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Old 02-09-2016, 11:03   #1
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Adding reef cringles to main sail

Hi,

My boat has an old fashioned rotating-boom reefing system. Its slow and difficult to use, the shape ends up funky, and theres no provision for an outhaul once reefed. My mainsail has no reef points.

I'd like to add reef cringles. I'll have a sail loft do the work, but I'm just trying to get a little more informed before I kick it off.

1. I recall boats I've had in the past had big cringles fore + aft, plus several smaller grommets along the length of the reef point - are those smaller ones necessary? It seems most folks reef by just securing the cringles at the luff and the leech.

2. What percentage of sail area is /typically/ removed by the 1st reef point? The 2nd? The boat is a slow, 1964 yawl. I don't want to go by where I generally roller-reef to, because that's determined by when weird artifacts (creases and things) start showing up.

3. Does the placement of the cringles relative to the edges of panels matter?
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Old 02-09-2016, 13:47   #2
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

Chris,

If you're going to convert to slab reefing, you may wind up replacing the boom, to get the sheaves for the reef lines to pull down correctly. On our boom, Jim had to add one for the third reef. Your present boom is not set up for it, and you will have to figure out an outhaul for each reef.

With the reefing horn for the tack, and an out haul for each reef, then, no, you do not need the grommets for tying in the reefs (those lines are called "nettles", I'm told), unless you want to see under the bunt of the sail when it has been reefed. If you will have a boom bag that incorporates lazy jacks, then the bunt will be under control. Depends on how big a project you're up for.

When you're reefed, another issue is leech line tension. Our present mainsail has leech line tensioners for each reef, that run up the luff and over tiny blocks back down to the leech cringles.

I think you're probably looking at a new mainsail, as well as a new boom....

Have fun with it, you'll really like having workable reefing with good sail shape.

Ann
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Old 02-09-2016, 14:28   #3
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

You can have a sailmaker simply add grommets at the sail's tack & clew for each reef, the other grommets are optional.

As to where/at what height each reef point is added, until you're a fairly savvy sailor, usually the sailmaker will offer recommendations.
These are based on; your boat type, her sail plan, her sailing characteristics, where various stays & shrouds attach to your mast, your sailing style, prevailing conditions where you sail, sail material...

As an example, you don't want to have a 3rd reef in a main, position it's head at a point on the spar where there's little support for the mast in both the fore & aft, as well as transverse directions.
Instead, you'd want it to be located near the head of a stay, & perhaps some running backstays, as well as some stout shrouds. So that the strong pull of the head of the sail would be well supported. And thus runs little risk of damaging the mast itself.

About your boom. A good percentage of them can be converted to be used with slab reefing. Typically a cheek block is added to the side of the boom, pretty much directly underneath of each reef point.
Then, to rig that reef, a line is led from the boom's aft, outboard end, through the reef point, down through the cheek block, & up to a winch & cleat/jammer near the gooseneck.

Due to the reefing line being led between those two points on the boom, the load vectors typically give a sail good shape when reefed. And automatically act as an outhaul for each reef, in addition to holding the sail's clew tight to the boom.

Up at the gooseneck, many times horn (hooks) are incorporated into the gooseneck fitting. However, it's actually a better arangement to have a snap hook for the tack cringles. With the hooks working better if they're on short Spectra or Wire pendants connecting them to the boom or spar in that area. So that once you snap a hook onto a tack cringle or ring, it can't slip free while the halyard is being re-tensioned.

Try looking up some videos on reefing, & reefing setups. As well as perusing Spar makers websites, & gear makers sites, in order to see some examples of different setups. Even visiting the Harken.com page, or doing a Bing search will likely give you some good visuals, & ideas.
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Old 02-09-2016, 14:30   #4
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

Hi Chris, I had the same situation on my boat, it came with roller furling on the boom. Old school design for sure. Then the PO had added a boom vang (bail bolted through boom, not the claw) so that rendered the reefing unrealistic. The sailmaker will easily answer all your questions but the other thing to consider is are you sure you want to spend that money on that sail? Being batten-less (and maybe old?) its performance is fairly poor to windward. I happened to find a very good main, essentially new, at Bacon Sails in MD for $500 to replace the original one. A new, or used, boom is a good idea because if you put cheek blocks on the current boom below the cringle, the line tends to try to turn the boom a bit but it can be done. Or the reef line is tied around the boom (as long as the main's foot is unattached or has slugs so there is room to run the line under the main) and runs back to a block at the aft end of the boom. Then it is not trying to twist the boom, but you need to be sure blocks are not in each others' way. (I'd get a new boom if I could but no $ right now for that.) If you have the $ and inclination, don't leave these guys off your list for a boom. They are the first ones I will call when time comes:
http://www.ballengerspars.com/
I bet you'll find your boat is faster with a new main, if you get one!
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Old 02-09-2016, 15:08   #5
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

What Don CL states about booms is very true. And you can find pre-loved ones in 1,001 places. From marinas & chandleries where they've been left for dead, to cutting down a small boat mast & adding the appropriate fittings. Just ensure that you have an overly solid gooseneck. And if you can manage it, a good number of sheaves built into the boom's outboard end. Preferably at least one more than you "think" you need.

For sheeting & other attachments, you can use Spectra strops, or Nylon Webbing. Or even polyester webbing or rope, in a pinch. So long as you watch the UV.

Also, you can use low friction rings instead of blocks in a lot of places on it. And they also work great when attached to reef crinkles (grommets), as they make it easier for the reefing lines to slide freely, while cutting down on chafing on your reefing lines as well. And again, can be attached with Spectra.
The rings on the grommets is a take on this idea reef blocks-antal
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Old 02-09-2016, 15:18   #6
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

Ann,

A new boom is certainly in my future, but hopefully not for a few years. Great point about the leech line, too. I think where it pops out of the sail now is beyond where I generally reef to, but its something to pay attention to that I hadn't thought of.

Unciv,

Also a bunch of great points here, thanks!

The mast support issue is an interesting one. I imagine where I'll want to reef the main will land the head of the sail a good bit away from the masthead, and miles from the spreaders (single spreader rig). There are no running backstays.

I don't remember the details but a rigger and I addressed the roller reefing, and its infinite possible locations, when specing my current aluminum mast. Its a pretty beefy section. But I reckon I'll have to go back and verify all that...

A few sistership owners have told me this is their strategy to keep things casual + comfortable:

Full main, full genny, full mizzen (under 15kt)
2nd reefed main, full/reefed genny, full mizzen (under 25kt)
No main, reefed genny, mizzen (aka "jib and jigger") (25kt+)

So I'm leaning toward figuring out where there "2nd" reef is, and just having reef cringles put there.


Don,

The mainsail is in great shape, and does have battens (boom furling doesn't preclude that, if that's what you were thinking?) so I'm definitely going to try and keep it for the time being. I imagine new sail and new boom are in my future, but might as well hack up what I've got now to figure out exactly how I'll want everything when it comes time to replace.

Also great points to look out for re: twisting the boom. Mines already a bit wonky. This will certainly be a new, different stress on it.


-Chris
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Old 02-09-2016, 18:34   #7
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

Your sail maker will figure out the best place to sew on reinforcing patches and add the cringles. The intermediate crinkles to hold the bunt of the sail may or may not be necessary. On my full batten main, the bunt is held nicely in position as long as I reef sequentially, 1 to 2 to 3rd reef not directly from unreefed to 2nd or 3rd reef.

When adding cheek blocks to the boom for slab reefing, they should be aft of the reef cringle so the clew reefing line will pull the sail back as well as down. Don't be afraid to mount the cheek block well back of the clew reefing cringle. In the strong winds prompting reefing the sail will stretch and you will usually want the clew pulled well back to flatten the sail. Run the clew reefing line through the cheek block and the reef cringle then tie the bitter end around the boom with a bowline. That will allow the clew to move back flattening the sail as the clew reefing line is tensioned.
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Old 03-09-2016, 00:10   #8
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

Note. Usually figuring out where the head of the main will be when reefed is only something which needs paying atttention to for reef points for really high winds. Like a 3rd reef, or 4th reef on most boats. It tends to be more of an issue on racing boats with skinny mast tubes, which also sometimes have less stays on the forward side of the spar.
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Old 03-09-2016, 00:34   #9
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

P.O. works at a sail loft, and when they were making a mainsail for himself, they've decided that the first reef on a cruising main is unnecessary. Same with reefing grommets - a stack pack with lazy jacks seems to make them redundant. My "reefing strategy" for upwind is full sails -> shorten genoa to 2/3rds-> reef the main and reduce genoa some more -> furl genoa and raise a storm jib on the inner stay. YMMV, but if I can balance a sloop this way, on a ketch it should be a non-issue.
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Old 03-09-2016, 10:17   #10
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

This is great....discussing reefing.

So many ( sailors ) that I talk to, never reef. Bad Ju-ju.

Reefing is so very important, that all the years when I was instructing, and giving check outs, if the member could not reef properly, no matter how else they performed, they failed the check out and were required to come back and get more instruction.

Actually, we check the weather, wind and seas reports before departing the docks. I also look at the flag on top of a building, If it is standing straight out , I reef down before we leave the dock. Have the main cruising furled to the boom, Motor out, and then easily raise the reefed main.

Another personal rule, at sea when I see the white caps starting up, I go up and tuck a reef in the main. Usually the wind continues to increase. So, before it gets super rough, I have avoided weather helm, rounding up, high angle of heel. Might have to roll in the jib down to 100% later on, and move the jib sheet blocks more forward.


One major tip, those small lines ( small gomets ) that run
horizontally . between main sail reef cringles and are designed for holding the fall of the sail loosely below and along the boom.



If those puppies that are securing the fall of the main sail are pulled tight, the wind pressure in the sail will be so strong it can rip out the stitching around those tiny gromets, and next thing the main sail itself rips and tears. One exception might be a loose footed main, but those seem pretty rare nowadays.


On passages where the winds have increased, and are likely to continue, I just double reef, the fist time, and save the hassel of waiting a few minutes or hour, for the wind to pick up to double reef speed. Done
deal.


Boat is sailing closer on her lines, not on the side her hull, easy steering, very little heel, no rounding up into the wind, and I have kept life easy for me and crew and passengers. Plus I am avoiding going back up to put in that second reef.


In all the years I have never sailed a vessel with roller reefing on the boom, or even an in mast main sail. My old school bones likes to have less dependence on anything that could foul or jam.


And, although roller furling jibs have improved greatly over the years, and are now standard. They used to jam quite often, and were known as roller snarling jibs. Now they are vastly improved and much easier than hanked on jibs, and making sail changes down to smaller head sails.


As to the roller furling in the mast main, I still hold with the idea, that if I
want that mainsail down, up, or reefed, I want the procedure done and not have a sail jammed. This is my old sailing idea as I edge into geezerdom on the seas. Don't whup me with the cat of nine tails.



Again, thanks to the original poster and the others for all of their good thoughts, bringing up the subject of reefing, even to the minor tweeks. Excellent. Good stuff lads and lasses.

And yes, I am learning new ideas, tips, and tricks from these forums.

Mahalo
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Old 03-09-2016, 10:38   #11
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

Quote:
Originally Posted by bvisailing32 View Post

If those puppies that are securing the fall of the main sail are pulled tight, the wind pressure in the sail will be so strong it can rip out the stitching around those tiny gromets, and next thing the main sail itself rips and tears. One exception might be a loose footed main, but those seem pretty rare nowadays.
Yep, my old main that was not loose footed, almost never used the reef lines. Although, if there is good tension on the foot, there SHOULDn't be too much strain on the reef lines. On my current loose-footed main, always use 'em.
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Old 03-09-2016, 17:05   #12
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

You won't need the reef crinkles at all if you have a lazy jack boom bag. The unused part of the sail below the reefs sits in the bag. They are just there to stop the excess of sail flapping around. So whether you use them or not depends on the height of the reef and how much loose sail is to be tucked away. Loose foot mains are a boon as you can leave the reefing cringle lines around the sail and on top of your boom, not passing around the whole lot. We repair quite a few sails where the cringle lines are tied around sail and boom and the reefing line loosens, slips or breaks and all the load comes on the cringle! Big tears down the sail!


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Old 03-09-2016, 23:15   #13
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

stick to external roller reefing
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Old 04-09-2016, 07:29   #14
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

On old boom roller reefing most booms lock in place. If not you can use a bail, bolted through the boom to attach the main sheet this will stop the boom from turning when set. since you have that style of reefing you won't have lazyjacks. Use the cheek blocks as mentioned above for the outhaul, placing them at least 6 inches abaft of the reef cringle and use the reef lines to tie the bunt of the sail to the boom. placing those at 3 feet or less along betwixt the tack and clue. Your quote may seem to be high..just to put in some cringes and grommets?...But if done right reinforcement panels will be put in at the tack and clue along with diamond pathces at the grommets. They should be glued as well as sewn. You'll need to fasten a hook at the fore of the boom to attach the tack too. most cruising mains are reefed, the first at 15%, the second at about 35 to 40%...the head at the spreaders and a third at the equivalent of a try sail. altho I've never used a third reef. If the winds are that high, it's time to ride it out with a sea anchor or drogue. I guess with a storm jib the third could be used to heave-too

If your having to reef the wind is high and that excess sail around the boom is going to be flapping all over the place and need to be secured. If your having a loft do the job, with the measurement of the spreader location from the boom, they will figure the rest.

Having had many boats as a poor man, over the years. I've put many reef points in sails and kept good shape. It's an easy job, unless your sewing machine is toast, as mine is now. Hope to find an other one soon.

when to reef should be decided not just by the speed of wind, but size of boat and type of rig and amount of crew. On my boat...pearson 424 ketch... I reef the main one point at 25+ to wind ward on cloudy days during long hauls when single handing. Reaching and running? use the mizzen and genny for same. over 30 I'll use the second reef and shorten the genny or reef the mizzen and no main. 40+ ride it out with sea anchor if I have the seaway or motor to the seas, depending on shape and size of waves. Rode hurricane Alicia out...back in '79? i think... in the gulf with a storm jib and trysail, on a IO 41 Morgan and one crew, till the storm jib blew out then used the motor to hold position for the next 20 hours. sailed into Aranses TX under a workin' jib and main. Man that was a mess in that port. there were a few boats up on the hill, that sucked.

Good luck with your project. Just remember everything can be redesigned, it doesn't have to be bought in a store. Recycle. To throw some thing away, just to look fancy is a waste and doesn't help the future generations. The planet doesn't belong to us it blonds to the unborn generations.

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Old 04-09-2016, 14:23   #15
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Re: Adding reef cringles to main sail

On sails with slugs or loose footed, the intermediate lines (nettles) should be tied around the sail only, not the boom. If you are unfortunate enough to have a main with a bolt rope in a slot on the boom, would take it down to the local sail maker and have it converted to slugs so you won't be tempted tie up the reefs too tightly around the boom or suffer a catastrophe should the clew reefing be accidentally loosened or chafe through when reefed in high winds.

If you haven't had the pleasure of around the boom roller reefing you haven't been around long. It was the rage in the '60s and early '70s but probably goes back further than that. 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. Ruined a brand new main when I reefed in high winds and sheeted in the main hard. Permanently stretched out the leech so it flapped in the wind. Slab reefing is a lightyears better reefing system and doesn't require the fancy hardware of roller boom reefing. This roller boom reefing is not the more modern in boom reefing. The sail is wrapped around the boom in the old system not internal as the new one. Can't say I like the in boom system any better especially when you consider how outrageously expensive and its quirks.
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