Single line reefing?

I’m abandoning my bult rope main and am fitting a mainsail track (harken with cb cars) as I’m getting a new mainsail.

We race double handed only (my wife and I) with a 50m2 mainsail offshore and inshore races and are considering a better option for reefing.

Sail is North 3di carbon mix ... 

What are your thoughts on reefing and specifically...

a) Single line reefing, is it the best option for shorthanded racing and if so what is the best set up?

b) Reef hooks or locks for the boom, solutions like the Karver hook or other locks similar to halyard locks. Is it a good idea and if so which one should I get? I understand it could save the sail from shafe as well as simplify reefing?

c) is there a way to combine and do single line reefing with hooks for the reefed clew?

I’d greatly appreciate any ideas that could help us tame our main in a big breeze :)

 

r.finn

Super Anarchist
1,957
502
Single line reefing has the very annoying and unhelpful habit of tightening the leech as you reef the luff, exactly when you want the leech as open as possible.  It is not at all easier short-handed.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

r.finn

Super Anarchist
1,957
502
atyourcervix said:
so ease the vang. 
 Usually done with traditional slab reefing too.  Single line is not as effective as regular slab reefing.  I've done a lot of both.  

 

us7070

Super Anarchist
10,226
241
Single line reefing has the very annoying and unhelpful habit of tightening the leech as you reef the luff, exactly when you want the leech as open as possible.  It is not at all easier short-handed.
i usually end up with the luff really tight and the leech/clew still a bit too loose...

the problem is there is just too much friction and if the both ends don't go to the right position at exactly the same time, it's really hard to continue taking up one end, because the other binds up

yes..,i am easing the vang..., it's just not a great setup - probably okay in enclosed waters on a daysailer where you won't use it much, but not for general use where it really has to work

i am going to try a stripped reefing line this year..,and probably low-friction rings instead of the clew/tack cringles - i think it will make a big difference

my boat is a daysailer, so i don't worry too much about the lack of a hook - it hasn't been a problem  - i think offshore you need some sort of a hook or strap at the tack

 
Last edited by a moderator:

us7070

Super Anarchist
10,226
241
https://vimeo.com/246331669

2 minute video worth a look.
shows the advantage of low friction rings - he has them at both the clew and the tack,  and a smaller diameter line - which is what i am going to change to. i am pretty sure mine will work as well as his does once i make the changes.

without them, it sometimes won't work the way his does.., because at the stage where his luff is tight.., but the clew isn't, and he continues to trim the reef line.., there is just too much friction... mine is not terrible - just not ideal.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

r.finn

Super Anarchist
1,957
502
yes..,i am easing the vang..., it's just not a great setup - probably okay in enclosed waters on a daysailer where you won't use it much, but not for general use where it really has to work.

my boat is a daysailer, so i don't worry too much about the lack of a hook - it hasn't been a problem  - i think offshore you need some sort of a hook or strap at the tack
Agreed.  I think it's fine if you're not really going offshore and can setup your reef before heading out.  However, there's a reason you don't see single line reefing used by any professional offshore teams, and it's not because they like to make things more difficult for themselves.

 

us7070

Super Anarchist
10,226
241
I have sailed offshore a fair bit on a large Swan with single line reefing.., it's always a hassle, and never looks really good

two-line reefing would be much better on a boat like that - loads are huge

and - with electric winches, the temptation is to try just a little more trim, because it's easy - not good...

 

silent bob

Super Anarchist
8,344
1,091
New Jersey
shows the advantage of low friction rings - he has them at both the clew and the tack,  and a smaller diameter line - which is what i am going to change to. i am pretty sure mine will work as well as his does once i make the changes.

without them, it sometimes won't work the way his does.., because at the stage where his luff is tight.., but the clew isn't, and he continues to trim the reef line.., there is just too much friction... mine is not terrible - just not ideal.
I don’t think I’d be reefing in 8 knots of breeze and flat water, with no headsail up and the motor running!  Let’s see him do this in 30 knots, with a sea state to match!  

 

El Borracho

Sam’s friend
6,244
2,328
Pacific Rim
For me and my sailing...single line reefing makes zero sense. Great idea if someone could address the fatal flaws. My luff tension is best at maybe a hundred pounds or so. The cunningham is a simple little tackle, for example. However the clew load must be many hundreds of pounds: All a winch, 2:1 tackle, and a big guy can do.

The entire premise of single line reefing is stupid.

My first reef goes in at 10 knots when singlehanded upwind with a non-overlap headsail. Full canvas is rightly for the lighter stuff. Weird, huh? 30 knots likely sees 3 reefs.

 

r.finn

Super Anarchist
1,957
502
I don’t think I’d be reefing in 8 knots of breeze and flat water, with no headsail up and the motor running!  Let’s see him do this in 30 knots, with a sea state to match!  
Paul C. knows his stuff, but yeah.  fslijelof should stick to slab reefing.  If he doesn't want the extra line, use a snap shackle or hook for the luff, maybe just use two lines for the first reef since it's used most often and it sounds like they want to stay in the cockpit.  No idea what kind of boat he and his wife sail but I've set up locks on a Class 40 and it seemed like overkill for a boat that small. 

 

The Dark Knight

Super Anarchist
6,108
1,323
Brisvegas
I don’t think I’d be reefing in 8 knots of breeze and flat water, with no headsail up and the motor running!  Let’s see him do this in 30 knots, with a sea state to match!  
What that guy did in 8 knots is what I used to do solo in 30+ on my old 40ft Jeanneau. Piss easy.... worked for all 3 reefs.

The trick is to prepare the boat for reefing and practice it in the marina so that it will work that easy when you really need it. On a good day, I could do all three reefs without leaving the cockpit.

 

vikram

Member
184
34
I sail on this boat a lot because I bought it. It works exactly this way up to about thirty knots when the third reef is needed. There is so much line for the third reef that I don't set it up that way but may if I get the gumption to do the b12 the reason I bought the boat.

All the 'it can't possibly work this way' folks are incorrect. I wouldn't try this on anything over 35 feet or with a longer boom and I sail on those kind of boats too. Uncle has a Morgan 382 for example. Without slick lines and friction free fairleads it would probably be a nightmare and not worth trying. With them I keep the boat right where it should be prob reefing and unreefing 30 to 50 percent more often because of the time it takes. Single and DH racing that makes the boat flatter and faster.

Older boat and running rigging ...no.

New high aspect rig with willingness to do it right? Fast. Lotta string tho.

 

thegood

New member
19
10
space
Works surprisingly good on a Garcia Exploration 52. The first two reefs are single line, the third is done with two lines.

 
Paul C. knows his stuff, but yeah.  fslijelof should stick to slab reefing.  If he doesn't want the extra line, use a snap shackle or hook for the luff, maybe just use two lines for the first reef since it's used most often and it sounds like they want to stay in the cockpit.  No idea what kind of boat he and his wife sail but I've set up locks on a Class 40 and it seemed like overkill for a boat that small. 
Thanks @r.finn we're sailing a Prima 38, not a big boat but the boom is 5,5m and the main is 50m2, so there is more than enough sail to make us think twice about reefing. Also I was considering a lock solution to save the 3Di sail from shafe 

 

r.finn

Super Anarchist
1,957
502
Thanks @r.finn we're sailing a Prima 38, not a big boat but the boom is 5,5m and the main is 50m2, so there is more than enough sail to make us think twice about reefing. Also I was considering a lock solution to save the 3Di sail from shafe 
What are your clew reef attachments?  Press rings, webbing with rings, etc...?  Others will know better but I've seen IMOCAs using clutches in the aft end of the boom for clew reefs.  Reef, engage clutch, release loaded winch.  This helps relieve boom compression and has the same effect on the sail as it would without clutches in the boom.  West Engineering Ltd makes an actual lock for the clew reef which is external.  Not cheap.  I'd talk to your sail maker, but obviously there are many above who are happy with their single line solutions.

 

SSolo

Member
162
197
England
IMHO karver hooks are the best - take some setting up, but once set up - easy to set and drop - needs a soft loop on reef
 at mast my pref is a soft loop through the crinkle to Talsker

 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
8,890
4,803
Canada
I used double line reefing for 2 reef points on my cat. Only issue was using same winch for both leech and luff lines. Did require a bit of clutching/unclutching.

But I'd routinely reef downwind by just hauling down the luff reef line a few feet until it was really tight, than ease the halyard when it would get taut, and repeat. 

After the luff was in the right place, then the leech line would be tensioned properly. It was usually tightened a bit bit as the luff line was brought in so as to avoid it flogging all over the place. With reefing lines properly marked I could do it under the cockpit cover and never needed to even look at the sail in most circumstances.

 
Top