Reefing Downwind - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 64 Old 11-02-2015 Thread Starter
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Reefing Downwind

I just took the ASA 206 instructor certification course for Advanced Coastal Cruising.

The instructor had us demonstrate and teach how to reef the main downwind.

It was two line reefing.

The process was as follows:

Sail dead downwind
Tighting topping lift
Release boom vang
Tighten main-sheet
Tighten reefing line
Release halyard slowly keeping the halyard release behind the reefing line tightening.
We also had to release the mainsheet and tighten the topping lift at one point.
Once the reef was set we lowered the halyard put on the reef hook and re- tensioned the halyard.

The idea was to not let the main twist off and lay against the mast.

It was claimed that this works great of you know what you are doing.

There was three of us candidate instructors and frankly I have my doubts as to how successful this trick would be in a real situation.

Does anyone know about this technique?

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post #2 of 64 Old 11-02-2015
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Re: Reefing Downwind

I just roll ous in. no problem.
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post #3 of 64 Old 11-02-2015
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Re: Reefing Downwind

You have it about right.

How much do you "tighten the mainsheet"?

Do I understand that you are reefing the clew before the tack? That might solve the friction issue of the sail against the rig. But can the luff be brought down with the clew tension on?

Interesting.

Either way, it is certainly key (in my experience) to pull the luff down to the tack as the halyard is eased because any slack in the luff above causes problems.
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post #4 of 64 Old 11-02-2015
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Re: Reefing Downwind

The method works OK; but, it Helps if one has lazy jacks although in the higher wind ranges the sail will/can be prevented to come down to the appropriate reef position. The potential problem is when the vang is left totally slack in such reefing conditions, a main held to the centerline and if the boat severely yaws due to wave action ...... better have the companion way closed for a 'just in case'.
I think its mostly better and I prefer when reefing to turn upwards into the wind with a bit of wind pressure on the sails .... for less chance of breaking off the sail slugs (and making an instant spinnaker out of a mainsail .... been there done that and it ain't fun).
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post #5 of 64 Old 11-02-2015
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Re: Reefing Downwind

You said the boat had two-line reefing.

In your description of the procedure you said "Tighten reefing line." Were you referring to the aft reefing line? If so, then that means you pulled the aft reef cringle down to the boom and tightened the aft reefing line before you attached the forward reef cringle to the reef hook. If so, I would reverse that order. When you tension the aft reefing line, the line pulls down and aft. If the forward reef cringle has been attached to the reef hook, then the foot of the sail will be pulled taut when you tension the aft reef line. If you tension the aft reef line before you attach the forward reef cringle to the reef hook, you probably won't be able to get the forward reef cringle on the reef hook.
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post #6 of 64 Old 11-02-2015
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Re: Reefing Downwind

What's wrong with rounding up, tucking in a reef, bearing off again and going on your way? Less wear and tear and likely just as quick.
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post #7 of 64 Old 11-02-2015
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Re: Reefing Downwind

You might be in a situation where rounding up will expose you to dangerous sea conditions. Imagine the scenario where you are sailing downwind in a storm, and have left it too long to reef.
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post #8 of 64 Old 11-02-2015
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Re: Reefing Downwind

If you tuck in your reef when a big wind is imminent, but before it hits, then I think tucking in a reef downwind would be ok. If you waited until the wind was already up, then I think it would be easer to round up to windward to tuck it in
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post #9 of 64 Old 11-02-2015
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Re: Reefing Downwind

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
You might be in a situation where rounding up will expose you to dangerous sea conditions. Imagine the scenario where you are sailing downwind in a storm, and have left it too long to reef.
If you waited until the conditions reached survival proportions without reefing, you're probably gonna die anyway.

You can't continue running downwind in dangerous sea conditions with the unreefed main flying. You have to reduce sail area somehow. You could try rounding up to windward, and then, while you have momentum, cross the eye of the wind without releasing the jibsheet and going into heave-to mode. That might settle the boat enough to let you reduce some sail area.
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post #10 of 64 Old 11-02-2015
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Re: Reefing Downwind

The only situation where I can imagine it's safe to reef downwind is one where the pressure in the sail is extremely low. You have to hold the boat DDW, and if there's any apparent wind, failure to do so will cause you to round up. If you can pull this off, then I imagine it's because you are reefing very early, in which case I commend your preparation! In any situation where you don't feel safe going head to wind, I can't imagine pulling this off.
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