Originally Posted by Packrat
Great info guys. Thanks a bunch. John, the Hood sails you use, you mention the durability and quality. Do they hold their shape a long time and are reasonably quick? You also mention the 3rd reef. I now have 3 reef points but when talking to some folks they discourage having more than 2. Have you used the 3rd reef point and what are your thoughts about the 3rd reef. It sounds like you have used them before, 2 times.
The Hood main that we lost in the March storm was about 15 years old and still held a good shape - it still felt good too, not worn or flimsy. Hood makes their own sail cloth, they heat shrink the dacron material during manufacture and that makes it much more dense and durable - check out their website sometime: Hood Sails - Designed to Perform, Built to Last
, click on Sailcloth.
Get three reef points - if you never need them, thats great!! But if you do, and you've only got one or two, you'll be cursing those arm-chair sailors who said only get two reefs. In the first storm Paloma was in, we were reefed down to the third reef and had the head sail rolled down to large hankerchief size. In the second storm, we were on an Easterly heading on a broad reach in about 15 knots of SE wind when a cold front out of the midwest moving at 35mph and packing winds of over 50, hit us from the north and knocked us down from a 20 degree heel to port over to the starboard portlights in the water (an arc of about 110 degrees), in the melee, the main got hung upin the spreaders and tore, so we couldn't bring it down - at that point, we rolled up the headsail, turned south and ran before the storm under bare poles - except for the flogging headsail, which eventually beat itself to death.