[Public-List] Reefing

Gordon Laco mainstay at csolve.net
Wed Nov 5 08:09:52 PST 2008

If you want to reef before installing the hook, you can rig yourself a quick
tack downhaul of a piece of 3/8" line.  Make one end fast around your
gooseneck; run the line up to the reef cringle.  If you make the line about
6" longer that the vertical distance just described, you can handily fix the
line in the cringle with a stopper knot.

When you need to reef, haul down the sail until you can reach the knot.
Pull the tack line through until it is holding the sail down - in effect a
new tack.  Make it fast to any old cleat...then haul the halyard taut again.

For the clew, you will have had to install fittings on the boom, easiest is
a pair of cheek blocks (Ronstan makes one that fits our booms perfectly)
mount perpendicularly beneath each clew reef cringle.  Rig yourself #1 and
#2 reefing lines of 3/8" ... Make the bitter end of each fast to the extreme
end of the boom.  Run the line up through its respective reef cringle, back
down vertically to its respective cheek block then forward along the boom to
near the gooseneck.  We make those lines fast with large clamcleats with
fairleads both to hold the inboard end of the lines captive and to make
hauling them taut easier.  Just inboard of those cleats are regular horned
spar cleats.  The principal to keep in mind when placing them is to make the
lines workable from standing at the mast.

Remember that there should never at any time be any load on the intermedeate
reef points - their only purpose is aesthetic, keeping the bunt of the sail
up close to the boom.

So the reefing drill goes like this...(old salt version)

"all hands all hands, do you hear there...we shall reef the mainsail!"
One person goes to the mast.

Put the yacht on a point of sail above a broad reach (so the main isn't
pressing on the shrouds)

"Ease the main halyard!"
"cast off boom vang, cast off main sheet!"

Person at mast eases halyard down until he/she either puts the selected reef
cringle over reefing hook or makes fast tack reefing line.

Call "hoist away on the main halyard"

When halyard is taut and cleated...

"haul away your reefing line"

When reef clew is pulled right down to boom, and a crease appears along the
new foot of the sail, person at mast cleats line securely.

"trim the main, vang on!  Coil down lines"

You have now reefed the mainsail.  It should take only slightly longer to do
than to read.  

If you want to do up the points, do this after the boat is settled down
sailing again and the main is drawing; this avoids fighting with a flogging
sail.   Tie the points loosely and with shoe-lace bow knots so that they
can't jamb.  A jammed knot in a point when shaking out a reef will tear the

Some people say that you 'must' accordian-fold the bunt of the sail... We
just roll it.  Rolling it will allow water to accumulate in it but foredeck
monkeys so rarely get to discomfort the slugs in the cockpit, I am loath to
remove from them a chance to have a little fun soaking an inattentive
helmsman when the reef comes back out.

Well that's a long email, but way more fun to write than the quote I am
supposed to be working on...

Gord #426 SURPRISE


On 11/5/08 10:26 AM, "bydel at bellsouth.net" <bydel at bellsouth.net> wrote:

> I have just purchased a new sail that has a reef at 4 and 9 feet. My old sail
> was the origional roll on the boom system, so that is the gooseneck I have. I
> would love to get some advice about what I should do next.
> Bill
> SallyB #441
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