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saltypat 11-05-2007 05:00 PM

Yet another reefing line question
I have read a recent 4 page thread on an isomat boom. It discussed reefing lines and outhauls.

Our old 1984 boat had no reefing line installed and an old outhaul ine as well.

The foot of our main had no sail slides- the foot feels like wire which threads into the boom. My main point is I cannot tie the reefing line around the boom. (The main is new from North).

There are eyes on the bottom of the boom - I guess I could tie it there before going up throug a fitting on the side of the boom, then to the reefing cringle on the sail (and then into the aft part of the boom, etc.)

Does this sound right or am I missing something?

I am in the process of making a to-do list for the winter, etc.

Many Thanks, SaltyPat

sailingdog 11-05-2007 05:11 PM


The foot of your mainsail has a boltrope... that is the wire-like piece that slides into the track on the boom. Most newer sails are loose footed, and usually only have two sail slugs on them—one by the clew and one near the tack.

Does your sail have any reefing points in it?? If not, then it is a moot issue. If so, does it have any grommets or cringles along the foot of the sail? If not, it may be worth getting them added, so that you can tie the reefing lines around the boom. I'm generally leery of having the padeyes take a lateral load like that, since they're really not designed to resist lateral loading that way—and if you're having to reef the sails, the loads on the padeye are going to be considerable.

labatt 11-05-2007 05:25 PM

Saltypat - Generally, for boats that use a boltrope to hold the sail to the boom, you will have a padeye installed on the side of the boom. You feed the end of the reefing line through it and then tie a stopper knot in the end (at least that's what I used to do on my last boat). Some may tell you to tie a bowline, but unless you can make it pretty small, a bowline would be pretty noisy in a blow. What size is your boat? SD brings up a good point regarding loads, but I would think the load factor on a padeye on smaller boats (under 30'?) would be OK... but that's just my opinion.

blt2ski 11-05-2007 07:58 PM

Admitidly this is a smaller pic, showing my boom/main sail in a lowered position. BUT, if you look, you can see at the back of the pulleys where there is a smaller white line attached to a loop, that is how my reef line is attached, then up to the reef cringle, back to the boom opening, then forward to the mast. Sorry, I do not have a picture of this area with the main up. Hope it helps none the less.


saltypat 11-06-2007 10:30 AM

Good advice on adding another cringle at some point
Thanks for the idea of adding another cringle.

Our boat is an Endeavour 33, so we are on the hairy edge of living dangerously by not tieing the line around the boom.

sailingdog 11-06-2007 10:48 AM


If the padeyes are parallel to the boom, I would be very wary of using them for the reefing lines. Small padeyes that are generally found on the boom are designed to take load along their length, and do far less well with loads perpendicular to them.

sailingfool 11-06-2007 11:15 AM

54 Attachment(s)
I'm very surprised North would deliver a main without grommets in the foot for the reefing lines to pass thru - what were they thinking? If that's correct, I'd take the sail back and ask them to finish the job, whoever cut the sail missed what should be a standard feature, for each reefing cringle you need a matching grommet in the foot, unless it is a loose foot main.

If your reefing line turns at the back of the boom, your reef will not set properly if the reefing line is not tied back onto itself, the cringle will be pulled down to one side of the boom, not to the center.

You do not want to install anything on the side of your boom, getting hit on the head by the boom is painful under any circumstances, being hit just by a block or a metal eye strap can change what otherwise might be a painful bruise into a fractured skull

donradclife 11-06-2007 03:32 PM

Don't worry--use the eyes on the bottom of the isomat boom for the reefing lines, as they built to take mainsheet loads and are plenty strong enough. The line should go from the sheave in the end of the boom, through the reefing eye on the sail, and back down to a bowline through the eye on the bottom of the boom. The eye on the bottom of the boom should be about 3-6 inches behind the eye on the sail when the sail is stretched out--if there is no eye there, you can drill out the pop rivets which hold the nearest eye then slide it in place and re-rivet.

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