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Old 02-03-2015, 10:07   #16
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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I use the same technique for getting the main up without engine or for for reefing.
For raising sail w/o engine- how do you turn into the wind?
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:29   #17
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

'Good to read your post Lin!
On my tall rig, threading a light line through the reef cringles worked really well to coax the main down in 25+kts to reef quickly 'out there'. I'm was very grateful that Alan at SeaTek in So.Cal. convinced me to modify the mast and install TidesMarine luff track. He ground off the 'neck' extrusion on the mast that previously the main luff slugs ran up/down in and installed the new slick track. Even in 30+kts with the main plastered against the spreaders while sailing downwind, I could pull the main down fairly quickly with the line threaded through the reef cringles.
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:41   #18
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Originally Posted by theway View Post
Situation:
Wind picks up suddenly and you'd like to drop the main or lower it to reef, but the engine won't start (or there is no engine) How do you get the main down if you can't point into the wind? I'm assuming internal mast cars, which is what I have.
Center the boom then sheet the main in all the way. The boat will then swing into the wind as close as it will go.

You can then drop the main even though you won't be as close to the wind as you normally would be. You'll have to ease the sheet when you are ready to drop.
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:49   #19
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

I've been sailing for over 50 years and never ever in all that time and many thousands of mile did I even thisnk about turning the engine on to reef the main. That is just a totally foreign idea that I still can't see why anyone would think it was necessary. If your sail track is so sticky you can't pull the sail down you should be thinking about some maintenance/replacement so the sail will come down.

The engine to me is something that I use to get in and out of the slip and powering when the air is too light to sail. The one time I got myself into a situation that I needed the engine to get myself out of it, the damned battery died and I couldn't start it.
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:17   #20
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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I've been sailing for over 50 years and never ever in all that time and many thousands of mile did I even thisnk about turning the engine on to reef the main. That is just a totally foreign idea that I still can't see why anyone would think it was necessary. If your sail track is so sticky you can't pull the sail down you should be thinking about some maintenance/replacement so the sail will come down.

The engine to me is something that I use to get in and out of the slip and powering when the air is too light to sail. The one time I got myself into a situation that I needed the engine to get myself out of it, the damned battery died and I couldn't start it.
Got point! It is a sailboat after all.
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:31   #21
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

Just a thought on safety. On any boat, if you let go the steering, she should round up to weather and com to a stop, If it doesn't do that you need to re-tune the rig. If not and you get overpowered in a squall you can find yourself locked on a course with no response to steering and out of control. I speak from experience, not fun, and why you always have an anchor rigged in confined waters...
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:45   #22
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

Aside from an approaching funnel like you may encounter near Mooloolaba, Australia, entirely dropping a mainsail is a poor choice. I've only witnessed a single sailboat that could heave-to under foresail alone. It's probably the case 99% of boats cannot safely heave-to without a main. The sailboat I observed hove-to with no main and only a foresail deployed was south of Capetown, S.A.. The heavy displacement boat was from the U.S. east coast and most likely built many years ago for fishing.

Once your main is down, getting it back up without an engine in strong wind is nigh impossible. Especially if the sea state is such that waves are also affecting the orientation of your boat in relation to the wind.
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:03   #23
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

I'm listening carefully here as I'll be converting my Freedom schooner to wishbones soon for many reasons, including eliminating vangs, cunninghams and travelers, allowing for boom-less jibing safety, easy sail reefing, hoisting and dropping, and the ability to let the boom out past 90 degrees on a reach or downwind. Much as nonsuch's can
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Old 02-03-2015, 15:03   #24
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

Something that always helps is to lubricate your luff groove . Occasionally go up your mast , clean and spray one of the many good lubricants ( PTFE or Teflon ) into the luff groove. Start at the top and work your way down . I use a clear dry film lubricant . No mess .
It makes a huge difference .
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Old 02-03-2015, 16:27   #25
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrong View Post
Aside from an approaching funnel like you may encounter near Mooloolaba, Australia, entirely dropping a mainsail is a poor choice. I've only witnessed a single sailboat that could heave-to under foresail alone. It's probably the case 99% of boats cannot safely heave-to without a main. The sailboat I observed hove-to with no main and only a foresail deployed was south of Capetown, S.A.. The heavy displacement boat was from the U.S. east coast and most likely built many years ago for fishing.

Once your main is down, getting it back up without an engine in strong wind is nigh impossible. Especially if the sea state is such that waves are also affecting the orientation of your boat in relation to the wind.
This is the post that most nearly describes my experience. We have installed strong track on the big boat and that helps.

I also swear a great deal.
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Old 02-03-2015, 20:45   #26
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
I've been sailing for over 50 years and never ever in all that time and many thousands of mile did I even thisnk about turning the engine on to reef the main. That is just a totally foreign idea that I still can't see why anyone would think it was necessary. If your sail track is so sticky you can't pull the sail down you should be thinking about some maintenance/replacement so the sail will come down.

The engine to me is something that I use to get in and out of the slip and powering when the air is too light to sail. The one time I got myself into a situation that I needed the engine to get myself out of it, the damned battery died and I couldn't start it.
Peter,
Good post and I totally agree with you but think it's ironic that you suggest proper maintenance of the sail track then continue with having a dead battery when you did need it. I know it happens it was just funny to read it together.
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Old 02-03-2015, 23:54   #27
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Originally Posted by theway View Post
Situation:
Wind picks up suddenly and you'd like to drop the main or lower it to reef, but the engine won't start (or there is no engine) How do you get the main down if you can't point into the wind? I'm assuming internal mast cars, which is what I have.
I DON'T point into the wind, at least not beyond close-hull. My genoa is rolled as small as needed, but I still keep some sail in front. I let go the main & reef it remembering that the boom can be deadly when the sailboat rolls & it will roll for more wind means more waves & my sailboat is not steadied any more by the mainsail.
Tabarly -the most famous French sailor- was thrown overboard by his gaff or boom while reefing the main on his traditional PenDuik cutter. He was alone knowing anything about sailing with 3 people who didn't know the stern from the bow & he was lost...
PS: On my Ericson 34, I need to go on deck only for the first reef; second & third reefs can be rigged from the cockpit safety... cool
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Old 03-03-2015, 01:05   #28
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Originally Posted by Wrong View Post
Aside from an approaching funnel like you may encounter near Mooloolaba, Australia, entirely dropping a mainsail is a poor choice. I've only witnessed a single sailboat that could heave-to under foresail alone. It's probably the case 99% of boats cannot safely heave-to without a main. The sailboat I observed hove-to with no main and only a foresail deployed was south of Capetown, S.A.. The heavy displacement boat was from the U.S. east coast and most likely built many years ago for fishing.

Once your main is down, getting it back up without an engine in strong wind is nigh impossible. Especially if the sea state is such that waves are also affecting the orientation of your boat in relation to the wind.
While this might be your experience, we have had a different experience. We can unfurl our Solent jib, and reach up with it, then hoist the mainsail. To do it, we let the mainsheet run, till it's hoisted, all 55 sq. m. of it, which is a bit of a grunt, and all is well.

To drop it, which was the OP's question, we'll come up under whichever heads'l we're using, till the main luffs, and then drop it, continuing under the heads'l.

We do have a boom bag and lazy jacks, so the sail is temporarily secured within it.

Ann
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Old 03-03-2015, 07:22   #29
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
While this might be your experience, we have had a different experience. We can unfurl our Solent jib, and reach up with it, then hoist the mainsail. To do it, we let the mainsheet run, till it's hoisted, all 55 sq. m. of it, which is a bit of a grunt, and all is well.

To drop it, which was the OP's question, we'll come up under whichever heads'l we're using, till the main luffs, and then drop it, continuing under the heads'l.

We do have a boom bag and lazy jacks, so the sail is temporarily secured within it.

Ann
"...lowering main IN A BLOW..." Lot's of variables to consider here. But first, the main is assumed to be fully deployed. Second the OP left considerable room for interpretation since the question does not specifically ask about reefing. Thus the reason for my precautionary post.

Also, what kind of wind strength and waves are we to consider are present in "A BLOW". What is the length and displacement of the boat? Is the foresail on a roller furling system or hanked on? How is the mainsail secured to the mast? Are there battens, and if so what type? What kind of clearance is there between the mainsail leech, aft lower shrouds and probability given the wind direction the leech will foul in them?

Your experience is different from mine because there's a huge difference in the variables mentioned above.
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Old 03-03-2015, 07:53   #30
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Re: Lowering Main in a Blow w/o Engine

As a racing sailor I believe all sailboats should be fitted with jiffy reefing. It is the simplest and easiest way to reef. You do not need to change course/heading. The process is: ease the mainsheet so the main luffs, lower the main to the reef point desired and attached the reef point tack. Tighten the halyard. Finally, pull in the reef line for the clew and make it tight, very tight, as this is now your outhaul. Re-sheet the main. If you have ties to secure the foot of the main to the boom do that now, or not.

The whole process takes no more than two minutes. Safe and fast.

PS: If you think it is time to reef it is probably already past the time you should have reefed.
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