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Old 25-12-2013, 23:38   #1
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Reducing sail priority

So you are sailing a sloop, monohull, modified full keel boat...

You have the mainsail up completely and have the 120% headsail up. The wind increases to the point where you need about 10-ish degrees of tiller input to maintain course and the boat is starting to heel to the point where you think, "hmmm... time to reef." You are not anticipating the wind to increase to gale levels or any other storm conditions, just wanting to balance the boat to match the increased wind.

Are you better served by:

1.) Putting one reef on the mainsail
2.) Swapping to a smaller jib
3.) Both.

Assume you do not have roller reefing Genoa so you need to hank on a smaller jib, and you must leave the cockpit to reef the mainsail.

Also, your crew of your girlfriend is easily skilled enough to manage the tiller but you have to make the necessary changes alone.

How would you prioritize your actions?

Please list your actions in order and provide a rationale. Thank you!
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Old 25-12-2013, 23:53   #2
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Re: Reducing sail priority

set the auto pilot ..... thow a leg ova the girlfriend ........re check wind speed .... put 2 reefs in the main
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Old 26-12-2013, 00:17   #3
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Re: Reducing sail priority

If you're not expecting the wind to increase more I'd travel down the main and sail with a bubble in the main.

Whether to change down the jib or reef the main, it depends on the boat. One rule of thumb is that you change down the bigger more powerful sail first. On one extreme if you have an old IOR boat with a hankerchief of a main, changing the main hardly changes the sail area at all compared to changing the jib. On the other extreme changing the jib on a fractional rig with a small jib doesn't make much of a change.
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Old 26-12-2013, 05:49   #4
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Re: Reducing sail priority

Drop the main and sail on foresail
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Old 26-12-2013, 07:55   #5
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In what direction is the 10* of helm needed to maintain course?
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Old 26-12-2013, 08:37   #6
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Re: Reducing sail priority

Drop all the sails, grab a beer and head below..... With your gf. Come back on deck when the wind drops.

Or put one reef in the main and leave the jib.
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Old 26-12-2013, 09:00   #7
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Re: Reducing sail priority

Quote:
Originally Posted by cal40john View Post
If you're not expecting the wind to increase more I'd travel down the main and sail with a bubble in the main.

Whether to change down the jib or reef the main, it depends on the boat. One rule of thumb is that you change down the bigger more powerful sail first. On one extreme if you have an old IOR boat with a hankerchief of a main, changing the main hardly changes the sail area at all compared to changing the jib. On the other extreme changing the jib on a fractional rig with a small jib doesn't make much of a change.
+1 Depends on boat. I have a 1987 pearson 31 cruiser with a smallish main and large genoa. I'd roller furl first.
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Old 26-12-2013, 09:02   #8
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Re: Reducing sail priority

Main 220ft squared. Genoa 270ft squared.
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Old 26-12-2013, 09:19   #9
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Re: Reducing sail priority

Masthead sloop: reef main first. The "other kind" (fractional rig): reef jib first.

General: know what kind of boat you have and how it best operates.

Rig your mainsail reefing points back to the cockpit, then your girlfriend can reef it as easily as you can. Double line reefing is way easier.
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Old 26-12-2013, 09:49   #10
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Re: Reducing sail priority

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
General: know what kind of boat you have and how it best operates.
This is the real key. You need to know your boat, because each one will react a little differently, and may respond better to a different reefing order. There is no one "right" answer.
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Old 03-01-2014, 14:25   #11
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Re: Reducing sail priority

Do whichever is more difficult first. That way if the winds increases some more, you can do the easier sail reduction in worse conditions.
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Old 03-01-2014, 15:03   #12
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Re: Reducing sail priority

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Masthead sloop: reef main first. The "other kind" (fractional rig): reef jib first.
IME, this is backwards. Having owned both types of rigs, I suggest reefing the larger sail first... assuming that both reefing practices work similarly well.

Cheers,

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Old 05-01-2014, 15:30   #13
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Re: Reducing sail priority

Assuming you don't have a roller-furling headsail, then I'd say reef the main. It is easier and safer to put a reef in the main than to go forward and change a headsail (particularly if you have a bolt rope on the genao and a foil on the forestay as opposed to hank-on sails). However, having said that, reefing the main while leaving the genoa as-is will move the centre of effort of your sails forward which, depending on your boat, may or may not help with the helming issue.

Bottom line, try both options and see which one balances the boat better and makes steering easier. Me, I tend to want to reef the main and downsize the genoa to a jib, but then again, I'm a scaredy-cat
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Old 05-01-2014, 15:36   #14
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Re: Reducing sail priority

On the wind , bring both sails down together. Off the wind bring the main down first

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Old 05-01-2014, 16:23   #15
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Re: Reducing sail priority

Get that jib down. As everybody except the jerks has pointed out, the choice depends on the boat. The key in your case is, no staysail, no roller furling. So, suppose you reef the main first and then the wind picks up to gale force. What now? You've got to get that jib in. So you go forward, hank on the little jib and drop the big one. As you try to unhank the monster, a wave comes ove the bow and catches the part that's free. Now we've got a sail in the water and still no headsail. Depending on your latitude, hypothermia is an issue. Your girlfriend is hanging in there but thinking about what to do when yodu finally reach harbor, and it doesn't involve you. You're thinking, wish I'd done this first!
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