Lots of things have been exercising my mind. Where to store my anchor so it is safer, more out of the way and easily accessible! How to better secure the ballast bags I sail with so in the event of a capsize, they remain secured to the floors and in Arwen! Whether I should be installing a bilge pump after the episode last August when it rained on the Fowey trip and I ended up with 6” of water sloshing around Arwen’s floors. I need to do a capsize test this year but finding somewhere sheltered, easily accessible and out of the way is a nightmare around Plymouth Sound. I am wondering about Cellars beach in the Yealm. And then there is the issue of lazy Jacks because I’m still not happy with the current arrangement; then on top of that there issue of reefing.
Um, someone told me that one of the joys of small boat sailing was thinking about the modifications you could make to make life easier................well I’m not so sure!
Anyway reefing! I don’t tend to sail in much over force four but that isn’t the point. I need to have a simple reefing system which I have practised at so that in an emergency I am familiar with it. I think I read somewhere, probably on Duckworks that a design Jim Michalak notes that if the wind doubles from 5 – 10 knots, the force on the sail will increase by four times.
So I need something that is quick, simple to do, reliable and definitely reduces the force operating on the sails so that sailing is safe and achievable. It has to allow me to still point into the wind and keep the boat balanced at all times. And of course, I have to be able to reef it whilst under way, well during a heave to! I know that you have to be more aware of the need to reef when heading up wind.
So how do I reef in Arwen? Well, in my head it goes like this. Up until now I have heaved to, lowered the mainsail slightly, let out the mainsheet and then slackened off the downhaul. Then I have transferred the downhaul to the first reef eye closest to the luff of the sail and then pulled the first reefing line at the aft end of the sprit boom. I have a sort of slab reefing system so the sail is pulled downwards and against the aft end of the sprit boom. Then I have brailed up the loose sail and tied it off with the reefing ropes so that it is neatly bundled below the sprit boom. Finally I then re-hoist the mainsail, tie off the halyard and tension the downhaul again.
But is this the right way? Should I actually leave the mainsail slightly lower down the mast? I have also wondered whether it might be easier to just heave to under jib/mizzen and completely drop the mains sail into the boat and reef it in there and then re-hoist the whole lot again.
And another thing.......with a yawl configuration, should I give consideration to what order I should shorten sail in? Somewhere, I think on Duckworth’s again, I read that I might consider shortening sail in this order..................full sail down to a single reefed main; from there I guess it is either a second reef or furl the jib. After that.....well I’m guessing here but I’d go jib and mizzen only – drop the main. If it is really blowy – drop the jib and mizzen and use a reefed main only. If I’m down to this I’m running downwind and for nearest cover I’m thinking!