Reefing ties remaining on the main? Good or bad practice? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-10-2015 Thread Starter
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Reefing ties remaining on the main? Good or bad practice?

After sailing the first windy day that I had to reef my main in I realized fiddling with short reefing ties up beside the boom was tedious and time consuming.

I have 25ft tanzer with a double reefed main. I premeasured, cut, and singed reefing ties for all the cringles and installed them (with a knot on either side of the main to hold them in place). I figure it's easier to have them in place dangling so when reefing is needed it's all ready to go.

Is this an ok practice? I'm just a cruiser so I'm not worried about the 5 pieces of line interfering with airflow lol. I swear I've seen this before but wasn't sure. The only thing I could see being bad about it would be the reefing ties flapping around over time chafed the main? I kept them a reasonable length.
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-10-2015
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Re: Reefing ties remaining on the main? Good or bad practice?

Guy, the new clew and tack are what hold the reefed sail to the boom. the intermediaries are called "Nettles" and their only purpose is to keep excess sail fabric from flogging on the boom. If you are out day sailing, you can probably dispense with tying the nettles. There are really used for the long haul. I usually tie them when I'm into the second reef as at that point on my boat, there is a lot of fabric fluttering around.

To answer your questions: Yes, you can leave them on the sail, there isn't any chafe to speak of. The biggest problem is they collect dirt and will leave dirty marks on your sail. The amount of disrupted airflow is also not much to worry about (come back in a year when you are a hot shot racer looking for more speed). Remember that the intermediate grommets are not that well reinforced so tie the nettles loosely. You are only gathering the loose fabric and are not trying to pull in the belly of the sail. (That is the job for the new clew reefing line which also acts as your new outhaul).
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-10-2015
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Re: Reefing ties remaining on the main? Good or bad practice?

I don't think it's a big deal if you feel it makes your life easier vs. airflow. I only have two intermediate cringles in my 1st reef and the sail is loose footed, so it takes very little time (seconds) once I get the tack and clew set to install the intermediates. My intermediate ties live on the handrail inside near my chart table. Since they stay out of the sun and rain when not in use, they've remained almost new.

Edit. and as George said..they don't get dirty

Last edited by tempest; 08-10-2015 at 09:37 PM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-10-2015
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Re: Reefing ties remaining on the main? Good or bad practice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeB View Post
Remember that the intermediate grommets are not that well reinforced so tie the nettles loosely. You are only gathering the loose fabric and are not trying to pull in the belly of the sail. (That is the job for the new clew reefing line which also acts as your new outhaul).
And never forget to release these nettles when shaking out the reef. The sail will take some major strain if you do.

These days many boats have Stac-Pac or some similar form of sail retention system (even just a few adjustable "lazyjack" lines from the boom to the mast) that effortlessly manages the bunt (loose fabric referred to above) and doesn't soil the sail.


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Ok good stuff thanks for the replies guys. I did study up knowing they really don't carry load so it's good to hear that confirmed. Because our boat isn't huge it felt nice to have the cringles secured so the bunt wasn't flapping around, with less room to spare across its beam a fluttering bag of sail fabric cuts into visibility, or at least my comfort level since I'm so new. Thanks again and hopefully they stay clean, we sail the great lakes so at least there's some reduced fowling compared to the salt on the coasts.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-10-2015
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Re: Reefing ties remaining on the main? Good or bad practice?

Quote:
I figure it's easier to have them in place dangling so when reefing is needed it's all ready to go.

Is this an ok practice?
I was thinking about this exact question a few days back--It's good to see sensible answers here without even needing to ask!
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-10-2015
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Re: Reefing ties remaining on the main? Good or bad practice?

I leave my nettles in place so they're there if needed. When it's time to reef it's not the time to be trying to thread them in.

Remember - if your sail is loose footed they should not go around the boom. Just around the roll of loose sail.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-10-2015
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I've been doing this for a couple years now on my 27 footer. As an additional benefit, the lines have been extremely handy for stowing the main when the sailing is done. And by the way, I only have lines in the first reef. I'm unlikely to be out in weather requiring the second reef, but I think I could use the same set of lines if I needed to.
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-11-2015
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Re: Reefing ties remaining on the main? Good or bad practice?

Personal preference, not good not bad.
To some extent depends how deep the reef is. a big bunch of sail hanging down can obscure your view. Its good idea to get it out the way. Though I personally often don't bother, The more reefs the more sail bunched up on either side of the boom.

I personally don't like individual ties, There is always the possibility of one being done up to tight. I prefer a single bunching line done up like a loos boot lace quickly reeved through all the small cringles, different colors for each reef is a good plan.
Some one will be along soon to tell you this idea is wrong and you should never leave the cockpit. which is fine it works for them.
I have to go to the mast to reef anyway.

I did contemplate putting bungy cord in as ties but it deteriorates so quickly when left exposed. so i never have.
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-12-2015
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Re: Reefing ties remaining on the main? Good or bad practice?

I have them in place because it makes the reefing operation quicker. It is very easy to place too much tension on them and damage a sail. They should have just enough tension to stop the loose cloth from flopping about and not be used to put reefing tension on the sail or shape the sail. The outhaul tension should be 100% on the clew grommet.

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