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Old 03-10-2012, 09:29   #1
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Reefing for older people (and boats!)

Trying to bring this debate alive again. I have a 1982 Dufour 31 which we bought last year as a couple new to yachting and retirement. It has a nice new Volvo Penta 40 hp which kind of makes it a poor man´s Nauticat. However , as we move away from exploring Ibiza and Formenteras´ enchanting coastline to island hopping in less than perfect weather, I have become aware that my main sail is my best friend so long as I can keep it under control. Traditional slab reefing with the foot of the sail in a groove in the boom was the state of the art in 1982 (I suppose) but I don´t want to get out of the cockpit so I am investigating a reefing system for ¨retired geezers¨. Any thoughts most welcome. As an after thought, it, it occurs to me that I might be the proud owner of a soon to be ¨classic¨. So maybe I should just make everything work as well as it used to and so add (ho ho) value.
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Old 03-10-2012, 10:59   #2
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Re: Reefing for older people (and boats!)

just look into standard single line reefing systems, all my reefs lead to the cockpit and are easy to put in (means you will acturally do it when you start thinking about it)
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Old 03-10-2012, 11:49   #3
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Re: Reefing for older people (and boats!)

I use a double line reefing system led back to the cockpit. The tack reefing lines and halyard are led to one side of the cabin top through standup blocks at the base of the mast, a deck organizer and rope clutches. The clew reefing lines to the other side of the cabin top. Reefing is just releasing the halyard to a premarked spot, hauling in the tack reefing line then retensioning the halyard. Move to the other side of the cockpit and haul in the clew reefing lines, winch in the last few feet and Bob's your uncle. Can reef in about a minute while all the time under the shelter of the dodger.

Replaced the old roller reefing boom with a new boom that runs the clew reefing lines internal dumping them out at the base of the goose neck. Made running the reefling lines back to the cockpit way eaiser. The old boom was terminal after 40 years or so and the new boom was surprizingly inexpensive costing less than a boat unit.

FWIW, I'm 68 with arthritis and the usual complaints of an aging body. My old sailing grounds of SF Bay usually required at least 2 reef iterations in a normal day sail. The strong gusty winds off SF and moderate winds in the East Bay gave me plenty of opportunities to tie in and shake out reefs almost every time we went out. Reefing was such an easy proposition would reef just for the fun of it when I knew i'd only need the reef for a few minutes.
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Old 03-10-2012, 19:16   #4
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Re: Reefing for older people (and boats!)

You'll find some people advocate just one line that reefs the luff and the leech. I prefer separate lines: one for the luff and one for the leech. Less friction that way from my experience. Also easier to operate: pull the luff line with one hand, while easing the main halyard with the other hand. Then pull in the leech line.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:31   #5
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Re: Reefing for older people (and boats!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by corblimeyriley View Post
Trying to bring this debate alive again. I have a 1982 Dufour 31 which we bought last year as a couple new to yachting and retirement. It has a nice new Volvo Penta 40 hp which kind of makes it a poor man´s Nauticat. However , as we move away from exploring Ibiza and Formenteras´ enchanting coastline to island hopping in less than perfect weather, I have become aware that my main sail is my best friend so long as I can keep it under control. Traditional slab reefing with the foot of the sail in a groove in the boom was the state of the art in 1982 (I suppose) but I don´t want to get out of the cockpit so I am investigating a reefing system for ¨retired geezers¨. Any thoughts most welcome. As an after thought, it, it occurs to me that I might be the proud owner of a soon to be ¨classic¨. So maybe I should just make everything work as well as it used to and so add (ho ho) value.
If you are really concerned about the matter, you might consider adding an in-boom furling system for an infinately variable reefing capability. For example, take a look at Furlboom: In-Boom Mainsail Furling and Reefing System . Frankly, we use traditional slab reefing (3 reefs), set from the mast, and have had no difficulties but, thus far (mid-60's), agility is not a problem. Of course, we also have a pretty stable platform. Single line reefing, suggested above, might be a good alternative as well.

FWIW...
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:39   #6
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Re: Reefing for older people (and boats!)

Set up a Jiffy Reef system like this.

Rig and Sails
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:46   #7
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Re: Reefing for older people (and boats!)

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Originally Posted by macbeth View Post
You'll find some people advocate just one line that reefs the luff and the leech. I prefer separate lines: one for the luff and one for the leech. Less friction that way from my experience. Also easier to operate: pull the luff line with one hand, while easing the main halyard with the other hand. Then pull in the leech line.
single line slab reefing is often problematic for sure. Too much friction. A clew and tack line led aft is pretty good. But if you are aging, a lot of friction and power required also.. With a good autopilot, going to the mast keeps thing simple and easy though. Remember, if you're thinking about if it's time to reef.....IT'S TIME TO REEF!
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:13   #8
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Re: Reefing for older people (and boats!)

I upgraded my Bristol to two line (2 per reef = 4 lines) reefing a few months ago. Never looked back. I can reef or unreef in 30s, from the cockpit.

Surprisingly, what greatly enhanced the ease of use, was removing the lazy jacks.

Sure, now lowering the sail is harder work. But during the sailing day, going from reefed to unreefed and back is made much easier, as I can now make the adjustments while sailing on a close reach on the jib alone, with the main sheeted out and luffing.

The lazyjacks made it much harder by tangling with the battens unless going dead upwind.

So my conclusion is that if you have lazyjacks, they need to be brought back to the cockpit too so you can lower them out of the way.

When alone I go close hauled, ease the main, and set the autopilot sailing on jib alone. Adjust the reefing, sheet the main in, and you're off. You hardly even slow down.

I used mostly Garhauer hardware which is very competitively priced.

I think I spent about $1000 on all the hardware.

Used EBay Barient 16 winch
4 way clutch
4 way deck organiser
4 stand up blocks (or alternative - depends on the boat and available space around the mast)
2 blocks
Expensive low stretch lines x 4 (essential)

The system works much better with blocks at the tack and clew, instead of just putting the line though the eyes in the sail - the reduction in friction makes the system work much more smoothly.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:36   #9
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Re: Reefing for older people (and boats!)

We are using a two-line system. We re-use the fore reef line, so effectively there are 3 lines in the cockpit. Very easy and inexpensive to set up.

Costs and own boats aside, well tuned and maintained in-mast reefing seems to me the easiest way to reef the main. Then it can be reefed to any given size as well as stored neatly and safe from UV when not in use. VERY convenient.

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Old 04-10-2012, 13:48   #10
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Re: Reefing for older people (and boats!)

Talk about expensive, in boom reefing costs as much as a years cruising. Hell, two years if you are frugal. Nothing against the set up, just the cost. Nice system but how do you roll up the main, don't you have to go to the mast to crank it down??

The problem with single line reefing on a larger boat is the length of the reefing lines as well as friction. With single line reefing, my 3rd reef would have a 75'' tail in the cockpit. Couple that with the other two reef lines and that's a ton of lines to keep under control in a large bunch. With two line reefing, lines are split up and much easier to stow .

Going to the mast to reef is something I've never considered character building. Standing on the cabin top cranking in the leech reefing line while the boat lurches off 15 seas in 30 knot winds with spray and rain driven up under your foulies, is not something I dream about. Actually it's something that I have nightmares about.

I've never sailed with my lazy jacks deployed. The lazy jacks are stowed against the mast except when lowering the sail. Single handing, wouldn't be without Lazy Jacks to control the sail when I drop it. Under sail they are hooked under their cleats on the mast where they are out of the way and not messing with the laminar airflow over the main.
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Old 04-10-2012, 14:50   #11
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Re: Reefing for older people (and boats!)

I don't find the friction an issue with my single line reefing. I leave the lines out when the sail is down so there isn't any friction when hoisting the sail. And when reefing I'm mostly just pulling the slack out as I lower the main sail with the halyard. The only friction is tightening down reef which is just using the winch for the last few inches.
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Old 04-10-2012, 15:03   #12
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Re: Reefing for older people (and boats!)

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I don't find the friction an issue with my single line reefing. I leave the lines out when the sail is down so there isn't any friction when hoisting the sail. And when reefing I'm mostly just pulling the slack out as I lower the main sail with the halyard. The only friction is tightening down reef which is just using the winch for the last few inches.
The friction becomes apparent when you want to shake out a reef. Then the main halyard is fighting the friction of the slides at the luff, the effect of gravity, AND trying to pull the reef lines through the eyes and all the blocks.

Before I added blocks at the reef eye points, the force on the main halyard when shaking out a reef was frightening - I thought something was going to snap.
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Old 04-10-2012, 16:23   #13
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Re: Reefing for older people (and boats!)

"Going to the mast to reef is something I've never considered character building. Standing on the cabin top cranking in the leech reefing line while the boat lurches off 15 seas in 30 knot winds with spray and rain driven up under your foulies, is not something I dream about. Actually it's something that I have nightmares about."
If you're not reefing until 30 knot winds and 15 ft seas... you're a better man than me!
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Old 04-10-2012, 16:36   #14
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Re: Reefing for older people (and boats!)

Double line reefing is much preferred. Also consider whether having the clew lines on different sides as an option, the other one being having both clews on the same side next to each other. Then you pull both clew lines down together more easily and the second reef clew line doesn't stay "out" and potentially wrap around the boom.

Lazy Jack Trick
Many folks complain about full battens getting caught up when raising the mainsail. They then spend a lot of time moving BOTH sides of the lazy jacks to the mast.

We developed an easier way with our lazy jacks.

We have a small cleat on the forward starboard side of the boom. When we put the halyard on the headboard, we move ONLY the starboard side of the lazy jacks forward and snug them under the forward side of the horn of this cleat.

Then, when we raise the mainsail, instead of going exactly head to wind, we bear off a tad to starboard so the wind is coming from the port side of the bow.

We then raise the mainsail and it doesn't get hooked on the lazy jacks even though the port side jacks are still there.

Been working for 14+ years.

Yes, we have to go forward again to unhook the starboard lazy jack for dousing the sail, but there's never any hurry.

So, for those of you with lazy jacks, consider doing only one side.

Your boat, your choice.
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Old 04-10-2012, 16:39   #15
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Re: Reefing for older people (and boats!)

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The friction becomes apparent when you want to shake out a reef. Then the main halyard is fighting the friction of the slides at the luff, the effect of gravity, AND trying to pull the reef lines through the eyes and all the blocks.

Before I added blocks at the reef eye points, the force on the main halyard when shaking out a reef was frightening - I thought something was going to snap.
Hasn't been a problem on the 39' and 43' boats I've owned.
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