Taming My Cat with Leisure Furl
Why Leisure Furl
Having previously owned a smaller catamaran and chartered several more prior to purchasing our new Vision 444, I was aware of the skills required to safely handle its powerful full batten mainsail. As a frequent solo or short-handed sailor, being able to raise and lower the main by myself was a top priority. Having researched several options it became apparent that the Leisure Furl was well suited for Ruby Star, but I still had some questions.
That led me to Tom Peelen from Leisure Furl. He answered all my questions and convinced me that the product was thoroughly refined and well suited to meet my needs. While not an insignificant additional cost, when viewed within the overall purchase price of Ruby Star it added value, convenience, and safety to the investment.
Since Ruby Star was being built in South Africa, I felt it was important to have the Leisure Furl system installed from new, so the Vision factory installed the mast but left the standard boom off before shipping it to Florida. They also made sure to fabricate the mainsail to match Leisure Furl specifications. Once the boat arrived in Ft Lauderdale, we motored it up to Ft Pierce for final commissioning. There I had contracted with Mack Sails to install the Leisure Furl boom, vang and rigging, as well as complete commissioning of the new sails.
They turned out to be very professional and competent in every aspect of their work. Once rigged and installed, we all took the Ruby Star out for her shakedown cruise to make final adjustments and for a little owner training. Just like everything else on a sailboat, I know that safe usage of my new Leisure Furl system would require a base knowledge to operate it competently.
Sailing with Leisure Furl
When sailing a large cruising catamaran, it’s important to realize that it’s not a day racer. Steady, comfortable progress is the main goal. Since being able to raise, reef and lower the sails from the helm while singlehanding is of paramount importance to me, we decided to lead all sail control lines back to the helm.
This decision has turned out to be a total success and I’m now able to completely manage all aspects of the mainsail from the safety of the cockpit. Reefing is achieved by simply furling down to the point where any one of the full battens is ready to leave the furling mandrel. That means no more reefing lines to manage and tension. When a squall is approaching, I’m now able to fully furl and secure the mainsail by myself in short order for the first time ever! Sail shape can also be quickly modified for light air conditions by easing the boom bridle, or it can just as easily be flattened for strong winds by simply adding a little extra rotation to the furling mandrel to tension the sail down.
I have been completely satisfied with the installation and performance of my new Leisure Furl system and look forward to a trouble and drama-free experience each time the mainsail is raised.
Jim Garner. Owner of Vision 444 Ruby Star