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Old 31-03-2012, 08:36   #61
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Re: Mainsail - Two Reefs or Three ?

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I'm just about to buy a new main. All my ones in the past were three reef mains which were great for racing. Now I'm a cruising man I figure two reefs gives me coarser control and less optimized performance, but less work for reefing. Thoughts?

Prior to crossing the Atlantic, I rigged single line reefing thru the two upper sets of reef points and led them to the cockpit. Sailed that way for nine years and didn't miss a thing. For extended cruising suggest you back up your new mainsail with a used one from Bacon or such at a modest cost. Good sailing!
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Old 04-04-2012, 15:03   #62
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Re: Mainsail - Two Reefs or Three ?

I always specify three reefs. I rig two reefs. When sailing inshore, I rig the lower two. When sailing offshore, I rig the upper two. I prefer rigs with larger mains and smaller jibs, so that works well without having to resort to a storm jib. The last time I rigged a storm jib because I had to was the last time I hope to ever accomplish it.
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Old 14-04-2012, 11:13   #63
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Re: Mainsail - Two Reefs or Three ?

Now that this thread has cooled off a little I would like to ask a question that is related, but slightly different. When I had my main cut with 3 reefs for my Peterson 44, I was pleased with it but as soon as I could afford it I wanted a staysail. My boat had been in the Charter trade so it had most of the hardware, but no inner forestay. I rigged a removable forestay and went to a local sailmaker to have a staysail cut. What I asked for was a standard size staysail for the Peterson, which I figured would balance the double reefed main and to have a reef in the staysail (down to storm jib size) to balance the third reef of the main. I wanted the reef cut so that I didnt have to change lead blocks when it was reefed. The sailmaker went to great lengths to talk me out of it. My question is DID I HAVE A BAD THEORY OR DID I FIND A SAILMAKER THAT COULDNT FIGURE THE GEOMETRY OF IT? Any Ideas?_____Grant.
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Old 14-04-2012, 11:20   #64
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Re: Mainsail - Two Reefs or Three ?

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Now that this thread has cooled off a little I would like to ask a question that is related, but slightly different. When I had my main cut with 3 reefs for my Peterson 44, I was pleased with it but as soon as I could afford it I wanted a staysail. My boat had been in the Charter trade so it had most of the hardware, but no inner forestay. I rigged a removable forestay and went to a local sailmaker to have a staysail cut. What I asked for was a standard size staysail for the Peterson, which I figured would balance the double reefed main and to have a reef in the staysail (down to storm jib size) to balance the third reef of the main. I wanted the reef cut so that I didnt have to change lead blocks when it was reefed. The sailmaker went to great lengths to talk me out of it. My question is DID I HAVE A BAD THEORY OR DID I FIND A SAILMAKER THAT COULDNT FIGURE THE GEOMETRY OF IT? Any Ideas?_____Grant.
The staysail was a great idea of course. I use to love my 44 and 47 footer with the wind blowing 25-30, two reefs in and staysail alone.... hull speed attained and flat sailing! I actually had a staysail done that way once. The problem is that 99% of the time you dont need a storm jib. On a small stiff sail like the staysail, adding a reef point, with all the reinforcing just makes it a stiff "board". Also rolling up the foot to reef with such a stiff sail is a mess, you have to reattached the tack anyway. I would opt for a separate storm staysail for the "ultimate storm".... probably just as easy to rig and your staysail will set a lot better that 99% of the time.. This is likely what your sailmaker was getting to....
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Old 14-04-2012, 13:23   #65
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Re: Mainsail - Two Reefs or Three ?

Cheechaco, I agree, I thought about the stiffness and I didnt like the idea of the clew cringle being just about eye height most of the time, but I had used storm jibs on both of my earlier cruising boats and really dislike changing sails when it is stinky weather. I also planned on having a normal tack pennant on the sail, with the reefing pennant attached to the deck so that it could be attached to the sail without undoing the normal one. I dont like unattached things when it is blowing like hell. Oh Well! I understand your points and I have no idea what my next boat will be, so I will decide the many compromises when I get to that point. Thanks for the input.____Grant.
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Old 14-09-2012, 06:39   #66
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Re: Mainsail - two reefs or three?

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.....

I found for our selves, this is of course personal preference and is different from one sailor to another, that reducing the sail area in steps of 20% of the existing sail area is working very well for de-powering without slowing down. What I mean with this is that the first reef reduces the total sail area from 200 sqm to 160sqm (20%), the next step is another 20% reduction, but not counting with 200sqm as the basic, but the "new" surface of 160 sqm. So next step should be a reduction to 128sqm and so on. We are currently sailing without a headsail furler and we have 3 headsails, the whole de-powering process is based on reductions of 20% of the sail area before the reduction that you are going to make. And it works great for us. All the clients that I introduced to this system of de-powering are very happy with it and do not want to change back to the "standard" system.
Can I ask for help in calculating reefing for in-mast furling? My P = 16.13 and E = 6.2. If I want to have marks on the foot of the sail to guide reduction in sail area to 20% increments, where should the marks be? I ought to be able to calculate this but trigonometry was a long time ago!

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Old 14-09-2012, 07:02   #67
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Re: Mainsail - two reefs or three?

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Originally Posted by Tudorsailor View Post
Can I ask for help in calculating reefing for in-mast furling? My P = 16.13 and E = 6.2. If I want to have marks on the foot of the sail to guide reduction in sail area to 20% increments, where should the marks be? I ought to be able to calculate this but trigonometry was a long time ago!

Thanks

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The beauty of in mast furling is your reef points are infinite. where the rest of us have to make do with three and three could be too much or too little.
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Old 14-09-2012, 10:18   #68
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Re: Mainsail - two reefs or three?

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Originally Posted by Tudorsailor View Post
Can I ask for help in calculating reefing for in-mast furling? My P = 16.13 and E = 6.2. If I want to have marks on the foot of the sail to guide reduction in sail area to 20% increments, where should the marks be? I ought to be able to calculate this but trigonometry was a long time ago!

Thanks

TudorSailor
Well, in mast furled mains are pretty much triangular. You need two formulas:

Tangent(angle)=height along mast / length along boom

The next is Area = 0.5* height along mast * length along boom

So your first step will be to work out the angle at the clew of the sail (which never changes).
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Old 14-09-2012, 17:52   #69
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Re: Mainsail - Two Reefs or Three ?

FWI when having a new main constructed, left it all to MACK SAILS.My intent being ocean crossing.I,now have a full batten 3 reef main.These guy's have built thousand's who am I.,to argue.
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Old 17-09-2012, 14:48   #70
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Re: Mainsail - Two Reefs or Three ?

Basically, two reefs if you actually have been out there in a blow and three reefs if you just read books about it. If you have been in a blow you realize that the difference between three reefs and two is not something you are going to be able to discern when you get into the situation. With most boats, the hull and rigging is going to provide more than enough sail area when you are in those situations. Sorry to be so blunt, but those are the facts.
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Old 17-09-2012, 15:09   #71
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Re: Mainsail - Two Reefs or Three ?

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Basically, two reefs if you actually have been out there in a blow and three reefs if you just read books about it. If you have been in a blow you realize that the difference between three reefs and two is not something you are going to be able to discern when you get into the situation. With most boats, the hull and rigging is going to provide more than enough sail area when you are in those situations. Sorry to be so blunt, but those are the facts.
If that's the case why are storm trysails popular? Not just popular, but compulsory for ocean races. A main with a third reef in is about the same size as a trysail.
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Old 17-09-2012, 15:40   #72
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Re: Mainsail - Two Reefs or Three ?

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Originally Posted by Pete the Cat View Post
Basically, two reefs if you actually have been out there in a blow and three reefs if you just read books about it. If you have been in a blow you realize that the difference between three reefs and two is not something you are going to be able to discern when you get into the situation. With most boats, the hull and rigging is going to provide more than enough sail area when you are in those situations. Sorry to be so blunt, but those are the facts.
Well, I simply can not agree with this rather simplistic opinion.

We HAVE been in a few blows, we HAVE been glad to have our very small area third reef, and I don't know about Tartan 37s, but none of the boats I have owned will make headway under bare poles in any direction besides DDW +/- a few degrees. And sometimes DDW isn't a good choice!

If this poster means that one could have a very deep second reef, ie in the position of a normal third reef, that is a different matter.

A lot depends on one's sail plan. For boats of the IOR era, that is with small mains and big headsails, three reefs in the main may not be so important. But for other designs, such as our fractional rig which has a rather large mainsail, three choices of size are useful indeed.

FWIW, in our next mainsail (this one has over 40,000 miles on it now!) I'm going to have the first reef about a foot lower than on this one. This will mean that as soon as we get into "reefing conditions" I will be able to leave both runners set... a useful reduction in difficulty with tacking or gybing. With the current main I have to go to the second reef to achieve that, and this has meant that we have often used two reefs when one would do. Lazy? Maybe, but with only two of us aboard it helps with the fatigue issues faced at sea.

At any rate, this has been an interesting discussion... thanks to all.

Cheers,

Jin
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Old 17-09-2012, 16:14   #73
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Re: Mainsail - Two Reefs or Three ?

Why is it that when someone says THOSE ARE THE FACTS my B.S. alarm starts ringing. Im not being blunt, Im being highly opinionated. Some people dont know the differance between B.S. , facts and opinions.____Grant.
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Old 17-09-2012, 16:31   #74
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Re: Mainsail - Two Reefs or Three ?

My boat is an early IOR mark 1. This means a big foretriangle and an average main (FRERS 39 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com)
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Old 17-09-2012, 16:52   #75
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Re: Mainsail - Two Reefs or Three ?

Sorry, (fast typing)

Our mainsail has 3 reef points and only 2 reefing lines. So we rig reef 1 and 2 when coastal cruising in short hops and we rig reef 2 and 3 when sailing offshore.

We also rig the 150% Genoa 1 wich can be rolled reefed on coastal passages and we rig a 125% yanquee for offshore passages in the forestay

For ofshore passages we also rig a removable inner stay where we can rig a kind of a small Genoa 4 or a small storm staysail (with a lower wire pennant) These 2 sails have hanks so both of them are ready in their bags on deck simultanously, we rise or lower what we need at the moment)

This is a huge flexibility for a rig, and there is always a balanced combination of main and foresail. The boat is also very stable with the Genoa 4 or the storm staysail alone.

The inner stay is also usefull sailing downwind with a reefed main a 2 genoas flying each on its own stay.
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