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Old 09-06-2014, 07:37   #16
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Re: When to reef

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
I'm reefed BEFORE the wind starts hitting 20 knots, including gusts.
same.
maybe i'm a big wimp but i have 1st reef in before 20 and a reduced genoa in the before 25kts..
30 kts i'd have 2nd reef
35 prob 3rd reef and reduce genoa to 1/3
if caught in 40+ i'm guessing i'm riding bare..and prolly have a sea anchor out
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:41   #17
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Re: When to reef

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Originally Posted by 2Wind View Post
I guess the variables relate to:
1. boat (beam/balast/rudder efficiency, auto pilot Vs hand steering)
2. rig (height/load rating)
3. sail (size/reefing percentages)
4. sea state (swell Vs sea angle/current Vs sea, height/period/steepness
5. crew skill
6. skipper experience
I think this hits it pretty well. Number one would also include keel/underbody. The boat will tell you as well.

I generally start reefing the main around 20k. I fly a 110 headsail. My boat doesn't like much beyond 15 degrees of heel and over that there isn't any increase in speed but more rig pressure.

I'd say that in the conditions you met, I'd have a triple reefed main and my staysail. That would keep me in a controllable speed range.

Years ago in 50-60k winds, on a ketch, we were jib and jigger very comfortably. (Yankee jib and single reefed mizzen) sailing off the wind.
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:44   #18
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Re: When to reef

Just an observation... And with the caveat that I don't know squat about multi hulls... I've noticed some comments are from multihull yachts. Isn't the reefing criteria different as you don't want to fly a hull and they tend to be faster to start with? So reefing earlier would be very prudent. (?)
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:55   #19
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Re: When to reef

Reefing depends on point of sail. If you are going to weather in a mast head rig then reef the main first as that will reduce the helm. When you begin to reef your head sail remember to move the fairleads forward each time you roller reef more sail to stop the sail from twisting off at the top. Once you start reefing 30% or more of the sail area your furling head sail will no longer work well going to weather as it will take a real big bite out of your ability to point. If you are off the wind, same thing, reef the main first and if you are deep reaching it may be feasible to drop the main entirely and just sail on the head sail, this is much easier on the helmsman or autopilot. Contrary to popular thought sailboats go faster when properly reefed and balanced...dragging decks is all show and no go.
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Old 09-06-2014, 08:02   #20
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Re: When to reef

When you first think about....preferably early and deep, shaking out a reef later beats the other options. Details depend on boat.
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Old 09-06-2014, 08:08   #21
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Re: When to reef

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So if your a Cutter and the wind is really up, which headsail do you leave up, the Genoa heavily reefed or the staysail?
The staysail is closer to the main, and probably offers better balance. The smaller sail is also probably a better shape in high winds than the Genoa heavily reefed. As a bonus, it may be a heavier material as well.
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Old 09-06-2014, 08:09   #22
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pirate Re: When to reef

1/2 hour before you have to...
Have noticed many put it off hoping the wind holds or drops.. only to find it don't..
As for the OP.. I'da had the main down and 2/3rds furled genoa heading S with a N'ly.. but then I'm no sailor and hate spilling my coffee.. gorra get a Cat..
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Old 09-06-2014, 08:17   #23
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Re: When to reef

These days reefing sails is kinda like GPS was to the sextant. It takes very little skill and effort to properly reef head sails and mainsails. Headsails are all roller reefed and most mains are as well. Not the way it used to be when you dragged the new sail on to the fordeck for your twice daily salt water bath. Pull the old one down and tie it to the rail while you hank a new one on while the halyard whips your head a few times. We often reefed a little late back then because it was work so we paid the price when we got around to it. We learned lots of little tricks to depower the sail and forestall the inevitable but these days you simply pull on this string or that string and for many its all done with a push button electric winch. We lost a lot of the skills form back then but who needs them these days?
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Old 09-06-2014, 09:31   #24
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Re: When to reef

If you ever ask the question, "Should I reef?" The answer is, "YES."

Any time I have waited has not been good.
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Old 09-06-2014, 09:59   #25
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Re: When to reef

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Originally Posted by Pirate999 View Post
Just an observation... And with the caveat that I don't know squat about multi hulls... I've noticed some comments are from multihull yachts. Isn't the reefing criteria different as you don't want to fly a hull and they tend to be faster to start with? So reefing earlier would be very prudent. (?)
Yes, different, but early and deep is still a good strategy.

With cruising cats in particular its more by the numbers than feel (because there ain't much feel).

Generally you want your sail plan set up for the gusts, rather than sustained windspeeds, because cats don't heel and give with gusts like monos and it gives you more saftey margin.

You certainy never want to fly a hull on a cruising cat (certainly I don't). Fun on a Hobie 16, bad idea on a cruising cat.
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:15   #26
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Re: When to reef

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If you ever ask the question, "Should I reef?" The answer is, "YES."

Any time I have waited has not been good.

On my boat if anyone suggests reefing we do it because that means someone already was "thinking " it a while

I get in trouble for deciding too early to take the reef out and then taking the hard gust
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:18   #27
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Re: When to reef

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If you ever ask the question, "Should I reef?" The answer is, "YES."
That's the rule.
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:19   #28
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Re: When to reef

Good advice here. Downwind? Drop the main. Period. Why bother with the complications?
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Old 09-06-2014, 17:49   #29
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Good advice and great to hear of others experiences. I hadn't considered dropping the main and using the genoa furled, mainly because of reading about loss of sail shape but now realise that this is not so important when running off the wind, makes sense but I just hadn't thought about it.
My boat is beamy 10ft with a bolt on keel and likes being well healed (15 to 20 deg) but as I am new to her and she is 34 years old I don't know what she is capable of and still learning the best sail plans as I meet different conditions.
I guess I need to work out her hull speed and adjust the sails accordingly for optimum performance then temper that with being comfortable by altering course and sail plan further.
My concern at the time was to not damage the rig and was surprised to see the other boat with so much sail up. I think she was probably a racer. I am happy being a low stress plodder.
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Old 09-06-2014, 18:39   #30
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Re: When to Reef

My boat is a 42 ft 30,000 lb cutter with 12.5 ft beam and a moderate fin keel with skeg hung rudder, yankee, staysail, and main with three reef points. At 18 knots of wind I tuck in the first reef. At 25 I furl the yankee. She sails beautifully with staysail and reefed main. At 30-35 knots depending on sea state, I tuck in the second reef. I've never had to use the third reef yet. But I have sailed at hull speed (7.5ish) with the staysail alone in 45+ on the beam. She was as happy as a duck on a pond although the skipper was a little scared.

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