Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my dinghy cruising blog about my John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. Built over three years, Arwen was launched in August 2007. She is a standing lug yawl 14' 6" in length. This blog records our dinghy cruising voyages together around the coastal waters of SW England.
Arwen has an associated YouTube channel so visit to find our most recent cruises and click subscribe.
On this blog you will find posts about dinghy cruising locations, accounts of our voyages, maintenance tips and 'How to's' ranging from rigging standing lug sails and building galley boxes to using 'anchor buddies' and creating 'pilotage notes'. I hope you find something that inspires you to get out on the water in your boat. Drop us a comment and happy sailing.
Steve and Arwen

Friday, 14 February 2020

New learning keeping reefing simple

I've been catching up on the DCA forum reading and one set of posts caught my attention, about reefing. There, within a few minutes reading, were several longstanding questions I'd had, that finally got answered.

The problem of my topping lift/ lazy jacks was easily solved. My arrangement is a combined topping lift/lazy jack arrangement in which a line runs from the cockpit, around a block at the foot of the mast, up the side of the mast to another block attached up top. From there it runs down the starboard side of the sail, through a loop eye on the base of the boom and back up the other side where it is tied off at the top of the mast, port side. The sail furls neatly between the two lines and when I haul the free end of the line back in the cockpit; it acts as a topping lift and raises the boom.

Now, when putting up the boom tent, I have had to haul lots of spare line through and then grasp the two lazy jacks and move them forward along the boom to tie them off against the mast. I can then lay out and unfold the boom tarp tent.

However, Chris had a far more simpler idea. He has a hook on the underside of his boom and the line goes under the boom and is retained in the aft facing hook. He then unclips the lazy jacks loop from the hook and just takes it forward to the mast. No pulling loads of line through. So simple...wish I'd thought of that.

His second idea relates to reefing pennants. I have a reefing pennant that is tied off in a bowline around the boom, runs up to the leech reefing cringle and then back down the other side, around a block on the side of the boom and off to a cleat.  Chris kept it simple. He just runs the pennant up to the cringle, through it and then immediately has a parrel bead tied off on the pennant end. When sail is up, the pennant is just one side of the sail. Come reefing time, he pulls on the parrel bead and down comes the leech to the first reefing point. The surplus pennant line is ran along the boom to a cleat. Simple!

I wish I could think simple like Chris. 
(In hindsight I could have rephrased that last sentence...and wish to point out I am not casting any aspersions on Chris's cognitive mental thought processes :) )  


Bob said...

Steve, Thanks for pointing to the DCA Forum. Nice that non-members are able to read the Forum (I may have to join...). Chris' info re reefing and topping-lifts/lazy-jacks will be helpful when I outfit Gardens this spring.

Thanks again.


PS Having trouble commenting on Blogger posts, so my apologies if I've managed to leave this comment more than once!

steve said...

Actually Bob - I wasn't aware that non-forum members could read it - I thought it was just for paid up members of the DCA. Learn something new every day. I'd encourage you to join - they are an amazing group of small boat sailors with extraordinary knowledge and experience which they readily share. The DCA journal, although British based, is one of the best small boat journals out there. Anyway, Chris's reefing tips were excellent and very thought provoking. Good luck with the outfitting. Look forward to seeing you out on the water.