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  #1  
Old 12-21-2009
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Reducing Sail

I was out sailing in Long Beach harbor with my dad a few weeks ago, and as the sun started to set the wind kicked up to a steady 25 knots (per my anemometer) for a short period of time. I rolled up the jib, and under the main alone we were doing 2.5 knots close hauled on the port tack.

I talked with a buddy of mine and he said I should have left the jib up and reefed or dropped the main. I did notice it was hard to steer with just the main up, so I unrolled a scrap of the jib and that helped.

What's the best thing to do in that situation? Head up in to the wind and drop the main? or reef it? My main has 2 reef points but I haven't rigged them with line yet.
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Old 12-21-2009
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The best thing to do 1st would be to set your reefing lines up so that they're ready when your need them...depending on how you're set up, there are a few ways to do that.

In the scenario you described, IMO... it's best to roll your furling jib in to the point where there is no overlap....then heave-to. ( tacking the boat, from a close-haul..from either tack....but not releasing the jib...once the boat comes to the new tack put the helm all the way over to windward this will stop most boats..and slow things up so that you can comfortably take in a reef)

Don't do this unless the genoa is furled enough that it clears the spreaders and shrouds.

Then, ease the mainsheet, then ease the main halyard to lower the mainsail.. and set either one or two reefs..( depends on your boat)

Once the reef is set and secured, tighten up your main halyard, tighten the main sheet, release the jib and trim the sail..and fall off the wind a little and start sailing again....

You should practice when you're out sailing so that you're familiar with the whole manuever and can do it quickly when you need to.

Eventually you will know how much sail your boat can carry in different wind conditions.

Hope that Helps..
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Last edited by Tempest; 12-21-2009 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 12-21-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n0w0rries View Post
I was out sailing in Long Beach harbor with my dad a few weeks ago, and as the sun started to set the wind kicked up to a steady 25 knots (per my anemometer) for a short period of time. I rolled up the jib, and under the main alone we were doing 2.5 knots close hauled on the port tack.

I talked with a buddy of mine and he said I should have left the jib up and reefed or dropped the main. I did notice it was hard to steer with just the main up, so I unrolled a scrap of the jib and that helped.

What's the best thing to do in that situation? Head up in to the wind and drop the main? or reef it? My main has 2 reef points but I haven't rigged them with line yet.
In those conditions, there's no need to drop the main or douse the genoa entirely. In fact, it's not really desirable to lose either of those sails completely -- even in higher wind conditions. Until you approach gale/storm conditions, you're better off scaling back the amount of sail you're flying, but also keeping the sail plan balanced reasonably between main and genoa.

Which sail to reef first is somewhat dependent on the design on your boat. But for many boats the first step is usually to take a single reef in the mainsail. Followed by reducing headsail area (roller reefing or swapping down to a smaller sail). Followed by a second mainsail reef, etc.

It can also be somewhat dependent on the point of sail you're steering. Downwind courses will feel better with the balance favoring more sail area forward. If heading upwind, you'll want both sails for sure with enough mainsail to create some weather helm.
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Old 12-21-2009
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At 25 knots you can furl the main and roll the jib down to the equivalent of about 100%. Most sloops will not sail very well under main alone, other than downwind, you are much better to keep the jib in play. If you can put up a smaller, eheavier jib, that is even better. On a stiff sloop, the ideal setup for 25 knots would be something close to 85% jib and a double-reef main.
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Old 12-21-2009
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Thanks for all the good info.

What's the difference between 100%, 85%, 135%, etc? I have no idea what size my jib is, but I'm assuming it's a big one because the boat does pretty good in light air.

What's the best practice for tying the lines in the reef points? Any special knots to use? Do you determine the length by just reefing it or is there a standard length?

Boat is a 27' Catalina.
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I assume you have a roller furling genoa, since you said you rolled it up.

Basically... a genoa extends past the mast, a jib does not..

How much extends past the mast or how short it is to the mast is basically
what the numbers mean.

So a 100% jib goes from the forestay to the mast but does not extend past.
everything over 100% ..represents the % of the sail that extends past the mast....so a 150...is 100% and 50% more...

A 150 is a big sail....great in light airs..and for downwind sailing..

Depending on what the typical wind conditions are..where you sail, you may find yourself overpowered when headed into the wind. The problem with Big roller furlings imo...is that when you roll them up they lose their shape and efficiency. So more is not always better...sometimes a 125% is more appropriate.....it depends on the prevailing winds, the boat etc...
I went to a 130 from a 150...and am quite happy...I can fly my whole sail more often than not.

Your mainsail should have two large cringles...one at the luff (front) and one at the leech (back) of the sail....you secure these points first...
then there's probably 2 or 3 grommets in the middle of the sail in line..
Do you have any lines going to these points now?? ..is there a set of rings at the luff...? and a line in the leech? do you have any pictures?...
Do you have a loose footed mainsail...or does your mainsail foot...slide into a boom track??

here's a link....I'm sure there's more
Weather and Reefing
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Old 12-22-2009
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Man...this thread was very enlightening. I'm dying to get out and try this.
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Old 12-24-2009
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n0w0rries,

Tempest hits the layline here, spot on. I especially like the part about heaving-to. Learning how to do that effectively on your boat is critical. I would venture to say most only think they know how. If you have never done it, practice it in all conditions until it become second nature.

Seadart

Last edited by JohnRPollard; 12-24-2009 at 08:47 AM. Reason: Removed links -- no free advertising, please
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Old 12-24-2009
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Tanks seadart...


BTW, IMO... Heaving-to --stopping and slowing the boat down is useful for all kinds of activities besides storm tactics/and reefing..

stopping and making/having lunch....without dropping sails
Reeling in a fish
Taking a short swim on a hot day....
making a repair....etc.

Happy Holidays !!...

Merry New Year !!
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