I have just acquired a new mainsail for my Typhoon, which has a set of reefing cringles and points. What is the simplest way to set up reefing tackle so that the main can be reefed easily underway?
Dan Dickison responds:
What you're after is actually pretty simple, but it wouldn't hurt to have a visual reference, and for that I recommend John Rousmaniere's Annapolis Book of Seamanship (which is available in the SailNet Store).
In his chapter on heavy weather sailing, the author discusses various methods for reefing. For the Typhoon, a simple jiffy-reefing system would be best. For that, you need a reefing line run through a block at the forward end of the boom and aft to a block near the end of the boom. From there the reefing line is led through the cringle in the leech of the mainsail and then back down to the boom. It should be made fast at the aft end of the boom either through a bale or around the boom and knotted to itself. Then you can pull on the tail of the line to shorten sail and make that fast to a cleat that is either on the mast or on the deck. Of course you'll need a reefing cringle in the luff of the sail and that needs to be affixed to a hook on the gooseneck or if you have a similar line run through it, that needs to be tensioned so that the cringle can be pulled down toward the gooseneck, effectively shortening sail.
I'm not a big fan of reefing points because they essentially weaken the sail, but since you already have them, you should use them. The way to do this is to gather the bulk of the reefed area and bind it with the lines (or sail ties) that are led through the reefing points. Don't bind it too tightly, just neatly and securely. Also, if you have the option, don't tie the lines around the boom, just run them under the foot of the sail.