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Old 25-08-2010, 22:51   #1
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When to Reef

Just got a Searunner 25 tri. It is great to sail but how do we tell when we are overpowered? When we get close to 10 kts we get scared and back off. I'm sure we will get used to 10 and push on, but when is it too much?
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Old 26-08-2010, 01:33   #2
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How about taking a reef when you get scared....to start with. And to get the practice and a feel for how the boat reacts.


The old adage is: 'once you start thinking of taking a reef, you shold have done it already'

It's important on any type boat to be able to do this fast. The boat must be set up for quick reefing (slab reefing) and the crew certainly must practice the reefing procedure.

That and man over board practice is probably the most important safety practices to start with.

Good luck and enjoy!
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Old 26-08-2010, 02:21   #3
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On a single-hulled boat you can tell you need to reef when you're heeled over too far (unless you're going downwind). Often the correct choice to reef will actually make you go faster. Obviously it depends on the conditions. With multihulls you don't heel (much) so it's harder to tell by feel. You need to know a few things:

1. What is the maximum rated force of the weakest link in your rig. (probably the sails)

2. What is the minimum force on the mast required to capsize the boat? - This is a difficult one to calculate as when it starts to lift a hull, it offers less sail area to the wind etc... the manufacturer should be able to give you some guidance.

3. What apparent wind speed does the smaller of (1) and (2) equate to with a full sail? (some basic mechanics required here). What apparent wind speed does the smaller of (1) and (2) equate to with 1 reef, 2 reefs etc...

4. What would be the maximum apparent wind speed possible in the current conditions (ie if you change your point of sail)

If (4+15%) > 3 for your current sail configuration, then you need to reef.
If you want a bigger safety margin, use 20% instead of 15%.
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Old 26-08-2010, 02:31   #4
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Originally Posted by taezow View Post
Just got a Searunner 25 tri. It is great to sail but how do we tell when we are overpowered? When we get close to 10 kts we get scared and back off. I'm sure we will get used to 10 and push on, but when is it too much?
Sea Life is a monohull by the answers can be the same.
When we hit 8 knots we slow down
When the apparent wind hits 18 knots I reef, double reef at 25 knots.

So if you begin to get scared at 10 knots then reef at 9 or 8.

We are cruising! Theres no reason to go at a speed that makes you feel uncomfortable.

I can assure you that at 8 knots you are going fast enough


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Old 26-08-2010, 14:10   #5
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OK, thank you,

We will reef before we hit 9 knots, and once we get a wind meter we will watch apparent wind to see how that matches up with boat speed.
Thanks
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Old 26-08-2010, 15:06   #6
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keep it simple: when you first think a reef might be needed, do it.
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Old 26-08-2010, 15:25   #7
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If you slow down a little bit when you reef then you reefed a little bit too late.
But you have taken load off the rigging and mast, got an easier ride, and a slower heart beat.
If you slow down a lot then you didn't need to reef.
As above, if you speed up then you were a lot late reefing, pressing the boat too hard, and probably yourself too.
Wind speed is important, you learn when to reef by the heel angle you get. Each boat has it's own sweet spot, usually heel angle is the best clue.
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Old 26-08-2010, 18:14   #8
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OK, thank you,

We will reef before we hit 9 knots, and once we get a wind meter we will watch apparent wind to see how that matches up with boat speed.
Thanks
Don't forget to factor in gusts.

15kts steady is dofferent than 15G25

Sail within your personal comfort zone and don't let anyone egg you one beyond that.

If you want to explore the limits. Take a long time to find one of the "better" multi racers in your area. Visit can races and regattas.

We have some awesome multi-sailors in my area who I know would instictively keep the boat on it's feet while operating at the limits.

Once you know the limits, you can avoid them.
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