kurio99

Adding a Reef

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This may be sacrilege, but I have an old sail for my Albacore for which I want to add reef points.  There are times when I want to single hand or take a beginner in a bit of a breeze.  What's a typical height of reef from the foot?  Any particular system?  Just add extra eyelets for the outhaul and cunningham?

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Only your sailmaker knows for sure.

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It doesn't take much of a reef to make a difference. I have used the Cunningham grommet for the luff and two feet up on the leach. Gets the boom up back there, an advantage when puffs hit. 

But, the aft grommet has to have  the reinforcement of a 'patch' of sailcloth. If not handy with a sewing machine and have access to big grommets, use a local sailmaker. Cost me a hundred bucks. Worth it.

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Some Thistle sailers have a reefing setup. Like already mentioned, it doesn’t take much for upwind to make a difference.

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All modern 505s have a reef. It is at the clew only and about 9 inches or so up. This varies. But you can also (if not using a halyard lock--and most no longer do) pull the cunno down too. So this is not sacrilege. (The purpose of reefing aft only is to deal with rake drooping the boom too low as wind increases and rake increases).

1 foot of dinghy main reefed off is a good number. I've done that on other dinghies in the 120 ft^2 total area range and had good results.

My sailmaker charged about same as mentioned above when I added both clew and tack reefs to one of my 505 mains.
 

If you do this make the clew a bit more reefed than the tack--to get the boom end up. Helps with rake and with just giving you some breathing room in the heavy going and keeping the boom end from "pinning" if you heel too far going downwind.

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Not much to add to the already-good advice so far.

The one thing I'd further explain is that you need to haul the reefed clew out and down, both pretty hard. The boom should be sucked right up the grommet, or least with an inch or so; and get slightly more foot tension than you'd want in the unreefed sail in that same wind strength.

I mention this because I have seen reefing systems that failed to hold the boom up, or to hold the sail flat (or both). This makes the boat far more difficult to control plus the risk of getting whacked in the head

FB- Doug

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I'd add a reef to lower the main about half the height between the top and the headstay.

 

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Most Dinghies I''ve sailed that have had reefing points, have had the first reef at about 3 ft above the boom and a second reef if fitted  another 2 to 3ft above that.  ( that's with a total mast length of 21-24 ft)

If you need more reefs than that, it's time to prop up the bar..

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Forgive the noob question, when you reef the sail, do you try to keep the boom at the same height as when using the full sail, or allow it to come up bit to just below the gap in the track where the sail will come out? or something else entirely?

 

thanks

 

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?  You don't move the gooseneck.  Halyard is lowered by the amount of reef at the tack end.  As others have suggested, the outhaul end can be reefed higher so that the boom angles upwards at the back so that it is easier to duck, especially if the mast is raked for high wind sailing.

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6 minutes ago, kurio99 said:

?  You don't move the gooseneck.  Halyard is lowered by the amount of reef at the tack end.  As others have suggested, the outhaul end can be reefed higher so that the boom angles upwards at the back so that it is easier to duck, especially if the mast is raked for high wind sailing.

if you have a sliding gooseneck, and you are concerned that there will be insufficient room to duck beneath the boom in heavy weather. Then it is possible to allow the gooseneck to go up a bit higher, though that is to a small amount, reducing the effectiveness of the reef..

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My gooseneck is fixed, so didn't realize that as an option.  That said, if one has to reef on the water in advance of a squall, there may not be enough time for making that type of change.

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Not wanting to be the dick in the room, but I'm not sure it's worth the hassle.

Old sails tend to be by definition fucked, so if you put a reef into it and it really blows it will probably fall apart.

Reefed dinghies are a bitch to handle and miserable to sail.  We used to have a team racing fleet that could be reefed.  The problem is the boats aren't designed to be sailed like that and they become quite hard to handle, typically when reefed they develop chronic lee helm.  We had some excellent accidents in the team racing boats when the race orificer decided it would be a good idea to reef the fleet.

When I've been worried about particularly big squalls in a dinghy I've just dropped the main.  Usually I've just sat on the upturned hull for a bit until things calmed down.

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42 minutes ago, European Bloke said:

Not wanting to be the dick in the room, but I'm not sure it's worth the hassle.

Old sails tend to be by definition fucked, so if you put a reef into it and it really blows it will probably fall apart.

Reefed dinghies are a bitch to handle and miserable to sail.  We used to have a team racing fleet that could be reefed.  The problem is the boats aren't designed to be sailed like that and they become quite hard to handle, typically when reefed they develop chronic lee helm.  We had some excellent accidents in the team racing boats when the race orificer decided it would be a good idea to reef the fleet.

When I've been worried about particularly big squalls in a dinghy I've just dropped the main.  Usually I've just sat on the upturned hull for a bit until things calmed down.

Old sails spending money on is problematic true.

Reefing works fine if you adjust sails correctly. On boats with rake adjustment it is no problem. On nonraking the jib should be trimmed flatter (lead brought aft) and twisted off at the top as needed.

The reason you have bad experience with reefed dinghies is twofold:

1: the sailshape was wrong reefed and

2: I suspect mostly it was merely because it was windy. Would still have wiped out.

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3 hours ago, European Bloke said:

Not wanting to be the dick in the room, but I'm not sure it's worth the hassle.

Old sails tend to be by definition fucked, so if you put a reef into it and it really blows it will probably fall apart.

Reefed dinghies are a bitch to handle and miserable to sail.  We used to have a team racing fleet that could be reefed.  The problem is the boats aren't designed to be sailed like that and they become quite hard to handle, typically when reefed they develop chronic lee helm.  We had some excellent accidents in the team racing boats when the race orificer decided it would be a good idea to reef the fleet.

When I've been worried about particularly big squalls in a dinghy I've just dropped the main.  Usually I've just sat on the upturned hull for a bit until things calmed down.

True about old sails, and I am sorry to hear that you have had miserable experience with reefed dinghies.

If the reef is set up properly, however, they work fine. There are some keelboats that sail poorly and are difficult when reefed, too.

The lesson is not "Reefing dinghies always sucks." The lesson should be: if you are going to the expense and trouble of rigging a reef in your dinghy sail(s), make sure to set it up properly from the beginning.

FB- Doug

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To add a reef, we now go to a neighboring state where pot is legal. But as sailwriter said, it's more than adding a grommet. He must have learned on a J24 back in the day when class rules required reef points, which no one used, so sailmakers just stuck in grommets to satisfy class rules. Without proper sail reinforcements, it's bye-bye leach.

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Another Noob question

So yesterday, we went out and the wind was a little heavier than we were used to so we put a reef in the sail for the first time.  Tiller would have to almost all the way to the sail to go straight (lee helm?).  So we shook out the reef and sailed very conservatively.  What did I do wrong?

 

thanks

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1 hour ago, NJHippo said:

Another Noob question

So yesterday, we went out and the wind was a little heavier than we were used to so we put a reef in the sail for the first time.  Tiller would have to almost all the way to the sail to go straight (lee helm?).  So we shook out the reef and sailed very conservatively.  What did I do wrong?

 

thanks

You did everything right. Well done. Yes that was lee helm.

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6 hours ago, NJHippo said:

Another Noob question

So yesterday, we went out and the wind was a little heavier than we were used to so we put a reef in the sail for the first time.  Tiller would have to almost all the way to the sail to go straight (lee helm?).  So we shook out the reef and sailed very conservatively.  What did I do wrong?

 

thanks

When reefed, the helm balance should be similar to the way the boat normally sails, unreefed. What you describe is lee helm, all right..... not good in heavy wind, generally the opposite ("weather helm") is desirable.... a small amount, that is.

Hard to say what is causing it, could be a lot of things.

FB- Doug

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18 hours ago, NJHippo said:

Another Noob question

So yesterday, we went out and the wind was a little heavier than we were used to so we put a reef in the sail for the first time.  Tiller would have to almost all the way to the sail to go straight (lee helm?).  So we shook out the reef and sailed very conservatively.  What did I do wrong?

 

thanks

Forgive me if I'm being patronising but were you still using a big genoa? What you describe is exactly what I'd expect if you reefed the main while still flying a big headsail, because, in the simplest of terms,  you'd have too much sail at the front of the boat.

 Generally, you would change down to a "standard" or cruising jib, instead of using a "racing" genoa as a first step, then reef the main if you were still overpowered. Then a second reef in the main and down to a storm jib, if available... If your boat is/was set up for racing  then it might well not have come with a jib at all, in which case you might be better off taking down the jenny as a first step, then thinking about reefing...

Cheers,

                W.

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18 hours ago, NJHippo said:

Another Noob question

So yesterday, we went out and the wind was a little heavier than we were used to so we put a reef in the sail for the first time.  Tiller would have to almost all the way to the sail to go straight (lee helm?).  So we shook out the reef and sailed very conservatively.  What did I do wrong?

 

thanks

 

27 minutes ago, WGWarburton said:

Forgive me if I'm being patronising but were you still using a big genoa? What you describe is exactly what I'd expect if you reefed the main while still flying a big headsail, because, in the simplest of terms,  you'd have too much sail at the front of the boat.

 Generally, you would change down to a "standard" or cruising jib, instead of using a "racing" genoa as a first step, then reef the main if you were still overpowered. Then a second reef in the main and down to a storm jib, if available... If your boat is/was set up for racing  then it might well not have come with a jib at all, in which case you might be better off taking down the jenny as a first step, then thinking about reefing...

Cheers,

                W.

What boat?

Details and we can maybe pontificate further.

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1 hour ago, NJHippo said:

American 14.6 

 

https://americansail.com/products/boats/american-146

video of one sailing with a reef(not me)

 

thanks

That's a very simple rig. In the videos I don't even see a boom vang. However it is available in the parts list. There are no spreaders. Sailshape control is pretty rudimentary (no spagetti factory). Boom vang is important to have as is a working cunningham. If you don't have enough weather helm (sailing with lee helm) then closing the main leech a bit with the vang will help. Easing the jib a touch relative to the main will also help. It looks like there is no provision for moving the jib leads, so there is very little you can do to the jib other than keeping it on the edge of luffing, with the main fully driving. If you vang hard and also pull the cunningham to pull out wrinkles in the luff, and have the clew outhauled fully out, you may be able to get some good flattening of the main, obviating the need for reefing until the wind is over 20 knots or so.

However I do see that you can rake the mast. The tabernackle will allow it and you have shroud and forestay length adjusters. With the reef in you could rake the mast aft. That will help. This is also why you want to have the reef not parallel to the boom but higher at the clew than at the tack.

Also, when reefed, make sure your centerboard is all the way down, swung as far forward as possible. If it is even a bit up it will greatly exacerbate lee helm.
 

 

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Yeah, lack of a vang will kill the boat's heavy-air sailing; especially it will be difficult/impossible to control downwind.

The balance of area between jib/main could be the culprit.

I also wonder if the lee helm was due to the centerboard stalling. Lots of times..... easy to do in chop..... when the boat is making only hesitant forward progress, it slides sideways and the rudder has to be kept in the plane of forward/diagonal motion instead of along the boat's centerline. The most common situation for this is coming out of a tack in light air, but it happens other times too.

Things to check: Mast in the same position with the same rake; centerboard all the way down and not fouled (weed or net or something wrapped around it); reefed mainsail shape good (ie hoisted properly, flat shape); sail trim appropriate (here I should mention that easing the jib in gusts is more work for the crew, but it definitely helps the boat perform better).

If all the above is good, and the boat is making good speed thru the water, and you're still experiencing lee helm, try letting the boat heel a bit.

Hope this helps

FB- Doug

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Thanks to everyone for your input. Will try the suggestions next time. I did buy the vang and had it pretty tight, don't have a Cunningham, maybe add that next winter

Thanks again

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15 minutes ago, NJHippo said:

Thanks to everyone for your input. Will try the suggestions next time. I did buy the vang and had it pretty tight, don't have a Cunningham, maybe add that next winter

Thanks again

You can add a cunningham today. ISn't there already a cringle for one? Of course there is--you put it through the tack reef cringle!  It's just a length of line and some blocks if you want (otherwise just line and some loops).
Two different things.
1. You need to see how vang/outhaul anmd cunningham afect your sailshapoe with full saiil. For this, use the reef tack cringle as the ciunningham rig point.

2. When reefed, you need the halyard tension high enough. That is your cunningham when reefed. (You can always use the halyard to do what the cunningham does--as long as the headboard isn't all the way to the truck. When you are reefec, it isn't so no cunningham required--just more halyard tension.) You need to experiement with how flat or not flat you can sail the reefed sail, and shape change with vang/halyard/outhaul. And then also add the mast rake to the problem.

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lee helm was caused due to more sail area (center of effort, CE) in front of the board (center of lateral resistance, CLR) than behind. Can be rectified with more mast rake. 

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8 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

When reefed, the helm balance should be similar to the way the boat normally sails, unreefed. What you describe is lee helm, all right..... not good in heavy wind, generally the opposite ("weather helm") is desirable.... a small amount, that is.

Hard to say what is causing it, could be a lot of things.

FB- Doug

I refer you to my post above where I point out it doesn't work, but you drivel on about putting the reef in properly.

When you reef a yacht you also reduce the size of the headsail.  When you reef a dinghy you typically don't.  This results is chronic lee helm, making the boat at best unpleasant and difficult to sail.

Dinghies generally aren't for reefing.

There's a lot of shit in this thread.  Take much of it with a large dose of salt.

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2 minutes ago, European Bloke said:

I refer you to my post above where I point out it doesn't work, but you drivel on about putting the reef in properly.

When you reef a yacht you also reduce the size of the headsail.  When you reef a dinghy you typically don't.  This results is chronic lee helm, making the boat at best unpleasant and difficult to sail.

Dinghies generally aren't for reefing.

There's a lot of shit in this thread.  Take much of it with a large dose of salt.

Dude, have you reefed a dinghy successfully? I have. It's not that hard. You just have to take care of the problems as I've written above. This is not rocket science.
"Dinghies generally aren't for reefing."   <<<< I should make that my signature. That's funny and I like it.

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2 hours ago, European Bloke said:

I refer you to my post above where I point out it doesn't work, but you drivel on about putting the reef in properly.

When you reef a yacht you also reduce the size of the headsail.  When you reef a dinghy you typically don't.  This results is chronic lee helm, making the boat at best unpleasant and difficult to sail.

Dinghies generally aren't for reefing.

There's a lot of shit in this thread.  Take much of it with a large dose of salt.

Let me put it this way...

-I- know how to reef a sail. Have done so many times, and feel very confident that if I were present to help the OP, could figure out a practical and functional way to do so, such that the boat sails fine.

Seeing is believing. The following photos are of kids sailing in a program that I help with, heavy 14-footers but I am pretty sure that most would consider these boats (Oday Javelins) dinghies.

P1180827op1.jpg

Now here is another, showing a bit of a problem with the clew cringle letting the boom droop down a bit. However, the sailors are smart enough to keep their heads down, and the boat is sailing just fine.

P1230006op1.jpg

So..... when I say that a reefed dinghy can sail just fine, if the reef is properly rigged, it's because I know what I am talking about. YMMV

FB- Doug

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On 5/21/2019 at 4:38 PM, fastyacht said:

Dude, have you reefed a dinghy successfully? I have. It's not that hard. You just have to take care of the problems as I've written above. This is not rocket science.
"Dinghies generally aren't for reefing."   <<<< I should make that my signature. That's funny and I like it.

i wouldn't consider a flattener reef to be a reef.... similar to oral sex isn't really sex. 

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3 minutes ago, mustang__1 said:

i wouldn't consider a flattener reef to be a reef.... similar to oral sex isn't really sex. 

I've reefed fully as well. On the 505 and the GP14 and the laser...and a couple boats I designed. GP 14 has a working jib so easy to do on that boat.

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On 5/21/2019 at 4:36 PM, European Bloke said:

I refer you to my post above where I point out it doesn't work, but you drivel on about putting the reef in properly.

When you reef a yacht you also reduce the size of the headsail.  When you reef a dinghy you typically don't.  This results is chronic lee helm, making the boat at best unpleasant and difficult to sail.

Dinghies generally aren't for reefing.

There's a lot of shit in this thread.  Take much of it with a large dose of salt.

 EB,  Done properly It works great on most dinghies that are fractionally rigged (which are most dinghies). When reefing conditions are needed, the wind is up and in 99.9% of the dinghies, additional  weather helm exists. The reef should cure most of it  However, you may be referring to the other .1%. Also jibs on dinghies usually don't have the adjustments to properly trim them in reefing conditions and the % of pressure as in normal sailing as to the main is not achieved . Been there done it.

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All dinghies can  be reefed.  If you have a centre board boat just roll then jib up around the forestay and tie it with a bit of tape (you have to keep the rig tension). Then lift the board about a third and make sure the boom does not come closer in than the corner of the transom. I do this regularly with Wanderers (14ft heavy British tubs, like smaller Wayfarers). Works fine. It's a sort of reefing as well.

While I'm at it, anyone from the 60's and 70's here who knows how to roller reef a dinghy? Rolling tape into the reef to attach the vang and pulling down a fold at the leach?

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3 hours ago, Dart96 said:

....While I'm at it, anyone from the 60's and 70's here who knows how to roller reef a dinghy? Rolling tape into the reef to attach the vang and pulling down a fold at the leach?

Tape?  If you don't have a proper canvas reefing strop then the thing to use is the sailbag...

 Heave to, drop main, judge the leech tuck to suit the number of rolls you are putting in, then roll in the strop or bag and attach to the kicker. Re hoist and off you go... doesn't work so  well with one of these new-fangled centre mainsheet setups but then,  they take up lots of cockpit space, so undesirable in a proper cruising dinghy, anyway....

 (Don't forget to take out the bottom batten, if you're reefing heavily).

 What do I win? A Marathon bar? Packet of Opal Fruits?

Cheers,

               W. 

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Nope, nothing other than the Kudos of knowing what the square on the gooseneck is for. Unless anyone knows different

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