Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Three Mile Harbor, East Hampton, NY
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It is definitely a good idea to try it when you don;t need it; this way you will be ready when you need it. The comments you have already received were right for their systems, but there are variations. If you have slab or jiffy reefing, you may not have a hook on the mast. Instead, assuming it is single line reefing, for each reef point there will be a line that runs from wherever it starts (often a line stopper on the coachroof) to a block at the base of the mast, then up to the cringle in the sail or a turning block affixed to the sail, then back down to a block at the boom, through the boom to the clew of the sail and back up to either a turning block or cringles at the aft end of the sail and then back down to the boom where it is tied off. There will be a separate line and separate cringles and blocks for each reef point. In this case, all you do is loosen the halyard and let the sail drop and haul in on the reefing line. It should put tension on both the forward and aft portion of the sail and once it is tight to the boom, you retension the halyard. You almost always have to head into the wind to do this. And remember the old adage, the time to reef is when you first think about it. it is always easier to shake out a reef than to put one in once the weather has gotten fierce.