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post #1 of 6 Old 08-08-2015 Thread Starter
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Flating reef

Small difference of opinion on how to apply this reef on My Boat. I have used it on other Boats and believe both points on the foot are pulled at the same time, basically moving the outhaul up to the eye and grabbing the reef cringle at the same time. My sail trimmer says its two different adjustments, a Cunningham and alternate outhaul position not used at the same time. Lets see how many opinions I can get on this one. To be clear its just 10" up from the foot, not a true reef there are two full reefs after that. Sail has attached foot.

Last edited by albrazzi; 08-08-2015 at 01:39 PM. Reason: Flattening Reef (SP)
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-08-2015
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Re: Flating reef

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Originally Posted by albrazzi View Post
Small difference of opinion on how to apply this reef on My Boat. I have used it on other Boats and believe both points on the foot are pulled at the same time, basically moving the outhaul up to the eye and grabbing the reef cringle at the same time. My sail trimmer says its two different adjustments, a Cunningham and alternate outhaul position not used at the same time. Lets see how many opinions I can get on this one. To be clear its just 10" up from the foot, not a true reef there are two full reefs after that. Sail has attached foot.
not used at the same time

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post #3 of 6 Old 08-08-2015
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Re: Flating reef

You can use them at the same time, but they work independently of each other. My first impression is that if you do need them both then either you have the sail trimmed wrong from the get go, or the sail has stretched past its usable shape.

Flattening reefs generally have fallen out of favor as sail material has gotten better, and moved to footless mains. But some sails still have them.

Cunningham adjusts the luff tension which moves the draft of the sail forward and aft. The flattener adjusts the fullness of the lower 1/3 of the sail, it's like a second out haul. They really do different things.

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post #4 of 6 Old 08-08-2015
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Re: Flating reef

A flattening reef was used in conjunction with a racing shelf footed mainsail. The shelf foot had extra fabric sewn into the foot of the sail that made it more powerful in light air and off the wind. When sailing closehauled in strong winds, it made the sail too full, and the flattening reef enabled you to flatten the foot of the sail quickly and easily.

The flattening reef consists of only the cringle at the outboard end of the boom. Your crew is correct that the cunningham and the flattening reef are two different controls, not intended to be used together, but that doesn't mean that you can't use them together.

When you have both a flattening reef and a cunningham, you can use the flattening reef and cunningham separately for their normal purposes, or you can use them together as a short reef. I can't count the number of times I've been racing, and the boat was slightly overpowered, and I felt I needed to reduce mainsail area a little to keep her fast, but was afraid that the first full reef was too much. If you use the flattening reef and cunningham together as a short reef, you don't lose much sail area, but you reduce it just enough to settle the boat down, and you flatten the sail to the max.

The modern loose footed mainsail can be shaped with about the same fullness as the shelf footed mainsail, and I don't remember having seen a flattening reef on a loose footed mainsail.
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-09-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Flating reef

Thanks guys for all the superb explanations here, this is an older Main and although in generally good condition its shape is not right, even with a good amount of mast bend and a tight backstay its too full, maybe this "short reef" as Sailormon suggests and I suspected I may get a flatter sail while sacrificing little area.
Right now I have one outhaul with some extra blocks in the boom, I will rig the outhaul with the purchase (I think 4-1) on the flattener and a direct line to the original outhaul. Unless suggested it be done the other way. I have deck top winches so I can pull either one as tight as I need.

If the budget permits I will replace this sail over the winter, its slowing me down.
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-09-2015
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Re: Flating reef

It might also be used as a "water reef" to raise a low boom away from the seas when reaching. Common when booms were long and boats lower.

"...there are two kinds of opinions, those based upon tradition ... and those having something in their favor." B. Russell
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