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400 Mk II mainsail

May 16, 2015
C&C 37 128 Portland
My search for a "performance-live aboard" (yes, an oxymoron) is now focused on the Catalina 400 Mk II, '00-'08. I've poo-pooed mast furling rigs for years, but reading around, it looks like I may have to like it since most of the Mk IIs in that range are mast-furled. Performance sacrifice aside, I'm coming around to appreciating the convenience, since I know my mate won't be up for reefing a regular boom-stacked main.

What should I inspect on a 10–15 year-old mast-furled rig?
Do sail designs/cloth/composites vary from year to year, make to make?
What features should I look for in the furler, the sail, etc?
Do any mast-furled sails perform better than others?
Any signs of wear or damage that should send me running?
Who is the sailmaker(s) of the stock sails and are they worth their weight (a loaded question)?

Thanks ahead.
Apr 5, 2009
Catalina '88 C30 tr/bs Oak Harbor, WA
Several years ago I was looking at installing a roller furling boom on my C30 was also concerned about the loss in sail area. one option I found was Air Battens which inflate after the sail is deployed and can have a normal roach curve in the main.
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Jun 4, 2009
Catalina 309 Swantown Marina Olympia, WA
I have a 2006 C309 with the stock Selden in mast furling and I love it. The only problems I have had is the gas cylinder leaking in the rodkicker that controls the level of the boom. If the boom isn't close to level it binds when furling/unfurling. I'm on my 3rd cylinder but they must have improved them as the last one has lasted for 5 years and still going strong. My boat is in the water all year. I use a spare halyard to take some of the weight of the boom off of the rodkicker during the winter months. The cylinder is not hard to replace.
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Apr 11, 2012
Cataina 400 MK II Santa Cruz
I own a 2004 MK II. I love the boat. Yes, the in-mast furling is a great help for a guy sailing with his wife. The furling is easy to use, and in the 4 years I've owned my boat, it's been just fine. So, what to watch:

Make sure that all the moving parts rotate easily. That would be the top piece, the spiral gear that the line rolls on, and all the blocks and cars.

Are the lines themselves in good condition?
Go over all standing rigging - just as you would any other boat you are considering to buy.

You should comparison shop on this website. The sails (I looked) are Doyle Sails which, in my opinion, are top quality and they are very reasonably priced.
I know that Catalina Direct can sell you sails - and at a reasonable price. Many sailmakers are building sails for in-mast furled boats. Check out local lofts.

How is the sail shape: is the draft looking well shaped? Sails crisp? Not all baggy and blown out? This might be a good place to hire a sailmaker to come take a look. A hint is that if you see long creases in the sail, they may indicate that the sail is folding on the spindle that runs up the mast. That is not a good sign. So, try it. With no wind, take the sail in and out a few times. You should be able to do this without using winches. If you can do it by hand, you're probably in pretty good shape - and the sail too!

By the way, my experience is a bit different from tahomathundr. I find my rig works best if the boom is canted up by about 10 - 20 degrees up. I have seen others that do that also. You can tell what works best by furling it at the dock and watching how the sail feeds into the slot.

Another BIG advice if you do get the in-mast furling. Do it slowly. I've had a few times where it seemed to get stuck. I've stopped. Backed up a bit. Proceeded slowly. Easy-Peasie. No Problema. Yes, I use my power winch to furl and unfurl (many people don't). I pay close attention to the tension, go slowly and have had no problems.

I hope these ideas help you. Like I say, I'm a big fan of the Catalina 400 MKII. Lots of improvements over the MKI, in my opinion. You will love the openness of the cockpit due to the duel steering wheels, and the ..... well, so many things work on the boat. Good luck.
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