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Old 09-02-2016, 23:57   #31
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Re: Third reef is it really needed

just ordered new sails for our RTW- The main has a very deep 3rd reef. The 2nd and 3rd reef are rigged so we can 1 line reef from the cockpit. The 1st reef would need to be set the old-fashioned way with one of us on the coach roof hauling down by hand and setting the luff in a hook. The leech 1st reef has a line so it can be reaached from the cockpit and hauled down or we can use the 2nd reef line to bring the sial down to the first reef level

logic behind this? If we want to goto the 1st reef - the conditions generally won't be too bad and it won't be life-threatening to go up on the coachroof. So having to go there and set it manually will be easy.

When we get to the 2nd or 3rd - conditions will have deteriorated and now we're better off staying in the cockpit and reefing from there.

Our 3 rd reef is so deep that it almost becomes a trysail.

Unless you've tried it - believe me when I say you do not want to be on deck in a force 8/9/10 and 6-8 meter waves.

Been there, done that , got the tee-shirt
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Old 10-02-2016, 00:06   #32
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Re: Third reef is it really needed

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
just ordered new sails for our RTW- The main has a very deep 3rd reef. The 2nd and 3rd reef are rigged so we can 1 line reef from the cockpit. The 1st reef would need to be set the old-fashioned way with one of us on the coach roof hauling down by hand and setting the luff in a hook. The leech 1st reef has a line so it can be reaached from the cockpit and hauled down or we can use the 2nd reef line to bring the sial down to the first reef level
I have single line reefing from the cockpit for all 3 reefs

I use all three often enough to know they all work.
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Old 10-02-2016, 00:34   #33
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Re: Third reef is it really needed

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...
On our early 3 reef boats, only 2 reefs had lines reeved(rove?) that were permanently rigged ready to go, the 3rd reef points had messenger lines from 2nd to 3rd reef cringles and after putting in reef #1 if more wind still was expected, the #2 reef lines were pulled into the 3rd reef place position via the light messenger lines. This arrangement worked well enough but it was better when on a later and bigger boat all 3 were permanently threaded and operable from the comfort and safety of the cockpit.

How exactly did you rig that to just pull #2 into the #3 position? I currently have messenger lines to help pull down to #3 position, rest is all manual tie down. Thanks
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Old 10-02-2016, 01:03   #34
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Re: Third reef is it really needed

Sometime just a word will do - YES
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Old 10-02-2016, 03:16   #35
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Re: Third reef is it really needed

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OK so I have a question since I have not used my trysail yet. If you already have 2 reefs and you are contemplating a third or another track on the mast for a trysail, which would you choose? By the time it is blowing hard enough for me to need more than the second reef in my boat, I have been either staying put or running/reaching for a safe place with the reefed jib or storm jib. However I know that is not the way I want it. I had been planning a track for a trysail, but now this thread has me rethinking that... I like the jib only way since it helps prevent weather helm and broaching though, when running/broadreaching... but for reaching I'd like have some main ready less than the second reef...
Hi Don, for me, unless I was doing a lot of serious offshore work I'd go the deep third reef, as long as the main is kept in good condition and is strong enough. Especially on a small boat.

I see both having their places aboard, but given the choice of one or the other I'd go a deep third reef in a strong main, over a trysail any day.

Its so much quicker to pull in a third reef in a hurry, very handy coastal as well. And one less wet sail to dry and stow below.

A trysail really comes into its own if you are nursing an old main, to save wear and tear on your main, or as a backup incase of damage to the main. If you know it's going to blow real hard for real long the trysail is a better choice, but a deep reefed main can work very well instead.

When you know it's just a short squall, or front or just want to take it easy the deep third reef is so handy.

It's amazing how a small scrap of main and a storm jib can keep a boat moving well and under complete control in some pretty nasty stuff. Amen more importantly also keep the boat balanced so much better than just a headsail in lighter stuff between gusts, squalls or while you wait for it to build.

If I was going to get another sail I'd make it a good storm jib on its own stay if I had a furler.
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:35   #36
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Re: Third reef is it really needed

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Originally Posted by hoppy View Post
I have single line reefing from the cockpit for all 3 reefs .
I would love to see how you rigged that.
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:42   #37
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Re: Third reef is it really needed

there are more trisails in perfect unused condition here for sale than there are worn out used up mainsails. third reef is the reef you want when you havent it.
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:45   #38
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Re: Third reef is it really needed

The answer is YES.
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Old 10-02-2016, 07:09   #39
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pirate Re: Third reef is it really needed

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I would love to see how you rigged that.
It works well.. but an electric winch is bludi handy for doing it quick.. stamina and strength are best conserved when solo..
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Old 10-02-2016, 07:36   #40
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Re: Third reef is it really needed

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Originally Posted by Tri View Post
How exactly did you rig that to just pull #2 into the #3 position? I currently have messenger lines to help pull down to #3 position, rest is all manual tie down. Thanks
poor explanation by me. on that boat the reef lines were outside of the boom, when putting in reef #2 I untied #1 clew line, tied it to the messenger line and pulled it up into #3 reef position. The tack cringles had ring that went onto 'horns at the boom inner end. On that boat reefing was still done at the mast, later I had a bigger boat with 2 line reefing all from the cockpit and all three lines were permanently rove ready for use, in this case all reef lines were inside the boom. We also had a small 'flattening' (4th)reef but this was handled at the mast and only used for ultimate upwind performance, generally when racing and used after a long downwind leg turned back upwind. When cruising ( always just 2 of us) the flattener reef tack end cringle was used as a Cunningham to fully tension the full hoist mainsail and the clew end when cruising went on the outhsaul line for controlling the foot tension of the loose footed main. We had a large area mainsail in high tech Hydranet cloth with full length battens on a roller bearing car mast track system.

I hope this is clearer than it sounds to me reading it back!
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Old 10-02-2016, 09:02   #41
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Re: Third reef is it really needed

We find that for short hops where strong winds necessitate a third reef, we are more inclined to just dump the main and proceed under greatly reduced (wound up) staysail or staysail and in our case, reefed mizzen. For times when we will be stuck out in it for long periods, many hours or days, with the wind forward of the beam, a triple reefed main really helps to stabilize the roll and add the needed power to punch through the slop.
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Old 10-02-2016, 09:09   #42
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Re: Third reef is it really needed

When I crossed the Atlantic, we had a triple reef in the main for days on end. Many nights I wished we had a 4th reef.

Back home on Lake Ontario, it is almost always windy (east end), a double reef is my working sail...and a 3rd would be most welcome.

The small sails are much more important that the big sails.

Maybe get a nice storm jib to go with that 3rd reef.
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Old 10-02-2016, 09:13   #43
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Re: Third reef is it really needed

Third reef is useful and a safety measure.
However, the reefs should loose sail area in intelligently divided steps. If your current 2nd reef connection is rather high then the 3rd may be unnecessary.
If it is low then 3rd would be very nice.
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Old 10-02-2016, 09:28   #44
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Re: Third reef is it really needed

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Hi Don, for me, unless I was doing a lot of serious offshore work I'd go the deep third reef, as long as the main is kept in good condition and is strong enough. Especially on a small boat.

I see both having their places aboard, but given the choice of one or the other I'd go a deep third reef in a strong main, over a trysail any day.

Its so much quicker to pull in a third reef in a hurry, very handy coastal as well. And one less wet sail to dry and stow below.

A trysail really comes into its own if you are nursing an old main, to save wear and tear on your main, or as a backup incase of damage to the main. If you know it's going to blow real hard for real long the trysail is a better choice, but a deep reefed main can work very well instead.

When you know it's just a short squall, or front or just want to take it easy the deep third reef is so handy.

It's amazing how a small scrap of main and a storm jib can keep a boat moving well and under complete control in some pretty nasty stuff. Amen more importantly also keep the boat balanced so much better than just a headsail in lighter stuff between gusts, squalls or while you wait for it to build.

If I was going to get another sail I'd make it a good storm jib on its own stay if I had a furler.
Thanks! My boat came with a 40 year old trysail, which is still in good shape! No track though.. and I'd really prefer not moving another sail around in rougher stuff too. Third reef it is! And I'll use the trysail for a pillow.
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Old 10-02-2016, 09:31   #45
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Re: Third reef is it really needed

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If not a third reef, a storm trysail would be advisable.

^^^ This, although so much depends on boat type, main configuration, windage, displacement, rudder characteristics and ability to heave to.

I'll give some examples, and as I'm a Great Lakes as well as an ocean sailor (on deliveries, at least), they may help. I'm also having a two-reef main made this winter, for what that's worth.

On my light, IOR-style '70s 33 footer on Lake Ontario, I have a tall, skinny main and a vast J for my foresails to fill. Great for working to windward, less so for running off. I've reefed that main about three times in 16 years, always when I have to run off to get back to my home port, say, on a Sunday. I reef at 25 knots. I go to the second, deeper reef because the boat can broach due to its design compromises as per the racing rules of the era in which it was drawn. It's never been a matter of speed, it's been a matter of control. If I'm in 15 knots AWS and am hit by a squall, it's easier to just let even a full main flog with the sheet out until the five-10 minutes of the squall line have passed; by the time I'd come head to wind to put in the reef, the situation would be over.

So unless you make a habit of doing the length of Lake Erie on a broad reach in a steady 30 knots lasting 12 hours, you're not going to reef, never mind third reef, very often. That said, with a relatively heavy full keeler like the Alberg 34 (which is a great, rare boat, by the way, and can go anywhere), I would simply heave to whenever I could if a squall crawled up my broad reach, because I could and it means a nice break to make a cup of beverage.

The second case involves my second boat, a 16 tonne, 42 foot steel pilothouse cutter classed more or less as a motorsailer, although I prefer "sailer-motor" as I can get decent speeds out of her sailplan. Here the case is different: I could get literally days of heavy weather should I be stuck in a slower-moving system. The prudent mariner in such cases would reduce sail area, clap on the storm staysail and keep the yankee jib rolled save for the odd hour when the wind fell below 20 knots or so. I am having a deep first reef put in and a very deep second (about 75% of the way to a third reef). On a run, the shape of the boat and its weight mean I can carry more sail and indeed must to maintain speed, but like anyone, I don't want weight aloft or more "strings" than needed. So two reefs suit me in an oceanic application. If even that was too much, the sea state would determine if I needed to heave to, to run under just staysail, or to run under bare poles, or even if I needed to deploy a drogue to maintain direction and to cut speed over ground. I haven't quite decided on a separate trysail yet; certain features of the rig make that problematic.

Described above, however, are not the usual Lake Erie conditions, which, while capable of great fury, are not usually long-lasting.

So for the lake I would say it's an added and probably unnecessary modification. If you are going offshore, it's a good idea for a sloop, but a cutter-rig is a better idea for offshore, in my view, in terms of "gearing down".
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