Quick note on reefing my methods

A forum for discussion of how to rig and tune your boat or kicker to achieve the best sailing performance.

Moderators: kmclemore, NiceAft, Hamin' X, Catigale, beene

Post Reply
User avatar
Ixneigh
Admiral
Posts: 1954
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:00 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Key largo Florida

Quick note on reefing my methods

Post by Ixneigh » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:27 pm

Someone asked me about reefing in another thread.

The factory reefing set up on my new M was so abysmal it wasn't funny. Yea I get the whole its a lake and bay boat and if you want to make it better go ahead.
But still. Its too hard to manage the outboard end of the boom and tie the clew line in place.

I use whats called slab reefing. Thats what the boat was equipped from the factory with , but It was very bare bones. The sail is taking in in a section at a time. As compared to rolling it up on either the boom or inside the mast. The general method is to lower the Halyard and place a heavy ring grommet on a little hook on the gooseneck. You then take up on the halyard, secure it then bring the reefing clew down to the outboard end of the boom and secure it. There are usually ties sewn or knotted in the belly of the sail that can be used to tie up the loose fabric in a neat bundle. Everyone on here is at least somewhat familiar with a this. But the details make the difference.
First off the single factory supplied reef point is not going to cut it for any serious use if you care at all about performance. If you put the sails down and use the motor in sub par weather its enough, I suppose. But If you want to sail and have the boat perform well you'll need to upgrade it to two reef points.
I don't care for roller reefing due to poor sail set and shape. These boats are very picky. I could have so-so sail trim on my keel boat and get ok performance. Not on the mac M. I quickly became more mindful. Slab reefing results in better sail shape if done right.
I ordered a coastal cruising main from our friend Judy. It has two reef points or sections. It maybe ought to have three. But the sail was lovely and set very well. I opted NOT for the reefing control lines lead back to the cockpit. Mostly to keep the deck free of lines. Just me. Lots of people here apparently have and like that system. What I DID do was lead the clew control lines for each reef point forward along the boom so that I can manage both it and the halyard from one place. It was easy and not too expensive. Instructions can be found online.
Lastly I made sure to place the reefing ties in the little grommets made for them, in the new sail.
To effect a reef I head the boat up into the wind a bit, and slack the mainsheet.
It should be just ready to luff. The Jib should still be full and driving the boat. Sheet it in a bit if needed to point high enough so most of the pressure is off the main. Don't let the main go out so its hitting the spreaders. Now secure the helm and the boat should hold that course at reduced speed. Don't have the jib in too tight. You want the boat to keep moving but with the main depowered, but not flogging. In strong winds I pick up the centerboard enough to discourage the boat from luffing the jib. She will kind of crab forward and sideways. Now go forward lower the halyard, hook the reefing grommet over the hook, and snug the Halyard again. The boat should still be minding herself. The M does this better then any other boat I've had. Now pull in on the line for the reefing clew. As you snug this down you might see the sail start to fill. Now tie the loose fabric of the sail up with the reefing ties as you work your way back to the cockpit. Everything should be neat and snug. If you have a loose footed main do not tie the reefing ties around the boom. Now you can adjust the sails and centerboard as needed.

In so far as getting the boat to help me I've found having The right sail trim and a way to secure the wheel is all I've needed. I made my own helm lock and its worked very well. If you have an auto pilot so much the better. I also always disconnect the engine from the steering. If you have not already, practice getting the boat to sail herself on various points of sail.
Ix

User avatar
Phil M
Captain
Posts: 805
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:29 am
Sailboat: Other
Location: 42' Jeanneau, Saskatoon, SK, Canada

Re: Quick note on reefing my methods

Post by Phil M » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:00 am

. In strong winds I pick up the centerboard enough to discourage the boat from luffing the jib. She will kind of crab forward and sideways
When the boat is moving in strong winds I find it very difficult to do anything with the centerboard or daggerboard unless I intentionally put the boat into irons with the sails flogging.

User avatar
Ixneigh
Admiral
Posts: 1954
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:00 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Key largo Florida

Re: Quick note on reefing my methods

Post by Ixneigh » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:44 pm

I haven't done anything special to mine but it hasn't seemed to be much hassle.
Ix

K9Kampers
Admiral
Posts: 2372
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 7:32 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
Location: NH, 2001 MacGregor X - Tohatsu 50 / 2013 Ford F150

Re: Quick note on reefing my methods

Post by K9Kampers » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:36 pm

Phil M wrote:
. In strong winds I pick up the centerboard enough to discourage the boat from luffing the jib. She will kind of crab forward and sideways
When the boat is moving in strong winds I find it very difficult to do anything with the centerboard or daggerboard unless I intentionally put the boat into irons with the sails flogging.
X2!

User avatar
Neo
Captain
Posts: 968
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:29 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Central Coast, NSW, Australia

Re: Quick note on reefing my methods

Post by Neo » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:01 pm

Hi Ix,

I finally got round to reading all this in detail and making a few notes. Some great information here. Can't wait to try some of this out on my next venture :)
Ixneigh wrote:What I DID do was lead the clew control lines for each reef point forward along the boom so that I can manage both it and the halyard from one place.. Instructions can be found online.
This is a great idea.... Could you please post up a good link form somewhere for this mod?
Ixneigh wrote:I made sure to place the reefing ties in the little grommets made for them, in the new sail.
... If you have a loose footed main do not tie the reefing ties around the boom.
... So just tie up the belly?


Thanks again.
Neo

Post Reply