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post #11 of 17 Old 04-01-2012
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Re: 5 basic reefing tips, whats yours.

Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
If you every ask yourself if you should reef, the answer is "yes."

This is our approach too... it's rarely let us down and if it does it's simple enough to 'unreef' in softening conditions.


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post #12 of 17 Old 04-01-2012
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Re: 5 basic reefing tips, whats yours.

I sail mostly boats with symmetrical hulls ... double enders, scows, etc. ... and which you can sail them over almost onto their beam ends and have very little change in helm pressure.

Aggressive heeling, for me, because of these boats sailing characteristics usually isnt a problem as its what im used to ... and oft-times 'enjoy'.
Even if a boat is over at 30 degrees of heel the lateral resistance is only decreased by 13% (COS 30 = .866) and the deeper the hull leeward topside immerses is ... tends to be a gain in 'projected' total lateral immersed surface.
Hell, even if 45 deg. over you still have 71% of keel projected area working ... plus the lee topside is much deeper in the water.
If my VMG to a distant waypoint is still reasonable ... I dont worry too much about heeling; but then again, Im 'used to it' because of the hull forms I prefer to sail.

My personal 'rules' when to reef are (remembering that I sail on boats with characteristically very light or almost 'neutral helm'):
1. When 'windward' if I begin to feel the boat begin to 'skid off to leeward' - through increasing helm pressure - and/or I see that the wake is no longer coming 'straight off the stern', then I begin to reef --- My 'key' to reefing when going to wind is 'helm pressure' ... boat is now 'skidding', the rudder is now going sideways relative to the water and I can feel it.
2. Secondly if the lee deck is 'awash', ... ditto on reefing ... I really dont want to 'trip' (quasi-broach) over the flat sided coach roof!

FWIW ... when I do reef, I usually set up for 'full draft shape' - eased reefing outhaul for 'full draft shape' - to 'power/punch' through waves. No use in having a flat reduced draft reefed shape as it usually doesnt have much 'power' .... I'd rather 'deeper' reef and have 'power' (large draft) to punch-through than a "1st" reef and flat (speed shaped) sails that cant 'punch' and will not enable 'accelerating' back to speed if/when I get 'stopped' by a large wave, etc.

Downwind ... another different set of circumstances altogether.
My two most important criteria are
1. 'hull speed' .... if you go much above 'hull speed', you risk a broach. I reef down anytime I exceed 'hull speed'. I do not like broaching, especially at night.
2. Roll period amplitude ... my 'crab crusher' has a loooong roll period. Less SA area that is up - less dampening of the roll. More SA - up less roll. .... until I get close to 'hull speed' (this ignores changing course, etc. to change the amount of 'rolling'.)
3. What is it going to be like if I have to head up and turn through and into the wind/waves? ... Ill set for that expected 'condition' ... just a 'safety issue'

Rig stretch - when long distance sailing and in 'blammo' conditions, I'll sometimes 'tie' a Loos gage to the backstay and if I begin to see a LOT of gage readings exceeding 30%, Ill begin to 'reduce' SA ... so to keep the rigging 'under' the normal 'fatigue endurance limit' ~=30% of Ultimate Tensile Strength of the wire ---- for less development of load cycles over 30% which accelerates the potential of rig 'fatigue' failure.
But also too my crab crusher rigging has an approx. 4:1 safety factor built in ... I wouldnt routinely do this aggressive heeling, etc. on a 'coastal design' at ~2:1 safety factor.

Hope this helps ;-)

Last edited by RichH; 04-01-2012 at 10:04 PM.
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post #13 of 17 Old 04-01-2012
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Re: 5 basic reefing tips, whats yours.

My boat has a big butt so anything past 20 degrees of heel isn't doing anything any good. If there's white caps, I need to reef.

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post #14 of 17 Old 04-03-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: 5 basic reefing tips, whats yours.

Didn,t know Capt John had such a bad rep, tho the 5 tips seem fairly basic.
Some great additional tips comeing through, different tactics for different situations.
Jackdale is ofcource right about when you feel the need to reef but the inexperienced may benifit from additional help to come to the right the decision.
Safe sailing

The great appear great because you are on your knees. James Larkin, Irish Labour Movement.

Last edited by centaursailor; 04-03-2012 at 05:32 PM.
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post #15 of 17 Old 04-04-2012
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Re: 5 basic reefing tips, whats yours.

Originally Posted by bljones View Post
Bingo. This is the only sign you need.
Agree. If you're thinking "should we reef?", think also about what happens if you're *wrong*:

a) Didn't reef and shoulda? Now you get to do it in screeching conditions rather than the 15 knots you were in when you thought about it. Or, you're just overpowered and can't do it at all, or at least not safely. You endanger your crew, the boat, and may shred your sails.

b) Did reef and turns out you didn't need to? You get to shake out that reef (which is good training) in very nice weather.

Which kind of "wrong" is better? ;-)
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post #16 of 17 Old 05-08-2012
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Re: 5 basic reefing tips, whats yours.

last time i reefed i tore the main. im not reefing anymore.
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post #17 of 17 Old 05-08-2012
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Re: 5 basic reefing tips, whats yours.

Reefing Tip: make your reefing system really easy to use, so that you will use it whenever you need to.

I have a single-line reefing system on my mainsail, which combined with the slippery Strong Track luff slide system, makes it easy to put in, or shake out, a reef in less than a minute from the cockpit while still sailing on course on most points of sail (maybe not dead down wind).

Ease the vang, ease the sheet, release halyard to the mark, winch in reefing line, trim the sheet (and vang if necessary), and go!

Peterson 34 GREYHAWK, West Boothbay Harbor, Maine

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