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Old 15-06-2015, 10:42   #1
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Ranger 29 - When to Reef

Going out tonight racing. Small craft warning 15-25 knots. 2 to 4 foot seas against the tide. Last week gusting at 20 it felt over powered at times.

Thinking I should reef the main or should I full main but partial unfurl of the genoa. The boat is very tender.
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Old 15-06-2015, 11:33   #2
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Re: Ranger 29 - When to Reef

If you ever ask yourself the question "should I reef?", the answer is "yes."

BTW - when reefed, you will eliminate some weather helm and you will pick up speed.
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Old 15-06-2015, 11:34   #3
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Re: Ranger 29 - When to Reef

You will do better with a reefed main and full jib.
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Old 16-06-2015, 19:24   #4
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Re: Ranger 29 - When to Reef

The Ranger 29 would sail much nicer in 20 knots with a reef and maybe 2 if it is gusting much higher. Mast head rigs should always have their mains reefed first. Fly a smaller jib unless its only a 100 as a furled jib really screws your pointing. Have your mainsheet trimmer playing the traveler so that the boat doesn't heel much more than 20 degrees. If you don't have a traveler then vang sheet it and just use the mainsheet to dump it in the gusts. Off the wind you may be able to fly a larger sail but that depends on how sharp your crew is.
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Old 16-06-2015, 21:06   #5
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Re: Ranger 29 - When to Reef

Too late for this race. The Ranger 29 is a great boat but as you noted she's a bit tender. I'd start every race in that boat with a reef in the main. Only takes a moment to shake it out and you lose much less time than putting one in after the gun.

Keep the boat on her feet. Too little heal is better than too much. If you're having trouble, put the traveler to leward. Because the traveler is way aft of the end of the boom you may also need the boom vang to keep the boom down and tension on the leech.

Also, how does you main shape look? In heavy winds a blown out main kills your speed. The draft moves aft and the forward drive turns into healing force. Get the mainsail luff really tight to keep the draft forward. Then tighten it again before the starting gun.

Make sure the battens are not cupping to windward and just creating a bag out of the sail.
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Old 16-06-2015, 22:06   #6
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Re: Ranger 29 - When to Reef

One indicator that you can use is rudder angle. When close hauled if you have more than around 5-7 degrees of rudder, start dropping the traveller. When you get to the end of the traveller and you still have a lot of rudder angle, then it is time to reef. Rinse and repeat as the wind intensifies, going to the second reef if required.

You are a bit hampered by the roller genoa, for by the time you are travelled down and one reef in, the next step should be reducing the headsaill, and rolling it up is a poor way to do that compared to switching to a smaller one. Obviously you won't be doing that, so roll it with some tension on the sheet to get a tight roll and continue as above. You may note that the boat will do slightly better on the tack where the roll is on the windward side of the sail, but it will not be a big difference.

So the next step is to develop a close relationship with both your sailmaker and your bank manager...

Enjoy the racing -- you will learn lots and have some fun too.

Jim
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Old 17-06-2015, 06:58   #7
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Re: Ranger 29 - When to Reef

If you are going to use your roller furler to reduce the headsail, move the jib cars forward. Otherwise you will be spilling air off the top of your sail. As you will probably not be able to use your tell tales to determine the best position, use the angle of the sheet (it should point to the middle of the luff) and the curve of the leech and foot (thet should be similar).
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