. Gets the main up much faster with less drama.
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: Ron Hill on August 15, 2021, 02:16:50 PM
Guys : I tried the Milwaukee Drill and it is cumbersome and cannot be used by my 1st Mate!!  only works well for the genoa sheet lines!!

A friend mounted a # 30 size winch on the side of the mast and says that that is the answer.  He also has a cam cleat.  The winch is especially nice for winching someone up the mast. - much easier eliminating all the angle turns of the OEM main halyard routing. 

A thought
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: Jim Hardesty on August 15, 2021, 04:09:47 PM
I've been on boats with plastic sail tracks installed.  The mains are much easer to hoist.  Don't know the brands.  Hopefully some sailors here will reply with their input.
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: Noah on August 15, 2021, 05:46:33 PM
To further drift off course…. There are two mainsail track systems I know of:
Harken’s Battcar and Tides Marine system. I have the Tides system and it does make raising and lowering the mainsail easier. In my opinion it would not replace a boom furler or in mast furling —despite Harken’s claims. But they are a nice upgrade to a traditional mainsail halyard hoist arrangement.
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: Stu Jackson on August 15, 2021, 06:44:58 PM
Good points, Noah.  My PO, bless his little heart, installed a Harken batt car system.  After dealing with slugs on our 22 & 35 since 1983, we were pleasantly surprised by the difference the cars make.  I know why they call 'em "slugs."   :D

I've heard good things about the other system, too.  Even better: haven't heard anything bad.  About either.

My cars do stack up, so the sail cover must be designed or that.  My PO was about 4'-6" and proudly showed me his step stool in the lazarette, which he needed to connect the main halyard shackle to the headboard!  :shock: He included it as part of the deal.  :clap

First thing I did was put in a mast step.   :thumb:  Back when I was young and limber, I could use that one step, loop my leg around the mast, and have both hands free for the sail and shackle.  Now I'm glad he included the step stool!!! :D :D :D
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: Fansea on August 15, 2021, 08:44:22 PM
The PO bought one (WinchRite) for our Catalina 34 MK2, which has in-mast furling. It works very well and I have used it primarily when single-handing and want to get the sail tightly furled. Its a definite help and has held up well to date.
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: WBev on August 16, 2021, 02:30:19 PM
Paul, at the 2019 Annapolis Sailboat show I was quoted $15,000 for the in boom furling system.  About half the cost was the boom rig, and the other half was the certified rigging company to install it as required by the manufacturer.  I don't recall whether that price was discounted for the show, but it was half what I paid for the boat after deductions for some stuff needing attention.  When shopping for my C34, the Admiral wanted in mast furling.  Many here can attest the cost of a C34 with that is about twice what I paid for my 1992. 

(Being a bit behind you on the age curve, I opted for the stack pack style sail cover, new lazy jacks and the strong track.)
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: KeelsonGraham on August 17, 2021, 02:58:32 PM

We have the Leisurefurl system on our C34. This is an extremely well engineered piece of kit.

The electric winch is mounted on the port side of the coach roof. The mechanicals are covered by a generously padded box in the head. This has no impact on using the bathroom.

It’s a super easy system to use, requiring absolutely no physical effort, so its an ideal way of extending your sailing time on your existing boat.

It’s not cheap, but then again dying rich is pointless!
Title: Re: In Boom furling and WinchRite
Post by: pablosgirl on September 03, 2021, 08:09:10 AM

We have a WinchRite.  We bought it so Cyndi could haul me up the mast and use it for Genoa sheeting.  Good product with long battery life.  But you should consider the physics of using it.  You trade off doing “grinding “ work (using a winch handle) versus holding the thing stationary while you hold the button.  So it is a good replacement if you have a shoulder issue but not as work free as a power winch.  I too go to the mast to raise the main halyard.  I find it is easier than at the winch in the cockpit (you remove the friction of all those turning blocks ). Have you considered adding lazy jacks or a stack pack.  Those help with containing the mainsail during up/down ops and can be used with your current mainsail.  You could unzip and attach the halyard at the dock to avoid the deck while out?  I am 61 and hopefully i will be sailing our 34 when I’m in my 80’s as your are!