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Old 16-07-2013, 10:06   #16
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Re: Reefing the main sail

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
When is he suppose to sleep? (if he's singlehanding on a long voyage)
Good question and a subject of some controversy and heated opinions. Previous threads on this forum gave a wide range of answers including:

1 - sleep in 15 minute increments which is the time it takes a fast ship to come from over the horizon to close enough to collide.
2 - use radar with a guard zone feature
3 - sail outside regular shipping channels, just sleep and trust in the odds.
4 - other boats have a crew so it's their responsibility to look out for me while I'm singlehanding and asleep.


Option 1 leaves most people sleep deprived, extremely tired and can cause one to make serious errors in judgement.

Option 2 can easily miss smaller boats or yachts, especially in rough seas.

Option 3. Twice sailing offshore, hundreds of miles from shipping channels I would have collided with another sailboat if I followed this plan but I was keeping watch.

Option 4. No comment.
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Old 16-07-2013, 10:14   #17
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Re: Reefing the main sail

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
... You don't have to tie the midline reefing points (I forget what they're caled, but they dangle down. if you do, tie them loosely.

To undo it, simply reverse the steps. ...
Here's some sailing trivia for you: The ordinary square knot is also called the reef knot because it is so useful for reefing. Make the knot vertically, on one side of the boom. When it is time to shake out a reef, grab the upper part of the knot and pull down forcefully. The knot will fall apart on its own.

Simply walk down the boom, pulling the reef lines, pop, pop, pop!

Betcha didn't know that!
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Old 16-07-2013, 10:34   #18
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Re: Reefing the main sail

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Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
This is how single line jiffy reefing works.

Its the way to go for a single hander.

I often do reefing this way single handed from the cockpit. The reason it works so well is because it pulls the sail down.
Nice system but on lots of the older boats the main halyard is cleated off on the mast.................reckon you could redo that system I'm just pointing it out.
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Old 16-07-2013, 10:41   #19
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Re: Reefing the main sail

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Good question and a subject of some controversy and heated opinions. Previous threads on this forum gave a wide range of answers including:

1 - sleep in 15 minute increments which is the time it takes a fast ship to come from over the horizon to close enough to collide.
2 - use radar with a guard zone feature
3 - sail outside regular shipping channels, just sleep and trust in the odds.
4 - other boats have a crew so it's their responsibility to look out for me while I'm singlehanding and asleep.


Option 1 leaves most people sleep deprived, extremely tired and can cause one to make serious errors in judgement.

Option 2 can easily miss smaller boats or yachts, especially in rough seas.

Option 3. Twice sailing offshore, hundreds of miles from shipping channels I would have collided with another sailboat if I followed this plan but I was keeping watch.

Option 4. No comment.
I guess AIS is the answer for the shipping traffic and as far as the smaller sailboats ............slow your speed but stay on course. (and hope your boat is tougher than his that is a glancing blow............?)

Maybe napping during the day would be a good idea and staying awake at night.

This guy's got some pretty good ideas on sleeping, but he's a totally commited Singlehanded Transpac Racer:

http://www.sfbaysss.org/tipsbook/index.html?id=4
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Old 16-07-2013, 10:52   #20
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Re: Reefing the Main Sail

So..... a general reefing guide......... here goes!

I'll stick to slab-reefing and mainsails.

Regardless of your specific setup the general idea is to de-power the sail, drop it down, secure it and then tension everything again. As a general rule you also want to do things at the tack end first and the clew end second. So, take up on topping lift, ease halyard, take up on tack reefing line (or hook the sail onto the reefing horn), take up on the halyard, take up on the clew reefing line, ease the topping lift, congratulate yourself.

I have a pretty standard 2-line reefing system on my boat and this is how i generally manage things:

- Come up into the wind onto about a close reach.
- Ease the main out so it's completely depowered. Vang off (mine is a rope vang).
- Topping lift on.
- Main halyard down. (you can mark your halyard with where it should be for each reefing point. Big help)
- Take up on tack reefing line (not too tight otherwise the tack gets pulled down too low)
- Take up on main halyard
- Take up on clew reefing line
- Ease topping lift
- Trim and power up the sail
- Secure bunt of the sail with little stringy bits if you're feeling particularly motivated.
- Job done

Be careful of the intermediate bits of line that tidy up the bunt of the sail. In the event that either of your reefing lines snap all that pressure will be on one of those little lines and they can rip right through your sail in enough breeze.

Is that kind of what you were looking for?!......
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Old 21-07-2013, 13:11   #21
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Re: Reefing the Main Sail

Disclosure: I am NOT an experienced sailor, having built and learned to sail on a little catboat (Bolger "Nymph") and now about 1 year on a 23' cutter.

Best advice I've found suggested taking down ALL the sails first. In my case I've got a down-haul on my 100% foresail and I can splash that on the deck in a heart beat (both sheets centered). With that down, and the main-sheet down (mostly), the boat is docile and I can hook up the new tack point...go back and tie down the clew, raise the main and then the jib. I can take care of the loose sail material then or later depending on conditions.

This was sure better than the jib driving the boat all over the place while I was reefing the main.

Jerry
Montgomery 23 Offshore Cutter
out of Port Kinsale on the Yeocomico River
Lower Potomac
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Old 21-07-2013, 13:36   #22
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Re: Reefing the Main Sail

I've got double line reefing on my boat. Reefing proceedure is pretty much like 'Definitely Me, describes. The reefing lines and main halyard are run back to the cockpit. The topping lift adjustment is a three part block at the aft end of the boom. Can reef in about a minute without leaving the cockpit and, most importantly, under the protection of the dodger. So easy to reef that I sometimes do it just for the fun of it. That's how I discovered that the triple reefed main worked way better than a full main as a steadying sail, under power in sloppy conditions. As long as I reef in sequence, otherwise tie in 1st reef, 2nd reef, then 3rd, the bunt of the sail doesn't need to be bundled up. My reef slabs are 5', 5', and 6' on a 16' boom.

Recently sailed on a 27' boat with single line reefing. Didn't leave me with a good feeling. Had to haul on the reefing line for what seemed like forever. Friction in all the turns of the line took a lot of force to pull in the reefing line and took care of my exercise quotient for the day. On my boat, single line reefing would require hauling 60' or so of line for the 2nd reef and would take forever to winch in very much of that line.
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Old 21-07-2013, 14:02   #23
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Re: Reefing the Main Sail

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Originally Posted by jmurphy View Post
Is there a video showing the proper procedures for reefing a main when under full sails to prepare for strong winds or overnight (no watch) sailing.
Thanks
James
Sorry I don't have a video, but shortening down is a fairly easy process. Simply clew and bunt-up, lay aloft and furl.

The main and the foresails are generally the first two to come in, and have no provision for reefing. From there, we'll strike the royals, then topgallants, then start thinking about putting reefs in the topsails.

Here, you see us wih our fore and mainsails hanging in their gear, waiting to be furled. Hope this answers your question!
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Old 21-07-2013, 15:03   #24
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Re: Reefing the main sail

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Originally Posted by jmurphy View Post
To all:
I don't own a particular sail boat, I'm in a sailing club that has several size and makes. from single to double reef lines and most with clew lines. I do want to own my own sailboat again, but for now I am just curious about the procedures.
In regard to my (no watch) comment, I have heard many stories of people using auto pilot or a wind vane to allow the solo sailor some time to sleep during long voyages and in open seas. I don't think I could sleep very comfortably, but I don't know who could. I guess the best thing to do is to heave-to until I've rested enough to continue.
Ask your sailing instructor, he may have an idea or two.

Unless you can be more specific as to the type of reefing system you're talking about the answer is -- it depends.

Heaving-to and sleeping is no more safe than continuing to sail and napping,. In fact your ability to maneuver out of the way of a collision would be minimal.

If you fear sailing alone in the dark, in the open sea, for long distances, then don't do that.
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Old 21-07-2013, 16:25   #25
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Re: Reefing the main sail

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
1 - sleep in 15 minute increments which is the time it takes a fast ship to come from over the horizon to close enough to collide.

Option 1 leaves most people sleep deprived, extremely tired and can cause one to make serious errors in judgement.
Well, not necessary. There is a sleep system called polyphase sleeping or something like that, that requires regular naps every ... minutes for something like 15-20 minutes. It looks like your brain can adjust to that and will function just fine, no sleep deprivation at all, and loads of free time as a result. I have read about it in a Steve Pavlina's blog many moons ago and even tried myself - it took me about 3 weeks to completely adjust to a new sleep pattern, but it created more problems than solved. I hoped to increase my effectiveness by increasing available time, but now instead of procrastinating for 14 hours a say I was procrastinating 20 hours a day. Then, when living socially, it really sucks to be awake in the night when all world is asleep. And I just loved so much sleeping with my wife, so I started to miss it. So after about 2 weeks on this sleep I readjusted back to normal.

What I want to say is that it IS possible to completely hack your sleep patterns and have a very useful pattern of short naps without any bad stuff like tiredness etc. When you are on land it is, IMO, waste of time, but when solo circumnavigating it may be a valid solution. It takes time and effort to adjust (it was a major PITA for me, at least, and I am not repeating this again).
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Old 21-07-2013, 17:05   #26
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Re: Reefing the main sail

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Originally Posted by jmurphy View Post
To all:
I don't own a particular sail boat, I'm in a sailing club that has several size and makes. from single to double reef lines and most with clew lines. I do want to own my own sailboat again, but for now I am just curious about the procedures.
In regard to my (no watch) comment, I have heard many stories of people using auto pilot or a wind vane to allow the solo sailor some time to sleep during long voyages and in open seas. I don't think I could sleep very comfortably, but I don't know who could. I guess the best thing to do is to heave-to until I've rested enough to continue.

To answer your question and not all the questions your first question raised ..

First you point into the wind if you can, or otherwise depower the sail.

Then you take all the tension off the sail applied by the boat -- loosen the boom vang, the cunningham if there is one, the topping lift.

Lower the sail and reef it however your reefing system works

Tighten up everything you loosened at the beginning.

You don't have to tie all those dangly lines dow the new foot of the sail unless the bottom of the sail sags enough to block your field of view. If you do tie them off , tie them loosely.
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Old 21-07-2013, 17:41   #27
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The topping lift needs to be hardened prior to reefing. Otherwise the boom will drop into the cockpit, unless you have a rigid vang. The leech of the sail needs to be slack during the process. Only after the reef is in and the main halyard is properly tensioned should the topping lift be eased.
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Old 21-07-2013, 17:46   #28
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Re: Reefing the main sail

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
Then you take all the tension off the sail applied by the boat -- loosen the boom vang, the cunningham if there is one, the topping lift.
You really don't need to take the tension off the cunningham or the topping lift. In fact, you may need to take up on the topping lift to keep the end of the boom above the heads of anyone in the cockpit (otherwise the boom end will droop down as you release the halyard.) Some way of stabilizing the boom athwartship is very desirable--a boom brake, boom gallows, or lacking that, mainsheet tightened against the topping lift.

I found it useful to put tape marks on the halyard to indicate how much to release for the first and second reef. You can then drop the halyard just the right amount, secure the forward reefing cringle, re-tension the halyard, and tension the aft reef line at the clew.

Once you release the halyard, all tension will be off the cunningham. Also, don't worry about the outhaul--it becomes irrelevant once the halyard tension is off.

The key to reefing is to make the procedure as simple as possible. ideally, you'd only need to work two line: the halyard and the clew reefing line.
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