Originally Posted by OldFrog75
My guess is we should have furled the main with it set on "free" and then switched to "ratchet" before we tightened the outhaul. Is that correct?
No. Think of it this way: when the lever is set to "ratchet," you can only shorten sail; when it's set to "free," sail can go in or out.
We rarely put a handle in that drum, preferring to furl from the cockpit
using a continuous-line inhaul. Think of the winch
handle option as a backup in case the primary system fails.
You should be able to keep a reef point fixed by locking the inhaul with rope clutches
in most situations. In a gale, we'll send someone forward to ratchet the drum so that it can't accidentally blow out.
Here's the important part: NEVER PUT A HANDLE IN THE DRUM UNLESS THE LEVER IS SET TO "RATCHET." Otherwise, a gust could spin the handle backwards, and it would be pretty easy to break bones at that point.
The time to figure out how to use gear
properly is not during a race, not even a club race. Never take a boat out, any boat, unless you know how to shorten sail on that boat before you leave the dock