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Old 02-02-2011, 17:27   #16
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Originally Posted by nv5l View Post
Is there a good rule of thumb on how much each reef should be? I've got a Luders-33.
If I have the ludders specs right, you have a P of 34.8' and E of 15.2', which gives a mainsail area of about 294'.

I would suggest you consider these three scenarios. The first is what we use, although we have a trysail, and our boat is very stiff with high stability. The third is essentially whats required by the offshore special regs if you don't have a trysail (a 40% reduction in luff). The second is a middle ground.

...............luff........% luff reduction ..... area.....% full area
Full hoist...34.8.............0.....................294 ...........100%
reef 1.......29.6...........15%...................212.. .........72%
reef 2.......25.1...........30%...................153.. .........52%

...............luff........% luff reduction ..... area.....% full area
Full hoist...34.8.............0.....................294 ...........100%
reef 1.......29.6...........15%...................212.. .........72%
reef 2.......23.7...........35%...................136.. .........46%

...............luff........% luff reduction ..... area.....% full area
Full hoist...34.8.............0.....................294 ...........100%
reef 1.......27.8...........20%...................188.. .........64%
reef 2.......22.3...........40%...................120.. .........41%
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Old 02-02-2011, 17:57   #17
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I wonder to what extent this question is influenced by the presence of a trysail. Seems like if you have, and will use, a trysail there is no need for a deep third reef. If you do not, then perhaps it makes much more sense to have what is referred to as an "oh-s$*#" reef above.

I can see pretty good arguments for either way if you might get caught out in a blow.
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Old 02-02-2011, 17:58   #18
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Evan, ever had reason to bust out the trysail, and, if so, how did you fare with it?

(I am debating having a trysail track put on for offshore).
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Old 02-02-2011, 18:13   #19
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Evan, ever had reason to bust out the trysail, and, if so, how did you fare with it?
Yes, we have used it. We have forereached with it for several days, and we used it when sailing from Freo to Tasi when our mainsail track busted, and we have used it on windy daysails when we were lazy and did not want to go to the work of uncovering and hoisting and then at the end of the day reflaking and recovering the mainsail.

Beth and I disagree on this. She thinks an offshore boat should have a trysail (with a separate track) period full stop. Because #1 it gives you and option if the mainsail or track breaks (which has happened to us - one of our harken batt cars came apart up the mast and chewed up the track), and #2 you can use it when hove to or forereaching and save the mainsail from a lot of wear and tear, and #3 if its breezy (say 25-30kts) and we are going for a day sail and no-one is watching we will sometimes use the jib and trysail just to save the effort of having to reflake the mainsail at the end of the day.

I certainly don't mind having a trysail and did appreciate its extra push when our mainsail track when tits up, but I don't think its essential if you have a good staysail setup. We have used the trysail but not all that much. Usually when one might use a trysail we drop the main entirely and sail with the #4 on the inner stay - the boat moves well with that and its bullet proof. We are not racing, so I have no problem moving very comfortably at 6kts in gale conditions.

I find the cut and shape of all trysails I have ever seen so bad they are almost offensive. It's adequate on a close reach, but not great for pointing and not great for running. We sheet it to the quarters - would be better for running if we sheeted it to the boom - but we just normally use a headsail for that anyway.

So you have the two of us with the exact same experience but a different answer to your question. I do agree with Beth that people planning to go offshore think too much about gadgets and too little about sail inventory and sail condition/shape/material.
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Old 02-02-2011, 18:24   #20
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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post

I do agree with Beth that people planning to go offshore think too much about gadgets and too little about sail inventory and sail condition/shape/material.
Hear, hear!!!

Jim
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Old 02-02-2011, 19:36   #21
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If the guy at UK told me to go with two reefs, I'd know that it was time to talk to a different sailmaker.

That's the modern marine industry, however. If you'd have told him you only wanted two reefs, he'd have tried to talk you into three. They've always got to pretend to know more than you do.

Go with your guts. If you want three reefs and a salesguy tells you to go with two, walk away. He may know sales, but you know your boat.
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Old 02-02-2011, 19:42   #22
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I do agree with Beth that people planning to go offshore think too much about gadgets and too little about sail inventory and sail condition/shape/material.
I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who agrees with Beth!

Seriously, I'm shocked at how few cruising boats carry a #3 anymore. Everybody seems to think that just because they added a foam luff to their #1, they're good to go.

Which is why we see so many cruisers motoring in the tradewinds.
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Old 02-02-2011, 20:37   #23
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If you are going offshore, all reef points should be set up. On a 3 reef main, by the time you need to tie in the third reef, the last thing you'll want to do is reeve lines in a sail. You'll be more interested in your Epirb than running lines in those conditions.

I've got three reefs in my main. The reef points were supposed to be at 5' increments on a 35.7' P measurement. As things would have it, the 3rd reef ended up on a batten so got pushed up to about 7'. I've never had to use it but it's a very deep reef. I just did a TransPac with all the reef points rigged. Made pretty good time on a 25' water line going from the Gate to anchor down in Radio Bay, Hilo, HI in 15 days 4 hours. There is minimal weight in three rigged reef points and has had unmeasurable penalty on the sailing performance. On the TransPac, reefed occasionally to the 1st reef point and once to the second but it was a relatively low wind passage.

If your sailmaker is saying to dispense with a third reef because of weight, it's time to get a new sail maker, one who understands the real world of cruising. The only valid reason I can see for not having a third reef is if you have a quickly deployed trisail that takes it place. Some people argue it's better have a trisail in heavy conditions rather than risk damaging a mainsail by overstressing it with a third reef. Unless you are going into the Southern Ocean, most of your time will be spent with a full or single reefed main. Ruining the main will definitely slow down a passage. Having said that, I'd expect a cruising main to be strong enough to handle a third reef without a problem.
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Old 02-02-2011, 21:18   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I certainly don't mind having a trysail and did appreciate its extra push when our mainsail track when tits up, but I don't think its essential if you have a good staysail setup. We have used the trysail but not all that much. Usually when one might use a trysail we drop the main entirely and sail with the #4 on the inner stay - the boat moves well with that and its bullet proof. We are not racing, so I have no problem moving very comfortably at 6kts in gale conditions.
Very interesting idea. I am setting up my Pearson for offshore and have been trying to decide about putting on an extra track for a trysail or setting up the main with a very deep reef for storm use (yes I know all the reasons why that's not the best option which is why I'm still thinking about the extra track).

Had not thought about using the staysail only as an option. Having a backup track I guess is a benefit to the trysail but I have to say, you are the first I have heard report track damage at sea that rendered the main unusable. I think (hope) that this is a fairly low probability failure mode since the staysail option is a lot less time/work/money.
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Old 02-02-2011, 23:03   #25
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3 reefs but thinking about a 4th reef next time we take the sail down for maintenance (which will proably happen right after we blow it in half because we where to lazy taking in a reef...)

A 4th reef will give a very little area but enough to give some effect, and let you make a quicker and safer "reefing" in those "I do not know what will happens next"-moments instead of putting up the trysail (yes, carry one)

We tested our trysail in 60 knots in North Sea last December but found out that we were better off sailing on the rig It's hard to know when to shift down to just a napkin, but next time I prefer to have a superlow 4th rather when setting up the trysail, but then "performance" is not our thing, we are lazy and just cruise
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Old 03-02-2011, 00:15   #26
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Don,

Butch Ulmer at UK City Island knows his stuff. I would talk with him and carefully describe your boat and cruising plans, then ask him to describe your options.

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Old 03-02-2011, 02:26   #27
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3 reefs in mine. When I first bought the boat, there were only 2, and in anything over 25-30 knots of wind was really over canvased and griped like crazy.
When the standing rigging was renewed, I took the opportunity to have a third reef fitted.
Reefs 1 and 2 are single line reefs, with blocks at the luff and leach, and reef lines lead back aft to cockpit. The third reef was made pretty deep, but I was advised not to go for the single line system, but to have two lines. On the luff, the reef line attaches to a cringle on the sail, then lead down to the deck and back to the cockpit. The leach line starts at the boom, up to a block on the leach, then back to the aft end of the boom, through the boom, and then lead back aft to the cockpit.
I was surprised at the time it took the sailmaker to do this job, I'm guessing it was just filling in work for him (he had the sail for 8 days)
When I got the sail back, and started to rig it back to the mast, I was looking at the leach block and thinking somethings not quite right, they had actually stiched the block on upside down. A very embarrassed sailmaker was recalled to the dock, took away the sail, and it was returned correctly done in less than 4 hours. I deducted 10% as it delayed my departure, missed the tide at Pwhelli, and ended up having to lock in at Liverpool during the night, the 10% deduction covered the cost of a night time locking fee
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Old 03-02-2011, 04:36   #28
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This is the best thread topic in weeks! I never really had thought about it all that much, so this is goos tuff as long as it stays a discussion.

Except for the performance issue I don't really see the problem of having only 2 reef points as long as they are placed properly and I never really gave it thought as to making them deeper, but I like this simple idea. I wouldn't have reefed if the wind hadn't been high enough that it was uncomfortable on the boat, so the speed loss isn't part of my goal in putting the reef in and given the chose in high wind would perfer tobe under-sailed to over. I don't really see my wanting a third reef as I currently drop the main if the wind is that high and don't really want to deal with a 3rd reef inthese conditions.
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:28   #29
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I've had triple reefed sails and I must say I prefer them as in 95% of sails I've come across that sad little 1st reef is a waste of space for a cruiser....
I go straight to 2nd reef... 18inches of sail less at the foot is a waste of time and effort when shorthanded... fine if your racing...
Most times I leave the 1st reef in permanently...
Guess what I'm saying is make the 1st equally deep...lol
From what I'm used to, that first 'reef' is really just a Cunningham - that is, there's a haul point on the luff but not the leech. At about 18 knots that one usually comes on. The two reefs after that should be deep so that the effort makes a real difference.
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:31   #30
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One way to think about reefs is like gears on a bicycle. The mainsail reefs are like the rear gears and the headsails are like the front gears, and the combination of the two give you your final gear ratio. The two sets of gears (mainsail and headsail reductions) really need to be planned and thought of together.

How many gears you want and how closely spaced you want them is a trade-off. With more gears, more closely spaced, you can always be closer to the optimal drive, but you have to do more work more frequently shifting gears, and on a sailboat you have more reef lines whipping around and tangling in stuff.

The depth of the final reef does not depend at all on how many reefs you have. You could have just one deep reef, at say 40% of the luff.

We started out on Hawk with two reefs, got a new mainsail with three reefs (first two the same, just added a deeper one) when we went to cape horn and never used the third reef (as mentioned above, we would drop the main altogether when it was that windy and sail with the staysail), and so went back to two reefs in our third mainsail. We can sail to windward or forereach in 40kts with our second reef (and have actually done it in 50kts but it was just lazy and not good seamanship), but a good amount of the sail is feathered off and just luffing. Its too much sail to reach in those sorts of winds, but reaching our staysails drive the boat just fine.

There are some practical considerations related to full batten locations - nice if the reefs are just below full battens, as the battens make it easier to pull in the reef.
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