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Old 12-16-2012
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single line reefing

Building a new boat. Spend most of my time either single handing or on passage with my wife which means two people taking turns single handling. Want to put three reefs in main all brought aft. Want to reef from cockpit as we are getting old with lousy knees. Spec'd single line reefing for all 3 reefs as cut outs in hard dodger and deck organizer layout doesn't allow "standard" of first two reefs being single line and third double line. Other than more spagetti in cockpit given current low friction blocks/spectra lines etc. Can any one see a problem rigging the boat this way? Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 12-16-2012
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Re: single line reefing

I tried to do that on our last cs for the same reasons. The friction was a pain.
Not sure what your budget is but have you considered a boom furling system. Eliminates most of the spagetti and infinite reefing. We have it and love it.
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Old 12-16-2012
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Re: single line reefing

yes - looked at both schaffer and leisure furl systems. concerned that angle between mast and boom has to be just right for them to work well. seems schaffer system is more forgiving but still worried that if on passage and need to reef at night will need to head up set the vang/topping lift just right and then reef. like idea of just needing to go to close reach or stay on a beat,let the main out enough to flog a bit and pull one string. also think it's more important to be able to strike yours sails than hoist for safeties sake. So worry about what you do if the mandril in the boom fouls up.
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Old 12-16-2012
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Re: single line reefing

The difficulty with single line reefing is the total inability to SHAPE the sail to match the seastate conditions. If you only want board flat sails, which are ONLY good for 'high speed sailing' with little POWER, then single line reefing will work.

However if you want to be able to 'power up' (even when deeply reefed) so that you can 'punch' into and through steep chop (even steep chop that is on TOP of large swells, etc.) then you will HAVE to have an independent means to 'release' a bit of clew/foot tension to increase draft while the luff tension is unaffected (luff tensions affects 'helm balance'!!!!)

IMO - reefing is to reduce the amount of 'heel' (boat performance) ... and many times in order to 'punch' you need full drafted sail shape, even with VERY deeply reefed sails.
Full draft is for POWER (low gear), Flat sails are for SPEED (high gear) ... and you don't want a 'speed shape' up when you need to 'punch through'. Double line reefing (luff tension control completely independent of foot tension control, and vice versa AND 'variability' to balance between the two in accordance of the actual sea state) is the only way to accomplish the proper sail shaping to arrive at the correct 'balance' between speed and POWER. Reefing down simply reduces the amount of 'heel'.

With single line reefing, you ONLY get 'flat shapes' ... and when very deep reefed and 'FLAT' you're not going to go 'anywhere', especially 'upwind', .... unless you're in VERY flat water behind an island or other land feature that reduces the amount of 'fetch'.

Think of that when you're attempting to claw your way from a lee shore during a 'nasty blow'.

General rule for reefing (disregarding the amount of heel, which is adjusted by how MUCH sail is exposed): big waves = BIG sail draft, small waves = flat draft, ... especially when going 'upwind'. The size of the waves is what you should be setting the amount of sail draft to ... and you cant do this with 'single line reefing' which limits you to 'flat, reefed sail shape'.

;-)

Last edited by RichH; 12-16-2012 at 01:42 PM.
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Re: single line reefing

The angle does need to be correct. Pretty easy to mark the topping lift or vang control line. The main comes down in seconds. Would be pretty hard to foul the mandrel but if you did the sail can easily be dropped to the deck. The only thing keeping it up is the halyard.
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: single line reefing

If you are building a boat for ease of sailing I would definitely consider in mast furling.
I know, everybody goes off on "what if...." but after more than 2 years of sailing a pretty big boat (53') either single handed or now with my girlfriend, I've never had a problem with the system that I couldn't clear in a few minutes, with some consternation, but successfully.
The biggest advantage for me is infinite reefing; no preset reef points. As conditions change, so can the sail size, and with ease. Also the loose footed main actually sets more like a headsail, giving a better shape and more control; we set the boom where we think it should be with a vang, then use the outhaul for trimming, then readjust the boom and sheet if needed. I would recommend a tri-radial cut on the main as I believe it has more durability; smaller panels and more seams.
There is a learning curve to the in mast rig, but once mastered you will have a system that does NOT require you to come into the wind to reef, unreef, or furl the sail.
Like the "new generation" of anchors, which I thought was bulls*it, I have come to find that there ARE improvements on the older gear and systems. Sailing vessels built before 1900 to the most modern "sleds" out there today, I have found that there are better, simpler and much more modern innovations that take the "iron men" thing out of sailing and allow one to, if not enjoy, at least endure the harder days on the water, without worry or strain.
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Old 12-20-2012
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Re: single line reefing

Thanks all- been going over and over on this. Took a Hinckley on a Marion to Bermuda. On the way back crew got the main stuck 1/2 way in the mast. Then used the electric winch to get it really stuck. What a mess running before big stuff at night. No fan of in mast furling since. But thank Capta for his kind thoughts and agree with his sentiments. Been researching boom furling. Thanks for the thoughful notes about single line furling. Actually brought the outhaul aft on my current boat for just that reason But need a system both wife and I can handle. Figure same problem with in boom as mandril is thicker in middle (schaefer) or middle of sail rolls first ( leisurefurl). Figure headsails will ( solent/ storm jib) will drive the boat in any kind of wind as physics of sail plan of solents/sloops suggest . Figure just need main for balance. ?I'm I wrong. Any thoughts which is better for boat with P of 52 3/4 ft. schaefer v. leisurefurl.
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