Shorter Single Line Reef Line
Question, to which I may already know the possible answer....
Why run the bitter end of the single line reef line through a gromet or block on the leech of the sail and then back down to the boom? Why not simply end at the leech gromet attachment point? I gather doing so may cause the clew/leech portion of the sail to drop/pull in faster than the luff portion. But then gain as the reef line is pulled in wouldn't it draw tighter on the luff gromet/block first, taking what slack it could from the through line going to the clew/leech portion? Overall I don't see any real benifit of doing so, other than shortening the line by a percentage and having a better bight on the clew/leech portion. Just a urious question as I am redisigning my running rigging and this made me go Hmmmm.
Running the line back to the boom gives you a 2:1 purchase on the line, adding some mechanical advantage. Running simply through the cringle does add some friction, but not enough to defeat the mech. advantage. Using a good block reduces the friction, but adds weight and expense.
A single line as you describe would only save you line length to the depth of the reef - a couple of feet for the first, more for the second etc.
But you will find it much more difficult to actually pull the reefed clew in tight (and with sufficient "outhaul") without a winch.
Good Point, however, when reefing I typically turn to wind and adjust/fit without loads. I understand and appreciate your view though. I am mounting a double reef system with the first reef going to the helm station and the 2nd mast mounted as it would most likely require greater attention, balance and if needed. I am opting for the block system to reduce friction, which on Stella shouldn't affect her 450 sq ft too much. By the way She has a very low sail aspet ratio. I was just wondering if there were othe possibilities out there.... thanks again
reef to the boom
If you did not connect the bitter end to the boom, and you were trying to trim the leech reefing point out to the normal clew location at the end of the boom, you'd run the risk of ripping reef point right out of the sail, or at best the main would have a fat and not so funny shape.
You need that block for the additional purchase and possible winch to tighten what is now the new outhaul. Mine goes forward nearly to the mast and yes I must stand at the mast to reef but in one place I am able to attach the new clue at the mast and winch the line (I have a winch on the boom) of the new outhaul and cleat it off. One more thing... those lines that keep being refered to as "reef points" are called cringles and their purpose is to gather up the extra foot only. I am not pointing this out to be a know it all but merely to set the record for the newer sailors that might rip their sail up thinking that their purpose was to reef the sail.
All opinions expressed here by pigslo come straight from the pigs snout and as such are not to be taken seriously, only for entertainment, not to be considered valuable, or otherwise read. Consult your attorney before proceeding. Consult the yellow pages if you do not have an attorney. Ask a friend if you do not have a yellow pages. Buy a boat if you do not have a friend and you will have many then.
You have to have the line come straight down to the boom as well as back to the end of the boom in order for the new "clew" of the sail to be tensioned properly.
Ideally, you want to pull the clew reefing cringle down as well as out towards the end of the boom. Running the line just up to the reefing cringle will give you the out towards the end of the boom, but will not allow you to give sufficient "downwards" force on the cringle. In the case of strong winds, which is why you're reefing to begin with, the cringle will rise and stress the sail where it isn't properly reinforced, often causing it to tear. Saving some $20-30 on the slightly shorter reefing line could cost you $300+ in sail repairs.... not exactly a wise way to spend your money.
PBTW, any grommet through a sail is called a cringle, and the smaller ones at the reefing points are not reinforced to hold the sail against the stress of the wind, but are merely designed to allow you to tie up the bunt of the sail and keep it from chafing itself to death on a longer passage, as Pigslo has pointed out. Also, it is very important to remember to untie these before trying to shake out a reef, or you'll very likely tear the sail.
The two larger reefing cringles at the luff and leech are heavily reinforced to act as the new "foot" of the reefed sail.
One last point...if you're doing a double line reefing system, it is better to tighten the tack reefing line first, and then do the clew reefing line. Pineapple sails recommends against single-line reefing systems because you can not tension the tack reef point prior to tensioning the clew reef point, and that can damage the sails.
You will also find that having the reefline go just from the boom and to the reef cringle, without going back down to the boom causes a couple of other bad things. 1/The boom will tend to droop, so you may not be able to sheet it in all the way before it starts to hit the dodger, cabintop, or the heads of crew in the cockpit. 2/As Sailingdog mentioned above, the leech will be looser, because there is less downward component pulling on the clew. When the wind pipes up and you want a reef, you want the sails to be as flat as possible, not loose. On a positive note, taking the end of the reefing line back to the boom can also help to bunch the sail up a bit, so it doesn't flog so much. We have ours set up this way, and it is quite simple and effective.
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