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WheresTheBrakes 11-02-2008 10:06 PM

Wranglin' the old girl
went out yesterday with the guy that i own the boat with (Tab), my wife and my sister... all of whom question my sailing skills..
we had a great day, 70F and 6-8knts...
we sailed for around 5 hours and had a great time...

So good in fact, Tab and I decided we would go out again today, because he doesnt get alot of time off work..

went out without the girls around 11AM and there was no wind..
we went putzing around with the motor to look at the channel and head closer to the bouy near the ocean..
around 1230 there was still no wind and we decided to head back in..
as we started to go back the wind increased (we had the sails up) to 5 then 10 then around 15..

we tore up and down the bay, and tacked and jibed many times, pretending to tack and "round a mark" in a race....

we had her heeled over about 25-30 degrees, and got to experience her heading up into the wind when we went too far over..

what a fantastic day..

so here's the question..
we were letting the mainsheet out to spill wind, so it was more easily controlled .. and wondered how we should put a reef in..

there is a reef grommet at the front of the sail as well as two lines through the sail and a grommet in the back whose line leads through a block and to two cleats..
we know we should pull the back of the sail down, and tie the center 2 lines down. but...

it looks like the front grommet should be tied down to the boom, ( is that normal ) there is a short metal bar holding the tack of the sail in, but it is not curly/curved enough to hold the reef..

whaddaya think ??


smackdaddy 11-02-2008 10:14 PM

78 Attachment(s)
Brakes - I'll leave the reefing advice to other's more knowledgeable than I in that area. But from your description of the day - you definitely had a Big Freakin' Sail. Sweet.

PS - Kudos on the nicely provocative thread title.

Rockter 11-03-2008 05:13 AM

A picture would help.

Normally there is a big reefing eye in the tack of the mainsail, and you hook it onto a hook at the goosneck. A reefing outhaul tensions the foot of the sail, and don't pull the halyard tight until the outhaul is tensioned.

When you tie the reefing ties, remember not to tie them round the boom.

Practice all of this in port, with the wind ahead of your boat.

It is far easier to do in port than on a bouncy sea.

farmboy 11-03-2008 06:21 PM

I'm no reefing expert, but a picture is a good idea. I found this thread, in case you haven't seen it: If you're heeling too much, it could be a sail trim issue. If you're trimmed in too tight, you'll heel over and stall.


I'm a little confused. Do you not tie the excess main around the boom?

sailingdog 11-03-2008 06:44 PM


If you tie the reefing points to the boom and forget to untie them when shaking out the reef, you're far more likely to tear the sail and end up with a very expensive sail repair... if you've just tied them around the bottom of the sail, it will often not tear that easily, giving you a chance to fix it.

farmboy 11-03-2008 07:50 PM

My mainsail slides into the boom (bolt rope I believe is the correct term) so the foot of the sail is completely attached to the boom. I have a single set of reefing points a couple of feet up the sail. As far as I can see, the only option I have is to tie around the boom. Am I missing something?

bubb2 11-03-2008 08:05 PM

Farmboy, you are not missing anything. There are several way to attach the foot of the main sail to the boom. Bolt rope in to a track. sail slugs in to a track. Loose footed mains that are only attached at the clew and tack, usually used with furling main sails. With your set up the only you can do it is to tie around the boom.

farmboy 11-03-2008 08:11 PM

Thanks bubb.

sailingdog 11-03-2008 08:21 PM


Many modern sails are loose-footed, and allow you to pass the nettles between the foot of the sail and the boom. One reason a lot of people have their sails modified to loose footed, is that it is often easier to control the sail shape with a loose-footed sail, since there is less friction, which gives you more control with the outhaul.

farmboy 11-03-2008 09:05 PM

Thanks Dog. That makes a lot of sense. Given that our boat is 40 years old, I'm not totally aware of newer designs.

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