Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Thanked 247 Times in 197 Posts
Rep Power: 10
You should not need to adjust the topping lift to reef and you should be able to run a tack reef line back to the cockpit for each reef so that you do not have to go to the mast at all.
On my boat, I have permanently rigged 2:1 tack reef lines for each reef. They are set up with one end tied at the gooseneck, then running it up through the reef cringle, then down to a block at the deck and then back to the cockpit through the organizer. It is important that both falls of the reef line are on the same side of all of the slugs so the tack does not have to thread between the slugs. For offshore work, I would want to sew on either leather or ballistic nylon chafe gear where the cringle rides on the tack reef line when reefed. Same with the clew reef line.
To reef I ease the vang and mainsheet, I have marked my main halyard with a whipping that I can feel in the dark, and so I can drop it to the exact right length for the reef. Once the halyard is dropped to its mark, in reality, the tack line has next to no load on it when you are tensioning it, so the tack line is very quick to pull in.
Only after making up the halyard and tack line, do I take in the clew reef line. I typically get the clew mostly in, get mainsheet and vang tensioned and the boat sailing under main again and then crank in the last bit of the clew line, making small eases in the vang and mainsheet as I go.
This is a very fast reef system, most of the time I can get a reef pulled down in less than a minute without having to alter course and on most points of sail except a dead run. The final tensioning of the clew line takes a minute or two longer. On a comparatively tiny mainsail like the PS 37, the reef itself should be even quicker, except that your mainsheet system is such a PIA that getting the mainsail trimmed could kill a bunch of time.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay