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Old 04-08-2022, 19:51   #1
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Correct reefing tack points on mast

I am a little confused on my FP Bahia with how to correctly set the reef points at the tack of the mainsail.

The mast has 4 D's, 2 on each side, equally spaced, as in the photo below, currently the port side upper D has a snapshackle which I use to attach the 2 cringle loops on the dogbone at the reef point.

Someone pointed out this is pulling the tack to the side of the mast, they suggested I attach a second snap shackle on the starboard side and attach one cringle loop into each snap shackle so the reefed tack remains in the middle of the mast.

But when I looked at another Bahia anchored next to me this week, they have 3 D's on the mast 2 on one side and a 3rd one on the other. They use the lowest one for the first reef, next one for the second reef and the top one for the 3rd reef - so 3 snap shackles, one for the two cringles on the dog bone for each reef.

So now I am confused! Should I attach the two cringles loops of each dogbone to one snapshakle, or should i attach one on either side? Should I use the lower Ds for the first reef and the upper ones for the second reef. ( which begs the question of what I would do if I ever rigged and used the 3rd reef!)
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Old 04-08-2022, 20:46   #2
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Re: Correct reefing tack points on mast

Hello sailor,
A lot of boats have "horns" (open hooks pointing down) attached to either side of the gooseneck. The dog-bone ring on one side of a tack reef point is put on the horn and the sail hoisted. The next reef goes on the horn on the other side. For a third reef, as the sail is lowered, the dog-bone of the 2nd reef is taken off the horn and this frees the horn to take the dog-bone ring of the 3rd reef.

This system does pull the tack a bit to one side on each reef, but I've never heard of someone being so finicky as to insist that the tack be centred exactly behind the mast.
Note that with this system, the webbing straps between the dog-bone rings on each reef point need to be long enough to reach down to the horns over the bunched up sail. Your system doesn't need that because your "D" straps at set at the level of each of the reef points. Understand?



I would use your existing "D" rings and add another pair at the level of the third reef tack. Having a pair at the same level allows you to work on the reefs from either side, so you can always be on the windward side as you attach the dog-bone ring.



The other boat who uses both D's for each reef is going to have to work on both sides of the mast for each reef. IMHO, a complete waste of time and energy for essentially no gain.



I've never seen a system like yours, but it looks like a good solution to attaching the reef tacks.
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Old 04-08-2022, 21:34   #3
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Re: Correct reefing tack points on mast

Thanks Nuku34, in that case I will use the lower one for the first reef and the upper one for the 2nd reef. I dont have reefing lines for the 3rd reef at this stage anyway - once its too strong for 2 reefs I just drop the main completely!
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Old 05-08-2022, 03:21   #4
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Re: Correct reefing tack points on mast

A lot of people just disconnect their “No 1” Reef line and thread it through the “No 3” reefing point if they’re expecting heavy weather.

You’ll probably find that you’ll have better control with a fully-reefed main rather than bare poles.
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Old 05-08-2022, 04:32   #5
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Re: Correct reefing tack points on mast

Fair points, ChrisJHC, in our case we are unlikely to need the 3rd reef. Living in the far North tropics we dont really get the conditions where a 3rd reef might be needed in a cruising cat - unless we were sailing in a cyclone, something I would spend some effort to avoid!
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Old 05-08-2022, 05:05   #6
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Re: Correct reefing tack points on mast

I hate that setup. I had the Forespar setup with hooks which, while avoiding snap shackles, is horrible as well.

I switched to a 6 foot piece of 3/8” line with Dyneema core. Tie it with a bowline around the boom gooseneck fitting. You may have a reef zero position, which is normally called the Cunningham grommet. After setting the sail, take the piece of line that is tied around the gooseneck, bring it up and through the grommet, then down the other side where you put it on the mast winch and tighten it. When reefing, lower the sail to the correct halyard position, then do the same thing with the Cunningham.

I have two mast winches and none on the boom, but you need at least a clutch or halyard retention device for the jib to make that winch available.
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Old 05-08-2022, 05:14   #7
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Re: Correct reefing tack points on mast

Not really understanding your reply! Why do you hate the snap shackle setup?

I dont understand your 2nd paragraph.
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Old 05-08-2022, 07:32   #8
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Re: Correct reefing tack points on mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galumay View Post
Not really understanding your reply! Why do you hate the snap shackle setup?

I dont understand your 2nd paragraph.
I hate snap shackles because of the many incidents with injuries, as well as all steel hardware that can be simply avoided by using modern materials like Dyneema. Example: soft shackle or lashing instead of steel shackle.

See attachment for a Cunningham as proposed by Harken. Remember, Harken is trying to sell their hardware. Instead of the eye on the mast (similar to the eyes you have), I tie the line around the gooseneck fitting, eliminating all hardware used for that attachment point. Next, instead of the Harken block and tackle, I simply put the other end on a mast winch, which is more than enough to pull the sail into shape.

A Cunningham is called reef 0 because it is exactly like the other reefs. I’m sure your sail has a grommet just above the tack, done the same as the reef points. When you put in the 1st reef you do exactly the same, just with the grommet of the first reef point. Most sailors using this system mark their halyards for the reef points: just lower the sail to that point and tension it with it Cunningham instead of the halyard.

This eliminates all hardware and just a 6’ piece of 3/8” line replacing it all.
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Old 06-08-2022, 16:39   #9
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Re: Correct reefing tack points on mast

Ok, well I have no concern with snap shackles for reef points, I struggle to imagine circumstances which could lead to an injury with a snap shackle that is shackled to the mast on a D fitting - unless I head butted the mast!

I dont have anything as complicated as a cunningham on my rig, and see no reason to have such hardware.

My question originally was understanding how the existing setup is intended to be used, and that has been pretty clearly answered. It seems the simplest and most efficient setup as is, I now have 2 snap shackles at different heights to accomodate the first & second reefs. Just a matter of dropping halyard to clip in relevant reef and then re-tighten halyard.

I guess your posts show there are many different ways to achieve similar outcomes in sails and rigging, also possibly the differences between typical setups on cats versus monos? Thanks for your input, and your clarification to help me understand what you meant!
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Old 06-08-2022, 17:19   #10
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Re: Correct reefing tack points on mast

I havn't come across too many boats that have a third reef sewn into the main, come to think of it, can't think of any.

By the time, you might think you need a third reef you are likely in some serious weather and should be considering other options.
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Old 06-08-2022, 17:41   #11
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Re: Correct reefing tack points on mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by MicHughV View Post
I havn't come across too many boats that have a third reef sewn into the main, come to think of it, can't think of any.

By the time, you might think you need a third reef you are likely in some serious weather and should be considering other options.
Such as what?

We have always had three reef points in the cruising mains we've had made.

I specify that the third reef is deep; it can be used in serious weather in lieu of a storm trysail.

In the heaviest winds we will sail with a very small jib and a triple reefed main.

After that we'd drop the jib. We've done this a few times.

We have never taken the mainsail down at sea except to repair it

Our mainsail reef points are simply a tack hook on either side of the gooseneck. We pull down the main and hook the tack reefing cringle over the hook, then tighten the halyard (and then tighten the clew reefing line. Very fast and very limited time needed at the mast. The winches and clutches are in cockpit). Being off to the side is of no consequence.

We do have a 4:1 block and tackle with a hook which can be used to tension the mainsail luff at any position.
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Old 06-08-2022, 17:46   #12
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Re: Correct reefing tack points on mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by MicHughV View Post
I havn't come across too many boats that have a third reef sewn into the main, come to think of it, can't think of any.

By the time, you might think you need a third reef you are likely in some serious weather and should be considering other options.
One must wonder where you have been sailing! We, and nearly all serious cruisers that we know, have always had three reef points in our main sails, and like Wingsail we use the very deep third reef in lieu of a traditional trysail.

And also like Fred, when in very strong winds we use the third reef in the main alone... no headsail at all. Works for our boat, maybe not yours.

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Old 06-08-2022, 18:00   #13
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Re: Correct reefing tack points on mast

To MicHughV:
Here in N.Z. lots of yachts have 3rd reef tack and clew grommets. It does blow down here in the roaring 40's...

The trend is not to have reef point grommets between the tack and clew as modern sail cloth does not need to be tied to the boom and most yachts now have loose-footed mains anyway.



Some have permanently rigged 3rd reef clew lines (3 sheeves at the boom end). Some think they can just un-reeve the 2nd reef line and use that for the 3rd, but when its blowing 30+ that's not an easy task!



Many N.Z. yachts have a separate trisail track and trisail intended to be used instead of a 3rd reef. N.Z. off-shore cruising/racing and inshore/racing regulations actually require a 3rd reef or trisail and a storm jib.



I've used, on different yachts, both a 3rd reef and a trisail. Both of these, usually in combination with a true storm jib (also an N.Z. off-shore requirement), allow the yacht to continue to sail into the wind (at around 50-60 degrees) and that can be a big advantage various situations.



Not sure what your "other options" would be. Could you clarify? I guess you might be based in a place where the wind doesn't blow all that hard so no-one needs a 3rd reef?
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Old 06-08-2022, 18:07   #14
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Re: Correct reefing tack points on mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuku34 View Post
...The trend is not to have reef point grommets between the tack and clew as modern sail cloth does not need to be tied to the boom and most yachts now have loose-footed mains anyway...
With three reefs in that is a lot of sailcloth to be hanging down below the boom.

We use reef points and tie up the loose cloth
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Old 06-08-2022, 19:59   #15
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Re: Correct reefing tack points on mast

We keep our lazy jacks and stack pack bag in place all the time. When reefed they hold the sailcloth below the current reef in place. With our very deep third reef (30% of the full sail area) there is a lot of sail folded up in there but it doesn’t go anywhere.

Note that our lazy jacks are bare Dyneema with nylon thimbles on the eyes - very smooth and minimal chafing action.
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