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mikebeyers 08-18-2008 03:41 PM

Reefing Recomendations for Newport 27
Hi All,

I am very close to owning a Newport 27. All my sailing experience so far is on smaller boats. Most on a Hobie Cat 18. My most pressing concern is learning when to reef. (No reefing on the Hobie - just trapeze out more and go faster!) I have heard the Mantra "reef early/reef often" for sailing on mountain lakes. (Wind changes every 2 minutes...)

My boat will have two reefing points on the main and a roller furling on a ~140% genoa. I have a good Raymarine wind meter.

Does anyone have any rule of thumb on when to reef a Newport 27?
At what wind speed should I reduce to: 1st reef on main, 100% on genoa?
At what wind speed should I reduce to: 2nd reef on main, 50% on genoa?

What is a boat polar and where can I find one for a Newport 27?

Rules of thumb, gut feel only OK! I need someplace to start. I can feel it out from there.

Mike B.

KeelHaulin 08-19-2008 02:55 AM

I can't say because I have not sailed a N-27 but I would start by sailing the main reefed and then reef down the genoa if it gets a little too much. A 140% is a big headsail and if you are in any wind above ~20kts or so I would venture to say that you would experience some excessive heel; possibly turtle if not careful. You mention sailing on mountain lakes so you also need to be careful of downdrafts coming off the steep slopes which could cause knockdown if you are not prepared.

Start with a reefed main and depending on the wind a reefed jib. Get the boat sailing on her lines (10-20 deg heel) and get a good feel for sailing a monohull. Don't push the upwind performance and amount of heel until you get comfortable with your skills and the sailing characteristics of the boat. If you get into too much wind; spill the sails and drop to a reach until you can get your headsail reefed more and try to head up again. If the wind gets too high sail downwind so you can sail with better control (good idea to start the day going upwind so you don't have to beat into the wind on the way back to the marina).


sailingfool 08-19-2008 11:30 AM

Beating with over 20 degrees of heel, most boats slow down and become uncomfortable for passengers, so it is time to reef.

Start with reef 1, then reef 2, then roller the jib 20% (to about 110%). If you still have too much heel, drop the 140% and put up your smaller jib. If you don't have a smaller jib, buy one, a 100% is a nice sail.

Rolling a jib more than 20% will put the sail into wind strengths bad for its health, plus it'll have such bad shape it'll cause a mess, probably including extra heeling...

Off the wind, its often easier to just partially roll up the jib as needed as the jib shape doesn't really matter much, and the wind force is not such a concern.

mikebeyers 08-26-2008 05:14 PM


Originally Posted by KeelHaulin (Post 355882)
. If you get into too much wind; spill the sails and drop to a reach until you can get your headsail reefed more and try to head up again. If the wind gets too high sail downwind so you can sail with better control (good idea to start the day going upwind so you don't have to beat into the wind on the way back to the marina).

Thanks to all for the advice. The above surprises me a bit. Normally on the cat - my instinct is to steer MORE up wind if I heel too much. On the very responsive cat, it's quicker to change direction that to spill the sails. In general - I heel more on a beam reach than going upwind. Is this different than the keelboat?

Also - upwind heeling is an indication that you have too much sail. How about down wind? Never a problem on the very light hobie. But I assume gusts could damage sails and or rigging on the keelboat. How do I know how much is too much?

Sorry for the basic questions - I know I should just read up - and I will. But in the meantime. Thanks,


Faster 08-26-2008 06:26 PM

The axiom that works is: reef the first time it occurs to you that maybe you should. And then reef again the same way. and so on.

I would agree that if you're trying to get to weather, pinching (to a point) will get rid of some heel, but you need to be careful not to stop the boat. Some boats handle this mode better than others. I would not suggest bearing off to reef the main either.. it puts more loads on everything. Continue sailing close hauled on the headsail only, release the mainsheet and vang and put a tuck in. Once the halyard is retensioned, sheet in and off you go.

You'll rarely regret reefing early unless the wind disappears, in which case it's easy to restore the full sail... much easier than trying to put in a couple of reefs too late.

KeelHaulin 08-27-2008 06:06 AM

If you pinch you do reduce heel because the sails stall which is fine to reduce heel but may be difficult to maintain while you reef. If you spill your sails before you drop away onto a reach you will reduce heel (and rig loading). While on a reach you can maintain a more controlled course with more room for error in your course while reefing (with a spilled mainsail).

Of course if you turn away from the wind without first spilling off your sails you will definitely increase rig loading and heel; that was not my original suggestion.

Another good way to reef is by doing a heave-to; which pretty much stops the boat while you reef. You can lock the helm and leave it to go forward and reef the sail. Put the boat on starboard tack (leeward to port) and you won't have to worry about being give-way to other sailboats while you are reefing.

mikebeyers 08-27-2008 01:43 PM


Thanks for clearing up my confusion.


AlbertJ 09-02-2008 01:19 PM


I have a Newport 27 TM (kinda since I am in the process of selling it). One of the prior owners put together a polar chart for it. Let me know what your email address is and I will be glad to scan it for you. I am not sure how accurate it is, but I often use it as a rough reference.

As far as the reefing goes, if you are going to carry the 140, you probably want to put the first reef in about 14-18 knots of apparent wind. It depends on how much heeling you are going to tolerate and the weight of the crew on the rail (if any). However, with our boats it is typically better to switch to a smaller headsail rather than reefing. You can easily sail with a 100-120 headsail and full main in the low 20s apparent.


KeelHaulin 09-06-2008 03:29 AM


Scan your polar chart and send it to the webmaster for the Newport Website ( it would be a great addition to the information archive.

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