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post #52 of Old 09-17-2019
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Re: Sailing as a senior

Originally Posted by fallard View Post
We have traditional lazy jacks on our 35 footer (244 sq ft main) and they work reasonable well. That is, well enough that I haven't had a strong urge to replace them with another system after 23 years.

While the sail doesn't flake itself like a Dutchman system would, it is adequate under reasonable sailing conditions. What has made life easier is installing single line reefing with halyard and reefing lines led to the cockpit. (We did that 12 years ago after the admiral got uncomfortable handling the boat while I went forward to put in a double reef while beating into a 29 kt breeze. That was our first accommodation to our advancing years as sailors.) If conditions are snotty, you likely would have reefed the sail. In that case, the reefing lines are stretching the sail and helping to semi-flake the sail before it is lowered.

Since there is a lot of drag on the lines with this system, it helps to have blocks for the single line reefing on the sail--ours are the yellow Karver blocks shown in the first thumbnail in which a single reef has been executed. The second thumbnail shows the deck arrangement for the single line reefing (2 reefs) plus the main halyard. With the dodger (not shown) installed, it is necessary to use a short winch handle, which became a pain, so we bought a Winchrite electric "cordless winch handle" to use in our old age.

The other secret weapon in our arsenal is a substantial below deck autopilot that can handle the boat when the wind pipes up and you are single-handed or your crew has limited capability. The first thumbnail was taken while underway to Block Island with my then 8 and 12 yr old grandsons as my only crew, after I had set a single reef as a hedge against the winds picking up.
We are set up exactly like Seascape. Itís so easy to reef this way.

Most sailors on SN are like this. No assisted electric winches, . Its a great setup for short handed sailors or with unexperienced crew. Reefing early takes the quirkiness of sailing in progressively heavier winds and the weather helm being over canvassed causes. I see many sailors just jumping wind with relaxed main sheets as the wind progresses. The sails look Un trimmed , because they are , in order to ease their weather-helm.

We see this often. My wife who has become very astute in comparing our sails set and sailing angle compares our set up with others and constantly asks comparative questions.

Reefing is one of the most important learned techniques for newer sailors to learn. It can make the difference from having a rebellious or frightened crew watching the helmsman struggle with control or a stable easy ride. Itís amazing to see so many different set ups to handle wind 15-25 knots.

Some reef..... some open up their main angle .... some forgo the main completely and jib sail...... and some motor and just give up if they must go upwind.

While I am a strong proponent of ASA courses, I donít believe they teach enough sail theory. I obtained mine by sailing with other sailors who were willing to explain their approaches. It sometimes has to go with a persons way of learning. Many believe by passing courses and reading lots of technical manuals thatís whatís helps them. Others take a more show me experienciential approach.

Reefing I believed best learned by doing. Each boat and sail combo handle it differently, but if you donít try it, you donít learn it.

To reef it needs to be as easy as possible for people to do it.

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