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Old 22-09-2022, 13:31   #31
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Re: Owners die in sailing accident

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Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
That boat does not have inline spreaders.

And while my boat does have inline spreaders I don't consider it possible to pull down the main in 30+ knots of wind (or even 20) while it is plastered against the shrouds and spreaders. It's been done. It is slow and difficult.

The reefing lines and cunningham can start it, but not move it very far or very fast. Winching the main sheet in can relieve that pressure but you risk a round up, and anyhow, as soon as you drop the halyard it is back against the rig again.

For us, we get prepared, then turn up wind sharply and drop the main very quickly, (it falls down) then turn back down wind.

Our boat is only 43'
Do have down hauls at your reef points? We have no trouble reefing when near dead down in 30 knots. Our mainsail area is 1,000 sq ft, with full length battens and Harken cars. We don't head up to reef and I would never go to sea in a boat that requires motoring to weather to reef. Here we are with two reefs, it takes a couple minutes to reef, both in and out. Although at my age cranking up 20' of heavy main takes longer then it did 20 years ago!
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Old 22-09-2022, 13:50   #32
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Re: Owners die in sailing accident

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Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
That boat does not have inline spreaders.

And while my boat does have inline spreaders I don't consider it possible to pull down the main in 30+ knots of wind (or even 20) while it is plastered against the shrouds and spreaders. It's been done. It is slow and difficult.

The reefing lines and cunningham can start it, but not move it very far or very fast. Winching the main sheet in can relieve that pressure but you risk a round up, and anyhow, as soon as you drop the halyard it is back against the rig again.

For us, we get prepared, then turn up wind sharply and drop the main very quickly, (it falls down) then turn back down wind.

Our boat is only 43'
After our recent crash gybe, we winched the boom to center line. We were alteady in the third reef. I hauled the rest of the sail down by hand. Very difficult to do and I had lashed myself to the mast with a jackline so I had both hands free

We did not want to try to head into the wind in 12-14 foot waves with a 6 second period. Ghe chances of a major broach attempting that would have been great

Had I not been able to haul it down I would have climbed our lower mast steps and attached a line from the halyard. Run it through a block and then back ti a winch
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Old 22-09-2022, 14:30   #33
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Re: Owners die in sailing accident

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Originally Posted by Calif.Ted View Post
I know there are people who say they can reef a main while running downwind in a blow, but I have doubts.

We can and do - described in detail in another thread. But we do have batten and intermediate cars on an external track - an in-boom furling system, or regular slab reefing system, that uses slides or bolt rope rather than cars may have too much friction. We also have a cat, which means that not only we can sail deep angles with very little risk of yawing or broaching into an unexpected gybe, but also that working on deck at the mast is flat, easy and safe in almost any conditions in which you can sail without a fully reefed main.

The key to slab reefing downwind is to centre the boom and keep a tight mainsheet - this helps to keep the sail off the rig. Note that we are a catamaran with cap shrouds a long way aft of the mast, so the upper part of the sail if not tightly sheeted is against the rig with the boom 50* or more from the centreline.

With the boom centred there is also less wind pressure on the sail, and less jamming pressure on the luff by the battens.

We ease the halyard a couple of metres (2:1) (stop easing halyard when the upper part of the sails starts laying against the rig), then bring in the reef line a couple of metres using a winch. This pulls the sail off the rig and allows the luff to be pulled down. Repeat 5 or 6 times until the new tack can be made, finish bringing down the new clew, retighten the halyard, then finally ease the boom down from the centreline to its sailing position.

We have done this in up to 30 knots apparent wind speed.
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Old 22-09-2022, 14:50   #34
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Re: Owners die in sailing accident

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Originally Posted by Joli View Post
Do have down hauls at your reef points? We have no trouble reefing when near dead down in 30 knots. Our mainsail area is 1,000 sq ft, with full length battens and Harken cars. We don't head up to reef and I would never go to sea in a boat that requires motoring to weather to reef. Here we are with two reefs, it takes a couple minutes to reef, both in and out. Although at my age cranking up 20' of heavy main takes longer then it did 20 years ago!
It's hard to see in the photo what sort of "downhauls" you have at the reef points, I assume loops of line through the tack cringles which you can put on a winch or cunningham tackle to pull it down, and move to the next one as needed. No, we don't have these. As it is we can reef extremely quickly by luffing up a little, then dropping the halyard, so I am not inclined to change but others may befit from your method. Fxykty seems to have it figured out too, but on a cat. And Carstenb managed it in pretty bad conditions. I guess we do what we have to do.

But I concur completely, if your boat can't be managed without using the motor, then it isn't safe. In a major storm if your motor is out you're screwed.
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Old 22-09-2022, 15:06   #35
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Re: Owners die in sailing accident

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
...Had I not been able to haul it down I would have climbed our lower mast steps and attached a line from the halyard. Run it through a block and then back ti a winch
It must be pulled from below, not from the head. That is like pushing a string, it can jam.

Wow! 12-14 ft waves on a six second period! That would be horrendous.
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Old 22-09-2022, 15:31   #36
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Re: Owners die in sailing accident

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Originally Posted by Calif.Ted View Post
I know there are people who say they can reef a main while running downwind in a blow, but I have doubts.
There are a couple of boats on which I can and have. So whistle all you like. Having said that - Its only a couple of designs.
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Old 22-09-2022, 15:32   #37
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Re: Owners die in sailing accident

worst we reefed DDW was in apparent mid to high 30ies from reef 1 to reef2. No issues detected. Dangers are chance of broken batten or chafed sail and chance of uncontrolled boom swing that is why tighten mainsheet. But so far we never had an issue. On our 40 feet boat takes around 5 min.

DDW reefing is a big safety benefit every boat should have. Number of times i observed seas when DDW reefing and turning into wind would be not pleasant at best of times. Sometimes even impossible !
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Old 22-09-2022, 16:53   #38
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Re: Owners die in sailing accident

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Originally Posted by fxykty View Post
We can and do - described in detail in another thread. But we do have batten and intermediate cars on an external track - an in-boom furling system, or regular slab reefing system, that uses slides or bolt rope rather than cars may have too much friction. We also have a cat, which means that not only we can sail deep angles with very little risk of yawing or broaching into an unexpected gybe, but also that working on deck at the mast is flat, easy and safe in almost any conditions in which you can sail without a fully reefed main.

The key to slab reefing downwind is to centre the boom and keep a tight mainsheet - this helps to keep the sail off the rig. Note that we are a catamaran with cap shrouds a long way aft of the mast, so the upper part of the sail if not tightly sheeted is against the rig with the boom 50* or more from the centreline.

With the boom centred there is also less wind pressure on the sail, and less jamming pressure on the luff by the battens.

We ease the halyard a couple of metres (2:1) (stop easing halyard when the upper part of the sails starts laying against the rig), then bring in the reef line a couple of metres using a winch. This pulls the sail off the rig and allows the luff to be pulled down. Repeat 5 or 6 times until the new tack can be made, finish bringing down the new clew, retighten the halyard, then finally ease the boom down from the centreline to its sailing position.

We have done this in up to 30 knots apparent wind speed.

I've been using the same method on my previous and current boat but that's because they're catamarans. Sailing dead downwind in 30 knots AWS sounds iffy though. The boat would be surfing at 20 knots and TWS would be 50 knots. I doubt any boat would have the main up unreefed under those conditions.
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Old 22-09-2022, 17:15   #39
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Re: Owners die in sailing accident

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Mainsheet block ripping clear of the traveller: no control over the boom. plus a failed rigid vang allowing the boom to sag. That's a level of chaos and mayhem that most of us can scarcely imagine. I read an eyewitness account of a similar incident that described 1,000 lbs of boom+partially furled main swinging wildly back and forth, sweeping the cockpit at knee height. The phrase "like a psychotic windshield wiper" stuck in my memory.


The main sheet block did not rip clear of anything. The main sheet was fully functional on recovery.

There was a Ďloss of controlí of the boom during a reefing operation. She was tending the main sheet as she had done many, many times before. For some reason, there was a problem (jammed winch? Knotted sheet? We donít know) and she stepped into the path of the wildly whipping main sheet and was hit. Obviously very badly.

He was at the mast manning the boom furling and left that station to help his wife when he saw she was hit. Like most of us, he was so concerned for his wife - who he had just witnessed being dealt a mortal blow- he was heedless of the danger to himself and dove in to help her. Then he was hit by the same violence and flung across the open cockpit, breaking his leg in a compound fracture against the winch on the other side.

It all happened in a matter of seconds. They went from experienced and able to completely incapacitated and mortally wounded.

Hugely sobering event. I was the shore organizer of the recovery effort of the boat, working for their insurance co.

I sailed the same passage two weeks later, and had many a moments pause as we crossed the same patch of water twice to and from Bermuda.

My daughter (and two of the recovery crew) just delivered escape to Portland Me; on the first leg of her repatriation.

RIP Klaus and Anneke.
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Old 22-09-2022, 18:56   #40
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Re: Owners die in sailing accident

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Originally Posted by fxykty View Post
We can and do - described in detail in another thread. But we do have batten and intermediate cars on an external track - an in-boom furling system, or regular slab reefing system, that uses slides or bolt rope rather than cars may have too much friction. We also have a cat, which means that not only we can sail deep angles with very little risk of yawing or broaching into an unexpected gybe, but also that working on deck at the mast is flat, easy and safe in almost any conditions in which you can sail without a fully reefed main.

The key to slab reefing downwind is to centre the boom and keep a tight mainsheet - this helps to keep the sail off the rig. Note that we are a catamaran with cap shrouds a long way aft of the mast, so the upper part of the sail if not tightly sheeted is against the rig with the boom 50* or more from the centreline.

With the boom centred there is also less wind pressure on the sail, and less jamming pressure on the luff by the battens.

We ease the halyard a couple of metres (2:1) (stop easing halyard when the upper part of the sails starts laying against the rig), then bring in the reef line a couple of metres using a winch. This pulls the sail off the rig and allows the luff to be pulled down. Repeat 5 or 6 times until the new tack can be made, finish bringing down the new clew, retighten the halyard, then finally ease the boom down from the centreline to its sailing position.

We have done this in up to 30 knots apparent wind speed.
This is how we reef while continuing downwind. We have no issues reefing while going diwnwind. We have done it many times even alone in the middle of the night ( my wife does it slone in the middle of the night). When the einds reach gald force we do call the other person ip to help. The problem is if we want to strike the main completely. Then I have to go to the madt and haul it down. Everything else we can do from the cockpit
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Old 22-09-2022, 19:03   #41
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Re: Owners die in sailing accident

As we speculated. Just so bloody tragic. Hurricane bearing down on Nova Scotia the poor surviving boat is about to get hit again. It’s such a lovely looking machine. The USCG spray paint sad but necessary graffiti. Likely needs minor repair but would you want the boat which killed its owners.
Someone told me reef early even put up storm sails and look silly an hour early.
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Old 22-09-2022, 19:52   #42
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Re: Owners die in sailing accident

In post #20 the picture of the sistership makes the mainsheet look like an accident waiting to happen - even at anchor.

It appears that there is no traveler so the loaded line crosses the occupied parts of the cockpit. OK in a dinghy or a race boat but not on a cruising boat of this size.
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Old 22-09-2022, 23:17   #43
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Re: Owners die in sailing accident

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In post #20 the picture of the sistership makes the mainsheet look like an accident waiting to happen - even at anchor.

It appears that there is no traveler so the loaded line crosses the occupied parts of the cockpit. OK in a dinghy or a race boat but not on a cruising boat of this size.

Correct. No traveller and a single attachment point with a powered winch. The main was a bear to handle - a 2:1 purchase but even the two speed winch struggled sometimes.Click image for larger version

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Old 23-09-2022, 00:05   #44
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Re: Owners die in sailing accident

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Originally Posted by Rumrace View Post
As we speculated. Just so bloody tragic. Hurricane bearing down on Nova Scotia the poor surviving boat is about to get hit again. Itís such a lovely looking machine. The USCG spray paint sad but necessary graffiti. Likely needs minor repair but would you want the boat which killed its owners.
Someone told me reef early even put up storm sails and look silly an hour early.
Apparently the boat is in Portland Maine now, as stated in one of the previous posts.
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Old 23-09-2022, 05:42   #45
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Re: Owners die in sailing accident

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It's hard to see in the photo what sort of "downhauls" you have at the reef points, I assume loops of line through the tack cringles which you can put on a winch or cunningham tackle to pull it down, and move to the next one as needed. No, we don't have these. As it is we can reef extremely quickly by luffing up a little, then dropping the halyard, so I am not inclined to change but others may befit from your method. Fxykty seems to have it figured out too, but on a cat. And Carstenb managed it in pretty bad conditions. I guess we do what we have to do.

But I concur completely, if your boat can't be managed without using the motor, then it isn't safe. In a major storm if your motor is out you're screwed.
Having raced extensively, as have you. We know you don't drop the kite then turn upwind to reef. It's more difficult when racing because the main generally will have a loose bolt rope not bat cars with ball bearings. The friction on a bolt rope luff is so much higher then bat cars. The boat in question used a bolt rope luff with high tension full length battens. You're not going to pull down that sail by hand when loaded, it has to be pulled down by the furler. If the boat has to be turned upwind to unload the luff so the furler can pull the sail down it's not a good design.

In my opinion a boat must be able to reef while sailing downwind in a building breeze. We can and do. We use C size Harken bat cars and down hauls on each reef tack. We can grind the sail down if needed, we've never had it to, the main will come down when against the spreaders.

I worked on a friend's in boom roller furler that had become disabled. The furling bar managed to pop out of the housing, weird. We took the ends off the boom and put it back together. When we raised the main to re roll it the friction on the luff rope was crazy high. It didn't feel like a good system because of the excessive friction.

I understand the allure of the idea of press a button and the main goes away but the reality is far different from what I've seen.
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