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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 04-17-2010
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Lost in the reefs

Ok, not literally I am learning a lot so far and getting the hang of things pretty quick but still have a long way to go. The only basic thing remaining where I am lost at is reefing sails. I am having a hard time finding some good explanations on the net regarding "reefing" sails. I have read things enough to know it can be crucial to know how to reef a sail in strong wind situations. If someone here can be kind enough to shed a little light on this for me, at least the basics I think that would help me out a lot here. Better yet, point me to an illustration or video (as I have not found any yet) that could help. There was a couple on youtube but just did not really explain it clearly. Thanks a bunch!

DISREGARD THIS POST: sorry, I just found a good thread regarding reefing the mainsail right here on the site but found it through google.

Last edited by sailguy40; 04-17-2010 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 04-17-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailguy40 View Post
Ok, not literally I am learning a lot so far and getting the hang of things pretty quick but still have a long way to go. The only basic thing remaining where I am lost at is reefing sails. I am having a hard time finding some good explanations on the net regarding "reefing" sails. I have read things enough to know it can be crucial to know how to reef a sail in strong wind situations. If someone here can be kind enough to shed a little light on this for me, at least the basics I think that would help me out a lot here. Better yet, point me to an illustration or video (as I have not found any yet) that could help. There was a couple on youtube but just did not really explain it clearly. Thanks a bunch!
There's not much to reefing a mainsail. Loosen the main halyard so you can hook the large stainless grommet at the luff over your reef hook, then tighten up the main halyard...that takes care of the front of the sail. Next tighten up the reefing line that is associated with the luff grommet (if you have them), and that takes care of the back of the sail. Next tie up the reefing ties around the boom, and you're all done. That's the basics of reefing a mainsail with the above setup.
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Old 04-17-2010
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I wouldn't tie the reefing lines around the boom. They go under the sail itself......i2f
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Old 04-17-2010
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The nettles, lines going through the reefing points, should only be tied around the sail if you have a loose-footed sail... this reduces the chances of tearing the sail if you forget to untie them when shaking out the reef.
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Old 04-19-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagine2frolic View Post
I wouldn't tie the reefing lines around the boom. They go under the sail itself......i2f
I was thinking about my setup which is 'not' a loose footed main...I guess I should have been more specific.
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Old 04-19-2010
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Hey guys thanks for the additional tips. I think I am going to go ahead and try to reef it next time I go out even if it does not need to be done. This way when it does really need to be done, I will know how to do it. I do have reefing lines on my sail, just two of them. I think I got the concept now, should not be a problem.
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Old 04-19-2010
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BTW, generally don't recommend tying the nettles unless you're going to be sailing reefed for a fairly long time or the bunt of the sail is causing visibility problems or flogging around. If you've got lazy jacks, the bunt of the reefed sail probably won't be much of an issue.
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Old 04-20-2010
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Just another, lossen the main halyard and place the cringle on the tack of the sail to the reefing hook but, don't retighten the main halyard yet, pull in the reefing line on the clew to raise the boom then, retighten the main halyard. This works better for me on my boat may on yours to.
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Old 04-20-2010
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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.
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Old 04-20-2010
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"And remember the old adage, the time to reef is when you first think about it."
AMEN.

If anyone thinks, let alone asks, "Should we reef yet?" the answer is that you should have already done it.

If you can dig up a set of VPP tables (polars) for your boat, you may also find that you will get better boatspeed and less heeling by reefing far earlier than you think is necessary, often in as little as 12-14 knots unless you're really sailing a lightly canvassed brick.
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