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Old 10-02-2016, 08:48   #1
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How to Reef a Catamaran?

So sailing for 50 years on mono hulls, new to cats.

I can figure out how to reef the main before raising the sail. However, say you go out when the wind is a steady 15, and it increases steadily and is now gusting to 25 with a steady 20, looking to continue increasing, and it is time to reef.

In my mono (on my boats before a roller furling main, or I guess even with it), I would point up to the point of pinching, say up around 20-25 deg, keep the headsail just from luffing but sill driving the boat enough, ease off the main sheet until I got the main luffing, then reef it. Then sheet it back in, and fall off another 5 to 10 deg and keep going.

In my limited few sails on my cat, I get nowhere near 20-25 deg, I need to get the main luffing enough to drop the sail enough to tighten down the reef lines. So without motoring, how you do this? In a few stages swinging into the wind a bit, then without going into irons, back again, etc? Thanks.
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Old 10-02-2016, 09:21   #2
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how to reef a catamaran?

You should be able to ease the main sheet enough to luff the main in all but a down wind run. Once the mainsail begins to luff ease the halyard and winch in the reefing line. It should not require you to head up any where near 25 degrees.


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Old 10-02-2016, 09:23   #3
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Re: how to reef a catamaran?

excellent. thanks.
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Old 10-02-2016, 12:57   #4
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Re: how to reef a catamaran?

We don't change course at all to reef. Close hauled, reaching, DDW, doesn't matter. Just loosen the mainsheet, ease the halyard, winch in the clew reef point, ease the halyard, winch in, etc, till it's done.
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Old 10-02-2016, 14:35   #5
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Re: how to reef a catamaran?

One advantage of many cats is the long traveller. Assuming you have one, let the car fully down to leeward to assist in luffing the main
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Old 10-02-2016, 14:38   #6
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Re: how to reef a catamaran?

44CC,

I have reefed to weather and reaching, and have done so also downwind in lighter airs, but I am anxious about reefing downwind in heavy air.

What's the heaviest air you've reefed DOWNWIND in? And do I take it that you have a 'jiffy' reefing system, since you mention winching?
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Old 10-02-2016, 14:41   #7
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Re: how to reef a catamaran?

We harden up the headsail too. This helps the main luff a little early. Really, no different than a mono, except you have that lovely big traveller to ease down.
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Old 10-02-2016, 14:56   #8
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Re: how to reef a catamaran?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
We don't change course at all to reef. Close hauled, reaching, DDW, doesn't matter. Just loosen the mainsheet, ease the halyard, winch in the clew reef point, ease the halyard, winch in, etc, till it's done.
I agree, and do likewise, but, at least on my boat, the critical issue is in maintaining control (keep tensioned) the leech when progressively lowering the halyard. Otherwise the battens come under undue stress, particularly when on a broad reach or when deep down wind where easing the sheet is impractical or will exacerbate the batten stress on the shrouds.

With the main halyard and the reefing lines having to share the same winch is a distinct disadvantage (for me) and I have to be patient with incremental steps - as in ease halyard 30cm, winch in reefing line to leach, tension tack, repeating. Having an extra winch would be great, and I'm sure many do. I do find that luffing up a bit helps at the end of the process to get the halyard and thus the luff in tight, although this is less critical when down wind.
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Old 10-02-2016, 15:03   #9
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Re: how to reef a catamaran?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AD28 View Post
44CC,

What's the heaviest air you've reefed DOWNWIND in? And do I take it that you have a 'jiffy' reefing system, since you mention winching?
Downwind reefing is bit more complicated than reefing upwind, particularly in strong winds. (30 + kts true)

Turn to DDW, sheet the main sail as tight as possible, winch first the leech line, then ease the hallyard, take the reef and winch the hallyard.
The basic problem here are the following waves which makes difficult to keep the boat in straight line. I do that regularly and singlehanded in the Med w/out an issue.. When I've tried in North Atlantic with 6 meters following waves, surfing up to 23-25 kts, I concluded this would be very risky and decided to turn to the wind.(it wasn't fun..)

What is by the way the "jiffy" reefing ??

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Old 10-02-2016, 20:11   #10
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Re: how to reef a catamaran?

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44CC,

I have reefed to weather and reaching, and have done so also downwind in lighter airs, but I am anxious about reefing downwind in heavy air.

What's the heaviest air you've reefed DOWNWIND in? And do I take it that you have a 'jiffy' reefing system, since you mention winching?

I have normal "slab" reefing. The reefing clews are run through a winch.

In terms of how strong a wind I've reefed downwind in, probably about 25 knots going from 2nd to 3rd reef.

That would give around 12-15 knots AWS.

I've also dropped the main altogether (from 3rd reef) in around 30 knots, because we looked like arriving at a bar 6 hours too early.
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Old 11-02-2016, 02:09   #11
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Re: How to Reef a Catamaran?

assuming seas is a bit up, one can tighten jib, A/P on 40 deg app, move traveller to the end. Main luffs. Drop it and tighten reef. And go back to your direction.

Jib only can drive cat to around 30 app, but if seas up one loses control as not enough speed. 40 seem to work fine for me.
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Old 11-02-2016, 09:22   #12
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Re: how to reef a catamaran?

[QUOTE=44'cruisingcat;2042300
I've also dropped the main altogether (from 3rd reef) in around 30 knots, because we looked like arriving at a bar 6 hours too early.[/QUOTE]

I agree. One needs to pace oneself.
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