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post #9 of Old 12-18-2012
paulk
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Re: Reefing a headsail???

We found a reefable Solent jib quite useful on a Transatlantic voyage and European cruise. The setup was similar to what Shnool's picture shows. When the wind picked up over 25 knots we'd rig a new sheet to the upper clew, ease the halyard (and old sheet) until the new tack cringle was secured up forward, and then tighten back on the halyard and the new sheet. Took about five minutes. The foredeck crew could then run a sailtie or line through the cringles to bunch (bunt) up the loose sailcloth. This setup lowers the center of effort of the sail a lot more than roller-furling does, so helps reduce heeling. Since the sail was relatively small (90-100% of the foretriangle) catching water in the bunt was not much of an issue. The sail was cut to be effective with either tack in use, so there was no issue with the draft of the sail being in the wrong place, or the "roll" messing up airflow, as could happen with a roller-furled "reefed" sail. On a 27' boat you might even be able to rig up a downhaul to the new tack cringle, and not have to go forward to secure it down. We were on an Ohlson 38.
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