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Old 04-09-2016, 16:39   #16
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
It has to be the dumbest idea that ever infected sailboats. Nearly impossible to get a proper setting reefed sail, slow to accomplish, a huge bundle of bolt rope rapped around the boom at the tack, baggy sail in the middle, a way too tight leach, and no practical way to vang the sail once you rant out of traveller control.
Ah, but a while back someone had a thing they found in some old boat that was unrecognizable to all but the poor folks stuck with boom furling from the 60s! Which thread was it... but it was a vang claw, that slid over the boom and furled sail! Did you have one? So you could ruin the leech AND some other parts, with the claw!
Ha! found it:
What is it's darn name!
ok, also called reefing claw.

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Old 05-09-2016, 08:50   #17
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail


As an owner of an older boat similar to yours (1963 40' yawl), and having done this conversion many years ago, I'd say don't do it.

When I worked at the sailing school on City Island NY in the 80s we occupied the old Ratsey & Lapthorn loft where we had a sailmaking program one season. With all the equipment there, I set out to sew in heavy patches (like seven layers of Dacron I think) for the new tack and clew on the main. I used the hydraulic press to put in the new cringles for the two reef points. I added two cheek blocks to the spruce boom and a winch back by the goose neck. I also added smaller patches and eyes for the buntlines.

This arrangement worked well and I felt comfortable with it for offshore passage making. However, for coastal sailing, which appears to be what both you and I are doing these days, dropping the main and running jib & jigger is the ticket when it starts to blow. This arrangement really does cover 90% of the situations but once in a while I could use a reefed main but I never leave the reefing lines in the sail these days. In fact I wish I could still use the roller furling boom. I'd have to remove the winch and cheek blocks to make it function again. I'd have some revarnishing of the boom to do as well.

Interestingly, I ran into an old timer up in Fishers Island Sound this summer. He knew all about the roller furling rolling booms and asked me if I was using it. I told him my story and he made an interesting comment that I had not heard before. He said that they would place several pieces of batten type material in the main as they rolled it to help it maintain a proper shape when reefed. That was a new one on me. Have you heard that before and did you ever try it?

Good luck to you with whatever you decide to do.



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Old 05-09-2016, 16:55   #18
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

Originally Posted by Bermuda Forte View Post

Great stuff, and thanks a lot for that perspective. But what's the downside of switching to slab reefing?

I find myself facing a decent swell and 20 kts on the nose a lot (like, every time I go to Block Island), and I feel like in that situation I need a little more sail power than jib + jigger to make headway upwind.

At that time, its usually pretty uncomfortable being up on a wet, heeled, bouncing deck dorking with the /very/ slow to deploy roller reefing system. (Pay out a little halyard, crank the boom a little, repeat 10000 times.) Additionally, the southwesterly sea breeze that typically brings these conditions is a little hit or miss, so I'm not going to reef before heading out... So slab reefing sounds like a much better system, easier and faster to deploy..

(Much more wind than this, and I'd definitely go jib and jigger at a less aggressive angle, and take more time to get where I'm going. I also do jib and jigger a lot when single handing, its such an impossibly easy boat to manage like that. )

Regarding trying to make the shape a little better, the previous owner of my boat claimed to "throw lifejackets, whatever we had, in there, to get the shape better." I think this was a tall tale, but I do seem to get better results for a deep reef if I use a very slender "wacky noodle" while spinning it up. But this is the kind of crap I'm trying to get away from. I think making reefing as easy as possible is going to make the boat safer and more fun..
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Old 06-09-2016, 07:05   #19
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

No downside in my opinion, other than cost and time associated with doing this. In my case, I did not permanently disable the furling boom and it occasionally needs to be adjusted back into its initial position. This I believe is due to the added weight on one side where I mounted the winch for tensioning the reef lines.

You certainly do appear to have a more regular need for reefing your main based on your description of wind and sea conditions you encounter.

Best of luck.


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Old 06-09-2016, 07:33   #20
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

Adding things into the furl on the boom in order to improve the shape isn't at all new. And it's also done on roller furling jibs via foam or line sewn into the luff, so that when the jib is partially furled it's shape is better (than if nothing were there but sail cloth).

Also, if you add reinforcing patches to your main yourself, Do Not Glue Them In Place. Just sew them on. Glue is reserved for emergency repairs, or high tech sail fabrics. As it's difficult to pull such patches off afterwards. IE; they tend to be permanent, so that if they're not right you're stuck with them, no pun intended.

PS: There's a book called The Sailmaker's Apprentice which is definitely worth buying, & Dan Neri's book on sails & sail making is a decent one too.

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Old 06-09-2016, 08:12   #21
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

I think where the reefs go are all about your particular boat and what headsail you use. Some boats may benefit a lot with a bit shallow first reef.... if the boat's headsail is not too large and holds up well. etc. or if the boat has a lot of weather helm.
If you are local cruising I wouldn't worry too much about the tie in cringles, and certainly 2 reefs should be enough.

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