June 11, 2008   

If you think about having a reef in you should have one in. 9 out of 10 times you are faster with it in than heeling over and going sideways.
* single line reefing – good for short handed sailing but I agree it doesn’t allow great foot control.

* flattening reef (no change at the tack just takes a segment out by having a cringle on the leech)- some of the moore 24’s and express 27’s use them. Haven’t seen any on large offshore boats recently.

* slab reefing – I prefer this but I like to go with the more expensive approach of tylaska’s on a spectra strop attached to the pad eye on the side of the mast. You attach the tylaska to a ring which is sewn into the luff of the main. The advantage of this is that you don’t have to worry about the ring dropping off the horns at the mast especially if you are moving your cunningham after the reef has been put in. It is really important to have the strop at the right length so that you don’t mess with the tack set back as this can cause havoc with the groove in the rig. Last year I had a goove fail on a carbon rig when the strop was a inch too long – expensive mistake there were other things going on but that helped to exasebate (spelling!) the problem.

*reefing diapers – I use these on any booms where I am worried about the crush effect of wrapping a line around the boom. Also they mean you don’t have to worry about the placement of the reefing line along the boom. I don’t have a picture but imagine a piece of dacron in a diamond shape then sew on a piece of spectra webbing that follows the shape of the diamond with the join in the middle of the diamond and two loops extending from two opposite corners of the diamond. Then another piece of webbing on the inside which has loops that don’t extend beyond the material. You lash the diaper onto the boom using spectra laced through the loops of the shorter webbing – this allows you to put it in the correct position. You then attach the reef line to the loops that extend from the material.

*reefing cringles – I don’t believe it is ever good to tie up the extra material by going through the cringles and around the boom. The reason for this is if either your tack or clew blow you have a large chance of ripping the sail as the weight will be on the cringles. Also if it is dark and someone forgets to untie one you don’t have the same result. When you tie the bundle up if you have a loose footed main put the sail tie between the sail and the boom so if a tack or clew blows you just have a sausage foot blowing around. Also when I worked as a sailmaker they use to sew webbing with a loop in it onto a round piece of material than glue that to the sail creating a weak link whereby the loop or patch would fail before the sail would fail.

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