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post #61 of 71 Old 03-20-2018
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Re: How windy is windy?

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Originally Posted by DaisysDriver View Post
In addition to pride, another factor that makes it challenging to reef is the beating that it feels the rigging is taking during the process. With furling everything I can do it pretty fast but flogging sails and rattling rigging even for the maybe 10 minutes it takes is not what I like to hear but it seems reefing in high winds almost requires it or am I doing something wrong?
Reef sooner.
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post #62 of 71 Old 03-20-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: How windy is windy?

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Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
Yes. You are doing something wrong.

Where do I start....
Its like 1am and I am not in the mood for am essay. Go get an instructor who can teach u to do it in 60 seconds without flapping.

Sorry to be brutal
Just to defend Mark a bit I think he intended to say that the instructor would take 60 seconds to teach you (and was a bit hyperbolic at that) not that a reef could be performed in 60 seconds.

Having said that I will add that , for me, being taught to reef on your cruise-and-learn with 12 knot winds and a bunch of crew is one thing. Doing it yourself when beating into 18-20 knots complicates things more than a handful of knots would seem reasonable.

Gaudeamus igitur iuvenes dum sumus...
before it's too late
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post #63 of 71 Old 03-20-2018
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Re: How windy is windy?

While I agree timing yourself probably isn't necessary and safety is Paramount, teaching yourself to reef efficiently really is not a bad idea. If I'm not reefing on a regular basis, then I will reef just for practice. Say if I haven't been sailing in a couple of weeks, I might put the sail up at dock and put a reef in, just to make sure every thing is running smoothly, before I head out.

It's not a race, but the more you reef, the quicker and smoother it will go. Getting hammered by a front with thunder heads bearing down on you is not the time to practice in my opinion.
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post #64 of 71 Old 03-20-2018
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Re: How windy is windy?

For me, the length of time varies based on wind and sea conditions, how long I’ve dallied before making the decision, the weather conditions (pissing rain/sleet/cold vs sunny/warm vs night or day) and probably how I’m feeling physically, emotionally, and caffeineally (did I have my morning coffee … or not) . How each boat is rigged will also make a difference.

On a sunny day with easy seas it takes me far less than 10 minutes to reef. If it’s dark, or in foul weather; if I have to don foulies and get secured with tether; if I have to change boat tack to ease pressures … all of this now means it will take longer than that.

There is no one right answer. As with most things in cruising and sailing; IT DEPENDS.

While reefing should always be done efficiently, speed is rarely the most important thing. Doing it safely and correctly is.

On our boat, with our large main, we tend to reef early and often. In most cases 18 knots means reef one, so most days we’re in and out of reef one many times. Practice certainly helps, but when you’re up there at the mast, speed should not be the driving thought in your mind; efficiency of actions and safety should.

Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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Last edited by MikeOReilly; 03-20-2018 at 12:27 PM.
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post #65 of 71 Old 03-20-2018
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Re: How windy is windy?

He did not say the whole reef needs to be done in X time. He said he didn't like the flapping!
I have less than 60 seconds flogging.

Jeff_H is on the ball.

Halyard and reefing lines must be exactly marked.

Keep on the wind, don't luff up.

Bugger the outhaul & downhaul.

So mine is:

Hit Up 20 or 30 on the Auto Pilot.
Dump halyard clutch to 1metre past reefing marker.
Wind reefing line in like buggery to mark.
Up Halyard whist watching to see if I have to ease the sheet a bit (don't let it fly) up to mark.
Set sheet.
Down 20 or 30 back onto course.

Flapping will only last a few seconds. Whole job just very quickly.



Trick is to have everything marked, set procedure, keep a bit of wind in sails, don't dump sheet.

Oh, and as someone else said, reef early. Reef often. Some passages are like Karate Kid: Reef in, reef out.

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post #66 of 71 Old 03-20-2018
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Re: How windy is windy?

60 seconds of flapping! You must be doing something wrong .

OK, yes. I agree. The “flapping” time should be minimal. Actually, I usually depower the main, so there really isn’t much.

By the time I’ve dropped the halyard most of the work to get the sail reefed has already been done. At that point it’s pretty straight forward; lower the halyard just past the reef point, hook the new tack, snug in the reef line (new clew), raise the halyard. Done! All this should take less than a minute.

Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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post #67 of 71 Old 03-20-2018
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Re: How windy is windy?

There are definitely different strokes for different boats, pretty sure there's no right way.

My Gaff Cat is a pretty standard set up double line reefing. I have to dump the pressure off the main to get the sail down because the twist in the gaff boom causes the sail lacing and throat to bind. Everything's led to the cockpit, within arms reach though, it's super fast, probably under 60 seconds, provided I don't bind things up. No autopilot, so I steer with my knees while reefing. I got rid of my lazy Jack's because they were pissing me off. So I deal with the mess until I'm back onto the main, then steer with one hand and tidy up with my free hand. Tiller extension improves my reach.

My catamaran I usually sail two up. I prefer to keep sailing on the jib when I reef it, keeps the boat under control. Round up to close hauled on the jib, ease the main traveler to take the pressure off, release halyard until either the first or second halyard bead catches in the reefing tang, then rerig the downhaul through the appropriate reefing eye. It's easiest to then rerig the outhaul through the appropriate reefing eye, tension, then come back onto the main. It's still super fast, maybe a couple minutes in the even in the dark. Mess is dealt with after the boats sailing again.

I sail in lots of places where there just isn't the sea room to fart around with your reefs and speed is important. Turning and running often isn't an option and uncontrolled round ups- well I sail unballasted boats, so that could just as easily result in capsize, then you're right up the creek.
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post #68 of 71 Old 03-21-2018
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Re: How windy is windy?

If you what to really know what windy is:

You have a reef in because it was "windy" earlier and as a cruiser you aren't really all that in to sailing at hull speed all heeled over. So you put in a reef and are still sailing at 90+% of hull speed but only heeled to 15 degrees and having a good time. But you start to like it and start thinking that "Hey we're not an old cruiser couple, we're sailors!". But after a while the wind lowers and your speed drops to about 85% of hull speed and you start saying "Damn we are freaking crawling!" because you had done the mental math two hours ago for when you would arrive at your destination and now you redo it and it is 5 hours longer. So you reach for the reefline and halyard intending to take the reef out. Well:

that's what the wind was waiting for you to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!
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Don't blow air up my rear, be useful and blow it at the sails!
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post #69 of 71 Old 03-21-2018
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Re: How windy is windy?

Glad to see that a good night's sleep puts Mark in a more helpful mood. And reading carefully I now realize my problem. Glad to discover that it is an equipment rather than technique problem. Guess I will have to fix one of my currently non-functional APs. Things can get kind of busy in the cockpit when single handing in 25 knots and manually holding course while moving lines...
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post #70 of 71 Old 03-22-2018
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Re: How windy is windy?

Marking the halyard is the part I didn't know. That's gold. Thanks for that Mark.

The way I look at it, there is the present conditions, and the future...

In the present I use tactics..-if the helm is not too unbalanced, steering well and the rig isn't taking big shocks, no water coming in, heel angles controllable etc then I don't worry too much. And I have a cam cleat with a ring over it for my winches - so I can just pull up and blow the sheet anytime while sitting in the cockpit.

Then there is the future, - am I sure that I am on the good side of the weather window? Is a front moving in? If I am on the improving side of the weather then I don't worry too much... If I anticipate it getting worse then I have much different set of thoughts..more like strategy....will the inlet or some shallow area be rough? Where do I run to?

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