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Old 03-10-2011, 13:55   #31
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Re: When Do You Reef ?

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Originally Posted by capt.bobfm View Post
Mostly good advise,but your boat,your ability and confifance level,and the wind conditions determine when to reef. There is an old saying that "If you think it's time to reef, it's too late".As soon as you have an uncomfortable amount of weather helm(assuming you're trimmed correctly)that's the time to reef.

Simply put, when there's any risk that the wind will overpower your boat. Every boat has that point. To some extent skillful sailing can compensate for that, but every boat has a point at which the only wise thing to do is to depower the sails.
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Old 03-10-2011, 14:39   #32
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Re: When Do You Reef ?

As soon as I think, maybe I should reef, I get up and do it. I can always shake it out. Basically my rule of thumb is first reef at 17 knots, second reef at 23 knots, third reef at 27 knots. Above 30 knots, I stow the main and go to a single reefed mizzen and the stay sail. I have been in 50 knot winds with my storm rig of reefed mizzen and stay sail.
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Old 03-10-2011, 14:54   #33
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Re: When Do You Reef ?

I usually hoist the main with a reef in, then decide once we're "out there" whether or not to shake it out.
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Old 03-10-2011, 16:56   #34
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Re: When Do You Reef ?

You know - I'm amazed that when I have put the reef in and look around how few others have done the same. It also normally occurs when we are sailing along on our reefed boat and sayng to each other 'damn look how far heeled that guy is".

To each their own!
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Old 03-10-2011, 17:17   #35
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Re: When Do You Reef ?

Although it all depends on sea state and wind conditions it still makes little sense to over power your boat and make everyone uncomfotable. I have a taller rig and what some people consider a tender boat but I find that reefing the main a little early keeps the weather helm in check and the windvane much happier. I also reef before dark because I am either short handed or single handed and I don't need the stress at 68.
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Old 03-10-2011, 17:25   #36
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Re: When Do You Reef ?

I'm with Gordo' on this one, if you dont reef when you think of it, you are making work for yourself.
Because we almost alway sailed short handed, we had a reef in before we ever lifted the anchor or left the dock. It's a lot easier to shake out a reef than put one in. Capt Phil
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Old 03-10-2011, 17:28   #37
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Re: When Do You Reef ?

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I used to reef at about 30 degrees of heel. Since my better half arrived I reef at about 15.


Key Words for the Strength Tarot Card Meanings
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I bet the balance will be found at about 20kts or so, during or after the honeymoon is over.
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Old 03-10-2011, 17:28   #38
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Re: When Do You Reef ?

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I usually hoist the main with a reef in, then decide once we're "out there" whether or not to shake it out.

Reminds me of the time I crewed for a guy in a race. He had a small boat -- a 25' Cape Dory, with a low freeboard. It was pretty windy, and I asked him, "Are we going to reef?"

He said "No, and that's why we're going to win."

Instead, he blew out the foot of his mainsail.
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Old 03-10-2011, 17:32   #39
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Re: When Do You Reef ?

It depends a little bit on various factors like point of sail, sea state, forecast, etc, and how balanced the boat feels, but this is our general plan of attack for reefing.

First reef usually gets tucked in the main when we're seeing 15-20 knots consistently. At 20 knots the 1st reef is in the main and the genoa is reefed. At 25 knots we've got 2 reefs in the main and 1 or 2 reefs in the genoa. At 30 knots we've got 2 reefs in the main and the staysail. At 35-40 knots consistently its 3 reefs in the main and staysail. Over 40 knots consistently and I'm wondering what the hell I'm doing out here in this and looking very seriously at doing whatever I need to do to make the boat safe and as comfortable as possible (that might be heaving to, running off, reducing sail further, deploying a drogue, etc).

Time of day (e.g. dusk), state of crew, sea state, proximity of hard bits, etc all have a bearing on what happens the further up the wind speed scale you get.
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Old 03-10-2011, 17:34   #40
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Re: When do you reef?

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I reef when the thought, that it might be a good idea (soon), first occurs to me.
That's the rule I learned and go by also. Recently, I've revised my thinking a bit, to find I think of it before I used to. When crewing for a friend from La Paz to Hawaii, I noticed he was reefing before I would have thought to, but found his timing quite good. I remember him saying, "When I see 30, I think 40." On one occasion, we ended up seeing low 50's and never had a problem with boat control.
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Old 03-10-2011, 18:02   #41
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Re: When do you reef?

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I reef when the thought, that it might be a good idea (soon), first occurs to me.
+1 I agree and do basically the same, sometimes I should think of it sooner...
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Old 03-10-2011, 21:55   #42
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Re: When Do You Reef ?

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You know - I'm amazed that when I have put the reef in and look around how few others have done the same. It also normally occurs when we are sailing along on our reefed boat and sayng to each other 'damn look how far heeled that guy is".

To each their own!
Sailmakers have a differing viewpoint, needless to say. I'm sure they see plenty of sails with reef points that have clearly never had a line go through them.

I DO tie reefs, but I didn't rig reef lines this year, because we didn't go anywhere in particular. Hell, it was June before I remembered to put the tack hook on.
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Old 03-10-2011, 21:59   #43
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Re: When Do You Reef ?

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
Reminds me of the time I crewed for a guy in a race. He had a small boat -- a 25' Cape Dory, with a low freeboard. It was pretty windy, and I asked him, "Are we going to reef?"

He said "No, and that's why we're going to win."

Instead, he blew out the foot of his mainsail.
I pay a fair bit of attention to sail controls like halyard tension, leech tension and particularly outhaul. I can carry my full main into the high 20s if I take the time to get these control right. Conversely, I can fiddle in the opposite direction and get the main to stop flogging in pretty low winds. It's all a matter of experience and experiment. Didn't stop me from chucking my second batten from the top like a javelin last month in a blow, mind you, but I haven't ripped anything this year!
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Old 03-10-2011, 22:07   #44
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Re: When Do You Reef ?

My boat has two owners, both of whom have been married, happily, for 34 years. We reef the instant either owner suggests it might be a good idea.
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Old 03-10-2011, 23:02   #45
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Re: When Do You Reef ?

yeap I agree about reefing the first time you think about it , and remind myself that im cruising and not racing my imaginary freinds to a imaginary finish line..
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