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post #8 of Old 03-20-2010
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Two reefpoints should be enough. Have a sailmaker put them in and they'll advise you on how much sail reducion each should be. Taking in too much sail area on the main with a third reef can give you a lee helm which will make you boat want to fall off. If your rig is a sloop letting your jib back wind the main a bit in higher winds helps reduce the force on the main and let you still point well. One rule I use is to NEVER cleat the mainsheet. A cam cleat is ok as long as it's easy to get to to uncleat when you're heeled way over. Luffing up in gusts works but you gotta keep on some headway so you can steer. It's not that you'll get in irons so much that the boat will slow to the point that when it falls off from the wind you won't have enough way on to control the boat and it will take the wind on the beam and if you haven't or cant ease the sheets the wind will blow you over again.
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