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ASA and PSIA Instructor
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4,315 Posts
...If you had been singlehanding at the time, and had to leave the helm virtually uncontrolled while taking down the sails, I have no doubt that the boat would have gone down, as did a bigger boat in the same storm. Regardless of whether you're singlehanding or fully crewed, and whether you're racing or cruising, you can't allow yourself to get into a situation in which the conditions are beyond your ability to cope with them. When singlehanding, you have to anticipate worsening conditions, and prepare for them while you are still able to do so. It doesn't really matter whether you're racing or cruising.
Even when single handing, it's simple to but the boat into a heaved-to position and comfortably add the reef...have lunch while you are at it.
 

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ASA and PSIA Instructor
Joined
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4,315 Posts
... It sounds like I should let out the main sheet enough to be able to pull down the main to the first reef point,I will have to try that. I image it is easier on a close reach as you can just let the main out a bit. Probably a bit more difficult on a beam reach as the main has to be really let out. ..
Make it easier and quicker for yourself..fully luff the main, sheet all out...and take in the reef as quickly as possible, then trim and you are set. With some practice, you should be able to get the job done in a minute or so, even if you need to go to the mast.

With a partially trimmed main you'll have a struggle and take a lot longer.
 
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