How Do You Reef the Mainsail? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 46 Old 07-13-2006
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Dude, just go the link I gave has pictures as requested.
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post #12 of 46 Old 07-13-2006
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There has been a lot of good advice given already. Let me get in my 2 cents worth.

You said nothing about the age of the boat. Everyone here has been talking about slab/jiffy reefing. If it is an older boat, say from the 60's or 70's, it might have roller reefing. With roller reefing, the sail is wound around the boom like a window shade (remember those?) to reduce the area. If your sail does not have the reef cringles and line of reef points, then check if there is a way to rotate the boom. If you find you have roller reefing, then look into converting to slab reefing. I resisted for two boats and 20 years but when I did convert I was completely sold on slab reefing.

The row of small lines (called reef points) are not meant to take any stress, but simply to gather up the excess sail and keep it under control. All the stress is taken by the luff cringle (the hole in the sail that is brought down to the boom in reefing) and the reefing line in the leach which brings the new clew down to the boom. After those are set up and the sail rehoisted you can roll up the excess sail and tie it up with the reef points. If you have lazy jacks you don't even need to do this. Essentially a reefed main is a "loose footed" sail.

Two things already mentioned that I would like to emphasize. One is that you are lowering the main when reefing - make sure the topping lift is ready to hold up the boom! Second, remember you are reefing the sail because the wind is blowing too hard. This means the loads on the sail and everything associated will be high. There will be a lot of flogging of the sail and bouncing of the boom until you get the clew tightened down. And probably the sea state will make things doubly difficult. Practice in light air so you can do it smoothly when you really need to.
Later add on. I just reread the original post and he mentioned having reef points in the sail, so my comments about roller reefing are off the mark. Let me go through the drill that I use. I have a hefty hook at the gooseneck and a winch on the boom (this is a 39 ft. ketch). I also have lazy jacks. I come up close to the wind, then the main sheet is released allowing the main to luff (the boat can keep sailing using the jib and mizzen). Ease the main halyard until the luff cringle can be hooked into the big hooks. Retighten the halyard. Bring in the reefing line until the clew cringle comes down to the boom. Use the winch as necessary (the reefing lines are half inch dacron, they take a lot of stress). Cleat off the reefing line. Retrim the main sheet and sail on! Very simple and I have done it in less than two minutes in some pretty lousy conditions. Only problem is that because of the location of the halyard winch and reefing winch, it is much easier on the starboard tack.

Last edited by gc; 07-14-2006 at 12:15 AM.
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post #13 of 46 Old 07-14-2006 Thread Starter
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It sounded so simple...

Arrrrrrr! Information overload! Sorry, couldn't resist. I did leave out some pertinent information, my apologies. It's a 1974 ( I think? Forgot but early 70's) Ranger 22. Manufactured by Jensen, designed by Gary Mull. Boom has a lot of things I'm still figuring out. Definitely slab reefing. I think I confused people with the wrong terminology. All I meant is that the mainsail has a single row of grommets that are for reefing. I now now from gc's post these are the luff cringles.

The boom itself has (forgive the lack of correct nautical terminology) 2 small steel swiveling tabs at the very end. I use 1 for the topping lift. No idea what the other one is for. On the starboard side of the boom near the stern end is a small block I run the outhaul through and on the same side of the boom but close to the goose neck a line that runs out of the side of the boom and runs through a jam cleat. No idea what that one is for either but I haven't played with it much. There are no hooks or anything I can see for attaching a reefing line to the boom or gooseneck.

I wanted to practice doing this at the dock this weekend in good weather so as everyone has mentioned I'm not trying to learn when I should have done it 30 minutes ago before the foredeck started bouncing around.

I'm going to take pictures of the boom and sail and post them to the photo gallery this weekend. If anyone cares to help out this newbie they can take a look and tell me what I've got on my hands here. If you cut and paste this link into your browser:

you can kind of see what I had to work with. This is how it came when I got it. It took literally an entire day to untangle the lines, shrouds, and halyards. The next day we were able to step the mast. Then more untangling.

Thank you all so very much for taking the time to give detailed answers (and links surfesq - I'm taking the printout to the slip tomorrow). This has been a great and helpful board. Thanks again.

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post #14 of 46 Old 07-14-2006
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Originally Posted by noscreenname
I Drop the sail to a pre determined point, marked on the halyard, then attach the reef point to a tack hook. I have a reefing line that runs from the boom up through the reef point on the leech back down to the boom around a sheave and forward (inside the boom) to an exit block and back to a boom mounted winch. This allows me to reef very quickly, I just lower the sail re-tension the halyard then winch down the back and off you go.
This is how mine works as well. Only have to deal with one hook and one reefing line. I actuallly have a second hook and line but have never had occasion to use them.
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post #15 of 46 Old 07-14-2006
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since it's definitely slab reefing, you'll figure it out eventually, and at the dock on a calm day is best for starters.

You need something (a hook, or a block and tackle) to hold the "new" tack grommet in place against both the upwards forces of the halyard and the aftward forces of the foot tension of the sail.

At aft end of the boom, typically there's a line coming off a block or sheave which you will lead up through the leech reefing cringle (which will become you new outhaul cringle), then back down to some fitting near boom-end. The other end leads forward along (or inside) the boom, to where you'll pull on it for tension when reefing. It's usually called the "jiffy-reefing line", and you want good tension on it since it's being pulled both inward and upward and has to provide you good leech and foot tension, and give you a fairly flat sail shape since you'd be in heavy air conditions when you reef.

Then the last thing is to tie up the loose sailcloth with the intermediate reef point lines. I often skip this, if the sailcloth is well bunched-up and not blowing around.

You have good advice above, and once you've figured out all the "spaghetti", you'll find the "slab, a/k/a "jiffy" reefing is pretty easy to do.

In the "old" days, all there was was the series of reef points to tie around the boom, difficult, took all day to take in or shake out a reef, and gave a horrible scalloped foot and baggy sail shape.
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post #16 of 46 Old 07-18-2006
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Reefed Main

Here is a photo of my Laguna 26 reefed main sail. Hope this works

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post #17 of 46 Old 07-18-2006
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Of course your photo doesn't show the details of the tack hook or the reefing line going through the reefing cringle.


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post #18 of 46 Old 08-15-2006
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I have to get in on this one. I have a 1982 S2 8.0 (26') with a loose footed main. I was told when reefing, "do not tie to the boom because it might rip the sail due to the consitrated stress on it". How do I know for sure?
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post #19 of 46 Old 08-15-2006
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I had a loosefooted boom on my previous boat, and used to tie the reef sail off--sometimes around the boom, and sometimes just tied the sail without going around the boom. It was simply a matter of where the short line that goes through the reefing cringles happened to be when I tied it, and both worked fine. The important thing is to tie the sail quite loosely--ie. just to keep the bottom of the sail that you aren't using from looking a mess, getting in the way and adding to "windage". I kept an eye on how I tied it for the first few minutes under sail to make sure there was no stress on those lines--the tension should be on the reef cringle/hook at the mast and at the end of the boom to hold both ends of the main (the luff and the leech) tight to the mast/boom, and the rest of the cringles/lines should be tied, but not under tension.
Hope that helps.
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post #20 of 46 Old 08-15-2006
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Use reefing points. For more info
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