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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I'm in the process of adding a reefing system to our boom, which previously had none. I'm planning to install a simple jiffy reefing system where all the work will be done from the mast.

I'd like to keep things as simple as possible - I'm wondering if I'll need to mount a winch on the boom to haul on the reefing line? Are the forces such that I'll require it, or will I be able to haul it in by hand? The boat is 31 feet.

Any advice appreciated, thanks as always.
 

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Telstar 28
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No, you probably don't need a winch.
 

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I think it depends. If you're in a monohull, you'll probably have a fair amount of heel when your sails are over powered, and air will be spilled off the sails reducing pressure. If you're sailing a multihull then you will need a winch to crank the overpowered sails down to the reefing points as they will be under a tremedous amount of pressure and do not unload.
 

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TropicCat-

He's on a PSC Mariah 31. And if you're reefing properly on a multihull this size, a winch isn't generally necessary. :) Using a winch to reef sails is a good way to tear sails. :)
 

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I don't remember my setup on this size boat, if you don't get other opinions, I'd look at boats with similar size mains and see what they have or you should be able to get an idea from whether there is leverage in your current outhaul, if there is a multipart system, then you would need at least similar or more power for the reefing system. If it a grey area, you may not have a lot to lose to set it up for manual use and add the winch if you find you don't get a good set manually.

It's curious the boat doesn't have a reefing setup, or are you converting from roller-reefing?
 

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TropicCat-

He's on a PSC Mariah 31. And if you're reefing properly on a multihull, a winch isn't generally necessary. :) Using a winch to reef sails is a good way to tear sails. :)
My experience on my 36 is I need to lean on the reefing winch pretty hard to get the last foot or so out of the clew reef, about the same tension as a halyard.
 

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SF-

Don't know if that's really comparable, since a CS36t has roughly 70% more sail area than a PSC 31 Mariah or so...the forces are going to be significantly greater.
 

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We added a boom winch to our 40 footer to help get the last few inches on the clews, it worked well. On our current boat we seem to be able to get (in most conditions) enough tension on the clew by luffing the main and releasing the vang during the operation - our main is approx 320sqft. vs the 400+ on the last boat.

As long as you use the proper procedure a winch should not damage the sail and will make the job easier, esp if you're lacking physical strength or weight. It needn't be a particularly powerful winch, a simple smallish single speed one will do. If you add it be sure to arrange it so that you can use the winch on both/all your reef slabs.
 

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dhornsey, where is the halyard winch? I was looking on the net for a deck plan of Pacific Seacraft Mariah 31 and could not find one clear enough.

If it is on the mast. Could It be moved to the cabin top close to the companionway? With a few turning blocks and a deck organizer you could rig both your halyards and reefing lines back to the cockpit and the one winch would serve double duty.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the replies! I too was astounded that the boat had no reefing set up whatsoever. A 30 year old boat that's never been reefed once. Our sail area is roughly 260 sq ft.

We have 2 halyard winches, mounted to each side of our mast. The procedure for reefing will be roughly:

-go to the mast
-ease the halyard
-attach the tack of the sail to a reefing hook
-tension the halyard
-tension the reefing line

We also have a topping lift, which could possibly help ease the pressure on the leech while reefing?
 

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Dhornsey, I would get the winches off the mast and bring them back to both sides of the companionway. turning blocks, deck organizers, rope clutches would take care of the control of the lines. I believe that if I need to reef, I don't need to be going forward. check out other sailboats many are rigged this way.
 

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Thanks for the replies! I too was astounded that the boat had no reefing set up whatsoever. A 30 year old boat that's never been reefed once. Our sail area is roughly 260 sq ft.

We have 2 halyard winches, mounted to each side of our mast. The procedure for reefing will be roughly:

-go to the mast
[edit - ease mainsheet completely]
-ease the halyard
-attach the tack of the sail to a reefing hook
-tension the halyard
-tension the reefing line

We also have a topping lift, which could possibly help ease the pressure on the leech while reefing?
Your procedure looks fine..(note my edit) the topping lift can be used to support the boom during the reefing exercise, otherwise you are lifting the boom and stretching the foot at the same time. A rigid/supporting vang will do the same, of course.

If you're adding the entire reefing system, are you going to put the clew lines outside the boom, or are there sheaves and/or clutches built into the gooseneck end of the boom? If the latter you can run the lines internally for a much cleaner installation. It also simplifies leading both clew lines to an under-boom winch.

Where are you moored? I'd be happy to swing by one day and have a look at things for you if you like.
 

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My experience on my 36 is I need to lean on the reefing winch pretty hard to get the last foot or so out of the clew reef, about the same tension as a halyard.

Head into the wind a little and ease off the wind loads on the sail.. I too have a 36T and have never had any difficulty tensioning and adjusting reefs but then again I don't do it with a loaded sail and I ease up to make adjustments.

I have sailed/delivered boats up to 52 feet with either slab or jiffy reefing with no winches.
 

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Made some modifications to the order of things to do. :)
Thanks for the replies! I too was astounded that the boat had no reefing set up whatsoever. A 30 year old boat that's never been reefed once. Our sail area is roughly 260 sq ft.

We have 2 halyard winches, mounted to each side of our mast. The procedure for reefing will be roughly:

-go to the mast
ease Mainsheet
ease boom vang
if you have one

tension topping lift or set rigid vang
-ease the halyard
-attach the tack of the sail to a reefing hook or tension reefing tack line
-tension the clew reefing line
-tension the halyard (changed position in order)
ease topping lift/loosen rigid vang
set boom vang

We also have a topping lift, which could possibly help ease the pressure on the leech while reefing?
The halyard should be marked with the approximate position of where it needs to be eased to for the different reefing points, as this can really speed things up.
 

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Hello,

IMHO the requirement of the winch will depend on how the reefing line(s) are run. On my boat I have a single line reefing system. The line starts at the boom where it is tied around the boom. From there the lines goes through the reefing clew, then down and inside the boom. At the front the line goes down to a block, then up and through the reefing tack, then down and around a block, a deck organizer, and finally back to the line clutches mounted near the companionway.

There is so much friction in the system that I can't reef without a winch. Reefing is pretty simple:
-tension topping lift
-ease main halyard
-ease main sheet
-tension reefing line
-tension halyard line
-slack topping lift
-adjust main sheet
-Sail on!

If I added some low friction blocks to the sail, switched to a two line reef (tack and clew), or otherwise modified the system I might need a winch. Since this is the way the system was set up when I bought the boat (or as near as I can tell) and it is pretty easy to do, I just leave it alone.

My last boat had this:

http://www.harken.com/pdf/4171.pdf

Which also worked very well. Since the boat was smaller, it took less effort to reef, but I found having a winch available made it easier to reef, and also allowed my wife to reef.

Barry
 

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If you ease the halyard, you normally don't need one. With cold hands though, it's good to have one. I don't, but this winter I will.
 

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If you don't have the reefing lines led back to the cockpit and are thinking of doing so, please use a TWO-LINE reefing system if at all possible. Two-line reefing systems give you much better control over the sail shape—since you have separate control over the tack and clew of the reef. The better the control over the shape of the reefed sail, the more effective the sail is to use. You really want to have the reefed sail have the flattest profile as possible, since you're generally reefing to depower the boat... :)

Pineapple sails has a good article on why two-line reefing systems are better than one-line ones.. You can read it here: LINK
 
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