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Old 03-16-2013
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Question for IOR boat owners: when do you reef main?

Hi

I have a 24 foot IOR racer/cruiser (Kent Ranger 24) with a relatively small main sail (E=7.5 feet, P=25, I=10, J=29).

Under heavy conditions I either reef the main and leave up the 130, or drop my head sail and sail very nicely (but somewhat slowly to weather) under unreefed main alone (in winds equal to or greater than 20 knots) with not much heel or weather helm.

I was interested in an informal survey of people with similar IOR style boats (San Juan, C&C, US Yachts etc...) At what wind speed do you typically reef the main?

Also, would it be preferable to for instance sail under small jib and reefed main as opposed to unreefed main alone? Would that make it faster when on a close haul?

When single handed, I find it easier to drop the headsail than trying to climb up there and reef the main.

Thanks!
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Old 03-16-2013
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Re: Question for IOR boat owners: when do you reef main?

It depends on whether I am single handed, or with crew. I generally sail with the 115% genoa in wind up to about 25kts, and will put the first reef in the main at about 15kts, with the second going in around 18-20. Subtract a few knots when I am alone, I take things very easy then (1st goes in about 10-12, second at 15-17). New sails would probably increase the reefing point by a few knots.
Above 25 I guess I should really be on the 90% jib, but I have never actually flown it, no furling so I don't want to be going forward to change sails out, and if it's already 25kts when I am at the marina then I am probably staying home that day anyway.

Mine seems to sail fine under headsail alone when it's blowing good, I would rather drop the main and sail that way, less heel, good speed, points well.
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: Question for IOR boat owners: when do you reef main?

I have had my Santana for 10 years and I have never reefed the main. If it looks like it is going to be windy I will put the #3 jib on the furler before I leave the dock. Being a long time foredeck guy, changing headsails is no big deal for me, so if I want more power I will change up to the #2. (the #1 is just too much power unless I have a full crew!)

The key is to be able to flatten the main. I have an adjustable baby stay and a hydraulic backstay adjuster so even though it is a masthead rig, I can put quite a bit of bend in it. Essentially the mainsail just becomes a trim tab for the headsail!
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: Question for IOR boat owners: when do you reef main?

It gets a bit complicated, because it depends somewhat on your point of sail or the heading you may be about to turn onto. IOR boats get most of their drive from the jib the main being smaller, so the old rule of thumb was to reduce the main first.
Normally a standard set of sails would be optimal in say up to 15-20. For each increase in wind of 7 knots the sail area should decrease by half to maintain the same force on the sails roughly. This is because the force is proportional to the square of the wind speed and sail area. That is substantial sail reduction.
Thus for 15, 20, 22, 27 the forces are a function of 225, 400, 484, and 729.
Since the wind is not steady you may have gusts 5-10 knots higher. You may handle these by luffing the main or flattening the sails depending on your keenness, how blown out the sails are and crew skills and availability and whether you are racing or cruising.
Say on your boat you are comfortable with the 135 to 15 knots, or likely less. Then you might go to the number 3, then substantially reduce sail thereafter.
It is not possible to be precise because of your comfort level, wind stability and course.
In my view it is best to reduce sails proportionately because this balances the boat, and having some main to play with gives you a way of reacting to gusts.
If you are not racing then it may pay to be conservative and reduce sail early because few of us want to leaping around all the time and it is more difficult to do so late.
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: Question for IOR boat owners: when do you reef main?

Your boat is going to be primarily powered by the headsail.. If you want to sail with a single sail you'll sail much better with just the headsail. However you'll always sail better with the proper combination of jib and main that gives you good balance.

As ever, reef when it first occurs to you that maybe you should...
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: Question for IOR boat owners: when do you reef main?

Both sail provides balance and insures pointing ability,

Our C&C 35 MKIII we usually carry a 150 and reef that down to a 135-130 at about 18-20 knott steady wind. After that we reef the main ( 20+-30)

Every boat handles differently so experiement. We change to a 135 in the colder air seasons, but still reef the same way.

Dave
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: Question for IOR boat owners: when do you reef main?

Sometimes I am too lazy to reef the main and simply live with the resulting weather helm.

Ideally, I reef with the 135 up as it approaches 15 knots, then leave it there, as I go through the smaller jibs.

I have high cut #3 and when in congested waters or going under a bridge, I will go with full main and #3 for the greater visibility, instead of peering around the genoa.
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