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Old 21-05-2019, 23:10   #1
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Tapered reefing lines?

Greetings CF members.

Anyone who has used the single-line system that is used by Lagoon on the 400 knows the hassles inherent in the system. Each reef line (and there are 3 of them...) runs from the helm station to the base of the mast, up to the reef tack, down to the base of the boom, out to the end of the boom, up to the reef clew, back to the end of the boom where it is tied off.

Yes it “works”, but in practice a little coaxing is usually required at the tack & clew. This is kind of dangerous in conditions where you need to reef and defeats the purpose of the single line reefing system which is supposed to let you reef while at the helm station. Then when you shake out a reef the friction of the reef lines usually requires another trip on deck (at least to the mast base) to pull out some slack as you raise the sail—again, defeating the purpose of the single-line system.

Remedies include changing the system to a conventional slab-reefing system (manually securing the reef tacks, reef lines to the reef clews only). Or using smaller diameter single reefing lines.

Another possibility would be to use end-for-end splices to taper the reefing lines. I would keep the “working” part of the line (i.e. everything forward of the clutch) the stock size (12-14 mm?), but use something smaller (8-10 mm?) for the non-working tail. If this worked there would be less friction when I shake out a reef, plus less line (at least it’s smaller diameter) at the helm station when the sails are reefed.

The splices would have to be strong enough to handle the strain of putting in a reef, but is an end-for-end tapered double braid splice even do-able? I’ve looked for info on the interweb, but so far no joy. Anybody have ideas?

Thanks in advance,

Bill
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Old 21-05-2019, 23:27   #2
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Re: Tapered reefing lines?

It shouldn’t be hard to reef and let one out. Check everything runs free and nothing fouls. To improve it, replace the line with Dyneema of a smaller size, and put a cover over the reefing line where it comes through the clutch.
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Old 22-05-2019, 02:12   #3
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Re: Tapered reefing lines?

Here's a splice of double braid to dyneema
Splicing Amsteel to Sta-Set

An easier, but more expensive, way would be to buy a line with a covered braid and a dyneema core. Strip the cover in the area you want low friction.
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Old 22-05-2019, 02:16   #4
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Re: Tapered reefing lines?

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Here's a splice of double braid to dyneema
Splicing Amsteel to Sta-Set

An easier, but more expensive, way would be to buy a line with a covered braid and a dyneema core. Strip the cover in the area you want low friction.

Careful about that, as the Dyneema or UHMWPE in the core of a double braid rope may not have any UV or abrasion coating on its fibres as it was designed to have a cover. Better option is the original idea to splice the single braid Dyneema/UHMWPE rope to a double braid tail.
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Old 22-05-2019, 02:24   #5
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Re: Tapered reefing lines?

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Originally Posted by fxykty View Post
Careful about that, as the Dyneema or UHMWPE in the core of a double braid rope may not have any UV or abrasion coating on its fibres as it was designed to have a cover. Better option is the original idea to splice the single braid Dyneema/UHMWPE rope to a double braid tail.
There are plenty of covered dyneema lines that have the core coated and are specifically marketed as stripable.
For example
Yale Cordage MaxiBraid Plus Line | APS
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Old 22-05-2019, 04:02   #6
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Re: Tapered reefing lines?

Interesting post Bill. I have a 2000 era Selden rig with single line reefing and it's a bitch to use when we're really under pressure, and mostly a hassle at other times. Same issues with friction, I have also been thinking that Dyneema may ease the friction if I were to replace the lines. I didn't think about going a smaller diameter as well, that's a good idea. The Yale MaxiBraid Plus line that Paul indicated, striped where needed, looks ideal. What diameter do you think would work best? The winches that I use for reefing aren't self tailing, so there's no issue for me as far as a smaller diameter not suiting the self tailer, so I guess I could go fairly small.
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Old 22-05-2019, 15:11   #7
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Re: Tapered reefing lines?

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
There are plenty of covered dyneema lines that have the core coated and are specifically marketed as stripable.

For example

Yale Cordage MaxiBraid Plus Line | APS

Plenty yes, but not all, hence my warning. It wasn’t a blanket don’t do it, just a caution to check the line you want to use to ensure that the core is suitable to be used stripped.
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Old 22-05-2019, 15:14   #8
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Re: Tapered reefing lines?

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Originally Posted by Bish View Post
Interesting post Bill. I have a 2000 era Selden rig with single line reefing and it's a bitch to use when we're really under pressure, and mostly a hassle at other times. Same issues with friction, I have also been thinking that Dyneema may ease the friction if I were to replace the lines. I didn't think about going a smaller diameter as well, that's a good idea. The Yale MaxiBraid Plus line that Paul indicated, striped where needed, looks ideal. What diameter do you think would work best? The winches that I use for reefing aren't self tailing, so there's no issue for me as far as a smaller diameter not suiting the self tailer, so I guess I could go fairly small.

Depends on the loads, but anything much smaller than 8mm is going to be hard on your hands. Also consider any jammer or clutch that you need to hold the line. Not as important if you’re using cleats. YMMV
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Old 22-05-2019, 17:16   #9
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Re: Tapered reefing lines?

Ah good point! They do go through clutches, I didn’t think that through did I?
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Old 22-05-2019, 17:53   #10
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Re: Tapered reefing lines?

You can use double line reefing but it takes more gear
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Old 23-05-2019, 16:48   #11
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Re: Tapered reefing lines?

Maybe I'm missing something, but when I converted my Mahe 36 to single line reefing I just attached blocks to the leech and luff cringles and ran the reefing line through those. Since the leech line used to just run through the cringle, I actually have less resistance now than before AND I don't have to go up to the mast to attach the luff cringle. No need for any fancy or expensive tapered/stripped lines. I guess if you're racing the blocks might distort airflow a tiny bit and you might not like the look of them, but this is Cruisers Forum after all!
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Old 26-05-2019, 12:50   #12
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Re: Tapered reefing lines?

Our original reef lines were 14mm poly. The second reef chafed through. I replaced it with an old dyneema core 12mm main halyard that was too now too short for its intended purpose. It still works in the clutches and is so much better to use. When another dyneema halyard is close for replacement I will change it to the first reef. I also replaced the 14mm poly mainsheet with 12mm dyneema/poly blend and it is so much freer too.
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Old 26-05-2019, 18:39   #13
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Re: Tapered reefing lines?

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Maybe I'm missing something, but when I converted my Mahe 36 to single line reefing I just attached blocks to the leech and luff cringles and ran the reefing line through those. Since the leech line used to just run through the cringle, I actually have less resistance now than before AND I don't have to go up to the mast to attach the luff cringle. No need for any fancy or expensive tapered/stripped lines. I guess if you're racing the blocks might distort airflow a tiny bit and you might not like the look of them, but this is Cruisers Forum after all!

Great result for you and your boat. But I’ve seen several single line reef installations that have major line friction due to the additional corners (even with blocks) and not quite free runs past the gooseneck and then lots of direction changes back to the deck and back to the cockpit.

Additionally, for larger mains I shudder to think the size of the blocks that would be required along the luff to handle the tack loads. Our 80sqm mainsail has 100mm needle bearing blocks on the first and second reef clews so with the 180 degree change in direction at the tack doubling the load as well as the 110 degree block on the mast to provide the forward pull those would be huge.
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Old 26-05-2019, 18:50   #14
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Re: Tapered reefing lines?

Double line reefing works way better than single line. You do have a seperate set of lines running back to the cockpit but the reefing system works so much better that I didn't even consider trying single line. Has all the advantages of not having to go forward to reef without the hockles, hangups, friction and tons of line to haul in that makes single line a PITA.
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Old 26-05-2019, 23:38   #15
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Re: Tapered reefing lines?

If you switch to a slippery line, we saw additional (vast) improvement by attaching Antal low-friction hooks to the cringles and then running the reefing line through the hooks. The cringles themselves had a poor radius for a 180-degree turn and resulted in significant chafe. In addition, the hook at the back end is turned 90-degrees from the cringle and provides a much fairer lead from the boom through the hook to the sheave.

Since moving to the hooks we've had much easier reefing. Of course, you have to be willing to shell out the boat bucks. You could do the same thing with low-friction rings, but I like the additional benefit of being able to reeve/unreeve the reefing lines without having to pull them all the way through.
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