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As a racer, we reef down pretty quick on every boat I sail, though the way we do it may not appear to a cruiser to do so. Typical racing boats reef in a number of small steps versus cruisers that do it in more dramatic fashion as follows...

1) 155 full cut jib - full main
2) 150 flat cut jib - full main 12-15kn
3) 115 flat cut jib - full main 18-20kn
4) 115 flat cut jib - 1st reef 25-30kn
5) 85 flat cut jib - 1st reef 30+

I have never needed to go smaller than this, but it could happen. Compare this to a cruiser that will typically have two sails on board, a roller furling full cut 155, and a main. They just don't have the discrete steps that racers do, and so are forced to carry more sail longer. By the time most cruisers are thinking about reefing, we are probably two steps removed from out max sail area.

That being said, getting a cruising boat, or non-full crewed race boat rigged to quickly reef becomes more important, because you don't have the same amount of man power to throw at problems. So things like a batt car system that will allow the main to drop even when highly loaded, and a free running reefing system become much more important than on a race boat.

Yes it is expensive, but you know you have it set up right when in order to reef your main you have to take a wrap around a winch to keep it from dropping too fast.
 
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