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Old 05-28-2003
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best way to reef a main

If you luff head to wind to reef, you''ll stop and lose the race. It also makes the reefing more difficult because you''re bouncing around and spashing more than you''d be if simply hard on the wind with the jib still pulling. (If the sea was flat and there was no wind, you wouldn''t be reefing!) In the rough conditions present when you''re likely to be reefing, getting into irons and losing steerage way could be dangerous. When we reef the fractional main on our J/36 we maintain our course and let the sail luff for the 20 or so seconds it takes to put the reef in. Then we trim the sheet, and away we go.
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