Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Alameda, San Francisco Bay
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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).
2000 Catalina 34 MkII