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Discussion Starter #1
I am debating having a sail cleaning company add reef points while my sail is there for cleaning.

I don't tend to sail in heavy air. My current set up is that the boom is designed to furl the mainsail with a crank. It doesn't work very well.

Thus, my question is what are the advantages and disadvantages of adding reef points as far as you know?

(Cost is around $200)

Thank you.
Rick
 

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Telstar 28
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I would do it. Most of the older round-the-boom roller reefing systems didn't work very well and most people have gone to slab/jiffy reefing on them. Having the ability to reef the sails properly really contributes to the enjoyment and safety of sailing your boat. If you're caught out by a storm, having the ability to safely and securely reduce sail area is a good thing.

Pros:
  • Can reef in stronger winds—boat will be easier to control, sail flatter
Cons:
  • Costs money
  • If not properly done, with large reinforcing patches, can be bad for sail
Don't forget to add the reefing lines to your setup. You'll need to either do a two-line setup or a single-line that handles the forward tack reefing cringle, since your boom probably doesn't have reefing tack hooks at the gooseneck. I prefer the two-line setup.

Practice reefing early and often, until you can reef the sails in under a couple of minutes. :)
 

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I would definitely vote to do it. We are in the Chesapeake Bay where the wind doesn't blow very hard consistently, but it sure is nice to be able to flatten out the boat and enjoy a sail in something more than 10 knots. You might even get a chance to play your guitar and harp while the autopilot is doing all the work :>)

I had roller reefing before also, and slab is much better.

Moe
 

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Discussion Starter #4
SD,

Thank you. I need to ask another question. I don't understand reefing lines, forward tack reefing cringle, and forward tack at the gooseneck. Where might I be able to read or see what you are talking about?

Rick
 

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Harp—

Look here, here and here.

The last one is a good article on why two-line reefing is better than single line reefing systems.

For each reef, there is a large cringle (big grommet) at the forward end of the sail near the boom, a row of smaller grommets, and a large cringle at the aft end of the sail, near the leech.

The forward one is called the tack reefing cringle, since it effectively becomes the "tack" of the reefed mainsail.

The aft one is the clew reefing cringle, because if effectively becomes the "clew" of the reefed mainsail.

The smaller ones in-between are for reefing pendants, which are short pieces of line or webbing that are used to tie up the bunt (excess portion of the sail below the reef point) and prevent it from flogging.


I would highly recommend you run out and get David Seidman's book, The Complete Sailor. It's about $16 at the local bookstore and worth every penny.
 

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My Wife is not all that fond of sailing, but will go with me two or three times per month.

Heeling freaks her out, big time!!!

If we get to the marina and I see whitecaps on the lake, I automatically throw in the first reef (our boat has two, but I've never gone to the second set).

So, another advantage of reefing is a day of sailing with my Wife vs. a day of driving to the marina and then back home, with NO sailing!!!

:)
 

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Yup, that would fall under where I said:

Having the ability to reef the sails properly really contributes to the enjoyment and safety of sailing your boat. If you're caught out by a storm, having the ability to safely and securely reduce sail area is a good thing.
Of course, heeling isn't so much of an issue for my boat... :) capsizing is though... ;)

My Wife is not all that fond of sailing, but will go with me two or three times per month.

Heeling freaks her out, big time!!!

If we get to the marina and I see whitecaps on the lake, I automatically throw in the first reef (our boat has two, but I've never gone to the second set).

So, another advantage of reefing is a day of sailing with my Wife vs. a day of driving to the marina and then back home, with NO sailing!!!

:)
 

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I am debating having a sail cleaning company add reef points while my sail is there for cleaning.

I don't tend to sail in heavy air. My current set up is that the boom is designed to furl the mainsail with a crank. It doesn't work very well.

Thus, my question is what are the advantages and disadvantages of adding reef points as far as you know?

(Cost is around $200)

Thank you.
Rick
I have the same problem, but I don't want to blow a couple hundred on adding reef pionts to an old sail, so I plan on living with it until I purchase a new sail, which will be next winter if I keep the boat.

Eric
 

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baDumbumbum
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I have the same problem, but I don't want to blow a couple hundred on adding reef pionts to an old sail, so I plan on living with it until I purchase a new sail, which will be next winter if I keep the boat.

Eric
AllThumbs: adding reef points and jiffy reefing is one of the easiest sail-modification jobs, and with a bit of endeavor you can do it at home for about $40 total. Really useful if you have an older main to practice on and convince yourself it's not so hard.

First, you want to figure out how deep a reef and how many. For boats our size, I like one medium-deep reef. When a small boat needs de-powering, it tends to need it BAD. And if it needs a super-deep reef, you're prolly in big trouble for other reasons. So a 25-30% reduction is sail area is a good target; I like 34" or so.

Second, keep in mind only the head and clew grommets should be taking force; the middle reef points are there for keeping the bunt tidy, not for constraining the sail. So I put in the head and clew grommets first, each 32"above the boom measured perpendicular to it. If there's a seam there or thereabouts, adjust your level accordingly.

You'll want two or more layers of reinforcing patches; shape is not critical, but the larger should be good-sized, maybe the area of a dinner plate. Remember -- you only reef when it's blowing stink, so don't skimp. You can get remnants of sailcloth from a loft or from Sailrite, or just buy a yard of 36" wide stuff. A nice weight is 5.5-6.5 oz. I like to put the smaller patch under the bigger one; cuts down one edge to fray.

I use a spray adhesive (3M Super 77 is best) to affix the patches, then zig-zag stitch all around the edges, plus a couple gratuitous stitching lines. You may need to drive the balance wheel by hand when punching thru four or five layers near the leech or bolt rope. You can baste these on by hand, too, but a machine is better. Good, heavy polyester thread.

For grommets, the classic solution is sewn ring-plus-eyelet; a big spur grommet might work on a small boat. Both require expensive setting tools, unless you can bum them. Don't try hardware store grommets! I'm really keen on Sailrite's jiffy grommets; add a short strip of polyester webbing or two, and they are very strong.

After those are installed, you'll need to stretch out the sail tightly (or better, hoist it on the boat) and snap a line between the fore and aft reefing grommets. Your mid-point ties will need to go BELOW this line, so they don't pull on the sail when reefed. Add 3-4 single reinforcing patches neatly spaced, and either stitch on reefing ties or add spur grommets (#2 work well).

Then you install a cheek block on the boom so it pulls the clew reef down AND back (I like the Harken mini-Carbo) and a cleat of some sort; then a padeye and cleat on the mast (or use existing) so the tack reef is pulled down and forward. Done. It's actually easier than it sounds, should take an hour or two.

I'll be putting reef points on the new main I'm sewing this week; I'll try to take photos and post them.
 

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While this may be true for a small boat's mainsail, with the larger mainsails, it isn't cost-effective to do it yourself. The forces on the sail are higher and mistakes will generally cause the sail to tear out... which gets really expensive. A good sailmaker will put in multiple layers of reinforcement before adding the clew and tack cringles. It also assumes you have a sewing machine that is capable of sewing through multiple layers of sailcloth, and most aren't. I had my sailmaker add a third reef to my sail, and it was done very well. He even matched the style and type of reef reinforcement patches the sail originally came with as well as thread color... so you can't tell the third reef was after the fact. :)

AllThumbs: adding reef points and jiffy reefing is one of the easiest sail-modification jobs, and with a bit of endeavor you can do it at home for about $40 total. Really useful if you have an older main to practice on and convince yourself it's not so hard.

First, you want to figure out how deep a reef and how many. For boats our size, I like one medium-deep reef. When a small boat needs de-powering, it tends to need it BAD. And if it needs a super-deep reef, you're prolly in big trouble for other reasons. So a 25-30% reduction is sail area is a good target; I like 34" or so.

Second, keep in mind only the head and clew grommets should be taking force; the middle reef points are there for keeping the bunt tidy, not for constraining the sail. So I put in the head and clew grommets first, each 32"above the boom measured perpendicular to it. If there's a seam there or thereabouts, adjust your level accordingly.

You'll want two or more layers of reinforcing patches; shape is not critical, but the larger should be good-sized, maybe the area of a dinner plate. Remember -- you only reef when it's blowing stink, so don't skimp. You can get remnants of sailcloth from a loft or from Sailrite, or just buy a yard of 36" wide stuff. A nice weight is 5.5-6.5 oz. I like to put the smaller patch under the bigger one; cuts down one edge to fray.

I use a spray adhesive (3M Super 77 is best) to affix the patches, then zig-zag stitch all around the edges, plus a couple gratuitous stitching lines. You may need to drive the balance wheel by hand when punching thru four or five layers near the leech or bolt rope. You can baste these on by hand, too, but a machine is better. Good, heavy polyester thread.

For grommets, the classic solution is sewn ring-plus-eyelet; a big spur grommet might work on a small boat. Both require expensive setting tools, unless you can bum them. Don't try hardware store grommets! I'm really keen on Sailrite's jiffy grommets; add a short strip of polyester webbing or two, and they are very strong.

After those are installed, you'll need to stretch out the sail tightly (or better, hoist it on the boat) and snap a line between the fore and aft reefing grommets. Your mid-point ties will need to go BELOW this line, so they don't pull on the sail when reefed. Add 3-4 single reinforcing patches neatly spaced, and either stitch on reefing ties or add spur grommets (#2 work well).

Then you install a cheek block on the boom so it pulls the clew reef down AND back (I like the Harken mini-Carbo) and a cleat of some sort; then a padeye and cleat on the mast (or use existing) so the tack reef is pulled down and forward. Done. It's actually easier than it sounds, should take an hour or two.

I'll be putting reef points on the new main I'm sewing this week; I'll try to take photos and post them.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I am not at the point that I would do any surgery on my own sail. Sail Care is doing it for me. Hope they do a good job but in any case they will do it better than I can right now.

Harp
 

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Sailcare does a reasonably good job from what I've seen. Maybe not as good as a good sail loft, but decent enough.
 

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Hey, you are preaching to the chior.:D Let me tell you I am a DIY kind of guy. If my main wasn't 30 yrs old, I would prolly do it. It just isn't worth it. I'll get reefpoints built into my new sail and roll the one I have this summer, or if I like the boat I will order the new sail in June. It's not so much the money for the new sail as it is the fact that I have never sailed my boat, and I have invested a lot into it already, and the new sail won't pay for itself if I want to sell the boat because it doesn't suit me.
Eric

AllThumbs: adding reef points and jiffy reefing is one of the easiest sail-modification jobs, and with a bit of endeavor you can do it at home for about $40 total. Really useful if you have an older main to practice on and convince yourself it's not so hard.

First, you want to figure out how deep a reef and how many. For boats our size, I like one medium-deep reef. When a small boat needs de-powering, it tends to need it BAD. And if it needs a super-deep reef, you're prolly in big trouble for other reasons. So a 25-30% reduction is sail area is a good target; I like 34" or so.

Second, keep in mind only the head and clew grommets should be taking force; the middle reef points are there for keeping the bunt tidy, not for constraining the sail. So I put in the head and clew grommets first, each 32"above the boom measured perpendicular to it. If there's a seam there or thereabouts, adjust your level accordingly.

You'll want two or more layers of reinforcing patches; shape is not critical, but the larger should be good-sized, maybe the area of a dinner plate. Remember -- you only reef when it's blowing stink, so don't skimp. You can get remnants of sailcloth from a loft or from Sailrite, or just buy a yard of 36" wide stuff. A nice weight is 5.5-6.5 oz. I like to put the smaller patch under the bigger one; cuts down one edge to fray.

I use a spray adhesive (3M Super 77 is best) to affix the patches, then zig-zag stitch all around the edges, plus a couple gratuitous stitching lines. You may need to drive the balance wheel by hand when punching thru four or five layers near the leech or bolt rope. You can baste these on by hand, too, but a machine is better. Good, heavy polyester thread.

For grommets, the classic solution is sewn ring-plus-eyelet; a big spur grommet might work on a small boat. Both require expensive setting tools, unless you can bum them. Don't try hardware store grommets! I'm really keen on Sailrite's jiffy grommets; add a short strip of polyester webbing or two, and they are very strong.

After those are installed, you'll need to stretch out the sail tightly (or better, hoist it on the boat) and snap a line between the fore and aft reefing grommets. Your mid-point ties will need to go BELOW this line, so they don't pull on the sail when reefed. Add 3-4 single reinforcing patches neatly spaced, and either stitch on reefing ties or add spur grommets (#2 work well).

Then you install a cheek block on the boom so it pulls the clew reef down AND back (I like the Harken mini-Carbo) and a cleat of some sort; then a padeye and cleat on the mast (or use existing) so the tack reef is pulled down and forward. Done. It's actually easier than it sounds, should take an hour or two.

I'll be putting reef points on the new main I'm sewing this week; I'll try to take photos and post them.
 

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baDumbumbum
Joined
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Hey, you are preaching to the chior.:D Let me tell you I am a DIY kind of guy. If my main wasn't 30 yrs old, I would prolly do it. It just isn't worth it. I'll get reefpoints built into my new sail and roll the one I have this summer, or if I like the boat I will order the new sail in June. It's not so much the money for the new sail as it is the fact that I have never sailed my boat, and I have invested a lot into it already, and the new sail won't pay for itself if I want to sell the boat because it doesn't suit me.
Eric
:D The current mainsail on our SJ21 is 35 years old. Crispy? No. Methinks someone let the battens flog it to kleenex.



If you are having a new sail made, by all means let them deal with the reef points. But they are easy to add, and add correctly, on an older sail. Placement of your aft reefing block will depend on the leech cringle's location, tho -- best to wait for the new sail to install that. Where you going for the new main (if you do)?
 
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