Reefing Questions and Answers

Reefing is one of those areas where the devil really is in the details. Over the years we have answered dozens of questions about reefing. In this chapter we highlight a few of those and provide our answers.

  1. Six Reasons To Leave The Cockpit Often
  2. Don’t Forget About The Sails
  3. Your Mainsail Is Your Friend
  4. Hoisting the Mainsail Made Easy—Simplicity in Action
  5. Reefs: How Many and How Deep
  6. Reefing Made Easy
  7. Reefing From The Cockpit 2.0—Thinking Things Through
  8. Reefing Questions and Answers
  9. A Dangerous Myth about Reefing
  10. Mainsail Handling Made Easy with Lazyjacks
  11. Topping Lift Tips and a Hack
  12. 12 Reasons The Cutter Is A Great Offshore Voyaging Rig
  13. Cutter Rig—Should You Buy or Convert?
  14. Cutter Rig—Optimizing and/or Converting
  15. Cruising Rigs—Sloop, Cutter, or Solent?
  16. Sailboat Deck Layouts
  17. The Case For Roller-Furling Headsails
  18. UV Protection For Roller Furling Sails
  19. In-Mast, In-Boom, or Slab Reefing—Convenience and Reliability
  20. In-Mast, In-Boom, or Slab Reefing —Performance, Cost and Safety
  21. The Case For Hank On Headsails
  22. Making Life Easier—Roller Reefing/Furling
  23. Making Life Easier—Storm Jib
  24. Gennaker Furlers Come Of Age
  25. Swept-Back Spreaders—We Just Don’t Get It!
  26. Q&A: Staysail Stay: Roller Furling And Fixed Vs Hanks And Removable
  27. Rigid Vangs
  28. Rigging a Proper Preventer, Part 1
  29. Rigging a Proper Preventer—Part 2
  30. Amidships “Preventers”—A Bad Idea That Can Kill
  31. Keeping The Boom Under Control—Boom Brakes
  32. Downwind Sailing, Tips and Tricks
  33. Downwind Sailing—Poling Out The Jib
  34. Setting and Striking a Spinnaker Made Easy and Safe
  35. Ten Tips To Fix Weather Helm
  36. Running Rigging Recommendations—Part 1
  37. Running Rigging Recommendations—Part 2
  38. Two Dangerous Rigging Mistakes
  39. Rig Tuning, Part 1—Preparation
  40. Rig Tuning, Part 2—Understanding Rake and Bend
  41. Rig Tuning, Part 3—6 Steps to a Great Tune
  42. Rig Tuning, Part 4—Mast Blocking, Stay Tension, and Spreaders
  43. Rig Tuning, Part 5—Sailing Tune
  44. 12 Great Rigging Hacks
  45. 9 Tips To Make Unstepping a Sailboat Mast Easier
  46. Cruising Sailboat Spar Inspection
  47. Cruising Sailboat Standing Rigging Inspection
  48. Cruising Sailboat Running Rigging Inspection
  49. Cruising Sailboat Rig Wiring and Lighting Inspection
  50. Cruising Sailboat Roller Furler and Track Inspection
  51. Download Cruising Sailboat Rig Checklist
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chris freeman

I have come across a clip by Skip Novak on Youtube . His mainsail reefing system is slightly different than yours and both are proven in tough conditions. If you have seen this I would welcome your observations on the differences.

Denis Foster

Hello John,

Having read again your excellent articles about the importance of reliable mainsail reefing downwind. To avoid going the upwind route in heavy weather seems very appealing.

We have a HR46 with hydraulic inmast furling and I am trying to adapt and practice reefing going downwind. For the moment I have always gone upwind when above 10 knots.

I know your prevention regarding these furling systems vs slab reefing. Nevertheless a good number of reputable offshore cruising boats have these systems.

Would you or an other well weathered give a few tips for the offshore use in heavy weather to reef downwind with inmost furling system.

My questions are while going downwind:

  • trying to have a stable boom around 45° to boat axis.
  • using our hydraulic vang to receive the leech but avoid creases.
  • oversheeting the (heavily furled ?) head sail or our cutter stay sail in order to backwind the main.
  • using motor to better control boat direction.
  • using autopilot

I hope my questions are not a recipe list to disaster and probably interest many readers of AAC that have in mast furling.

Best regards.

Denis