View Full Version : How to set up Reefing.
04-17-2007, 06:25 PM
Aloha. Having rebuilt my boat from a highly degraded form, The mast was off and it does not have any reefing gear to be found. can anyone help with Reefing diagrams or tips on how to set some up?
04-17-2007, 06:41 PM
What kind of rig are you dealing with?
04-17-2007, 07:52 PM
I’ll admit to some very dogmatic views on reefing that come from a life spent in conditions where a reef or two might be needed.
A reefing system should be settable with the sail up or down. The latter means that boom roller reefing is out. Period. Besides which it sets about as well as jib roller reefing, which is to say not well.
A reefing system should not require any difficult pushing bits of line through little holes, especially if you have to reef down some stark and dormy night, sleet optional. This means you want a system with the clew and tack lines permanently installed.
It’s possible with high aspect sails to set up single line slab reefing. It requires twice the advantage on the clew aspect as the tack and is outside what I’ll go over here.
The basic slab-jiffy reef will have separate clew and tack lines. If you’ll be handling the sail’s halyard and reefing lines from the mast, the tack can be a line spliced to the reef cringle and attachable to wherever on the mast below the gooseneck.
The reefing clew line goes from an eye through the clew reef cringle and back to a cheek block on the boom and thence forward. The clew line is often set up wrongly, falling on either side of the sail. It works best to put both parts on the same side of the boom, allowing the bunt of the sail to take a cleaner lay.
The clew line parts should lead back and down to the boom at about 45 degrees from cringle to boom attachments. This gives enough outhaul and down pressure.
You really don’t need mechanical advantage here if you use the topping lift. Peak up a bit, ease the halyard and get the tack tied down, then trim the clew as tightly as you can by hand. It will tighten a bit more when you ease the topping lift and all will set well.
Many macron sails can be sailed well without actually tying down the reefpoints, but a low aspect Marconi and a gaff sail will need those points tied in to get a decent set without the foot billowing up unpleasantly.
04-17-2007, 08:05 PM
What kind of rig are you dealing with?
mast is 35 feet Boom is 11 feet. Sail has two rigging points.
04-17-2007, 08:22 PM
The reefing clew line goes from an eye through the clew reef cringle and back to a cheek block on the boom and thence forward. The clew line is often set up wrongly, falling on either side of the sail. It works best to put both parts on the same side of the boom, allowing the bunt of the sail to take a cleaner lay. Ive seen systems where the line attaches to boom, say on the port side and goes up through the eye or cringle and then down back to the boom on the starboard side, then through a series of of pullys over to the mast then down to the deck and back to the cockpit. Does this sound right?
04-17-2007, 09:08 PM
What you've seen is common. Try it out yourself. It crushes down the bunt of the sail and does not allow the clew to get down closely enough to the boom. Rig with the fixed end coming up on say the port side of the boom, through the cringle from starboard to port, and back down to a turning block on the port side. When you reef either on port or starboard tack the bunt hangs out freely and you get a good set along the foot.
I don't recall what happy accident led me to seeing this. Others have also. I think I heard of it and tried, rather than reinvented myself. It's not a common rig among those who don't reef often.
04-21-2007, 01:15 AM
My new main has a cringle for the cunningham, however it is only for a webbing strap to pass thru that is sewn to both sides of the sail, and the cunningham hook catches the strap. I wonder if I should sew a strap thrugh the reefing clew the accomplish what you are suggesting.
By the way, I've done that bit of pushing webbing through a flogging reef point. It took about twenty minutes it seemed. Wind went from 5 kts to over 25 in seconds. That is very unusual on Puget Sound, but just proves how idiotic it is to not do the hard work first, then leave the dock.
04-22-2007, 04:17 AM
Many folk like the strap to hook approach for the clew. I don't as the hook can lose the clew strap in the time it takes to get some tension on the halyard.
In one Round the Cape Race in a friend's boat so rigged the thing kept coming off and it was horrible. It'd get the reef clew hooked, ease the halyard off its cleat to trim, turn the winch, and the clew would be loose. So I put a foot on the halyard to speed things up. Still flogged loose. So I tried sweating the halyard right after hooking up. Still came off.
One problem was that the clew was high enough that I could not reach from a squat with legs around the mast but the winch was low enough that I could not tighten my tether around the mast and still have room to work. It was rough enough that I had to hang on, so no action that took two hands.
Eventually we managed by the helmsman bearing off enough to fill the sail a little while I held the reef clew on the hook. Then I belabored the halyard tight enough.
There's a reason so many modern racers are afraid of reefing.
So, if you can, have a dangling line spliced on the clew that you can secure to a cleat or around the mast under the boom.
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