Don't miss the slide show at the end of this post
In this chapter we will cover in detail, complete with a slideshow illustrating each step, how we reef on Morgan’s Cloud and more specifically, how we reef when sailing downwind, which is much easier and safer than rounding up head to wind to reef.
First off, the boat needs to have the right gear:
- A really powerful two-speed (on all but the smallest boats) self-tailing winch capable of grinding the reefing pennant in while the sail is full.
- A winch with the same capabilities as above for the main halyard.
- A simple and quick way to secure the tack of the reef.
- A really beefy vang that is capable of holding the boom down while reefing. Ours on Morgan’s Cloud is hydraulic, but there are mechanical ones that will do the job. In a pinch, you could even just rig a tackle from the boom center to the toe rail. (Be careful doing this since if you forget it and trim the main sheet it is a sure way to break the boom.)
- Good quality low friction sheaves for the main halyard and reefing pennants.
- A full batten main, while not absolutely required, makes reefing easier.
- Ball-bearing mainsail track cars. We used to reef off the wind without them, but it’s a lot easier with our current system.
You can click on the slide show to enlarge it so you can really see the details of our gear. Use the buttons at the bottom to move through the show (it does not advance automatically).
Slideshow requires a reasonably up to date copy of the Adobe Flash plug-in or iPhone/iPad or Android and that java script be enabled.