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Join Date: Sep 2005
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An issue with the hook shown on the left is that the cringle can fall off before you tension the luff. This can be a major PITA if you're set up so you have to go to the mast to hook the tack, then come back aft to rehoist - only to find the tack fell off. This is less of an issue with the ramshorn style.
However as you've noted they are very hard to get on at times, esp with limited free movement of the cringle.
A good compromise is to use the open hooks (left one) but rig a small/short shockcord with an eye in each end, connected in the middle somehow to the gooseneck or full-hoist tack fitting. Once you have the reef cringle on the hook, slip one of the shock cord eyes over the hook to help hold the sail in while you get around to tensioning the luff again. If you have two hooks (typical for 2-slab reefing) the double-ended shock cord works for either side/either reef.
This trick applies to Mike's suggestion above as well...
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)