Many many years ago when i had all ne sails
for my then Half ton cupper my sailmaker
persuaded me saying one day I would thank him. That day came the next year when returning from a Cross English Channel
fun run ( duty free gathering) We got caught by a bad gale that became known as 'The Channel Race
Gale' when lots of race
boats hit problems with dismastings and knockdowns. We passed close by one of their race markers NE of Cap Barfleur and had the same conditions ( westerly F8)even though we were not actuall racing
that day. I put the 3rd reef in for the very first time and was very grateful for it. Whilst putting it in and standing on the coach roof by the mast
a wave broke right over the boat and me, filling the cockpit
in the process.My then wife and 2 kids
were sat in the cockpit
( harnessed on) laughing their socks off. Shortly afterwards at Southampton
International Boat Show
I stopped by my sailmaker's stand and said 'you were right about that 3rd reef, thank you! All my subsequent boats after that had 3 reefs fitted and my last one in the UK had them all rigged to be put in from the cockpit. Now I'm an old wrinklie and after a stroke 3 years ago, when we lived on a motor
yacht, we have in-mast reefing, not my preference but it keeps me afloat under sail and in positive nookie points territory with the boss lady.
SO Yes have a thrird row and don't complain it was never needed, be thankful.
The idea of swapping a regular mainsail
, let alone a big one with full length battens,like we had on our last sailboat in the UK, for a trysail in heavy weather does not appeal even though for offshore
purposes we had a separate trysail track in place on the mast
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.