Can you reef a mainsail that isn't reefed? - SailNet Community
  • 1 Post By overbored
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 3 Old 10-27-2013 Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Posts: 48
Thanks: 0
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Can you reef a mainsail that isn't reefed?


A question for anyone reading: I have a 16' Topper Sport dinghy. It has a mainsail and a jib, but since I'm still learning I usually just use the mainsail.

I know that if the wind is really blowing hard, many of you chose to reef the mainsail to reduce the amount of wind on the sail. As far as I can tell, my boat can't do that. I use the halyard to raise and lower the sail, but if I lower the sail, it just collapses the boom and falls into a heap in the boat. On a second note, how do you know if your boat has the capability to reef the mainsail?

Is it at all possible to rig some kind of system to be able to reef if I wanted to? I know the golden rule is: "If you are thinking about reefing, it's too late"
but I don't have that option.

mike21070 is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 3 Old 10-27-2013
Just another Moderator
Faster's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
Posts: 19,120
Thanks: 153
Thanked 541 Times in 515 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Re: Can you reef a mainsail that isn't reefed?

This google image search result will give you lots to consider..

It's unlikely that Toppers come with reef points.. but there's no reason you couldn't add them if you really think you need them. Is the Topper a laser-like sleeve sail? or slugs/boltrope on a track? If a laser type with no stays and a sleeved luff you can 'reef' by rolling some of the sail around the mast, but you need a way to pin the mast to keep it from unrolling under pressure. You'd also likely need to rig a strap to keep the clew close to the boom (google 'clew strap' for ideas there) Even if it's a regular bolt rope/track system, if it's a free standing mast you may be able to disconnect the boom, roll up some sail and reattach the boom...

If you can 'reef' this way it may be less than ideal, esp if you're not using the jib, as it may shift the center of effort to the point where steering is difficult, but it may be worth a try (over the added complexity and cost of rigging standard jiffy reefing as in some of those images I linked to above)

If it's not a sleeve sail or 'rollable' setup then all you'd really need is a reinforced reef cringle added to the luff and leech and some small lines and cleats. Any sailmaker could modify the sail for you.


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)

Last edited by Faster; 10-27-2013 at 11:59 PM.
Faster is online now  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
The Following User Says Thank You to Faster For This Useful Post:
Alex W (10-28-2013)
post #3 of 3 Old 10-28-2013
Senior Member
overbored's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Dana Point, Ca
Posts: 1,967
Thanks: 1
Thanked 131 Times in 130 Posts
Rep Power: 7
Re: Can you reef a mainsail that isn't reefed?

Toppers are a sleeve sail not going to be easy to reef. rolling the sail up does not work well because it tries to unwind in heave air. keep practicing and you will not need a reef even in 25KTS. pull in very hard on the vang to flatten the sail, sail with a little luff in the leading edge of the sail, boom at the corner and pinch up and hike hard.
nolatom likes this.

overbored is online now  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How Do You Reef the Mainsail? blueranger Learning to Sail 45 08-31-2013 10:58 PM
How to reef a lateen with reef points MattMcc804 General Discussion (sailing related) 9 05-06-2013 12:52 AM
I guessing we should've reefed or ? agarcia Learning to Sail 33 02-10-2012 12:20 PM
Flattening Reefed Mainsail, or why no Cunningham? NCC320 General Discussion (sailing related) 10 11-15-2010 04:52 PM
Footed mainsail w/ flattening reef Sailormon6 Gear & Maintenance 5 03-09-2003 04:09 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome