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Old 30-11-2010, 16:45   #16
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I guess my boat has 3, line runs up through a grommet on the leech and back down to the boom and then forward w/ grommets on the luff and a hook on the boom. there is a small bronze winch on the boom up near the mast and halyard attaches to belaying pins on mast (part of the goose neck assembly). Boat is 30'. boom is 15' w/ boom gallows. In the next year or so I will be replacing the main with a roach-less, batten-less sail with two or three reefs (what I have now).
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Old 30-11-2010, 18:13   #17
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I went with a reefing hook:

Rebel Heart - Sailing, cruising, liveaboard blog and website - Eric's Blog - consider a reefing*hook

On the boom I have a cheek block and a cleat for each reef cringle. It's not perfect, but it works. As someone commented before, it requires a multistep process to reef which can make you less prone to do so (because it's a pain in the ass). Right now it hasn't been an issue because I pretty much always put in one reef when going offshore, or two if there's a forecast for anything over ~25 knots (apparent, if that makes sense). Essentially I reef in advance for whatever I think the worst case scenario will be.

I'll probably put together something a little more pro because trying to (a) drop the mainsail under tension (b) get the tack on a hook (c) apply a bit of tension (d) go secure the clew (e) come back and properly tension the main (f) go back and properly tension the clew is really a pain in the ass.

And without a winch, you can't put enough force on a sail in big wind to stretch the clew back.

Another thing that sucks is trying to do any work on a boom that's on a reach or broader (which it probably is in big wind), because half the boom is sticking out over the life lines.
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Old 30-11-2010, 19:40   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
I went with a reefing hook:

Rebel Heart - Sailing, cruising, liveaboard blog and website - Eric's Blog - consider a reefing*hook

On the boom I have a cheek block and a cleat for each reef cringle. It's not perfect, but it works. As someone commented before, it requires a multistep process to reef which can make you less prone to do so (because it's a pain in the ass). Right now it hasn't been an issue because I pretty much always put in one reef when going offshore, or two if there's a forecast for anything over ~25 knots (apparent, if that makes sense). Essentially I reef in advance for whatever I think the worst case scenario will be.

I'll probably put together something a little more pro because trying to (a) drop the mainsail under tension (b) get the tack on a hook (c) apply a bit of tension (d) go secure the clew (e) come back and properly tension the main (f) go back and properly tension the clew is really a pain in the ass.

And without a winch, you can't put enough force on a sail in big wind to stretch the clew back.

Another thing that sucks is trying to do any work on a boom that's on a reach or broader (which it probably is in big wind), because half the boom is sticking out over the life lines.

That sounds like the same system I have, but I have the winch. The winch is inboard of where the boom contacts the shroud.
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Old 30-11-2010, 20:22   #19
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Thank you all for the great responses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beetle View Post

And that's ultimately the problem with single line reefing - you tension the tack more than the clew, producing a baggy main. It's also the problem if the clew reef line is set at the incorrect position on the boom - the clew is not pulled aft far enough, producing a baggy main.

I have heard this argument said a few times and is my main concern with single line reefing. Is this the opinion of somebody who has a had a boat with single line reefing?

Also, I inspect sails for a living and on higher end big cruising boat sails you will sometimes see blocks webbed on or through the cringles, which would greatly reduce the dreaded friction. Anyone used this system?

Another thing about that, when blocks are used the reefing line has to be run only on one side of the boom, would this mess with shape and give different shapes on different tacks?

Sailnet had a good post about it and also talked about running the reefing backwards to make sure the clew gets tight: http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-m...e-reefing.html

Thoughts?
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Old 30-11-2010, 21:31   #20
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Originally Posted by Velocir View Post
I have heard this argument said a few times and is my main concern with single line reefing. Is this the opinion of somebody who has a had a boat with single line reefing?
I've crewed on boats with single line reefing, I do not have that system on my own boat. My comment was from my own observations, not hearsay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocir View Post
Also, I inspect sails for a living and on higher end big cruising boat sails you will sometimes see blocks webbed on or through the cringles, which would greatly reduce the dreaded friction. Anyone used this system?
I've also crewed on boats with purpose-built blocks webbed onto the sail (not merely attached to a reef cringle). The headboard block works great for a 2:1 halyard, the reef blocks are ok provided you don't mind adding the (not insignificant) weight of the block to the leech. If the sail has full-length battens the weight is somewhat less a problem than it would be for an unsupported sail. And the big multihulls often run webbed-on blocks to make it easier to work the reefing lines given the high loads generated by the boat - this is not for single line reefing, but rather to make it possible to reef at all with a dedicated line to the clew reef.

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Originally Posted by Velocir View Post
Another thing about that, when blocks are used the reefing line has to be run only on one side of the boom, would this mess with shape and give different shapes on different tacks?
Not that I've noticed, though I'm certain there must be a some variation between tacks. I expect the variation is related to the width of the boom. With some reef blocks the block straddles the leech, with others the block is attached to one side of the sail only. In either case, there may be a small bend at the reef cringle/block point when the clew reef is pulled in tight - this variation in shape small compared to the size of the sail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocir View Post
Sailnet had a good post about it and also talked about running the reefing backwards to make sure the clew gets tight: Tight single line reefing - SailNet Community
Thoughts?
If blocks on the sail were necessary then I'd have the sailmaker web-on the blocks and save as much weight as possible (e.g., remove the metal cringle, for starters, and go with a smaller diameter lighter reefing line); it's not helpful to have weight pulling down the mainsail leech in light air. In looking at the Antal purpose-built reef blocks, they are aimed at the very large boat market, and totally overkill for your average 50 foot monohull.

I don't like the idea of using small diameter ball bearing blocks for high static loads - the working load is greatly reduced relative to a bushing-based block, the bearings tend to flatten under static load, and the actualy bearing surface is minimal given the small diameter sheave. Harken has worked on this a bit with the air blocks.

In reading through the Greyhawk reefing pictures you mention
Single-Line Reefing on GREYHAWK
there's a significant error in how the tack reef line is lead. The tack reef line, ideally, should pull forward and down at a 45 degree angle such that the reef tack ring remains at the same offset aft from the mast as the tack itself (a fixed tack reef hook establishes this location automatically, when using reefing lines you have to adjust the tack line/halyard tension to land the tack reef in the same position as a tack reef hook would).

What Greyhawk has done, with his reefing setup, is allow the reef tack to drift aft further than the design tack offset. As he notes, this introduces and unfair lead to the reef line, places significant loads on a fairlead he'd attached to the mast, and what he doesn't mention is the loads applied to the luff grommet directly above the reef tack. If the luff grommet above the reef tack is showing strain lines, then you are putting load onto that grommet and luff slide they weren't designed for; if the strain is enough the fabric can split at the luff and/or the slide fails.

Most line-based tack-reefs should locate the reefing line on the middle of the mast on one side, up through the tack reef, and back to the middle of other side of the mast - this pulls the tack reef forward and down (pulling against halyard tension) and relocates the tack reef where it should be.

- rob/beetle
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Old 30-11-2010, 22:00   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocir View Post
...sometimes see blocks webbed on or through the cringles, which would greatly reduce the dreaded friction. Anyone used this system? Another thing about that, when blocks are used the reefing line has to be run only on one side of the boom, would this mess with shape and give different shapes on different tacks? Sailnet had a good post about it and also talked about running the reefing backwards to make sure the clew gets tight...Thoughts?
The clew reef line should always be run aft, but only just enough to pull the sail flat; too far and the clew will be off the boom. Beetle was onto this in his post: you need to depower the bottom panel of sail by pulling it flat and stop the heeling force. Easy to see Beetle is a dinghy racer

On the query about shape difference because of the run of the line down the side of the boom, forget it. In those conditions, not an issue.

On the query re the blocks at the cringles, that definitely helps if you run a line to turn there but the way I do it (see earlier post) it's not necessary; just tie it off at the cringle.

That leads to my final point. Unless you're racing, when you have a crew and the process is easy anyway, I've no idea why anyone would try to reef while flying downwind. With a battened sail it's next to impossible anyway to bring down the luff. It's best I've found to ease the boat around and feather into the wind. Then it's a doddle to haul the luff down to hook on and, because there's no power in the sail, the leech reefing line (tied to the cringle) can be hauled in and cleated off without effort.

Then just bear away and off you go, all neat and with minimum fuss.
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Old 01-12-2010, 17:53   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by At sea View Post
The clew reef line should always be run aft, but only just enough to pull the sail flat; too far and the clew will be off the boom. Beetle was onto this in his post: you need to depower the bottom panel of sail by pulling it flat and stop the heeling force. Easy to see Beetle is a dinghy racer

On the query about shape difference because of the run of the line down the side of the boom, forget it. In those conditions, not an issue.

On the query re the blocks at the cringles, that definitely helps if you run a line to turn there but the way I do it (see earlier post) it's not necessary; just tie it off at the cringle.

That leads to my final point. Unless you're racing, when you have a crew and the process is easy anyway, I've no idea why anyone would try to reef while flying downwind. With a battened sail it's next to impossible anyway to bring down the luff. It's best I've found to ease the boat around and feather into the wind. Then it's a doddle to haul the luff down to hook on and, because there's no power in the sail, the leech reefing line (tied to the cringle) can be hauled in and cleated off without effort.

Then just bear away and off you go, all neat and with minimum fuss.
When growing up the way I learned to reef, every reefing drill (my father was retired USN and liked drills) we allays headed up. never reefed going down wind. You would have to head up at least to tidy up with the reef points (my boat reef points are a continuous loop going through hooks on the boom with reefing line run along boom to winch near mast w/ reefing hook...What I always called "Jiffy Reef").
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Old 02-12-2010, 15:43   #23
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Strongtrack

Having to head up to reef can present a dangerous scenario in heavy weather offshore. I find it highly desireable to be able to put in and shake out reefs while sailing downwind. Strongtrack or similar luff car systems make this possible and are a valuable addition to most offshore cruising boats in my opinion.

Do you really want to have to head up and luff in 30+ kts and big seas to go from your 1st to 2nd reef? Or how about when it continues to built to 45 and you need to take the main down all the way and go to a trysail or deep 3rd? Not a scenario I relish. But then again for coastal and inland sailing its probably not worth the expense.
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Old 02-12-2010, 17:25   #24
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Having to head up to reef can present a dangerous scenario in heavy weather offshore. I find it highly desireable to be able to put in and shake out reefs while sailing downwind. Strongtrack or similar luff car systems make this possible and are a valuable addition to most offshore cruising boats in my opinion.
I agree the car system seems a very useful newish tool. I've never had the opportunity to try it out though. If it works without hitches in the conditions mentioned, it'd be worth the expense. Wonder could you give some personal accounts of usage in those conditions, including any problems of course?
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Old 02-12-2010, 18:29   #25
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A sail maker here in town told me about a car system and then proceeded to quote me a price....it was a bit more than the quote another sail maker had given me for a new mainsail.
One low tech/cost way to get the main down faster than gravity would allow is to run a down haul up the luff to the sail, like some jibs have to get the sail down in a hurry.
I haven't tried reefing with my system sailing down wind, all the lines and winch for my reef can be accessed while standing at the mast, just not all the reef points can be secured (my boom is 15' and my beam at the mast is 8'9", which puts 10' of boom out of reach).
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Old 02-12-2010, 19:12   #26
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I've got double line reefing with all lines led aft. I can reef dead downwind in winds to at least 30mph. Have standard 5/8" internal mast slides and with four full battens and 3 reefs in the main. Just finished a TransPac where I had to do it on a regular basis. Ran for 11 days wing and wing never more more than 20 degrees off a DDW heading. Had to reef because of the occasional passing squall, read at least once and sometimes four times a day. All I did was loose the sheet and vang, hoist up on the topping lift and pull down on the appropriate luff reefing line to bring the luff cringle down as far as it could go. Then crank in the leech reefing line, slackin the topping lift, haul the boom in to keep the sail from chafing on the lower shrouds, pull the boom down with the vang and I was off again. Takes more time to read about it than to do it.

I've never had a problem with the reefing lines, main halyard, topping lift, and vangs led aft to the cockpit on my current boat in over 3,000 miles under sail. To me, the safety and convenience of doing it all under the protection of the dodger is supreme. Don't know why I didn't set up my boats like this before. Have reefed in winds reported to be 40mph and regularly in 20-30 mph conditions.
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Old 02-12-2010, 19:17   #27
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Single line reefing

We have single line reefing on our 37 footer and find it great. Our main has full length battens and Harken Bat Cars that mean we can reef, under safety of the dodger,at any point of sail.
Tricks that work for me are not to let the haliyard down too far as the tack block can jam the reef line against the boom. I also ease the boom vang before winching the the clew block in hard to tighten the foot.
Yes there are lots of lines in the cockpit but we have several dedicated bags to store them and the safety and ease are all important to us.
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Old 02-12-2010, 23:28   #28
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I agree the car system seems a very useful newish tool. I've never had the opportunity to try it out though. If it works without hitches in the conditions mentioned, it'd be worth the expense. Wonder could you give some personal accounts of usage in those conditions, including any problems of course?
I installed an Antal mainsail track and slider system for my boat, with a 2+3 mainsail setup - top two battens are full-length, the lower 3 battens are short, mostly as I don't like full length battens due to their tendency to jam against shrouds and break when running downwind, plus they apply enormous side-loads to the mainsail cars when running deep.

The track and cars were not cheap, do not use ball-bearings but rather some kind of friction-reducing impregnated fiber that makes them super-slippery on the anodized track, and the system works a treat. Coupling the track with a 2:1 main halyard makes it relatively easy to reef and unreef the sail running downwind.

As an aside, I do not adhere to the idea that one must come up to weather to reef - too often I find myself reefing/unreefing in the trades when the squalls come through at night, and it's much simpler to keep the boat on track and rather than round up to reef (much crashing and banging to ensue) I prefer to drag the main down and reef it on whatever point of sail the boat is on.

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Old 03-12-2010, 08:40   #29
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I did the Annapolis to Bermuda race a few years back on a boat with the Harken Bat car system and was not impressed. It is very expensive and has too many moving parts and the size of the cars means you need mast steps to reach the head of the sail because when lowered or reefed the cars stack up. The antal system is marginally better but still has a lot of the same issues and is very expensive too. I prefer the Tides Marine Strongtrack

Tides Marine - Manufacturer of the SureSeal Shaft Seal


It makes hoisting and lowering much easier and is not a complex system with bearings and such.

That being said depending on the size of the boat and set up a properly installed set of sail slides in a clean and lightly lubricated luff groove can be lowered easily off the wind as several have mentioned. What often happens is sailmakers sew the slugs onto the luff with sections of webbing and they make the webbing very tight so that it can not slide in the slot on the luff slug. Then when you go to hoist, the webbing instead of sliding to the top of the slug wants to pull the slug from the bottom and causes the slug to bind in the mast groove. Same thing happens on the way down. A better solution is to attach the slugs to the luff with a loose dyneema lashing of small diameter. Then when you pull down on the luff the lashing slides to the bottom of the slug and pulls the slug down with no binding.

Take a look at this PDF, the only properly attached slugs in my opinion are numbers 3 and 4. Number 2 and 5 are most common and guarantee the slug will bind.

www.sailrite.com/PDF/Slugs%20Slides%20and%20Shackles.pdf


Sorry for taking the thread off of reefing but this is an important consideration and a major source of difficulty with just about any reefing system.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:17   #30
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That being said depending on the size of the boat and set up a properly installed set of sail slides in a clean and lightly lubricated luff groove can be lowered easily off the wind as several have mentioned. What often happens is sailmakers sew the slugs onto the luff with sections of webbing and they make the webbing very tight so that it can not slide in the slot on the luff slug. Then when you go to hoist, the webbing instead of sliding to the top of the slug wants to pull the slug from the bottom and causes the slug to bind in the mast groove. Same thing happens on the way down. A better solution is to attach the slugs to the luff with a loose dyneema lashing of small diameter. Then when you pull down on the luff the lashing slides to the bottom of the slug and pulls the slug down with no binding.

Take a look at this PDF, the only properly attached slugs in my opinion are numbers 3 and 4. Number 2 and 5 are most common and guarantee the slug will bind.

www.sailrite.com/PDF/Slugs%20Slides%20and%20Shackles.pdf


Sorry for taking the thread off of reefing but this is an important consideration and a major source of difficulty with just about any reefing system.

Very clever and noteworthy observation. Add that to the mental closet for future reference. THANKS!
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