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  #1  
Old 11-30-2011
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Bargain "storm mainsail" instead of reefing

The used mainsail that came with my P28 does not have a reef point, but is otherwise in good shape. Instead of sending the sail out to a sailmaker to install a reef point, I have thought about simply buying a used, heavy-duty, dacron mainsail from a smaller production boat to use for a coastal cruise with a predicted period of sustained heavy weather sailing, say a short coastal hop from the Chesapeake Bay entrance to Cape May, NJ, or Cape May, NJ to N.Y., with several days of 20-25 knots predicted.

For instance, there is 6.5 oz. Catalina 22 mainsail for only $285 that would appear to fit the boat, and which measures approximately 88 sq. ft instead of the standard P28 175 sq ft., or I could buy a heavy-duty, used mainsail from a Pearson 26 that would reduce the mainsail down to the standard P26 138 sq. ft. (There is a great supply of these available from the more popular production models.)

So instead of reefing the main (which rarely produces a great shape, and can result in flapping loose sail or damage from overtightening the reef point lines), does anyone simply bend on a heavy-duty used mainsail from a smaller production boat, before you leave the dock, to use for sustained heavy weather sailing, or is it too much work to bend off and bend on a separate mainsail?

As an example for its use, I cite the recent 1500 rally to the Caribbean, in which the participants knew that they would have near gale-force winds for several days. A participant could have bent on a smaller "storm mainsail" before leaving, to be replaced with the regular mainsail when the wind lessened, perhaps after first increasing the headsail.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 11-30-2011 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 11-30-2011
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And offshore mainsail would normaly have two if not three reefs and if the sail is made correctly and the boom is rigged correctly they would be easy to use and make a nice flat sail
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I don't yet have experience making the kind of trip you are talking about but hope to make a similar trip next season. My boat has 2 reef points in the main and would be OK in 20-25 knots of wind with just the first reef and the 140% genoa rolled down to about 110 or a tad more and we could always go to the second reef if the ride was still too sporty.

My C36 is a headsail driven design, so I've considered buying a used headsail that would be around a 110% for the type conditions you describe. With a smaller headsail, I might not need the first reef in the main until north of 20 knots.

I think it would be much easier changing even a RF jib/genoa than bending on a different mainsail. A storm trysail doesn't really "bend" on like a mainsail and would likely be much smaller than a normal sail from a smaller boat. In my case, a storm trysail would be a difficult issue since I have an integral lazy jack/sailbag. If I were planning something like the Carib 1500, I'd probably rig for a 3rd reef and hope for the best.

Since you are in Richmond, I would suggest discussing your situation with Jerry Latell in Deltaville (Ullman loft). He'll point you in the right direction, and would be a reasonably priced place to have your main modified if that's what you decide.
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Old 11-30-2011
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Thanks for your responses and for the referral to the sailmaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
My boat has 2 reef points in the main and would be OK in 20-25 knots of wind with just the first reef and the 140% genoa rolled down to about 110 ......
Along with a main with no reef points and no backup, I have 3 hanked-on jibs (which I prefer over roller furling - old school), a 135, a 105-110, and a heavy 90. This past weekend, the P28 seemed overpowered in 20-25 knots gusts with full main and the heavy 90.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
My C36 is a headsail driven design, so I've considered buying a used headsail that would be around a 110% for the type conditions you describe. With a smaller headsail, I might not need the first reef in the main until north of 20 knots...
The P28 is similarly designed with a large foretriangle and I like the idea of shifting up and down with the jibs while maintaining a small-but-fully-hoisted-instead-of-reefed, well-shaped, heavy-duty main. My idea is this inexpensive "storm main" would be hoisted in conditions lighter than when a trisail would be required and would preserve the condition of the regular full main, along with providing a small back up main. I assume it would be much cheaper than having reef points put in my existing main, or buying another used, full-size main with reef points.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 11-30-2011 at 09:16 AM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
Thanks for your responses and for the referral to the sailmaker.





I assume it would be much cheaper than having reef points put in my existing main, or buying another full-size main with reef points.
I don't think I'd make that assumption until I'd spoken with Jerry. You may well be right, but I'm thinking of how often in our sailing area you might need a reef in the the AM, and wish you had a square topped, huge roach mainsail in the afternoon to make the most of light air, and vice versa.

It would just be much easier to change gears with a reef, unless you're willing to put up with being overpowered or underpowered for short durations and and only change sails on the rare occasions where you might get strong winds for several days straight.
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On the C&C 35 I when its blowing in the 25 and above range the boat is MUCH faster with a #4 (90%) and a deep reef in the mainsail

The boat is balanced and easy to control with that sail combo
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  #7  
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Got a price quote

$229 for a reef point in the main
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It does not make much sense to me to go this route. Changing mainsails is a fair bit of work compared to reefing or unreefing. Often times I will put in a reef just to see if it is better and then take it out again when I see the result. Having the big main or the small main would often mean that you have too much or too little sail area because you would judge it too much trouble to change.

A properly reefed main should have decent shape, at least in my experience. The only wear and tear I have seen is on the reefing lines over time but that is not too much of a problem.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
It does not make much sense to me to go this route. Changing mainsails is a fair bit of work compared to reefing or unreefing. Often times I will put in a reef just to see if it is better and then take it out again when I see the result. Having the big main or the small main would often mean that you have too much or too little sail area because you would judge it too much trouble to change.

A properly reefed main should have decent shape, at least in my experience. The only wear and tear I have seen is on the reefing lines over time but that is not too much of a problem.

Agree with this.. changing mains is a much bigger deal than changing a headsail. The OPs plan also calls for a strong committal to one sail or the other, with no easy flexibility if the forecast is wrong or if conditions moderate (or get more severe) than expected.

A properly setup reefed main should be nice and flat as required. At $200 per reef point it's good insurance and you'll be thankful down the road that you've got them. FWIW I'd go for double reef points in the main if it's worth spending the money on.

On a headsail driven boat it probably makes more sense to simply drop the main and carry on under headsail only than to fuss about (in worsening conditions) trying to unbend and rebend another mainsail.
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Someone was out in left field that you have a P28 ain without at least one reef point. The ability to reduce or increase the mainsail size in a minute is a fundamental tool for dealing with variable wind conditions.

Get two sets of reef points out in the sail, and run the controls to use them as needed.

Pursuing the alternative of changing the main, instead to putting in/taking out a reef, is a way bad idea.
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