Originally Posted by jackdale
If not a third reef, a storm trysail would be advisable.
^^^ This, although so much depends on boat type, main configuration, windage, displacement
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
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".