Getting New Sails this year


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Bill Balme
Bill Balme
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Did I mess up?

We are buying new sails this year - and they 're about done. We opted for 2 deep reefs in the main. Should we have gone for 3?

We will be sailing across oceans (starting with the Atlantic next year) and have plans to do some high latitude sailing in 3 or 4 years time. We do have a trisail and storm jib, so my rationale was we 'd reef the main to 47% on the second reef and then launch the trisail for stronger winds.

Good move or stupid?

Bill Balme
s/v Toodle-oo!

Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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Bill,
I have to say I think you might have done! It 's so much easier to reef down to a third reef than fit a trisail in a rising wind. For tradewind ocean crossing then you have the option of twin headsails so third reefs are less important. However for cold heavy winds in the higher latitudes my preference would definitely have been for a third reef. Sorry.
Simon
Bill Balme
Bill Balme
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We're now in Whitehaven, Cumbria and the sails referenced below (with third reef in the main!) need some repair work done on them. Any recommendations as to where we should go? Last time we were here I sent them off to Banks Sails (to put the third reef in!) but wondering if there's a decent sailmaker closer. Mostly it's just repair of stitching, though I'm thinking about shortening the solent by a couple of inches as I have no halyard adjustment possible as is...

Appreciate any insights...

Bill Balme
s/v Toodle-oo!

Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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Bill
It’s not exactly close to Whitehaven but we have always been happy with Owen Sails who are based just north of Oban.
Simon
Dick
Dick
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Hi Bill, This may be late in the game as I do not know when this stream started, but (for others who may read this) I am with Simon with the recommendation for a third reef. We use our third reef maybe twice a season and when we do it is great to have: easy to put in, powerful (we often use it when we "have" to go upwind), not overwhelming to the boat or the people managing it, great shape for drive to get through seas, etc. When used going downwind, the main with third reef allows the boat to be balanced in a way that having just headsails drawing makes more difficult. In hindsight, I do not believe I would ever have gone to the trouble of a trisail in any of the times we have flown the third reef over the last 2 decades (no survival storms thank goodness). I also think that recent thinking with regards to best practices in heavy weather tactics (running off with a Jordan Series Drogue), further undermine the arguments for a storm trisail.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
Dick
Dick
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Hi Bill,
I have heard good things and friends have been happy with Saturn Sails in Largs at the entrance to the Clyde.
Bill Balme
Bill Balme
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I am certainly glad we ended up putting the third reef in - even though it's only been used a couple of times - if felt good to have it available. I agree with you Dick, it made an upwind sail considerably better than if we'd either had just the 2nd reef in or had doused the main.

My difficulty is arranging the lines - which on Toodle-oo! are all brought back to the cockpit. However, the third reef outnumbers the clutches in the cockpit. I'm either going to have to add 2 clutches and change the deck organizer, or continue with one of two current solutions:

1: control first reef lines at the mast and have 2nd and 3rd led back to the cockpit...
2: I have third reef clew line on the boom and tack ready to go at the mast, drop the main altogether, hook the clew and tacks on (I use an anchor hook on the clew line rather than have to tie a knot), then raise the main again.

Option 2 sounds pretty strange, and surely puts one out on the coachroof when you'd least like to be there, but does seem to work pretty well - bearing in mind that we have a tendency to reef way earlier than I'm sure most folk do. Also, our 3rd reef makes the main smaller than a trisail would be...

Bill Balme
s/v Toodle-oo!

Dick
Dick
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Hi Bill,
See if this helps with the thinking through of your situation:
Five of my 6 reef lines are led back to the cockpit, the exception being the third reef tack line.
After a couple of false starts, I ended up with the 3rd reef line waiting for me at the gooseneck where I reeve it through the cringle from one side (where it is dead ended) and secure it to the other side to a convenient cleat. The line is thereby kept quite short and the position on the cleat is pre-determined and marked on the line so that I do not have to do any thinking while executing the reef. The leads also pull the tack forward as well as down (see below) where the leads for the 1st and 2nd tacks are largely more downwards than they are forward.
After experimenting around, I rejected having a permanently rove-through line as adding to the spaghetti of lines aloft and when stowed while not making the putting in of the reef any easier (quite the contrary, actually). I also rejected having the tack reef line led back to the cockpit as the leads were difficult to get right to ensure good angles. The accumulation of sail (at this point of 3 reefs worth) and track cars at the gooseneck was so big that the tack leads have to be pulled forward considerably in order for the tack not to drift aft when loaded and overly stress (at a bad angle) the first track car above the 3rd reef tack. (This is less of a worry with the first and second reefs as the tack is closer to the boom and has less room to drift.)
Facilitating the setting of the reef at the gooseneck is the Antal slippery track which allows the main to come down easily (Harken and Strong Track will likely allow the same ease). The halyard is dropped past the pre-determined mark for the third reef, at the gooseneck. I reeve the line through and cleat it: very quick and easy. Then the halyard is raised to the mark, the outhaul is pulled in from the cockpit. Done.
In really boisterous conditions, I feel doing the 3rd reef is most easily accomplished from a quasi-hove-to/slowly fore-reaching position.
Come back with any questions/thoughts/comments.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
As an aside: I am not a fan of the “hooks” that are used to secure the tack on many boat’s reefing systems. Pulling and levering the sail and cringles onto the hook when conditions are bad and the sail is flapping is a recipe for fingers getting caught and damaged.
Bill Balme
Bill Balme
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Dick,

That is indeed very helpful and makes a lot of sense. Easy to set up too - it'll be done! Many thanks!

Now I just have to work on the clew... Maybe I should consider moving the vang control forward and make way for the 3rd reef clew into the cockpit?

Bill Balme
s/v Toodle-oo!

Dick
Dick
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Hi Bill,
I am glad it helped. My vang(s) go to the side deck and are not a mast base to boom attachment, but am I correct in thinking that a vang like that is (mostly) a set and forget: not adjusted all that often? So swapping that out with a third reef clew line would not be much of a loss?
My best, Dick
GO

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