Ask SAIL: Will a Second Reef Help?

Many times while sailing my Precision 23 on our local lake I find myself reefing my main and roller-reefing the jib to almost nothing to keep the boat from excessive heeling when the wind is 20 knots...
Author:
Updated:
Original:

JON ROEDER, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

Q: Many times while sailing my Precision 23 on our local lake I find myself reefing my main and roller-reefing the jib to almost nothing to keep the boat from excessive heeling when the wind is 20 knots. However, when I do this I don’t get the performance I want. When I let out more jib, it seems I get better balance between the two sails, and I go faster, but I have to fight the gusts way too much. Would it be better to have a second set of reef points installed in my mainsail so I can depower that sail some more? Could I then sail with the jib out without having to fight off the gusts? If so, how far up the sail should the sail loft install the new reef points?

Win Fowler Replies

A: Yes, I expect a second set of reef points would help your situation. Not knowing how deep your existing reef is, my best advice is to make the second reef twice as deep as the first. Generally, when we build a sail with a single reef, we put that reef in a position to remove approximately 1/3 of the sail area (about 20 percent of the luff length). Doubling that would leave a very small bit of main.
It is also important to make sure that the sail is flattened as much as possible when reefed. That means tensioning the leech end of the reef (after tensioning the luff) so that the sail is basically completely straight between the luff and leech reef cringles. If you can achieve this, and the sail is still quite deep aloft, you might consider recutting the sail rather than adding a reef.

Win Fowler has built sails for America’s Cup boats, coastal cruisers and one-design racers

Got a question for our experts? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com

Related

09-Map-Route-VG2020

Vendee Globe Village Closing, Race Still On

Following the latest national lockdown measures announced by French President Emmanuel Macron as part of the fight against Covid-19, the 2020-21 Vendée Globe Race Village will be closed to the public beginning Friday, October 30th. The Vendée Globe will still take place as ...read more

Register-2048

Register of Circumnavigators Launched

Just in time for a fresh class of Vendée Globe sailors to attempt their circumnavigations, The International Association of Cape Horners (IACH) has taken on the responsibility of maintaining an official register of sailors who have completed solo circumnavigations by the Three ...read more

FPO skys0tlm8jlrpynehcpe_NEW

A Half-century of Cruising with SAIL

I cannot say I have been reading SAIL magazine since the very beginning, but I come pretty darned close. Sometime around 1974, when I was in high school, I began buying it every month at our local newsstand and saving every issue until I had great stacks of them, as carefully ...read more

B&G-Halo20+-side-facing

Gear: B&G HALO radar

B&G’s HALO series of radars now includes the HALO20+ and the HALO20, a pair of compact radomes expressly designed for use aboard smaller sailboats. The units measure 20in in diameter and weigh a mere 11lb. The HALO20+, in particular, delivers a full 360-degree sweep every ...read more

PICTON CASTLE under sail with stunsls WV7 compressed

Picton Castle Seeks Crew

The Picton Castle is set to begin its eighth circumnavigation this spring under the command of Captain Daniel Moreland. A professional crew of 12 will guide up to 40 trainees at a time as they learn about all aspects of sailing the bark, from steering to lookout, ...read more

DSC_0013

Ask Sail: Keel Attachments

Q: I have an early ‘70s Catalina 27. The keel bolts look pretty good. My question is, why not glass over the keel to bond to the hull rather than changing the bolts if, or when the bolts are too far gone? I haven’t seen anything on this, so could you discuss? Full-keels are ...read more

04-GOPR0511

Book Review: Sailing Into Oblivion

Sailing Into Oblivion by Jerome Rand $15.99, available through Amazon As refreshing and inspiring as Jerome Rand’s 2017-18 solo-circumnavigation may have been, his account of the voyage in the book Sailing Into Oblivion: The Solo Non-Stop Voyage of the Mighty Sparrow may be even ...read more

01-1970-Dec

50 Years of SAIL

Back in early 1970, Bernie Goldhirsh and the recently founded “Institute for the Advancement of Sailing,” publisher of an annual sailboat and gear guide, launched something called SAIL. A half-century later, a look back at the magazine’s first few years provides a glimpse into a ...read more