Q&A: In-Boom Reefing

Question: Would you, if you had the chance to refit free of cost considerations, stay with your slab-reefing system, or would you yourself seriously consider in-boom reefing? If so, why?

Answer: We looked at Leisurefurl some years ago. The system looks attractive but is a 25 to 30K refit for Morgan’s Cloud to do it right, way beyond what it is worth to us. If it were free we would look at it very seriously since it would allow us to reef more easily and from the cockpit. The other big attraction would be getting rid of the chore of taking the sail cover on and off; non-trivial on a boat of Morgan’s Cloud‘s size, particularly with lazy jacks.

Our big concern with Leisurefurl is whether it will truly let you reef going downwind with the boom out. We would not consider any system that requires us to round up to reef: You could get wet doing that (!) and, anyway, it’s not safe in heavy weather. Even when going to weather, if it is rough, we will quite often bear off to reef.

Also, slab reefing is simple and relatively easy to fix. Most “labour saving systems” are anything but. However, people used to say that about roller furling headsails.

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John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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