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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > Reefing without reefing points
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Thread: Reefing without reefing points Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-03-2009 05:19 PM
pdqaltair
That would be Rowan Atkinson

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giulietta View Post
its like tryin to remove your shorts befroe removing your pants...someone may have done it...but I don't kow how....

Get a sailmaker to add reefing points...easy and cheap
And I don't recommend his approach.

But it was hysterical.



I had a sailmaker add a reef once; even though I understand sail design and have built a few, I did not have the tools to tackle the heavy reinforcement required. It was cheap.
12-03-2009 04:29 PM
BubbleheadMd Agreed. I'll take precautions. Gotta learn somehow though.
12-03-2009 04:19 PM
ottos
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
Wow, this is GREAT thread. It has answered so many questions that I had. I can't wait to get home and check this out in the slip.
Bhead - Don't forget to be darn careful raising any sail while in the slip
12-03-2009 01:06 PM
ste27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
The other issue with a fisherman's reef on a modern boat, is that unless you have a very strong vang so that you can 'vang sheet', when you first ease the mainsail, it actually powers up causing the boat to heel more than it would otherwise.

Respectfully,
Jeff
I once ripped the (poorly) welded vang fitting right off the mast of a C&C 30 trying that - let to an interesting McGuyver job to get a working vang again. That was a one-off weird experience. Boats I sail we always just reef (and strangely... win) except for the J/24 of course, but the vang on that thing is very securely anchored and is more than powerful enough to easily bend the boom and it needs to be, spend half your life vang sheeting those bastards with their freakin' one-inch traveller
12-03-2009 12:39 PM
Jeff_H Actually, when Cal 25's were new they had roller reefing booms. These were very popular in the 1960's. A roller reefing boom on a boat this size was a pretty crude affair and not what we think of today. Basically, in normal mode gooseneck was designed to hold the boom from pivoting (rather than rotating from side to side) by a square peg on the gooseneck side that went into a square hole on the boom side.

The way that you reefed is that you lowered the mainsail most of the way, headed into the wind, and pulled the boom aft from the mast which disengaged the square peg from the square hole allowing it to rotate on a spring loaded axle. You turned the boom with your hands wrapping the sail around the boom. This was really a two person job since you had to make sure the foot was stretched tight and was all the way at the mast as you wrapped the sail around the boom. It works okay, but was never the best way to go since it was nearly imposible to do underway.

A better solution would be to add a two line reefing system.

The problem with a 'fisherman's reef' on a boat like a Cal 25 is that it can induce lee helm so that the boat bears away in a gust taking a worse knock down. Keeping the traveler dropped but the mainsail flattened helps the helmsman feather up into the wind rather than encouraging the rudder to stall and the boat to round up.

The other issue with a fisherman's reef on a modern boat, is that unless you have a very strong vang so that you can 'vang sheet', when you first ease the mainsail, it actually powers up causing the boat to heel more than it would otherwise.

Respectfully,
Jeff
12-03-2009 12:20 PM
BubbleheadMd Wow, this is GREAT thread. It has answered so many questions that I had. I can't wait to get home and check this out in the slip.
04-03-2008 02:57 PM
MedSailor
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rup View Post

There has got to be some technique for reefing the mainsail without using reefing points... right?


-Rup
Actually there are some ways to reef without reef points. The "Fisherman's Reef" comes to mind. Basically this is just sailing with you main sheet sheeted WAY out, making you sail much less efficient and thus reducing heel and drive. I would add that putting your traveler (if you have one) all the way to leeward will increase this effect.

In addition, any sail trim adjustments that you can do to flatten the main will make it less efficient and thus reduce heel and drive, which is what you are going for when you reef. Tension the halyard, tighten up the outhaul and cunningham. Tighten up the backstay. Release the vang to spill wind off the roach of the sail.

If hard on the wind you can "pinch" meaning that you steer too close to the wind, effectively stalling your headsail. This is often done unintentionally by new skippers who over-correct as soon as they feel the heeling pull of the headsail powering up.

It may not be immediately obvious but you should also consider taking down your jib and sailing under main alone. We did this once on a catalina 30 in winds in the 30s in a race. We took down the headsail, and raced under a main that was sheeted way out. This way we maintained some control and PLENTY of power and speed.

Of course sailing under one sail depends on your boat. My old lifeboat-sloop instantly hove-to under main only. You could also try jib only if you have a small jib. (wouldn't try this with a genoa as they are not built for high winds) It has been proposed by some that the rig stresses are uneven and bad under jib alone on a sloop so it would be a good idea to tighten up the mainsheet (even though you have no main up) to balance the stresses.

There is another technique which "may" damage your sails but I've seen it done with success. You lower the main to where you want to reef it and then tie on a single sail-tie at that point, it will act as your clew. It helps if you have a line going from the mast or gooseneck along the boom to keep this sailtie from slipping aft and off the sail. Also if the main is poorly behaved at the luff you can run a sailtie around the gooseneck and tie it to a single sail slide to hold the luff down as well.

This will tie down the main in a reefed position. Since it makes for poor sail shape and stresses can damage the sail in this position it works best down or off the wind as opposed to hard on. I have seen it work well dead downwind though. Probably best reserved for more extreme scenarios.

Also if you are greatly over-powered just remember the lessons of dinghy sailing (as your boat will begin to feel like one) if you loose control let the sheets fly and steer into the wind (or let go of the tiller) and the boat will weathercock itself.

A friend of mine was in a 21 ft sloop in hurricane force winds sailing across the gulf of Mexico once. He had drawn on the reef points on his main and was planning on sewing them in place next week. (If your sail is old I DO encourage you to add your own reef points. Just remember that "sewn on" works better than "drawn on") He did fine sailing all the way across the gulf with main alone and a fisherman's reef (minsheet way out).

Best of luck!

MedSailor
03-31-2008 02:34 PM
Rup Went out sailing this weekend and it is, as I thought, most definitely not a roller furling boom. So it looks like I will be pulling the main off sometime to have grommets & cringles put in. Any of you west-coasters know a good sailmaker in the L.A. area?

(Had some good fun watching my in-laws discover that there really IS a cross-shore current in the snorkeling spot that they wanted to hit though.)
03-27-2008 06:18 PM
nolatom
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rup View Post
Bummer. I suppose that explains why I couldn't find any info on techniques on the web. The boom is definitely not roller and the sail has no cringles, ties, grommets or anything else of the sort.

If I was to have some sort of reefing points put in the sail what would be the best suggestion as to type and a fair price for the work? My first thought is grommets put in at the edges for jiffy reefing and a few cringles to tie the loose fabric to the boom. Or is there a better or more economical way? grommets all the way across...?
Good idea, as far as it goes...but you'll also need to have your sailmaker reinforce the new horizontal "foot" of the main, otherwise you'll be putting too much strain on the cloth in that area. I don't know what it would cost.
03-27-2008 01:54 PM
sailingdog Sailormon-

It depends on the sewing machine. A lot of the older ones are powerful enough to deal with five or six layers of sailcloth, as would be needed on sewing in a reinforcing patches and such.
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