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  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-03-2007 10:25 PM
Faster while reefed

A few weeks ago, my and a buddy went out for a sail. It was blowing about 10 to 15, but gusting up to 25. I decided to throw in a reef. My friend is in his early seventies, and I'm not sure but suspect that if he returns home soaking wet and his wife finds out we went over, he won't be able to come out and play anymore.

Well, once we got out there it stayed about as I described, we were having a good time. The gusting started to die down. The wind had dropped to about 8 to 12 knots. After about twenty minutes I started thinking about shaking the reef, but decided to wait a bit longer. That's when a Catalina 22 passed under full sail. They shouted that we should let out and run.

Five minutes hadn't passed when the gusts started up again. The wind returned to it's previous 10 to 15 knots. The Catalina started getting headed up with every gust. Then they had to regain the momentum they had lost. By the time they would get up to speed, another gust would head them up again.

Before this had gone on for long, we had past them. Considering we were in a 17' siren, we shouldn't have been able to catch them, much less pass them. Plus, I don't really enjoy the sound of flogging sails, so I was glad to leave them in our wake.

A long story, but I hope it shows that, reefing should be considered as important as other forms of trimming sail, and not just an "oh crap, we're in trouble", thing
07-03-2007 10:21 PM
sailingdog One thing that you should realize, is that many boats, properly reefed in heavier weather will sail faster and much more comfortably than if not reefed.
07-03-2007 10:17 PM
JimsCAL For sailing in consistently stronger winds, you definitely need to learn how to reef and depower the sails. For the day you describe - generally 9 kts with occasional higher gusts - you just need to "dump" the main using the mainsheet or traveler until the gust passes.
07-03-2007 10:00 PM
danjarch You should reef any time you start to suspect that things could get out of control. If you get a gust or two that are little pushy your probably ok. If your getting pushed pretty far over, If you find your getting headed up, then having to fall back into the after ever gust. you should have already had a reef. It will make you a faster and safer sailor. A good pratice would be to reef your sail any time there is some good wind blowing. Then when you get out there, if your not moving worth a darn, you can shake the reef. This will give you a lot of quick pratice. Later when you need to reef on the quick you'll be ready.
07-03-2007 09:59 PM
superdave I like the saying "if you're thinking about reefing, you probably should have done so already". Reefing can take a little time - especially if short-handed - so you should plan ahead. If the wind isn't getting as big as you thought, then letting out the reef is actually pretty quick.

07-03-2007 09:47 PM
sailingdog It depends on the boat. Smaller boats generally have to reef earlier than larger boats.
07-03-2007 09:44 PM
saurav16 Ah i c I have to read up about reefing then. At what wind speeds should you reef the sail?
07-03-2007 09:29 PM
sailingdog Saurav-

Yes, ease the main sheet for the gusts.

Also, the cunningham isn't used for reefing the sail generally... it is used for flattening the main sail, as is tightening the outhaul... both help to de-power the main sail... of course, if your sails are older and blown out... neither will have much of an effect. If you've already reefed the saiil and need to de-power it.. you can tighten up on the halyard and the reefing line to help flatten the sail.
07-03-2007 09:24 PM
saurav16 Yeah it is a catalina 27 (mono hull). So I should let out the main sheet for gusts? And for strong winds reef the sail via cunningham and adjust the outhaul?
07-03-2007 09:19 PM
sailingdog Saurav16-

It depends on what kind of boat you're on. On most monohulls, you just ease the main sheet for the gusts. On a multihull, you'd actually reef the sails to suit the gusts... on a monohull, you reef the sails for the average wind speeds, and let the main out and heel the boat a bit to handle the gusts.
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