Reefing system changes

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
maybe the luff was over tight before I was able to get correct halyard tension.

Looks like a good sail on the Bay. When it's windy, the luff has to be tighter than on a 10-knot day, and I often have to retighten the halyard to remove the scallops that appear when it starts to blow.

Looks like all you need is a little more halyard cranking next time you reef.

(Once a reef is set, it is necessary to relieve all reef line tension and let the sail luff before the halyard tension can be changed.)
 

gadangit

Member III
As you can see in the movie, that reef is also poorly set because you can see all the wrinkles in the luff (and bad sail trim). I have to sort that out on a calmer day. I added quite a bit if halyard tension, so I am guessing maybe the luff was over tight before I was able to get correct halyard tension.
Do you mean the leech was over tight? When we reef, we release the vang and ease the mainsheet quite a bit prior to tightening the halyard and reef line. This allows the halyard to just tighten the luff and the reef to not break your sail.
I am jealous of your hydraulic vang, but don’t miss the leaks.
Chris
 

K2MSmith

Member III
Do you mean the leech was over tight? When we reef, we release the vang and ease the mainsheet quite a bit prior to tightening the halyard and reef line. This allows the halyard to just tighten the luff and the reef to not break your sail.
I am jealous of your hydraulic vang, but don’t miss the leaks.
Chris
Yes , sorry - I meant the leech was over tight ( the reef line that controls rear part of sail). I didn’t ease the sheet , but headed into wind to reduce pressure . I’ll try and ease vang and msinsheet next time .
The navtec hydraulic vang was installed on boat by previous owner I think about 2004. It works well but the cylinder does have a small leak on the mast side . After recently buying this boat , my initial ( and naive ) thought was to replace it with a new ( and simpler) system , but then I looked up actually how much the system cost ( panel + cylinder) and I think now I want to keep it an maintain it :). It does work well - very easy to crank and put tension on it . The lever does take up space in the cockpit but it is easily removed like a winch handle . I’ve attached a few photos .
 

Attachments

K2MSmith

Member III
maybe the luff was over tight before I was able to get correct halyard tension.

Looks like a good sail on the Bay. When it's windy, the luff has to be tighter than on a 10-knot day, and I often have to retighten the halyard to remove the scallops that appear when it starts to blow.

Looks like all you need is a little more halyard cranking next time you reef.

(Once a reef is set, it is necessary to relieve all reef line tension and let the sail luff before the halyard tension can be changed.)
One problem I just noticed is that the main
halyard clutch near the mast on deck is slipping . I can cleat it after the winch , but then I lose the use of that winch . I have to figure out how to replace/rebuild it. If it bolted to the cabin top requiring nuts on the inside , then I have to cut the headliner inside ( unless I can get zippers to work ) . I’m ultimately planning to reorganize the halyards on the deck and get a self tailing halyard winch . I probably will want to lead everything back to the cockpit , but not really sure just yet . The main is so easy to hoist at the mast now with the tides track - I may want to just leave the winch / clutches up there . Going through deck organizer and block at the mast adds extra overhead but it’s more familiar to me .. Decisions , decisions.
 

gadangit

Member III
You are in the fun part of the process! We used to have a halyard slip issue as well. We would do a good job of partially opening the clutch, pushing the pedal thing down and getting a good solid hold on the halyard. Then we took the halyard off the winch and led it around to any normal horn cleat. That "worked", but was annoying. We had a brand new rope clutch at the time to no avail. I even tried thickening the halyard where it would be gripped by the clutch, still slipped.

On the J/44 we crewed on, there was just a second clutch in series on the deck. Then they went to a 2:1 halyard and the issue went away. We also went to a 2:1 halyard and our issue went away as well. More halyard to deal with, a little slower on the hoist, but well worth it in my opinion.

Do you have low-stretch (dyneema based) halyards? If not, that will always make your luff look bad when the wind is up.

Our halyard is led to the cockpit winch and rope clutch, but we always hoist at the mast. It is way easier and quicker. There is a jam cleat at the mast to park the halyard at full hoist when alone. Tensioning the halyard pops it out of the jam cleat.

As far as your reefing goes, you are well on your way. We have reefed and unreefed countless times. Sometimes I do it by myself, usually Lisa helps, depends on conditions. But once you get your system down it takes all of about 30 seconds to complete. It can be done at all points of sail.

Chris
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
One problem I just noticed is that the main
halyard clutch near the mast on deck is slipping . I can cleat it after the winch , but then I lose the use of that winch . I have to figure out how to replace/rebuild it. If it bolted to the cabin top requiring nuts on the inside , then I have to cut the headliner inside ( unless I can get zippers to work ) . I’m ultimately planning to reorganize the halyards on the deck and get a self tailing halyard winch . I probably will want to lead everything back to the cockpit , but not really sure just yet . The main is so easy to hoist at the mast now with the tides track - I may want to just leave the winch / clutches up there . Going through deck organizer and block at the mast adds extra overhead but it’s more familiar to me .. Decisions , decisions.
My experience with replacing the clutches might prove helpful, perhaps.
Does your boat have the clutch type with the toggle lever located on the handle? Those were common for the E-33, and like the later brand on our '88 boat are getting real old now. Ours had stopped being reliable unless flushed out often with fresh water -- any dust inside would impede the locking mechanism.
Accessing the underside of the housetop does call for removing a bunch of staples. Tedious, but not difficult. Not fun, either... :)
Put up some photos when you can.
 

p.gazibara

Member III
We have three reefs in our >20 year old North main. I traded a couple of old sails to a sailmaker in La Paz in 2017 to put our third reef in. I’m very glad I did. We don’t have a trisail track so rather than hoisting the storm sail we go to our third reef. Much easier.

I have found that Cinderella pretty easily gets to 6-7kts going downwind in the trades with just our jib. I’ll often put the third reef up to reduce the roll. It works quite well and doesn’t reall impede the jib at all, even when sailing really deep. The other perk is that the third reef hoist keeps the head of the main below our running backstays. That means when it gets shitty we can just leave the running backs set and tack/jibe without worrying about them. Big plus.

I have also found that that third reef really makes Cinderella balance out when heaving to in heavy gusting conditions. Just backwind the jib, ease the main all the way out and tighten the preventer, easy as.

The third reef is not enough sail to go to weather in 30kts, I imagine it needs wind in the 40+ range to produce enough lift for that. But it really does a lot to reduce the rolling motion of that CCA bustle going downwind in big swell. (I often wonder what the motion of an Olson would be like with a more surfy stern)

We don’t leave the reefing line in the third reef. I do however leave the first and second reef lines set all the time. It’s not really that big of a bother when daysailing and its rally nice to have those “gears” available without fuss.

The third reef line would be in the way more often than not. So, when setting the sail, I simply tie the clew around the boom with a sail tie. One of our reefing lines is then tied to the clew and we use that to tighten up the clew. With such little sail set, it’s a pretty manageable process.

We currently also have one of those “flattening reefs” which I have always just called a cunningham, but I never ease it out anymore because the sail is so bagged out. I do remember the days it made a difference.

We are looking to have a new main made, I requested an estimate for 4 reefs this time. The sailmaker assured me three is plenty and that a new less baggy sail will make up the difference. I think he is probably right.

Our boat is set up to reef from the mast, so we reef from the mast. It’s easy, both Ava and I can reef and unreef “solo” without any trouble as the other sleeps. Small boat definitely have their perks.

-P
 

K2MSmith

Member III
You are in the fun part of the process! We used to have a halyard slip issue as well. We would do a good job of partially opening the clutch, pushing the pedal thing down and getting a good solid hold on the halyard. Then we took the halyard off the winch and led it around to any normal horn cleat. That "worked", but was annoying. We had a brand new rope clutch at the time to no avail. I even tried thickening the halyard where it would be gripped by the clutch, still slipped.

On the J/44 we crewed on, there was just a second clutch in series on the deck. Then they went to a 2:1 halyard and the issue went away. We also went to a 2:1 halyard and our issue went away as well. More halyard to deal with, a little slower on the hoist, but well worth it in my opinion.

Do you have low-stretch (dyneema based) halyards? If not, that will always make your luff look bad when the wind is up.

Our halyard is led to the cockpit winch and rope clutch, but we always hoist at the mast. It is way easier and quicker. There is a jam cleat at the mast to park the halyard at full hoist when alone. Tensioning the halyard pops it out of the jam cleat.

As far as your reefing goes, you are well on your way. We have reefed and unreefed countless times. Sometimes I do it by myself, usually Lisa helps, depends on conditions. But once you get your system down it takes all of about 30 seconds to complete. It can be done at all points of sail.

Chris
I believe I have low-stretch halyards but I’ll check the rope type .
The jam cleat sounds like a good idea . I’ve been hoisting at the mast. Once the sail is up , I have to hold the hoisted halyard with one hand while dragging the pile of line through the clutch and then secure it ( then wrap around winch to tighten ) . Not very elegant but it works . The winch is a small ( approx 3” ) non self-tailing winch . It would be nice to replace it with a tailing winch , but if I do that , then maybe it should go back near the cockpit.
 

K2MSmith

Member III
For the second reef line , the line installed for the flattening reef is not long enough to be reused for the 2nd reef line , so I think just buy new line . What is appropriate rope type for a reefing line ? Old line is white and “soft”’( maybe to prevent chafing ? ) and measures just shy of 1/2” diameter . I need about 40-50’.
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
All my original reefing lines were 3/8" sta-set type line. Some of it I kept in use. Other parts I replaced with new 3/8" sta-set, and have been happy with it. I did use Marlow 10mm Line (D2 Club) for the Reef 2 downhaul I added. It is slightly larger in diameter than the existing 3/8" sta-set used for the clew/outhaul.
20200712_171622.3.jpg
 

K2MSmith

Member III
All my original reefing lines were 3/8" sta-set type line. Some of it I kept in use. Other parts I replaced with new 3/8" sta-set, and have been happy with it. I did use Marlow 10mm Line (D2 Club) for the Reef 2 downhaul I added. It is slightly larger in diameter than the existing 3/8" sta-set used for the clew/outhaul.
View attachment 34727
What size boat. ?
 

Keith Parcells

Sustaining Member
One problem I just noticed is that the main
halyard clutch near the mast on deck is slipping . I can cleat it after the winch , but then I lose the use of that winch . I have to figure out how to replace/rebuild it. If it bolted to the cabin top requiring nuts on the inside , then I have to cut the headliner inside ( unless I can get zippers to work ) . I’m ultimately planning to reorganize the halyards on the deck and get a self tailing halyard winch . I probably will want to lead everything back to the cockpit , but not really sure just yet . The main is so easy to hoist at the mast now with the tides track - I may want to just leave the winch / clutches up there . Going through deck organizer and block at the mast adds extra overhead but it’s more familiar to me .. Decisions , decisions.
kevin,

It’s possible that the halyard was replaced at sometime in the past with smaller diameter line than was originally intended for that clutch. If so, you may be able to add a line cover at the positions where you need it, including where the full hoist will enter the clutch and for each reef spot. The clutch may then grip the line with that extra “cover” on he line. You can test the theory by sticking a piece of larger diameter line through the clutch and see if it will hold tension. If the theory is correct it could be a simple and cheap fix. You might want to stitch the cover segment in place once you get it to work.
 

Keith Parcells

Sustaining Member
For the second reef line , the line installed for the flattening reef is not long enough to be reused for the 2nd reef line , so I think just buy new line . What is appropriate rope type for a reefing line ? Old line is white and “soft”’( maybe to prevent chafing ? ) and measures just shy of 1/2” diameter . I need about 40-50’.
For reefing lines, halyards and sheets, I like this new line from Samson: MLX3
It is low stretch but not as expensive as some of the other high tech lines. YMMV


 

K2MSmith

Member III
For reefing lines, halyards and sheets, I like this new line from Samson: MLX3
It is low stretch but not as expensive as some of the other high tech lines. YMMV


Thanks! I’ll check that out . I bought sta-set on sale for the 2nd reef ( before seeing your post ) and traveler lines , but I’ll keep that in mind . Pretty much all the cordage on my boat is about 10 years old and could be be replaced. According to the rigger, the running backs are first priority but I still want to get 2nd opinion on those for this boat. Other lines will replace over time . The main halyard / jib sheets next . I learned how to whip and sew lines together so I at least can do that myself . The rest I feel a bit helpless on , but I am gradually finding helping hands around the Marina . My mechanical skills have been limited to smaller projects :)
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
The next step for us all is making an eye spice, which comes up a lot in replacing running rigging. It's not hard, but it takes a few tries to de-confuse oneself. A basic skill that gets used once a year forever.

 
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