To reef or not to reef, that is the question - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 05-22-2008
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blackpearlsailing is an unknown quantity at this point
To reef or not to reef, that is the question

Iím sure this has been discussed at nauseam. I have a CS36T and just love to sail with about 15MPH of wind. I sail with a rollerfurled 150 and often wonder what reefing I should set up before I leave the dock. This weekend we have predicted winds of 20-30 MPH, and I would typically put in 1 reef in the main and only unfurl about 120%-130% of the head sail. How do you determine how much to reef before leaving the dock?
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Old 05-22-2008
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Reef for the conditions present, as well as predicted. For myself, it's much easier to shake out the reef, than to put it in, while under weigh.
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Old 05-22-2008
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If you know the winds are going to be that strong, reef the boat and then if the conditions seem to warrant it, shake a reef out.
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Old 05-22-2008
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The CS36T is a great boat.. if you're not racing I'd suggest putting a 100-110% jib on the furler and concentrate on reefing the main as necessary from there on.

Your boat will probably perform just fine in anything above 8-10 knots esp going upwind, you'll be able to wait a bit before you need to reef the main, and tacking is WAAAAY easier, esp if there's just the two of you. Add to that you'll be using the full headsail as designed, not some half-rolled up abortion that isn't going to work real well anyhow (again, esp upwind)

As to how many reefs for what wind conditions, practice and experience will tell you that, but generally the first time you wonder if you really ought to reef is the time to do it.
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Old 05-22-2008
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If there is a question at all, reef.
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Old 05-22-2008
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I follow the saying "If you have to ask, you should have already reefed!" in that it is always safer to be undercanvassed and go forward to shake it out, than to be knocked down or have to struggle to bring the sail in.

As to how much sail is appropriate for the wind...The best thing you can do is to buy, beg, borrow, or steal VPP numbers or a VPP program for the boat. While numbers and the real world sometimes disagree, you may be surprised to find that your best speed to the mark is given with the sail reefed sooner than you thought. On some boats the first reef may be as low as 14-16 knots, it all will depend on your sail plan.

Without good numbers, all you can do is wait for a day with steady winds in the "reefing range" and try sailing with and without, then comparing VMG from your instruments or by other means.

I kinda hate silicon critters on boats, but I have to admit they can be a great way to tweak boatspeed. Seat-of-the-pants logic just doesn't always work when it has to compete with trigonometry.
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Old 05-22-2008
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I always seem to have too much canvas up when it starts hooting. I really could've used a reef at times this last cruise.
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Old 05-27-2008
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When the boat approaches hullspeed, one might as well reef. If the wind increases the boat will either heel or drift or both. The force of excessive wind in relation to hullspeed must get out somewhere, somehow, but it does not bring the boat forwards.
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Old 05-27-2008
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I use a simple 20/20 rule. I reef at 20 knots relative wind or 20 degrees heel. I also reef much more than appears necessary, usually the wind increases further before it dies, so going out and reefing a second time is avoided. I have a preference for reefing the main more than the genoa, it helps reduce the weather helm and hence rudder drag.

Some one famous said: "The time to reef is when you first think about it".
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Old 05-27-2008
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Sometimes the wind in a harbor can be more then outside. So reefing depends on the location and the forecast (as well as your heading) BUT certainly shaking out a reef is easiest.
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