Join Date: Mar 2006
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If you pinch you do reduce heel because the sails stall which is fine to reduce heel but may be difficult to maintain while you reef. If you spill your sails before you drop away onto a reach you will reduce heel (and rig loading). While on a reach you can maintain a more controlled course with more room for error in your course while reefing (with a spilled mainsail).
Of course if you turn away from the wind without first spilling off your sails you will definitely increase rig loading and heel; that was not my original suggestion.
Another good way to reef is by doing a heave-to; which pretty much stops the boat while you reef. You can lock the helm and leave it to go forward and reef the sail. Put the boat on starboard tack (leeward to port) and you won't have to worry about being give-way to other sailboats while you are reefing.