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2001 Nacra Inter 20 Restoration - too furl or not too furl, that is the question!  Bottom

  • Howdy fellow Catsailors!

    I’ve been living in the desert (Mojave Ca) for the last 15 years and I’ve been away from Cat sailing for most of that time, but I’ve had a number of beach cats when I was younger and I restored quite a few of them while I was in my college years. I recently moved to Monterey, and we purchased a well used Inter 20 to celebrate the move back to the coast. I’m in the middle of restoring getting the boat sea worthy and shiny.

    As I go through the pile of spare parts that came with the boat, I’ve got a number of questions that I’m interested in getting the latest thoughts from my fellow catsailors on some of the gear that has evolved a bit since I was last sailing beachcats. I’ll post each question in an individual thread.

    I’m mostly planning to sail with my teenage boys, mostly on the ocean, and occasionally go out for some non-serious local racing. I’d like to setup the boat so that it is 1st - reliable and convenient to setup and teach my kids the joys of sailing, 2nd- to rig easily and control simply without too many confusing lines to run for my novice crew, and 3rd not overly obsess over optimizing the boat for the last .1knot of potential speed.

    In my pile of spare parts that came with the boat, the boat came with a jib furler kit and a self taking jib track kit that has never been installed. My question is, with the jib being as small as it is, is it worth the additional complexity and rigging setup time to install these two items? I know having these setup frees the crew from having to spend too much bandwidth working the jib when sailing, but I’ve heard that the furling setup on the Inter 20s are sometimes likely to fail. Can any of the experienced inter 20 guys set me straight on their options about setting up and installing the jib furler and self tacking track setups for non serious racers who want reliability and convenience over speed options?
  • Welcome back to cat sailing! I think you managed to start two identical threads...I’m responding the slightly newer one.

    Furling: I wouldn’t bother unless serious distance racing is in the cards. The latest jibs have full length battens for increased efficiency, and these cannot be furled. My personal experience is that sailing the boat main only, while doable, is a bit taxing as the helm is far from balanced without the jib.

    Self tacker: These greatly reduce crew workload and make the boat much more manageable by the crew to sail. Wire to wire gybes without it require gybing the jib and the kite manually, which is quite a lot for a new crew to handle and exhausting for experienced crew. Tacking is also taxing, the sheet loads are quite high and if you fail to release the jib before the tack you will have a heck of a time uncleating it when back winded in the middle of the tack. The self tacker solves this with the addition of more purchase and a better sheeting angle, oh, and the jib self tacks. If for some reason you decide not to install this, PM me as I may purchase it for one of the boats in our fleet.

    I’ll respond later with some other areas to look out for. Happy New Year!
  • I posted from my phone. I’m not sure how it posted twice? Is there a way to delete a thread?
  • I own a nacra 5.2 and love my furling jib very nice to depower when you come into shore. It stays rigged so no setup ,furl it put a sock on it for sun and wind beating it but if your jib has battens guess you can't.
  • What Sam said . . . Absolutely install the self tacking jib hardware! . . . and sell the furler, not needed with the self tacker setup.

    Does you boat have the mid-pole or end-pole spin setup? Who's boat did you buy?

  • I’m not sure if you can delete a thread. The error probably isn’t your fault, this site isn’t too mobile friendly.

    I believe one of the other reasons the furling gear was removed was it limited mast rake range and possibly rig tension. I could be wrong as I’ve only sailed one boat with the furling hardware installed.

    Something else to look for, the rear beam to hull attachment is a concern, especially on 2001 and earlier boats, and especially on those that have done a lot of hard miles. The other thing to keep an eye on is the main beam, I have seen a few develop cracks near the mast ball from corrosion and load. Over the years Nacra have beefed up the beam inserts significantly to reduce this issue and increase platform stiffness. I am quite sure a 2021 Evolution beam set for example will fit the I20, but the beam holes would be in the wrong locations.
  • QuoteSomething else to look for, the rear beam to hull attachment is a concern, especially on 2001 and earlier boats, and especially on those that have done a lot of hard miles.

    I have heard this before. What exactly should I be looking for? My inter 20 is a 2000 so I am concerned.


    Pete Knapp
    Schodack landing,NY
    Nacra I20,P18, P16,H16
  • The failure mode is the aluminum plates that the rear beam bolts are anchored to ripping through the hull where the beam sits.

    You want to check for movement between the hull and rear beam on each side. Don’t just tighten the bolts if so, as this could mean the plates are moving, which is no good. I would also remove the bolts and make sure the corrosion level is manageable, and stick a camera in the hull to look at them from the bottom. Also check the beam underneath where it meets the hull, this is a high load area and prone to cracking.

    Latter boats beefed up the saddle and fully glassed in the plates so are less of a concern, but with most of the fleet approaching 20 years of age they are all worth inspecting.
  • I love the self-tacker. Less to worry about. I think.i would have capsized even more without it. Makes soloing with spin possible. Great when you have inexperienced crew. Not complicated once set up.
  • I'll be the contrarian on the furler. My boat is stored at a boatyard with a ramp but no beach. I hand-launch from the ramp. I like that I can hoist the jib and furl before going to the ramp. I like that when landing I can furl the jib, pull the boards, and fully raise one rudder in deep water, then let the boat slowly slide sideways on a beam reach point of sail until in 6" of water over the ramp.

    Agree with everyone on the tacker.
  • For ease of casual sailing, I would recommend the furler. Either remove the battens and hollow the leech, or have some battens added that are parallel to the luff. I don't necessarily need/want/use the furler for sailing main alone (the boat sails much better with main and jib), but for instances that you may want to stop, or while on the beach. Sometimes taming the jib is a bit more hassle than you want to deal with.

    I have mixed feelings with the self tacker. Given my boat is 10' wide and can be a bear to get around the wind at times, you may have times you want to keep the jib backwinded. Sometimes in light air, I will manipulate the jib to get the bows around, especially if I don't have much steerage. It does make it a bit simpler with inexperienced people, but I usually teach people what the jib does and get them engaged with the trip. When building my cat, I thought about making the jib self tacking, but now I really appreciate the larger jib.


    Prindle 18-2 Mod "FrankenKitty"
    Tornado Classic "Fast Furniture"
    Prindle 19 "Mr. Wiggly" - gone
    Nacra 5.8 "De ja vu"
    Nacra 5.0
    Nacra 5.8
    Tornadoes (Reg White)
  • Now if it were a oversize or overlapping jib like the 5.8NA or 6.0NA or many other legacy cat jibs, then a furler makes life better, and highly recommended. But for Pete's sake the small self tacking slab jib on the N20 is extremely easy to manage in big winds, and even on the beach.

    My point is if you have the self tacker, why mess with trying to furl 'cause you don't really need it.

    And be kind to your crew by eliminating jib sheets, we constantly bark orders at him. He has enough to do managing the spin sheet, the main sheet, the downhaul, the boards, the rotator, the halyard, and getting the bitchin' skipper beers while he tirelessly navigates the course!

  • Quotend getting the bitchin' skipper beers while he tirelessly navigates the course!


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