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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 04-11-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllThumbs View Post
I have the same problem, but I don't want to blow a couple hundred on adding reef pionts to an old sail, so I plan on living with it until I purchase a new sail, which will be next winter if I keep the boat.

Eric
AllThumbs: adding reef points and jiffy reefing is one of the easiest sail-modification jobs, and with a bit of endeavor you can do it at home for about $40 total. Really useful if you have an older main to practice on and convince yourself it's not so hard.

First, you want to figure out how deep a reef and how many. For boats our size, I like one medium-deep reef. When a small boat needs de-powering, it tends to need it BAD. And if it needs a super-deep reef, you're prolly in big trouble for other reasons. So a 25-30% reduction is sail area is a good target; I like 34" or so.

Second, keep in mind only the head and clew grommets should be taking force; the middle reef points are there for keeping the bunt tidy, not for constraining the sail. So I put in the head and clew grommets first, each 32"above the boom measured perpendicular to it. If there's a seam there or thereabouts, adjust your level accordingly.

You'll want two or more layers of reinforcing patches; shape is not critical, but the larger should be good-sized, maybe the area of a dinner plate. Remember -- you only reef when it's blowing stink, so don't skimp. You can get remnants of sailcloth from a loft or from Sailrite, or just buy a yard of 36" wide stuff. A nice weight is 5.5-6.5 oz. I like to put the smaller patch under the bigger one; cuts down one edge to fray.

I use a spray adhesive (3M Super 77 is best) to affix the patches, then zig-zag stitch all around the edges, plus a couple gratuitous stitching lines. You may need to drive the balance wheel by hand when punching thru four or five layers near the leech or bolt rope. You can baste these on by hand, too, but a machine is better. Good, heavy polyester thread.

For grommets, the classic solution is sewn ring-plus-eyelet; a big spur grommet might work on a small boat. Both require expensive setting tools, unless you can bum them. Don't try hardware store grommets! I'm really keen on Sailrite's jiffy grommets; add a short strip of polyester webbing or two, and they are very strong.

After those are installed, you'll need to stretch out the sail tightly (or better, hoist it on the boat) and snap a line between the fore and aft reefing grommets. Your mid-point ties will need to go BELOW this line, so they don't pull on the sail when reefed. Add 3-4 single reinforcing patches neatly spaced, and either stitch on reefing ties or add spur grommets (#2 work well).

Then you install a cheek block on the boom so it pulls the clew reef down AND back (I like the Harken mini-Carbo) and a cleat of some sort; then a padeye and cleat on the mast (or use existing) so the tack reef is pulled down and forward. Done. It's actually easier than it sounds, should take an hour or two.

I'll be putting reef points on the new main I'm sewing this week; I'll try to take photos and post them.
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  #12  
Old 04-12-2009
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While this may be true for a small boat's mainsail, with the larger mainsails, it isn't cost-effective to do it yourself. The forces on the sail are higher and mistakes will generally cause the sail to tear out... which gets really expensive. A good sailmaker will put in multiple layers of reinforcement before adding the clew and tack cringles. It also assumes you have a sewing machine that is capable of sewing through multiple layers of sailcloth, and most aren't. I had my sailmaker add a third reef to my sail, and it was done very well. He even matched the style and type of reef reinforcement patches the sail originally came with as well as thread color... so you can't tell the third reef was after the fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmcgov View Post
AllThumbs: adding reef points and jiffy reefing is one of the easiest sail-modification jobs, and with a bit of endeavor you can do it at home for about $40 total. Really useful if you have an older main to practice on and convince yourself it's not so hard.

First, you want to figure out how deep a reef and how many. For boats our size, I like one medium-deep reef. When a small boat needs de-powering, it tends to need it BAD. And if it needs a super-deep reef, you're prolly in big trouble for other reasons. So a 25-30% reduction is sail area is a good target; I like 34" or so.

Second, keep in mind only the head and clew grommets should be taking force; the middle reef points are there for keeping the bunt tidy, not for constraining the sail. So I put in the head and clew grommets first, each 32"above the boom measured perpendicular to it. If there's a seam there or thereabouts, adjust your level accordingly.

You'll want two or more layers of reinforcing patches; shape is not critical, but the larger should be good-sized, maybe the area of a dinner plate. Remember -- you only reef when it's blowing stink, so don't skimp. You can get remnants of sailcloth from a loft or from Sailrite, or just buy a yard of 36" wide stuff. A nice weight is 5.5-6.5 oz. I like to put the smaller patch under the bigger one; cuts down one edge to fray.

I use a spray adhesive (3M Super 77 is best) to affix the patches, then zig-zag stitch all around the edges, plus a couple gratuitous stitching lines. You may need to drive the balance wheel by hand when punching thru four or five layers near the leech or bolt rope. You can baste these on by hand, too, but a machine is better. Good, heavy polyester thread.

For grommets, the classic solution is sewn ring-plus-eyelet; a big spur grommet might work on a small boat. Both require expensive setting tools, unless you can bum them. Don't try hardware store grommets! I'm really keen on Sailrite's jiffy grommets; add a short strip of polyester webbing or two, and they are very strong.

After those are installed, you'll need to stretch out the sail tightly (or better, hoist it on the boat) and snap a line between the fore and aft reefing grommets. Your mid-point ties will need to go BELOW this line, so they don't pull on the sail when reefed. Add 3-4 single reinforcing patches neatly spaced, and either stitch on reefing ties or add spur grommets (#2 work well).

Then you install a cheek block on the boom so it pulls the clew reef down AND back (I like the Harken mini-Carbo) and a cleat of some sort; then a padeye and cleat on the mast (or use existing) so the tack reef is pulled down and forward. Done. It's actually easier than it sounds, should take an hour or two.

I'll be putting reef points on the new main I'm sewing this week; I'll try to take photos and post them.
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #13  
Old 04-12-2009
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Quote:
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Of course, heeling isn't so much of an issue for my boat... capsizing is though...
Methinks that's a bigger problem!!!
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  #14  
Old 04-12-2009
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I am not at the point that I would do any surgery on my own sail. Sail Care is doing it for me. Hope they do a good job but in any case they will do it better than I can right now.

Harp
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  #15  
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Sailcare does a reasonably good job from what I've seen. Maybe not as good as a good sail loft, but decent enough.
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Telstar 28
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #16  
Old 04-12-2009
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Hey, you are preaching to the chior. Let me tell you I am a DIY kind of guy. If my main wasn't 30 yrs old, I would prolly do it. It just isn't worth it. I'll get reefpoints built into my new sail and roll the one I have this summer, or if I like the boat I will order the new sail in June. It's not so much the money for the new sail as it is the fact that I have never sailed my boat, and I have invested a lot into it already, and the new sail won't pay for itself if I want to sell the boat because it doesn't suit me.
Eric

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmcgov View Post
AllThumbs: adding reef points and jiffy reefing is one of the easiest sail-modification jobs, and with a bit of endeavor you can do it at home for about $40 total. Really useful if you have an older main to practice on and convince yourself it's not so hard.

First, you want to figure out how deep a reef and how many. For boats our size, I like one medium-deep reef. When a small boat needs de-powering, it tends to need it BAD. And if it needs a super-deep reef, you're prolly in big trouble for other reasons. So a 25-30% reduction is sail area is a good target; I like 34" or so.

Second, keep in mind only the head and clew grommets should be taking force; the middle reef points are there for keeping the bunt tidy, not for constraining the sail. So I put in the head and clew grommets first, each 32"above the boom measured perpendicular to it. If there's a seam there or thereabouts, adjust your level accordingly.

You'll want two or more layers of reinforcing patches; shape is not critical, but the larger should be good-sized, maybe the area of a dinner plate. Remember -- you only reef when it's blowing stink, so don't skimp. You can get remnants of sailcloth from a loft or from Sailrite, or just buy a yard of 36" wide stuff. A nice weight is 5.5-6.5 oz. I like to put the smaller patch under the bigger one; cuts down one edge to fray.

I use a spray adhesive (3M Super 77 is best) to affix the patches, then zig-zag stitch all around the edges, plus a couple gratuitous stitching lines. You may need to drive the balance wheel by hand when punching thru four or five layers near the leech or bolt rope. You can baste these on by hand, too, but a machine is better. Good, heavy polyester thread.

For grommets, the classic solution is sewn ring-plus-eyelet; a big spur grommet might work on a small boat. Both require expensive setting tools, unless you can bum them. Don't try hardware store grommets! I'm really keen on Sailrite's jiffy grommets; add a short strip of polyester webbing or two, and they are very strong.

After those are installed, you'll need to stretch out the sail tightly (or better, hoist it on the boat) and snap a line between the fore and aft reefing grommets. Your mid-point ties will need to go BELOW this line, so they don't pull on the sail when reefed. Add 3-4 single reinforcing patches neatly spaced, and either stitch on reefing ties or add spur grommets (#2 work well).

Then you install a cheek block on the boom so it pulls the clew reef down AND back (I like the Harken mini-Carbo) and a cleat of some sort; then a padeye and cleat on the mast (or use existing) so the tack reef is pulled down and forward. Done. It's actually easier than it sounds, should take an hour or two.

I'll be putting reef points on the new main I'm sewing this week; I'll try to take photos and post them.
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  #17  
Old 04-12-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllThumbs View Post
Hey, you are preaching to the chior. Let me tell you I am a DIY kind of guy. If my main wasn't 30 yrs old, I would prolly do it. It just isn't worth it. I'll get reefpoints built into my new sail and roll the one I have this summer, or if I like the boat I will order the new sail in June. It's not so much the money for the new sail as it is the fact that I have never sailed my boat, and I have invested a lot into it already, and the new sail won't pay for itself if I want to sell the boat because it doesn't suit me.
Eric
The current mainsail on our SJ21 is 35 years old. Crispy? No. Methinks someone let the battens flog it to kleenex.



If you are having a new sail made, by all means let them deal with the reef points. But they are easy to add, and add correctly, on an older sail. Placement of your aft reefing block will depend on the leech cringle's location, tho -- best to wait for the new sail to install that. Where you going for the new main (if you do)?
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  #18  
Old 04-12-2009
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I'll probably buy it from sailnet. (FX Sails)
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