Reefing…

…on our trip to the Medway Alexandros performed flawlessly.  Not once did we feel that she could not cope, the engine worked like a Swiss watch, electronics likewise.  The heads did not explode (it has done that once before), and despite appalling weather on the return trip, the bilges are as dry as…, well, as dry as a dry thing.

However, it became clear that our reefing system was rubbish.  To reef the main entailed, lowering the main, tightening the lazyjacks, attaching the reefing cringles to the horns, tying in the leach reefing point, raising the main, loosening the lazyjacks.   All in all, a pain in the backside, especially with restricted vision and rough seas.

So a better system was called for, and this is what I came up with…

The first reef is of the ‘single line’ type.  I had a system like this on my old Wayfarer dinghy and never used it.  However, the idea is that one releases the main halyard, pulls in the reefing line, cleat it and re-tension the main.  Simple.  Having tested it many times whilst moored it seems to work a treat, a good flat reef every time and no climbing on the cabin roof!

The second reef, for simplicities sake is slightly different.  The luff is pulled down by a single line but the leach cringle is still tied in by hand.  I do not tend to go out in conditions where a second reef is needed and although not as slick as the first reef method, a second reef can still be tied in without leaving the cockpit.  (I have not actually fitted this reef yet, but have all the bits ready and am waiting for a suitable day to do the work).  Will update this page with feedback!

 

The line for the first reefing point passes up the stbd side of the main, through the cringle, down the port side and around the first of the cheek blocks.

After traveling along the boom, the line passes the second cheek block and goes up to the luff cringle, down the other side and down to a turning block

All lines are led aft to the cockpit. The reefing line is secured with a jamming cleat

I have still to test the system ‘in anger’ but will be sure to feed back any problems/improvements.

Stop press.  The reefing system works a treat.  first reef is so easy to tie in I did not think it worked at first.  I have also now fitted and used in anger, the second reef.  This also works a treat!  So, first and second reefs can be put in without leaving the cockpit.  They are just as easy to shake out too, which must be a good thing for efficient sail trim.  Brilliant, shame it took two years to get around to doing it.  

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