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Old 10-04-2016, 14:36   #1
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Which mainsail reef do you use most often?

A simple answer is fine...

I'm usually either main up or main down and furl the Genoa to the strength, the obvious downside is that I can't point as high or tack very easy.



If you care to know more...
I'm working on a simple rigging now for all three, but currently have a jiffy reef system and it's setup for two reefs (sail has 3), any suggestions... should I do
1 & 2,
2 & 3,
or 1 & 3?

I'll be able to do all three, one of them may just take more effort than the other two.

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Old 10-04-2016, 15:55   #2
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Re: Which mainsail reef do you use most often?

We use 1 & 2 the most, but the #3 is rove and ready to go. When you really only want a tiny bit of main up, it is very welcome.

Obviously, the one is used more often than the 2, etc.

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Old 10-04-2016, 22:21   #3
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Re: Which mainsail reef do you use most often?

Really depends on how deep the reef points are and the boat. You will probably use the 1st and 2nd reef the most but it will probably be really crappy out when you need the 3rd reef. That's why I have all three reefs set up and run back to the cabin top in the cockpit. Last boat almost never used the 1st reef point. If I needed to reef it almost required going down to the 2nd reef point. Fortunately, never had to go to the 3rd reef point.

FWIW, find the 3rd reef an excellent set up for motoring. The sail is flat and doesn't slat much while really stabilizing the boat.
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Old 10-04-2016, 23:49   #4
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Re: Which mainsail reef do you use most often?

Cool, a question about a boat I'm actually familiar with. Though I'm not on the west coast and understand your typical wind conditions might be different.

I'm either daysailing for fun or doing an overnighter offshore to continue my wanderings. How bout you?

I've only used the second reef once or twice in six years.

My main has been on the first reef for more months than I can recall. When I do an offshore hop overnight it includes more nighttime hours than day. So I head out already reefed. I wait for ideal conditions like offshore winds above 12knts and small seas. If I need to leave in light winds that will build later I may use the full main, rarely. I'd rather not mess with it, and find the Genoa is the primary power source for me anyway.

Up to about 18knts use the full Genoa. By 20 the rail is awash so I furl in some jenny to stand back up. Actually count the seams wrapped as reference. Black sunbrella with white stitching so easy to see from cockpit.

By about 27-28knts I'm down to a tiny Jenny and still haven't touch the main.

If the forcast is 20+ or has a chance of popup showers I leave with the second reef in. If I can't dodge a squall, I crank the engine, sheet it tight, pinch up into it and take it on the chin.

Feel free to ignore all of this as I've been told by some here I don't know what the hell I'm doing.
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Old 10-04-2016, 23:53   #5
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Re: Which mainsail reef do you use most often?

Most first reefs dont reduce the sail area much I usually go straight to the second one.I have two furlers up front so can reduce or increase the sail area very easily to suit conditions.
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Old 11-04-2016, 00:19   #6
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Re: Which mainsail reef do you use most often?

theway, if you reef with jiffy reefing led aft, won't you still have to go to the mast to hook in the luff cringle?

My jiffy reeling is not led aft so is all done at the mast.
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Old 11-04-2016, 01:47   #7
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Re: Which mainsail reef do you use most often?

It would help a lot if you would describe your sailing conditions and area. Are you just sailing in SF bay? Coastal cruising down the Calif coast? Offshore?

Big differences in the conditions that you might encounter...

Jim
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Old 11-04-2016, 04:20   #8
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Re: Which mainsail reef do you use most often?

Assuming "normal use". Rig 1&2, if things are going pear shaped, when you set the second reef, rerig 1 to 3.

Check out this video - it has some great tips by a sailmaker on how to set up the clew.
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Old 11-04-2016, 04:26   #9
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Re: Which mainsail reef do you use most often?

I don't think I've used the mainsail second reef the past 5 years. I've sailed with the first reef in lots of times. I don't sail with he main down.

This a different story than the boat I had prior. Each boat sails different and you need to learn what works best on each.
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Old 11-04-2016, 07:24   #10
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Re: Which mainsail reef do you use most often?

Before we had a roller main we usually left on passage with a reef (1) tied in. We shake it out once we were well underway and the vane had the helm. Easier to shake it out than pull it in



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Old 11-04-2016, 08:40   #11
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Re: Which mainsail reef do you use most often?

Am I wrong? I thought the reefing in video was wrong. The sail did not seem any ware flat enough. (Horizontal pull) If you flatten the sail you will heel less and sail faster.


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Old 11-04-2016, 08:54   #12
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Re: Which mainsail reef do you use most often?

Quote:
Originally Posted by builder dan View Post
Most first reefs dont reduce the sail area much I usually go straight to the second one.I have two furlers up front so can reduce or increase the sail area very easily to suit conditions.
I'm having a new offshore-grade (think extensive reinforcements, triple stitching and 9 oz weight) main made at the moment, and in consultation with my sailmaker, I decided on just two reefs.

The first one is considerably deeper than a typical first reef, taking off about six feet off the luff. The second is just short of where most third reefs would be.

The logic may not apply to your situation, but this was mine: We have a rather heavy steel full-keeled pilothouse cutter with a modest mast height. We already know we can carry a full main into the low 20-knot range; let's say 22 knots, because our SA/D ratio is relatively high. I therefore want to keep the full hoist longer than most. When we do reef, not only do I hope it's early, but we want a real decrease in sail area. If we are barrelling along at hull speed and we expect more wind, on passage, we are perfectly prepared to take a speed penalty in order to have a less stressful ride AND because in many cases, the next step would be heaving to.

The second reef takes us down to just about trysail area; that, a fully doused yankee jib and a storm staysail mean we can run off at 40 knots or so, should that be considered a good idea.

Now, how often you sail in these conditions is unknown to me, but my experience in an IOR-type boat, where I never used more than the first reef of three in my tall, skinny main even once in 16 years, even in 40 knots, suggests that a deeper first reef is going to be used a lot, and deeper than that is not going to be so common if we are watching our weather forecasts. So much depends on your willingness to stay out in the heavy stuff, your need for comfort and the particular attributes of your boat (and specifically, can you heave to and how much main is required to do so effectively) that it's hard to give advice, just examples.

The short form is: we rarely reef, but when we feel the need, we like to reef deeply, because we're lovers, not fighters!
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Old 11-04-2016, 08:55   #13
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Re: Which mainsail reef do you use most often?

I would set for reef points 2 and 3. If I decide I need to reduce sail going a little over beats the alternative so I don't see sacrificing convenience to set reef 1 as real valuable. Now if things get worse I sure want convenience in going to reef 3. It's one of those things were there are 3 ways to go and you will find somebody who will argue earnestly for each option, so go with whatever makes you comfortable.
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Old 11-04-2016, 08:58   #14
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Re: Which mainsail reef do you use most often?

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theway, if you reef with jiffy reefing led aft, won't you still have to go to the mast to hook in the luff cringle?

My jiffy reeling is not led aft so is all done at the mast.
I prefer to reef entirely at the mast, myself. Less friction, less hardware and you can look at the slides to see if there are points of strain. And you can clip on to the tabernacle, if you have one, or even wrap the tether on the mast to stay put, if you don't have granny bars.
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:00   #15
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Re: Which mainsail reef do you use most often?

When I had my main built I specified two deep reefs. This means the first reef is halfway between where normally first and second reef would be. And the second reef is where the third reef would be.

This makes it easier to not go back and forth. When it pipes over 18 knots first reef goes in and then over 25 the second. It makes us a tad slower at 18 knots but the comfort level is much better. Some day we hope to add a third that will act as a storm reef for over 30 knots....


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