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Old 09-09-2010
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Foot of main when reefed?

I've read that it's not a good idea to tie down the foot of the reefed main if one doesn't have a loose-footed main because of the danger of the grommets ripping out of the sail in big wind. But it seems to me that if you only have the reef points secure, the big roll of sail between them will billow out and be a pain.

The one time I have reefed I loosely tied down the foot with my sail ties (nothing else being to hand), and everything was fine.

What is the most common procedure when reefing a main like mine?
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Old 09-09-2010
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Using shock cord would allow more give.
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Old 09-09-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaschrumpf View Post
I've read that it's not a good idea to tie down the foot of the reefed main if one doesn't have a loose-footed main because of the danger of the grommets ripping out of the sail in big wind. But it seems to me that if you only have the reef points secure, the big roll of sail between them will billow out and be a pain.

The one time I have reefed I loosely tied down the foot with my sail ties (nothing else being to hand), and everything was fine.

What is the most common procedure when reefing a main like mine?
You did it right - the only points that should be taking any pressure are the new tack and new clew. You use the what a lot of people call "reef points" to just tidy up the sail and they should be tied such that they are not taking any pressure. Those that call them reef points rip their sails

Last edited by ste27; 09-09-2010 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 09-09-2010
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Yeah, that is another nice advantage of the loose footed mainsail: No worries when collecting and containing the reefed portion of the sail (i.e., the sail gaskets do not tie under the boom).

But, we always managed okay with our former fixed-foot mainsail, by just tying loosely, enough only to keep the material from billowing up and flapping.

It helps if the line of "reef points" is placed below the imaginary line drawn between the tack and clew reef cringles. That way, you do not end up trying to pull down the sail from a point above the new "foot" between the cringles.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
Yeah, that is another nice advantage of the loose footed mainsail: No worries when collecting and containing the reefed portion of the sail (i.e., the sail gaskets do not tie under the boom).

But, we always managed okay with our former fixed-foot mainsail, by just tying loosely, enough only to keep the material from billowing up and flapping.

It helps if the line of "reef points" is placed below the imaginary line drawn between the tack and clew reef cringles. That way, you do not end up trying to pull down the sail from a point above the new "foot" between the cringles.
We actually still put the sail ties through the sail and around the boom with the loose foot... ever so slightly more aerodynamic that way
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Originally Posted by ste27 View Post
We actually still put the sail ties through the sail and around the boom with the loose foot... ever so slightly more aerodynamic that way
Yeah, you can do that too. Really no different than what we did with our fixed-foot, so it's hard to argue the point.

But I just like keeping it above the boom for a number of reasons. Foremost, I don't feel any need to go under the boom with a loose footed main. I can contain the sail every bit as well, really.

Another reason is if a reefing line parts or slips on the clutch or cleat. Under the boom, and you could tear the sail before you see it or have time to react. Above the boom, and you have a little more wiggle room before there's a problem.

Also, we sometimes sail back home fully reefed, and drop the main without shaking the reef out. Next time we're at the boat, when we go to hoist and remember the reef, we ease the reefing lines. Hopefully we get all the gaskets out too, but if you're double reefed there's more than a few of them and there's the possibility one will be missed. So again, more wiggle room for a human error.

With an ace crew, you might not worry about any of these issues. I sail with my family, and there's a lot of distractions, so anything I can do to give me a second chance...
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Old 09-09-2010
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I haven't had a problem tying my loose footed main around the boom while reefing- it's just a matter of having the reefing line tight, and the gaskets long enough to never become tensioned.

That said, I never thought of tying them just around the sail and not around the boom. I think I'll do it from now on- so that IF my reefing line were to part, or become uncleated the sail would just flog instead of getting ripped to shreds.
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JRP has covered most of the points about nettles and reefing... I'd point out that you really don't need to use the nettles unless you're sailing with the reef in for a long period of time. If you're just going to shake it out in 30 minutes when the squall line goes by... don't bother.
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As a matter of practice, we use Velcro one-wraps as nettles when sailing reefed for an extended period. If the sail does get loaded up, the velcro will release without damaging the sail itself. Many years ago we made a trip to Catalina when it was blowing like stink and so had our main well reefed and the bunt secured with 1/4" line. We arrived late, tired and cold and so dropped the sail, covered it and promptly went to bed. Upon leaving, 5 daze later, I forgot that the nettles were still in place and lamely cranked away with our halyard winch until I heard a terrible "R-I-P-P-P!" at which point I remembered the nettles. That was a costly error and resulted in a very slow return trip to the mainland in light air with the main hoisted to only the 2nd reef. Its been velcro ever since.

FWIW...
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Old 09-10-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
As a matter of practice, we use Velcro one-wraps as nettles when sailing reefed for an extended period. If the sail does get loaded up, the velcro will release without damaging the sail itself. Many years ago we made a trip to Catalina when it was blowing like stink and so had our main well reefed and the bunt secured with 1/4" line. We arrived late, tired and cold and so dropped the sail, covered it and promptly went to bed. Upon leaving, 5 daze later, I forgot that the nettles were still in place and lamely cranked away with our halyard winch until I heard a terrible "R-I-P-P-P!" at which point I remembered the nettles. That was a costly error and resulted in a very slow return trip to the mainland in light air with the main hoisted to only the 2nd reef. Its been velcro ever since.

FWIW...
svHyLyte,

Any chance you have a picture of your velcro setup? Do you use one long piece of velcro or is the velcro attached to a length of line?

This thread is very timely!! After putting our main back on, after hurricane Earl passed, I was wondering what to do with those grommets through the sail. Thank you!

Regards,
Brad
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Last edited by Bene505; 09-10-2010 at 12:50 PM.
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