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AndreasNYC 07-26-2012 12:42 PM

wind conditions and reefing
Hello Everyone

I was going to go sailing today.

I am in Manhattan.

There is a small craft advisory.

It indicates 15-20 kt winds with gusts up to 30 kt.

On my boat you are supposed to put a reef in at 20 kts.

So do I reef the sail or not?

what happens if I am not reefed and I hit a 30kt gust? Can I just head out of the wind a little and stay level? Or is that too dangerous?


Barquito 07-26-2012 12:53 PM

Re: wind conditions and reefing
Probably depends on a lot of things. One is what kind of boat are you sailing. If you are spending a lot of time on your ear, you are going slow, reef. If you have guests aboard that don't want a wild ride, reef. If you are going for a BFS ride, shake it out and bury the rail.

johnnyquest37 07-26-2012 12:57 PM

Re: wind conditions and reefing
Whenever out on the water and you ask yourself "so, do I reef the sail or not?" (as you do in your post), the answer is "yes."

Having too much canvas up for the wind conditions will make it difficult to impossible for your to handle your boat.

deniseO30 07-26-2012 01:12 PM

Re: wind conditions and reefing
You don't say what boat you have but, I humbly suggest if you need to ask if you should not go out sailing, reefed or not. Please, know your own limitations because as your experience grows so will your comfort level.
jus sayin...

Sailormon6 07-26-2012 01:40 PM

Re: wind conditions and reefing
15-20 kt winds with gusts to 30 are generally good sailing for an experienced sailor, but for a novice, they can be very challenging. I agree with Denise. Get a little experience sailing in those conditions before you try it alone. Sail with a more experienced friend, who can make suggestions on sail selection and reefing options, and who can help you with sail trim and boat handling. In those conditions, it can be a challenge to just get in and out of your slip singlehanded.

AndreasNYC 07-26-2012 01:46 PM

Re: wind conditions and reefing
I think my question was not so much about my sailing skills but about technical specifications and how to interpret them.
I added it to my profile, but for the record
I have an ALOA (no H) 34 its from 1974.
I am more trying to figure out what to do when overall wind is below reefing speed but there are gusts that go above. There are of course ways I can adjust the rigging so less wind his the sails, or I can head up-wind in a gust to keep from getting blown over.
Do you think the boat would get blown over in a 30 knot gust? Or just heel some more?

nolatom 07-26-2012 01:57 PM

Re: wind conditions and reefing
I would use the gust figure to make my sail area decision.

Suppose the forecast is understated? Better safe than sorry, especially for just recreational sailing where you're not trying to wring every ounce of speed out of the boat (and you have other racers around in case you find trouble).

30 knots is enough to make you heel a lot, even if you luff everything, the sailcloth still has a lot of wind resistance. Some boats more than others, but if you're new, 30 is not something you want to mess with yet.

AndreasNYC 07-26-2012 02:01 PM

Re: wind conditions and reefing
Of course in the meantime the forecast has been cut by 5 knots. :)

thanks for the advice everyone

Squidd 07-26-2012 02:07 PM

Re: wind conditions and reefing
My understanding is...It's easier to add sails if the winds are too light ...than it is to reef sails when the winds are too strong...

zedboy 07-26-2012 02:07 PM

Re: wind conditions and reefing

Originally Posted by AndreasNYC (Post 901549)
Do you think the boat would get blown over in a 30 knot gust? Or just heel some more?

Depends on your boat :D I know I wouldn't want to take a 30 knot gust with full sail, but my boat has a very shallow keel (draw just 3' board up) - you draw twice that.

But why not be prudent, put in a reef at the dock, and shake it out later if the weather report is overstated? Better to be there than find out that it's more like 25-30 sustained and gusts at 35+. You never know what it's really like out there, till you're out there!

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