Mainsail reefing questions

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Mainsail reefing questions

Postby 109jb » Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:21 pm

I played around with the O'day spin the boom reefing setup while sitting on the trailer the other day and I wasn't impressed. So, I am planning on adding some reef points to my existing mainsail. I will likely do this myself because I don't think the sail is worth paying the money to do it. I'd probably just buy a new sail with reef points already in it if I have to spend much money. That said, I can do it myself for much less money and am always willing to try. That said, I have a few questions.

1. Should I put is just one set of reef points, or two. The cost difference doing it myself is negligible, but if 2 aren't needed then I won't do them.

2. I have read that the first reef point should reduce the sail area by about 25% and the second reef should be the same distance up from there, but does that change if only putting in one reef?

3. How are those using standard sail reef points doing theirs? ie: Two line reefing, single line reefing, reef line at clew/hook at luff, other?

In my research it looks like the jiffy reefing needs more hardware to implement and that would require just about as much more hardware for each additional reef point. On a boat like the DS II I don't see how the "reef line at clew/hook at luff" setup would be that difficult to do, but then again I'm not that experienced. Hence the questions. Any sage advice and or pictures of your reefing setups would be appreciated.

Thanks,

John Brannen
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Re: Mainsail reefing questions

Postby jalmeida51 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:23 am

I am in the process of installing a second set of reef points. The first pair was about 20%, Second pair will about 40%. I am having a sailmaker in Sarasota do the work also he is putting on slugs on the luff. Quoted price $250. I checked with 2 other sailmakers their quotes were the same. Hard to justify because the sail was made Intinsity but it is fairly new. I will only use the second set because I feel the first set is useless in winds over 15 knots. I am using a reefing hook for the luff and a single reefing line for the leech. I guess I have about $60 invested in the hook, line and other hardware. I am putting on the slugs because I feel it will be easier to reef, plus it will be much easier to flake the sail on the boom. I sail single handed all the time so I need to get the sail flaked fast. Before I had to roll the sail to get it lashed to the boom which was hard in choppy waters. Happy Sailing, John
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Re: Mainsail reefing questions

Postby 109jb » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:53 pm

Thanks. I am thinking along the same lines. I think I will go ahead and put in 2 sets of reef points in the sail. I also think I will put lugs on the luff edge for the same reasons you stated. I plan to get the materials to do this myself from Sailrite.

For the reef points I figure on getting about 1 yard of sail cloth https://www.sailrite.com/Dacron-Supercruise-5-4oz-54 , seamstick tape https://www.sailrite.com/Seamstick-3-8- ... ape-60-Yds , the spur grommets https://www.sailrite.com/Grommet-Spur-Brass-4-1-2 , and tool https://www.sailrite.com/Die-Set-Spur-4-1-2. That adds up to about $65

For the slugs, I plan to use the sailrite shackles that do not require a grommet https://www.sailrite.com/Screw-on-Plastic-Shackle-5-8 and for the slugs I'll use these https://www.sailrite.com/Slug-Nylon-Round-3-8 Going this route I can have sail slugs for about $15 total.

One question I do have is in regard to the size of the grommets. I have spec'd out #4 grommets that have a 1/2" hole diameter, but I don't know if this is too big or too small. If someone could check their sail to see what size they have it would be appreciated.

Thanks,

John Brannen
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Re: Mainsail reefing questions

Postby GreenLake » Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:54 pm

Some thoughts - they may duplicate a few things.

Grommets: Mine are the same size as clew and tack.

Stands to reason, because they become the new clew and tack when reefed.

Absolutely get a reef hook. That way, you need a line only for the aft end of the sail. I did mine with a single reefline before I had experience with reef hook, and my experience is that it's a pain. With a hook, you set the new tack quickly and can tighten the halyard. Then you separately use the reefline to bring the reefpoint that will be new clew to the boom (make sure the pull is both down and back, to get a flat sail). Trying to pull both reefpoints with a single line may work on a bigger boat where you can use a winch to get the tension, but I find I have to pull each "part" of my reefline separately. Even if I split it into two separate lines for each set of reef points, a hook is just so much quicker.

If you have two reef points (or three, if you want to sail the Texas200) then you need a line for each. However, if part of your season has dependable light winds, you might opt to not rig both lines all the time. (I have a single set of reef points and will not rig the reefline at the start of the season if the first day looks to be light winds - but once I rig it, I leave it rigged: my main lives permanently on the boom, even if the boom comes off for trailering).

Installation of a reefline isn't tricky: just avoid lots of turns, because you need to be able to get good tension (and use very light, but strong line - see thread "Rope for various Lines")

I don't have slugs on my main and am not missing them. I've sailed on many bigger boats where I think they are indispensable, but never felt that I needed to copy that on my DS. However, where I sail, I have the luxury of dropping the sail onto a seat before rolling it (I'm not setting / dousing sails in open water).

With competent crew the reef gets used when sustained winds get near 20 and we feel we don't want to fight conditions that day (while nominally racing, these are "fun" events and we have a flexible balance between fun and competitiveness). Have sailed a few times in higher winds without.

When single-handing, the threshold is lower, perhaps 14. The effect of the reef is moderate but noticeable.

Sailing someone's DS on the Texas200 one year, we would reef deeply in anticipation of building wind, letting it out later in the day if the wind fell short of what we had expected. Based on what we felt would get us there, but keep the boat manageable. Some days we might forget to take out a reef even if no longer required. Other days, we took it out too soon and managed anyway.
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Re: Mainsail reefing questions

Postby 109jb » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:39 pm

Thanks Greenlake, you have confirmed my suspicions. I was leaning toward the hook with only reefing line at the aft end. Seems like it only requires a single turning block and a jam cleat for each reef point.
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Re: Mainsail reefing questions

Postby GreenLake » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:32 am

Make sure your cleats are easy to set and not prone to slipping (I'm a bit at war with my current outhaul cleat in that regard). And modern ropes being what they are, 3-4mm may be all you need for diameter. Get something with a cover, not bare Dyneema like Amsteel. I think something like Dinghy Control Line from FSE Robline would work well.
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