Roller Reefing the Main

Moderator: GreenLake

Postby seandwyer » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:03 am

Not quite - having trouble visualizing.

So, you remove the mid boom block, tie a 1/4" line to the bail the mid boom block was fastened to, roll the sail, then tie the mid boom block to the tail end of the 1/4" that has not been rolled along with the sail around the boom. Then, run the main sheet through the block which is now suspended by the 1/4" line.

Is that right?
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Postby Helderberg Complainer » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:08 am

Yes, if you drop the word "not" from your summary:

"So, you remove the mid boom block, tie a 1/4" line to the bail the mid boom block was fastened to, roll the sail, then tie the mid boom block to the tail end of the 1/4" that has ____ been rolled along with the sail around the boom. Then, run the main sheet through the block which is now suspended by the 1/4" line. "
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Postby seandwyer » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:30 am

Right, I was trying to differentiate from the end being wound, from the end of the line having not been wound.

Thanks!
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Postby GreenLake » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:11 pm

On some booms, the block is fixed to a car that slides onto a short section of track and is locked with a pin. To remove, you pull up the pin and slide the car off the track. You are then left with a very flat piece of track that doesn't get in the way as you roll a sail around it, but doesn't provide anything convenient to tie a line to. As a I mentioned before, if you use a wider strap of some material instead of a thin, you may not need to tie it at all, because being rolled up traps is securely (and it may be gentler on the sail) Otherwise, same technique as Cliff described.

For example, see this post.
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i have a picture of a reefing claw

Postby Roger » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:39 pm

if people would like, I can e-mail it to them. roger.conrad att mts.net
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Re: Roller Reefing the Main

Postby Woreign » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:25 pm

Despite this being an old thread, I found the information very enlightening!

I a new owner of 82 DSII, I've been soaking up as much knowledge about the boat as I can. After reading this article, I was very pleased to discover that my boom has the spring-loaded gooseneck, and that roller reefing the main is an option for me. However, I have a couple of additional questions that were not answered in this post:

1. Does rolling the sail around the boom cause any damage? It looks like the bail and other hardware on the boom could easily rip the sail fabric. Maybe cover the bail with a piece of pool noodle foam to protect the sail?

2. I found a roller claw on Ebay for $50, but if attaching a line to the bail and rolling it with the sail is just as effective, I'll save the $50 for something else.

Thanks!
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Re: Roller Reefing the Main

Postby GreenLake » Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:38 am

Very few people bother with this form of reefing. It has a number of drawbacks.

  • You need to disconnect the main and hook up the claw.
  • The claw may indeed damage the sail cloth.
  • Modern sail cloth is much stiffer (less "cloth-like") than that used in the '60s.
  • There's nothing that provides tension to the new "foot" of the sail.
  • You still need to loosen and re-tighten the halyard.

If instead you install a reef hook at the gooseneck, lowering the halyard, setting the reef cringle in the luff on the hook, and tightening it again is a single quick operation that you can do standing in the middle of the boat (forward end of cockpit). Next, if you install a reef line to the reef cringle in the back so that it gets pulled both down and back, and then leed the free end forward to a cleat on the boom you can bring down the leech end of the reef to the boom and tighten the new "foot" of the sail like you normally would with an outhaul. I believe these two operations are together quicker and result in better sail shape.

Each set of reef cringles/grommets with corner reinforcements will cost you about $100 if you ask a sailmaker; some people have done their own - it's a general enough procedure that you can probably find instructions online that you can follow even if they are not specific to a DS.

The cost for a reefline and hook is probably in the same ballpark as for "claw", from prices I've seen. So you don't save all that much, and installation of these two items isn't that involved.

However, if you feel that you'd like to try out the reefing claw, and think your sail is "cloth-like" enough to wind tightly around the boom, then by all means, try it out and tell us how it worked for you. I would be curious to learn how deep a reef you can set before the bulk of the sail becomes more than can fit the claw.

Btw, one final note, may sailmaker advised against the little lines that people use to tidy up the reefed part of the sail. He was right, the sail cloth he used is stiff enough that you can just push it in folds between the boom and the remaining part of the sail and it will stay put. In other words, the advantage of using the boom to secure the reefed portion of the sail doesn't make that method that much more convenient.
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Re: Roller Reefing the Main

Postby kokko » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:55 pm

The roller reefing is a clever idea, but not good in practice. You would be much happier if you rigged your sail for jiffy reefing
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Re: Roller Reefing the Main

Postby Woreign » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:35 pm

Does anyone have any experience with this kit:

https://www.sailrite.com/Jiffy-Reefing-Kit_2
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Re: Roller Reefing the Main

Postby GreenLake » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:40 pm

@woreign:
There isn't much detail in the description, but from the parts list it looks like it has everything you need to put two sets of reef points into the sail, plus some hardware to rig one reef line for the rear and one for the front.

Sailrite is a pretty reputable place, so I'd expect that if you follow their instructions you end up with a workable reef. I've not tried to modify any of my sails, so I don't have any input on that part of the process, but it's not difficult to find it discussed online.

I do have experience setting up the reefline and associated hardware (and using other people's setups on other boats). From that experience I can tell you that if I did things over, I would use a reef hook at the gooseneck instead of a forward reef line (theirs is cleated to the mast which some DS owners report doesn't work well for the DS). With a hook (for example from D&R Marine), you simply pull down the sail until the new tack grommet goes over the hook and tighten the halyard again. And you don't need to double the setup if you want to be able to use both first and second reef in your sail.

For the rear, they provide the pad eye to which you knot the reefline. Then it goes up and through the new clew grommet (for the first reef) and then to a cheek block (not bullet block as they write - they do show a cheek block). The block is attached to the side of the boom, a bit back, so the reefline pulls not only down, but also backwards (like an outhaul). From there it goes forward to the cleat on the side of the boom. Forward, so you can operate everything from one position standing in the forward end of the cockpit.

I'm sure the line they include for the reefline works pretty well. I'm using some more modern rope that allows really tiny diameters while still being strong. I prefer that for lines like this which only need to be used occasionally. But that's a matter of taste.

If you were to get the kit but used of reef hook in the front, you could get a second cheek block to use for a second reef line; for some sailing areas (like sailing the Texas 200 you definitely need multiple reef points, in other places it's almost overkill). You would need to purchase a bit more rope, I'm sure the length they include is intended just for the first reef, but then you could have both reeflines permanently installed.

The stuff included in the kit for placing the grommets and reinforcements looks right - they chose grommets that you can screw together which is probably a good choice if you don't have a good way to set grommets with a press. Not being able to read their instructions, I don't have an opinion on how easy that part (modifying the sail) will be.

There are some parts that I don't recognize. There's some shock cord, some plastic clips and what looks like a roll of white velcro. There's nothing in my setup that looks remotely like that, so I can't give you any hints. If you do a bit more searching on the internet you might find out more.
(If you type "site:forum.daysailer.org sailrite" into any search engine you will get all mentions of sailrite on this site).
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Re: Roller Reefing the Main

Postby bnnauti » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:21 pm

Hi folks. I have a 17' Spindrift I have been learning to sail on for a couple of years and rigged it for single-handed sailing, which I am attempting some. I have decided (after some serious heeling "enlightening moments"), I should have some reef points added to the main sail. I like to though, as one member said, of "down-shifting" and sailing in a little more wind. Trying to understand jiffy or slab reefing method and it seems clumsy, compared to roller reefing. But I can only imagine attempting to lash the sail to the boom in 15 knotts or so. Evidently, a boom must be refitted with some hardware that lets it rotate at the mast.

I would appreciate any tips and experience on this. I planned to send my sail in to a sailmaker for insertion of reef points but have not yet.

Thanks.
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Re: Roller Reefing the Main

Postby GreenLake » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:12 pm

Putting a reef in is not an issue if you know how to heave to your boat.

The quickest method is to use a reef hook at the gooseneck. You slack the halyard, fit the reef grommet on the hook and tighten the halyard again. Then you pull on the reef line for the back of the sail until the reef point is at the boom. Done.

In addition to the hook, you need to fit an eye strap on one side of the end of the boom and a cheek block on the opposite side. (The block is generally positioned a bit further aft, so that there's a pull both down and back, to tension the new foot of the sail). Then you need a cleat at the front of the boom, near the goose neck. That's it.

The sail needs a grommet with reinforcement at right below the lowest batten and another one in the front, quite a bit lower than the first, so the boom angles up a bit when reefed. That helps because the batten is angled and you want it more or less parallel to the boom.

Finally, you may want to mark the halyard so you know how much to ease it.

There's no need to "lash the sail to the boom". In fact my sail maker advised against adding the little sail ties. And it turns out they are not necessary. With the new foot of the sail stretched, you can just shove any loose material between boom and the new foot of the sail. I've never had any trouble with that.

There's another retrofit you might consider for handling your boat in higher winds, and that is a high-purchase boom vang. As supplied, the original equipment vang, if your boat has it, was intended for downwind sailing to keep the boom from rising and reducing the sail area. It turns out that sailing upwind, it is also nice to be able to keep the boom from rising, because keeping the sail flat means that it id doesn't power up when you ease the main in a gust. The technique is called vang sheeting.

You will need more than the 3:1 purchase of the original vang, because the loads on it will be higher going upwind. I put together a 12:1 from a 6:1 and a cascade and it lets me sail past the point that would have required a reef before. In fact, sometimes I let the main out so far that it just barely doesn't flog, at which point the main driving force is from the jib, but there's just enough contribution from the main to give me good helm balance. Gusts of up to ~15 knots can be sailed this way sometimes without even hiking.

2328

I combine that with ratchet blocks for main and jib so I can hold both in may hand for extra quick release when needed.
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