Big freaking (Messy) Sail - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-11-2009 Thread Starter
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Big freaking (Messy) Sail

It was blowing 20+ with gusts to 30 so we put in the second reef on a Catalina 30. It is way messy. The center tie downs would not reach.

Several problems:
1. It is hard to see but we have the tack side of the sail pulled down as far as it will go, but due to the sail cars staked up on top of the sail car stopper that is as low as it would go.
2. The angle on the reefing line to the clue is so bad there is no way it is going to pulled down to the boom. I think we need a second block on the side of the boom directly under the second reef to properly locate the reefing line.
3. As a temporay fix we used a seperate line to pull straight down but that didn't get it tight to the boom either either. I think if I would have loosened the reefing line a bit it could have been pulled lower.
4. Not sure this sail was for this boat.
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Last edited by davidpm; 05-11-2009 at 01:14 AM.
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-11-2009
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That is a bit of a mess, isn't it?

Usually the reefing line at the clew terminates at the boom directly below the reefing clew. The line goes straight up to the clew, through the cringle, and then back to the block at the end of the boom. When you grind in the reefing line it pulls the reef clew *both* down and back.

On my boat I run the vertical bit of the reefing lines on alternate sides of the sail for the first, second, and third reef. The first reef has the vertical bit on the port side, the second reef on the starboard side, and the third reef (which I only rig offshore) on the port side. The rationale will be apparent shortly.

Battcars stacking up is an ordinary issue for the tack. Usually (there's that word again) the tack rings are between cars so you can pull a roll of sail down to the reefing hook and get good luff tension when you haul the halyard again. I have seen some boats use a cunningham for the tack but that can get messy.

You will get most flexibility if you have tack hooks on both sides of the boom and tack rings that can be made on both sides of the sail.

When putting in a reef hook the tack on the same side of the boom as the vertical part of the clew reefing line. This is a minor detail that borders on obsessive, but it allows the bunt of the sail to hang on one side of the boom and not distort the shape of the reefed foot or the sail to chafe on the boom. It also makes tieing up the bunt with the nettles (the lines through the reef points in the sail) easier. The nettles are not supposed to take any load -- they are just there to tidy up the bunt of the sail. In fact if you can you should tie the bunt without going around the boom. Clearly you do have to go around the boom if you have a wire-type foot on your sail.

Reefing is a bit easier by alternating sides, and on my boat the sail is distributed sufficiently that I often don't bother tying in the nettles. There is a bit more work on the second reef to reach around the mast to get the tack ring on the hook on the starboard side (main halyard winch is to port, so I work from the port side) but overall the approach I have outlined is effective, reasonably fast, and can be employed safely.

Two of four crew did almost all the deck work during a transatlantic crossing on my boat. We went through a good bit of weather between Falmouth and Azores. Either of us could get a reef in or out within two minutes by the time we pulled into Horta. Practice makes perfect (or better anyway) and I wouldn't be surprised if it would take me four or five minutes today.

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post #3 of 7 Old 05-11-2009
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It appears that your mainsail has a bolt rope, and is not loose-footed as the majority of modern sails are. There should be a cringle or slot for the reefing line to pass through at the base of the sail, just above the boltrope, almost directly below the reefing cringle for the reef. The line should be tied to the boom there, so that it goes almost straight up to the reefing clew cringle, and then back to the block, so that it pulls both DOWN and OUT on the reefing clew cringle. If you don't have those slots... have a sail maker add them.

As for the reefing tack cringle... does your sail have a jackline for the lower sail slugs??? if not, you should have it modified to have a jackline for the lower sail slugs. A jackline there would allow the tack reefing cringle to come down far enough to be attached to a reefing tack hook at the gooseneck. It also helps if you have a "dogbone" through the tack reefing cringle. A dogbone is two sailrings connected by a heavy piece of webbing. To attach it to the reefing tack hook, you simply grab the ring and slip it over the hook, which is simpler, easier and safer than trying to get the cringled over the hook.


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post #4 of 7 Old 05-11-2009
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Bottom line: You had your slab reefing line incorrectly rigged.

It should come from the block on the boom, up to the reef cringle, then straight down (or only slightly aft) to an attachment point on the boom below. In this way, it pulls aft and down simultaneously. As you rigged it, it only pulls aft.

SD mentioned having your sailmaker modify your sail s that you can tie the reefing line around the boom below the cringle. Another quick fix would be to add a piece of hardware to the side of the boom to which you could tie the bitter end of the reefing line. there may even be such a piece of hardware on the port side of your boom -- can't tell from the photos.

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post #5 of 7 Old 05-11-2009
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Hey David,

I just think it's cool that you were hammering away in 30 knots. You da man!
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-11-2009
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Another option for how to tie the reef line to the boom, is to put some loops on the boom at the side or bottom instead of having the line tie around the boom. That is what I did with my old bolt rope slugged main. I had the loops for my main sheet sheaves just below where I want the reef lines to be.

Another option for the tack. I personally do not like using the dog bone loppy hook thing a ma bobs that SD talks about. So I use a the cunningham hook on the upper cringles for the main. Works well! Then pull on the back reef lines. I too alternate the side the line is attached too as mentioned before. More by it made more sense than anything! Along with the reef line that was on the port, went thru the main port to starboard, and vice versa for the other side, with center line for out haul.

I also like the line where it attaches to the boom to be slightly back from te new clew. this allows as mentioned, a pull back along with down ward pull. I also snug up the topping lift a bit, other wise I almost NEVER see to be able to get the new clew to the boom.

I am positive some if not all of these suggestions will work, but which works best for you is the name of the game.


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post #7 of 7 Old 05-11-2009
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I only see 1 block on the side of your boom which looks like it might be set up for the first reef point. There may also be a becket (eye) on the other side of the boom for securing the end of the reef line.
It looks to me as though you need to add another block and becket to the boom for the 2nd reef point.
Reefing the main can be messy and I have rigged our main in a similar fashion as you did which nominally works but is not ideal. Necessity is the mother of invention though and you were able to sail even if it was a bit messy to the eye.
I can't comment on whether the sail was made for your C30 or not. Unless you are planning to get a new main soon go ahead and attach the extra hardware for the 2nd reef point to the boom. It will be easier and slightly prettier if you do.

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