Questions about Reefing

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Questions about Reefing

Postby Breakin Wind » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:50 am

Thanks Guys, I can see those points about steering vanes, and they're very valid.

Thanks Tim for the heave to suggestion. Last year while in early learning mode, I'd asked here for recommendations on the sequence of raising and lowering sails, and the concensus I took away was main up, then jib up for going out, and jib down and then main down for coming in. At that time I didn't know how to heave to anyway so it wouldn't have made any difference, but what you're suggesting (now) makes a lot more sense. I think I've had it in my head that the boom needs to be "in the boat" to raise he sail. But sitting here now, I can't think of why I've through that. Maybe slug friction in the slot?

This winter I'm installing a permanent reef line on the leech of the sail (I only have one reef point on my sail) with a pair of cheek blocks on the boom to bring the line to a mast cleat, so the need to have the end of the boom reachable for reefing/unreefing should no longer be an issue. I can always use my adjustable topping lift line to raise the boom end if I need more leverage.

Next year I need to go out to the middle of the lake, heave to, and then tie off a safety line and walk around the boat (all the way around) to understand how (if) shifting weight or balance will impact the stability, as well as practicing reefing under those conditions (before I need to in heavy conditions). I've sat hove to for probably only 1-2 minutes so far just as practice for the technique.

Thanks again- great suggestions
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Wind vane auto-steering?

Postby GreenLake » Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:56 pm

An aside about reef lines: why would you want to cleat your reefline on the mast? I find the most convenient place to cleat the reefline is on the boom, near the mast (where you can reach it while standing up in the front of the cockpit).

I thought I knew what I was doing when I installed my reefline, but ended up with something that I wish I had done differently.

Based on that experience, here's my current view on an "ideal" setup. For the forward part, use either a reef hook or a dedicated line that goes from a cleat on the boom, through the reef point cringle in the luff of the main sail, back to a cleat on the other side of the boom. (Alternatively, since the pull is almost vertical, you could cleat off at the mast, w/o affecting the operation of the gooseneck).

For the back, same thing, a line starting from a cleat on the boom, going through the cringle of the reefpoint, then to a cheek block on the other side of the boom, and forward to a cleat on the boom. Here the pull would be along the boom so you can't cleat that line off at the mast w/o affecting the operation of the gooseneck).

For the back, you want your cheek block just a bit further back, so the reefline pulls not only down but also stretches the sail (like an outhaul would). Also, the 2:1 advantage you get by running the reefline up, through and down will be very welcome when you try to set the reef - it makes it easier to pull the sail tight.

For cleating off the reefline I had at first used one of the V shaped jam cleats. I was not very happy with it, because that kind of cleat will not hold a line that's not under tension (for example, when the reef is not set, and you just want to take the slack out of the reefline). I ended up using a captive jam cleat.
(Correction: I started with a captive jam cleat, and moved to a captive cam cleat as the jam cleat would pull out).
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Re: Wind vane auto-steering?

Postby jeadstx » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:11 pm

When I was first learning to sail in the late 60's, my dad taught me to turn the boat into the wind (using the motor) to raise the sails. After many years away from sailing, when I got my DS2, I didn't have a motor to use and had to adopt new ways. Using a motor to turn into the wind makes things easy. These days I usually beach launch my boat after using the ramp to get the boat in the water. Rarely do I get a chance to sail off a dock. I walk the boat out deep enough to get the rudder blade down and the CB down partially. Keeping the mainsheet and the jibsheets loose, I raise the sails while holding the bow into the wind when possible. Then I push off and jump in (hopefully).

On reefing, I have a jiffy reef system installed that I saw described in Small Craft Advisor magazine a couple years ago. I have a line that runs from an attachment point at the back of the boom, up thru the aft most reef point, down to a check block, then forward to another check block, then up to the reef point nearest the luff and then down to a block at the base of the mast and from there to a cleat. I also added slugs to the luff of my mainsail to make raising and lowering the sail easier than using the bolt rope. When I reef, I let up on the main halyard as I pull in on the reef line. When the reef point gets to the boom, I cleat the main halyard and the reef line. Since the reef line is attached at the back of the boom, the sail is brought down along the length of the boom. I use ties to secure the other reef points to the boom. One my boat, I have two sets of reef points and two sets of reefing lines. The setup has worked well for me on the Texas 200 in the high wind conditions we deal with there.

John
1976 Day Sailer II, #8075 - Completed the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Texas 200
1952 Beetle Boat Swan Catboat
Early Rhodes 19
1973 Mariner 2+2, #2607 - Completed 2014, 2015 and 2016 Texas 200
1969 Day Sailer I, #3229
Fleet 135; Canyon Lake, Texas
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Re: Wind vane auto-steering?

Postby GreenLake » Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:24 pm

That more or less describes the setup I have currently. I somehow ended up with too much friction in the line, so that the two sides of the sail wouldn't get pulled tight evenly. Changing to a 4mm line from FSE Robline helped some, but I still wish I had two separate lines.

Now, I don't use ties, this on the advice of my sailmaker. The sail will flake along the boom and that portion, while it doesn't look super tidy, has shown no tendency to either flutter or "blow out". Having a relatively "stiff" sail helps in that, I'm sure. Also, unlike the long-distance events like the one you went to, setting a reef during a daysail may well be something you do for a shorter period of time...perhaps just long enough to get behind an island or around the next headland. If you then let out the reef, and forget the ties, you can damage them and / or the sail.
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Re: Wind vane auto-steering?

Postby Breakin Wind » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:02 pm

I had sort of kluged up a setup like John described late this summer, but immediately ran into the same issues GL mentioned, too much friction in the wrong places. Maybe it was my temporary setup, but the luff and cringle lines just weren't tracking at all evenly, and it made the process more difficult than I could afford it to be. That's why I am making a change this winter.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to use the Reef hook setup Tim described along with GL's boom cleat -> cringle -> cheek block and then boom jam cleat. (captive jam cleat?) In did a quick google and came up dry on that. I'll have to research it more.

I don't know why I didn't think to put the cleat on the boom rather than the mast. One less block, one less line to add to the mess. Probably because of the way I had it setup previously, I was just thinking along that same track.

Thanks - great ideas!
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Re: Wind vane auto-steering?

Postby TIM WEBB » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:49 pm

Great discussion!

One other piece of advice: make sure the vang is off when setting or shaking out a reef! (Don't ask how I learned this ... :o )

I found the reef hook just eliminated a lot of unneccesary loose line in the cockpit, and allowed for a much tighter foot while reefed. In fact enough so that I also rarely use the ties - only when I have the second reef in - they are an extra step in both putting in and shaking out the reef.

Sailrite's jiffy reef kit was the basis for my system, and calls for cleating the tack line to the mast, but I quickly discovered that doesn't work so well on the DS ...

Also, I use a "passive" topping lift: non-adjustable (never seen the need for it), and "just slack" when the full main is up and vang and mainsheet are full on tight. It's looser when reefed, but doesn't seem to interfere with anything.

I'll try to get some pix of the setup next time I'm out ...
Last edited by TIM WEBB on Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tim Webb
1979 DS2 10099 The Red Witch
(I used to be Her "staff", in the way dogs have owners and cats have staff, but alas no longer ... <pout>)
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Re: Wind vane auto-steering?

Postby GreenLake » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:51 pm

Scott, I use a cam (not jam) cleat with the little wire loop in front of it. That allows me to take the slack out of the reef line - when it's that lightly loaded, a jam (not cam) cleat would not hold the line securely and it would pop out, leaving lots of slack in the reefline.
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Re: Wind vane auto-steering?

Postby TIM WEBB » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:10 pm

GL, a little trick with clam cleats: just set the line in there tight, stick your finger on the line right where it "grips it", and give a little tug in the other direction. It'll hold all day long ...

"It's not a question of how he grips it! It's a simple matter of airspeed velocity versus weight ratio: a 5 lb bird could not carry an 8 lb coconut!"

- Monty Python And The Holy Grail

:P
Tim Webb
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(I used to be Her "staff", in the way dogs have owners and cats have staff, but alas no longer ... <pout>)
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Re: Wind vane auto-steering?

Postby Alan » Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:18 am

https://sites.google.com/site/catalina2 ... ing-system

Here's a pretty good drawing of a single-line system; the only difference between this system and the one we're talking about is that the forward end is led down to a block and then aft to the cockpit, rather than being cleated off at the boom.
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Re: Wind vane auto-steering?

Postby ChrisB » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:09 am

@ Tim,

"Are you saying coconuts migrate ???"

(Sorry, I couldn't resist. One Python fan to another.)
Chris B.
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Re: Wind vane auto-steering?

Postby Breakin Wind » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:22 am

Alan wrote:https://sites.google.com/site/catalina22experiment/home/projects/jiffy-reefing-system

Here's a pretty good drawing of a single-line system; the only difference between this system and the one we're talking about is that the forward end is led down to a block and then aft to the cockpit, rather than being cleated off at the boom.


Thanks Alan,
Hmmm... this is nearly exactly the setup I tried last summer, using the eyestraps rather than blocks. I wonder why it worked so badly for me. I'd release the halyard some, tighten up on the reef line and I think the tack locked in, but I had to pull really hard to get the cringle to tighten up, thereby needing to reach over to pull on my topping lift line to help raise the aft end of the boom, which meant I had to cleat off the halyard and again it just didn't seem like it was working very well. I'm thinking that going to the reef hook, with the line to the cringle will make it easier.
Granted, not having done it, but it would seem relieving the halyard to hook the luff reefpoint and then re-tighten the halyard. Then pull up the cringle line and even then (if needed) I could use the topping lift having an extra hand available, but I think with only the single friction point (and that being a block now) it won't likely be necessary.
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Re: Wind vane auto-steering?

Postby jeadstx » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:43 pm

My reefing system is similar to the Catalina system. I use 1/4" line for my reefing lines. I have a blue line for one set of reef points and a green line for the other to keep them from getting messed up.

GreenLake, I agree that I probably wouldn't need to tie the sail to the boom, especially for short term reefs. My ties are not sewen on to the sail, just lines that pass thru the reef points. I thought I had pictures of my reef lines in place, but can't find any. My sailmaker suggested securing the sail to the boom.

I haven't had any problem with putting a reef in the boom vang in place.

My topping lift comes down to a block about 3 feet from reaching the end of the boom. I run a 3/16" line from the end of the boom up thru the block and back down to a cheek block near the end of the boom that can be cleated off to a small cleat on the boom. I also have a clam cleat to cleat off in a hurry. The block and line arrangement allows me to adjust the height of the boom when at anchor or beached and allows the tention on the topping lift to be freed up when sailing without having to remove the line.

I have found that when dealing with small clam cleats, the aluminum ones hold better than the plastic ones.

John
1976 Day Sailer II, #8075 - Completed the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Texas 200
1952 Beetle Boat Swan Catboat
Early Rhodes 19
1973 Mariner 2+2, #2607 - Completed 2014, 2015 and 2016 Texas 200
1969 Day Sailer I, #3229
Fleet 135; Canyon Lake, Texas
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Re: Reefing

Postby GreenLake » Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:30 pm

TIM WEBB wrote:GL, a little trick with clam cleats: just set the line in there tight, stick your finger on the line right where it "grips it", and give a little tug in the other direction. It'll hold all day long ...

Nothing, absolutely nothing would work with the combination jam cleat and line I was using. They may have simply been mismatched, what do I know. But small (plastic even) cam cleats, the smallest from Harken or Ronstan, forget which, worked like a charm. I've since changed the line to something even thinner by a mm or so (going from around 3/16 to close to 1/8) and the cleats hold fine.

A single line setup has large amounts of extra line when the reef is set - I find that that can get in the way. Ideally you'd want to secure that at the forward end of the boom, but I have not found any useful arrangement.
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Re: Reefing

Postby GreenLake » Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:45 pm

Breakin Wind wrote:Hmmm... this is nearly exactly the setup I tried last summer, using the eyestraps rather than blocks. I wonder why it worked so badly for me.

In one word: friction.

I changed over to very smooth line and replaced one eyepad by a cheek block and you wouldn't believe how much easier my setup is to use now. (However, I've so far used it only at the dock, to be prepared for some "iffy" conditions, and not yet "live" in response to worsening conditions on the water).

Should I encounter some conditions where the revised setup gives me trouble again, then I'm prepared to go for a two line system or possibly install a reef hook. Will see. (I don't think I have a reasonable use for two sets of reefpoints like John).

I like this line http://www.fisheriessupply.com/fse-robline-dinghy-control. (The 4mm size).

This is incredibly thin and light, yet durable line. I like it for all lines that I don't have to hold on to, or operate constantly. I have another dinghy where the halyard is done that way and there's no problem with stretch, but it really adds very little to the mast profile and cuts weight aloft. (That other dinghy is lighter, so I'm more aggressive in cutting weight anywhere, not just aloft).
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Re: Wind vane auto-steering?

Postby jdoorly » Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:44 am

Hi Scott, a cringle is also called a grommet (the jiffy-reef grommet in the luff is also called a cringle, as is the cunningham cringle and the tack cringle just below it). I suppose the best name for a first reef grommet on the leech would be the first-reef clew. It's the same with rope, which is 'line' until you assign it a task and then the task becomes the name, like 'main sheet'.

But the main thing I wanted to say was to suggest that you mark your main halyard with lines which represent where the halyard should be positioned for regular use, and for first reef (and second reef). I use a black Sharpie to make marks on the halyard as well as a reference point on the mast. That way I can drop the halyard the correct amount and then tie it off. Then I set the reef clew in the reef hook, and pull in the first reef clew line until the new clew touches the boom. I like to set the positions of the eye and the cheek block so that when the clew just touches the boom there is a 30 degree angle from the clew to the block. This is to bias the vertical and horizontal force vectors toward the horizontal direction and make the sail flatter, which is a good thing when it's windy and you are reefing.
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