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  #1  
Old 08-02-2007
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lucky jack

Gents,

I need some words of wisdom & experience to assist me in requesting the optimal rigging for our new Caliber 40 that is under construction.

The boat shall be rigged with a traditional fully-battened main and setup for slab reefing.

On the subject of reefing...I'm torn as to which way to go with it.

The factory school of thought is to use single line reefing for 1st & 2nd reefs with reefing lines & halyard brought back to the cockpit. While this seems convenient & safe, my concerns are the ability to shake-out a reef with the friction in the system and the loss of ability to adjust sail shape by being able to tension the luff & leech independently.

Another school of thought I'm considering is to perform all reefing from the mast. From there I would access both the main halyard and reefing lines. In this configuration the reefing lines would only tension the leech and I would fasten the luff cringle to a hook on the gooseneck via a nylon web with rings that is installed within the cringle. This would provide independent tensioning of luff & leech.

I am also torn on how to configure the "worst case" sail plan. The boat will be used for coastal cruising for a few years and will eventually expand to full blown cruising. The factory sail plan provides for a 2nd reef in the main and a self-tacking staysail for a worst case sail plan. I guess that the staysail may also be able to be flown alone in a worst case. I am torn between staying with this or requesting a third reef for the main in lieu of a storm-trysail rig.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

lucky jack
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Old 08-02-2007
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If you want to be able to reef from the cockpit, use a two-line reefing system. It gives you far better control over the reefing of the sail, as well as having less friction and being faster if properly setup. Finally, a two-line reefing setup gives you the ability to tension the reef tack and clew points far more properly than a single-line system ever will.

Unless you're going to setup the main mast with a second sail track for the trysail, I would highly recommend getting a very deep third reef made for the mainsail and use that in lieu of a trysail. Most modern sails, especially ones that are made of "bluewater" weight cloth, are capable of being used as a storm sail, especially if specifically made with that purpose in mind.

However, do keep in mind that this will bring six lines back to the cockpit, and you will probably want a belaying pin rail to store all the extra lines in a way that will prevent them from getting tangled or stepped on.
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  #3  
Old 08-02-2007
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I'd go with the reefing lines the wise and worldly sailingdog suggested. You usually decide to reef, 1/2 hour too late, and you're usually into it. I don't like going on deck and fighting sail when it's like that.
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  #4  
Old 08-02-2007
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Lucky,

Me and pops have been having many of the same discussions. I will not point you in one direction or the other, but will give you my perspective.

It is very scary and difficult to go forward to the mast and drop in a reef. I am not talking about in typical conditions. I am not talking about when you see the storm coming. I am talking about when it sneaks up on you at night and it is howling and the boat is pitching. Imagine spray and seas breaking over the bow or beam. How will you get up there and how will you secure yourself while dropping in the reef? Keep that in mind. However, in the worst of storms offshore, I ended up having to go to the mast anyways and help pull the sail down. I personally could not get it down when it was howling without physically holding onto the stick and grabbing the sail and pulling down. I had the "plastic" T's in the track and when the wind got very strong, they caused a lot of friction.

In discussing the friction, you might consider a better track system like the harken batt car???? That was what we would have done and were about to do if we did it all over. I have no direct experience with it, thus ask others THAT HAVE TAKEN IT OFFSHORE... not coastal. I would be interested in their experience in that too.

I would opt for a trysail, personally, if you were planning on crossing the ocean(s). ABout the third reef, that sail is nothing but a high profile wind-catch (and worthless) and typically not a heavy enough cloth for heavy offshore use days at a time. Very same is true of the jib. You lose too much sail shape. You almost need one set for the typicall sailing (with the ability to drop in a second reef), and one for heavy weather. On our boat, when it was howling and we had a second reef in, we made crappy headway and the boat did not respond really well. It was very frustrating and tiring because you are constantly fighting it, especially when the wind is not constant (gusty).

My only word of warning in all this is to get the boat and see how she sails in blow. You don't have to buy it now... wait a tad. You can order a trysail anytime... or a storm jib... or whatever. I prefer the stuff led to the cockpit because Kris and I single most of the time (as we have kids). However, you may be different and your reasoning seems sound to me.

- CD
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  #5  
Old 08-02-2007
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My preference: lines in the cockpit even for coastal.
Sure, you will normally reef on time. But than once it will get you unprepared. You will be most likely tired or sick (That is why it surprised you in the first place). Trying to reef fast will be your first priority and you will forget to clip yourself before going forward ... and a sudden gust, ...
I prefer lines in the cockpit to reduce my stupid reactions.
Single line or double: I prefer double. Faster, easier, more precise tuning and less friction. And you can do a "control descent" of a main: Main halyard is being let out slowly while you winch-in the tack reef line. This is much less violent then dropping main halyard all the way to the reef point.
But also single line is not that hard to adjust as the friction works in your favour when it comes to fine tuning:
Ease everything enough that your reef line can bring clew and tack to desired position, winch the reef line tight while all others are loose (including vang of course). Then you can control the luff tension with main halyard and lech tension with combination of traveller/vang/sheet pretty well. Not to regatta standards, but still pretty good.
As I said: I prefer double line.
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Old 08-02-2007
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I don't understand your question...

Are you going to cross the Horn?? What reefing friction are you talking about?
You lower the halyard, reef, then pull the halyard again...what friction?

Get a double line reef for the main, get a furler for the genoa and read this...

Get going as normal, as veryone else does, and above all ask the people building your boat, then once you decide to go around the Horn, worry about what the "worse" condition sail plan is....

There is nothing wrong in asking for a 3rd reef on the main. Just the holes in the sail, not the ropes to the cockpit.

Last edited by Giulietta; 08-02-2007 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 08-02-2007
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I might be crazy for suggesting this... but.....

Alot of people like everything to be led to the cockpit, but I question this idea some. I believe it can cause too much clutter, and sometimes some confusion... especially if you have people unfamiliar with sailing, or your boat on the crew that day. My theory is that the cockpit should have lines led to it when its dangerous to be on deck, or they require alot of attention.

I find on my boat that I can pretty comfortably go to the deck to get the first reef put in, even if its too late. Its the 2nd (I only have 2 reef points on this main) reef that would be pretty hairy to put in. So, I am setting it up in a spit way, the first reef is more typical, on deck sort or reef... and the second has a single line lead to cockpit. If it gets that bad that I don't want to go on deck... I don't need too.

I think that this setup will work really well for me, and maybe for you as well. I am in the process of re-rigging my boat to make it cleaner.
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  #8  
Old 08-02-2007
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MysticGringo-

That actually makes a fair bit of sense. However, it does mean that if you are going from the second reef to the full main, you may have to go forward if you had used the first reef... and most people would rather be able to do it all from one location.
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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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Old 08-02-2007
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I also vote for reefing from the cockpit. You may be shorthanded, or conditions for that third reef may simply make the cockpit a much safer place to be.

You might ask the builder, and your chosen sailmaker, what they have to say about the options, and especially about the third reef point. Many times, they have had feedback from other owners.

"the loss of ability to adjust sail shape by being able to tension the luff & leech independently." Usually, by the time you are reefed there's enough wind so that sail shape is going to be "flat" and not adjusted much. Again something to discuss with the sailmaker considering where they will put in the reefing points and the shape they are putting in the sail. You could, I suppose, have them put a cunningham cringle in the sail at each reef point, so you have the option of going forward (oops) and hooking it in, giving you luff control again. Of course that one you HAVE TO drop out by hand, or else you're going to tear things when you try to shake out the reef and raise sail.

Might also be worth discussing mainsail options with the sailmaker, i.e. if you are in a light wind area, or near coastal, you may be planning on a lot of sub-5-knot winds, with 15+ knots on the rare good days. And it might be worth building your mainsail now for that--and building a heavier one in a couple of years when you head out for blue water. Battens or not, it is hard for one sail to cover 2-30 knots and do it all well. (One might say, impossible.)

Harken's Batcars or something similar would be very appealing. I think everyone I know who has used battens has at some point found them trying to poke out one end or another, or at the end of the day we, ugh, THEY, have said "Gee, where'd the number three batten go?" Ask your sailmaker about making Real Damn Sure those pockets are doubly reinforced and secured.
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Old 08-02-2007
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BTW, if you're going with battens, going with a fully battened sail is better than going with partial battens IMHO, since it will make flaking and reefing the sail much simpler.

edit: Just re-read the first post, and noticed you're getting fully-battened mains. Good.
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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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Last edited by sailingdog; 08-02-2007 at 02:55 PM.
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