Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New England USA
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Mainsail reefing dilemma
In respect to the possibility of "Just adding a couple of grommets" to your sail, there will be reinforcing required at those points. It is necessary to disperse the point loading on the sail where the grommets are placed.
Wind loading on a sail is far from linear, it is more of a log curve. As wind speed increases, the loading builds rapidly. The wind load increase from 5 to 10 kts is better than 400%. The increase from 10 to 15 kts is about 200%.
As you attempt ro reef, you will be putting a good deal of strain on your reef points, and then they will have to be capable of controlling the sail once it is trimmed. You probably notice other boats when they are sailing have complete clew and tack reinforcements at the reef points. An absolute necessity, as you will rip simple grommets out and possibly destroy your sail in the process.
Have you sailed on "Jiffy Reefed" boats before? The process can be done quickly and efficiently once it is set-up properly.
Oh, and don''t forget to leave your clew reefing line(s) rigged, always. What good is a reef point if it is impossible to rig when you need it most.