reefing mainsail

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wilybill
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reefing mainsail

Post by wilybill » Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:46 pm

I have a 1994 Macgregor 26. When I reef the mainsail for heavy winds, by using the reefing points provided, the boom end sags too low to be comfortable sailing with more than 2 persons aboard. What is the solution? wilybill

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Re: reefing mainsail

Post by Wind Chime » Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:50 pm


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Re: reefing mainsail

Post by J-- » Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:12 pm

The other option is a topping lift, which is what I use. You'll need a swivel block at the top of the mast and enough line to go from the back of the boom, to the top of the mast and back to the deck and then a little extra to tie it off. I used 1/4" line and the whole thing cost $50 with a shackle at the boom end.

Boom kickers and vangs are cool, but depending on their length, you might not be able to sail with your pop top up, which I don't think the X or M guys have to content with.

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Re: reefing mainsail

Post by drams_1999 » Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:19 pm

As J said, the easiest solution is a topping lift......you can rig it even simpler with one line fixed at the top rear of the mast. Secure that line at one end (permanently)to the top of the mast and at the other end (adjustable)to the end of your boom using any method you like...a cleat or an eye on the end of your boom, so you can adjust the height of your boom as desired. When in port you can lift the boom high up out of the way of everything, when underway you can adjust to the desired height so it isnt too low for passenger comfort. Easy to rig, definitely $30 or less if you try. Call BWY, they have a kit. Best mod for the buck I have installed to date. Good luck!

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Re: reefing mainsail

Post by wilybill » Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:47 pm

Thanks for the resonses (My info on the forum site shows that I have a Mac M, but asctually it's a Mac S.)

I'm sitting here talking about sailing because I had intended to sail today (at Beaufort, North Carolina, USA,) but morning and expected afternoon thundershowers talked me out of it.

I was wondering if the condition which I described about the boom sagging was the result of something I was doing wrong, or whether it is a common problem (and if so, I wonder why they designed the sail with the holes in the whole place). I had thought that there might be at least three solutions, (1) a topping rig, (2) a kicker, or (3) having a sailmaker put some new holes in at the right height. The topping rig is obviously the least expensive approach. Thanls for helping me see that.

I have more rigging questons:

I have a 150 Genoa which I use a lot, with a less than perfect, jerry-rigged, sheet arrangement. I basically just use some fairalls and cleats near the stern of the boat and it's time to make some improvements. I see all kinds of tracks and cars on line and in the catalogues, and I don't know where to start. So I'm asking for suggestions.

First, has anyone fund a satisfactory way to rig the Genoa without travelng cars, and if so, what's the rigging diagram?

Second, if not, what's the minimum I need in terms of track and car hardware? If someone ot there could give me some parts specifications, I'd apreciate it.

Thanks again.

wilybill

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Re: reefing mainsail

Post by Judy B » Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:34 pm

wilybill wrote:I have a 1994 Macgregor 26. When I reef the mainsail for heavy winds, by using the reefing points provided, the boom end sags too low to be comfortable sailing with more than 2 persons aboard. What is the solution? wilybill
We really need to see a picture.

The boom should hang at the same angle when the sail is reefed as when it's not reefed. They should be placed parallel to the boom, or even a little higher at the clew. I would guess that there's a problem with either a) the bolt rope in the luff has shrunken but the leech hasn't, so the back of the boom hangs too low, or b) the reef eyes aren't in the right place.

I wouldn't use a topping lift or boom kicker to hold the boom up. The leech will have too little tension, and the top of the mainsail will twist off excessively. The boat won't point.

Regards,\
Judy

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Re: reefing mainsail

Post by Wind Chime » Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:10 pm

Judy,
I read all your posts and look forward to your comments, because I know you make sails for a living and you are also a small yacht sailor.

I do question your advice about not using a boom kicker.

We have a boom kicker and in my opinion it works extremely well here in the Pacific Northwest where we have a lot of inconsistent flukey soft winds.

I know this post is talking more about strong winds, but there a lot of days using the boom kicker holds the boom parallel with the deck, this in turn, does not flatten the sail out by the weight of the boom pulling the sail and leech down. Consequently we end up with a better sail shape, with the depth and position of the draft in the sail able to generate more power in light wind.

Darry
I wouldn't use a topping lift or boom kicker to hold the boom up. The leech will have too little tension, and the top of the mainsail will twist off excessively. The boat won't point.

Regards,\
Judy
Last edited by Wind Chime on Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: reefing mainsail

Post by Hamin' X » Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:43 pm

I love my boom kicker. Gives me a nice baggy mainsail for light air and my boomvang will flatten it out for heavy air.

~Rich

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Re: reefing mainsail

Post by DaveC426913 » Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:28 pm

drams_1999 wrote:As J said, the easiest solution is a topping lift......you can rig it even simpler with one line fixed at the top rear of the mast. Secure that line at one end (permanently)to the top of the mast and at the other end (adjustable)to the end of your boom using any method you like...a cleat or an eye on the end of your boom, so you can adjust the height of your boom as desired. When in port you can lift the boom high up out of the way of everything, when underway you can adjust to the desired height so it isnt too low for passenger comfort. Easy to rig, definitely $30 or less if you try. Call BWY, they have a kit. Best mod for the buck I have installed to date. Good luck!
This is what I have. A topping lift that adjusts at the boom end, rather than at the mast-end.

I upgraded it with
1] a captive clam cleat, and
2] a block several feet up, so that I pull down to lift the boom.

Maybe I should post it in the Mods Forum. :)

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Re: reefing mainsail

Post by Judy B » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:19 pm

Wind Chime wrote:Judy,
I read all your posts and look forward to your comments, because I know you make sails for a living and you are also a small yacht sailor.

I do question your advice about not using a boom kicker.

We have a boom kicker and in my opinion it works extremely well here in the Pacific Northwest where we have a lot of inconsistent flukey soft winds.

I know this post is talking more about strong winds, but there a lot of days using the boom kicker holds the boom parallel with the deck, this in turn, does not flatten the sail out by the weight of the boom pulling the sail and leech down. Consequently we end up with a better sail shape, with the depth and position of the draft in the sail able to generate more power in light wind.

Darry
I wouldn't use a topping lift or boom kicker to hold the boom up. The leech will have too little tension, and the top of the mainsail will twist off excessively. The boat won't point.

Regards,\
Judy
Hi Darry,

In light wind, you are doing the right thing by letting the boom end rise, and putting some twist in the sail. In certain conditions, like very light winds, it's the right thing to do. It's also often a good thing to do when sailing on a reach in strong and gusty winds. But that's not a good sail shape for pointing in high winds.

There is a wind speed gradient from the top to bottom of the mast. Near the water, the wind is slower. The higher you go, the faster the wind. When you sail at an angle across the true wind, it seems like the wind is apparently coming from a different angle at the top of the mast than at the bottom. We call this the apparent wind. Sails have to be shaped to match the apparent wind. (*see notes on apparent wind below)

In light winds, (but not in heavy winds), there is a great deal of "twist" when you compare the wind angle of the apparent wind near the water to the wind angle 30 feet above the water. You want to match the attack angle of the sail (twist) to the angle of the apparent wind. If you have tell tales on the ends of the battens, you'll know whether or not you've got the sail shaped correctly to match the twist in the apparent wind from top to bottom of the mast. In light winds, you might use the topping lift or the boom kicker to put more twist in the sail.

How do we control the twist? By allowing the boom end to rise, which reduces leech tension. In 2-4 knots, a boom kicker is strong enough to lift the boom end. In more wind than that the boomkicker will be overpowered by the settings on the mainsheet, vang and traveler. You can also use the topping lift to lift the boom end. But most sailors use the interplay of traveler, vang and mainsheet to constantly adjust leech tension and thereby control the twist in the sail.

If you're sailing in stronger than 3-4 knots velocity of true wind, the apparent wind is twisted only a very few degrees differently at the water level vs the masthead.

If you are trying to point upwind in high winds, you don't want to have excessive twist in the sail. You want to match the twist in the sail to the twist in the wind angle. If you have tell tales on the ends of the battens, you will be able to see if you've done a good job matching the twist in the sail to the twist in the wind angle.

If you're on a reach in high winds, especially with strong gusts, putting excessive twist in the sails is one way to luff the top in the weaker moments and avoid stalling (heeling) in the gusts, so there are some points of sail and wind conditions where you may want a lot of twist. But in high winds, the boomkicker isn't strong enough to accomplish that. The most effective way to do that is by using the interplay between traveler and mainsheet and vang. Topping lift is a substitute, but less easy to adjust on the fly.

Leech tension's significance is that it controls the amount of twist in the sail from bottom to top. It has a very tiny effect on draft depth or position (fore and aft position). Once you have gone from some leech tension to no leech tension (i.e increased the twist) there is no effect on the depth or position of the draft. You control the position of the draft, fore and aft, by the interplay between the outhaul and the luff tension.

Fair winds,
Judy B

Notes: (from http://www.uk.northsails.com/RADUploads ... s-Work.pdf)
Apparent Wind

Apparent wind is the wind velocity experienced by the sails on a moving boat. This is the wind speed
and direction that can be directly measured (felt) from the boat while it is moving. It is a combination of
the true wind and the wind generated by the motion of the boat. The figure shows how these two wind
components are added to create the apparent wind.
Image
Notice that the apparent wind vector at the bottom of the rig, where the true wind speed is slower, is
shorter (slower) and angled from a more forward direction, than the apparent wind vector at the top of
the rig, where the true wind speed is faster. The true wind is coming from a single direction in this
example, but varies in speed with height due to the earth's boundary layer. This variation in true wind
speed not only causes the variation of apparent wind speed with height, but also its variation in angle.
This is because all of the mast and sail are moving at the same speed and in the same direction as the
boat across the moving air. Since the wind solely due to the movement of the boat is identical at all
heights, the apparent wind speed and direction resulting from its addition to different true wind speeds at
various heights is different.

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Re: reefing mainsail

Post by Wind Chime » Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:37 pm

Thanks Judy,

Great info as always!

I was trying to point out that there is a strong case to be made for having a Boomkicker onboard in "light winds", glad to hear to agree.

Thanks for the additional comments about mainsail telltales, they really do "tell-all" when it comes to maximizing lift from the main foil when abeam or beating, and for the reminder that once twist is set and there is enough airflow the draft is controlled more by halyard and outhaul than leech tension.

In light winds I sometimes struggle to control the top batten position when requiring it to be horizontally parallel with the boom when sigting up the leech. Twisted open I'm fine, it's that delicate nuetral position I sometimes struggle with.

With no boom support, the weight of the boom pulls the leech and closes the top batten and removes almost all twist, but sometimes the Boomkicker opens the batten and creates too much twist for what's required... besides tweeking our vang, any other tricks up your sleeve for this?

Also, when and why do you adjust your leech line? For any other reason besides stopping the roach from flogging?

Darry

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Re: reefing mainsail

Post by seahouse » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:35 pm

Hi Darry -

Performance-wise, there is a small loss from a fluttering leech. When the leech cord is tightened to just enough to stop the flutter, the small amount of curl that results also causes a small and approximately equal loss of performance. But it reduces wear and tear on the sail a bit, is less annoying, and I find it's an easy way to trick passengers into thinking I know what I am doing out there... 8)

I think I got that right??? :? Judy?

- Brian. :wink:

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Re: reefing mainsail

Post by Judy B » Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:49 am

seahouse wrote:Hi Darry -

Performance-wise, there is a small loss from a fluttering leech. When the leech cord is tightened to just enough to stop the flutter, the small amount of curl that results also causes a small and approximately equal loss of performance. But it reduces wear and tear on the sail a bit, is less annoying, and I find it's an easy way to trick passengers into thinking I know what I am doing out there... 8)

I think I got that right??? :? Judy?

- Brian. :wink:

Yup, you got that right Brian. The leech line is to stop rapid leech flutter which fatigues the cloth, not for shaping the sail. The way to use it is to loosen it, then tighten only enough to stop the "motoring" noise that rapid flutter makes. Rapid leech fluttering is like flogging only faster. Flogging is the #1 cause of sail aging for recreational sailors. UV is #2

Adding a little detail: stopping the leech from fluttering reduces wear and tear on the sail a lot. The kind of fluttering we're talking about here is the kind that happens thousands of times per minute, sounding like a small gas motor. or like a kid's bike with playing cards clipped to the frame so they hit the wheel spokes. If the sail is motoring like that, it's only a short time until the cloth fatigues and rips parallel to the leech.

Judy

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Re: reefing mainsail

Post by Highlander » Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:34 pm

Hi Judy
Nice to hear ur very good advice
was wondering if he's not tightening the mainsail halyard up enough after reefing !

J 8)

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Re: reefing mainsail

Post by BOAT » Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:01 pm

The end of the boom should always be supported soley by the leech of the sail - PERIOD! NEVER nothing else unless your not sailing.

I can't think of ANY time there is a need to manually hold up the end of the boom while under sail.

That being said, it sounds like the sail the the skipper is using has the reefing clew hole in the wrong spot? Is it a stock sail for that boat?? If the luff is tight and the tack is secured you should be able to use the out-haul to pull every last inch of slack out of the foot of the sail and if it's a stock sail the boom will be at the same place it was when the sail was NOT reefed. No difference at all.

Boom kickers and topping lifts are fine for holding the boom while your raising sails and stuff, but when underway they are of no use at all unless you are using a really heavy sail and the wind is so light you can't seem to get a bite on it. Then you can raise the boom (I just use my hand - it's SO rare) and when the boat gets some speed let the boom back down - but really - if your using the STOCK MacGregor sail it's pretty light. The new sails that most sail-makers will sell you are heavier (Especially if you go footless), and that's why I ask if it's stock. I really doubt you will ever need to raise the boom on the rather light Macgregor STOCK mainsail.

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