Catamaran basics Taking a reef in the mainsail

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1) You’re sailing fast; the speedo is showing double figures... You’re having the time of your lives aboard, but if the anemometer is showing 20 knots of true wind or more, think about reefing the mainsail!

Taking a reef step 1

2) Try to sail on a close reach, with the foresail pulling well.
Start by freeing the mainsheet and possibly moving the traveler to leeward to decrease the wind's pressure on the mainsail.

Taking a reef step 2

3) Take in the topping lift, to support the weight of the boom whilst you take in your reef.

Taking a reef step 3

4) Make sure that the main halyard is free to run without forming a knot against the jammer.

Taking a reef step 4

5) Take in the main halyard on the winch to open the jammer, here on the mast, with no pressure.

Taking a reef step 5

6) Free the halyard as required – possibly taking a turn round the winch. You can start to take up the slack in the first reef pendant.

Taking a reef step 6

7) Make the main halyard fast so that you have enough slack to attach the tack of the first reef.

Taking a reef step 7

8) The tack can be secured by a line – automatic reefing - , a simple hook, or again a tape and a snap link, as seen here.

Taking a reef step 8

9) Once the tack is in place, you can take in the main halyard using the winch. Don’t hesitate to haul the luff taut.

Taking a reef step 9

10) All that remains is to take in the reef pendant. Here again, don’t hesitate to apply tension, to flatten the mainsail.

Taking a reef step 10

11) Observe your sail’s leech: if it is too ‘open’, the boom vang is too tight. And if reefs 2 and 3 are marked, the pendants are also under tension: free them!

Taking a reef step 11

12) There you are, under mainsail with one reef and self-tacking jib – enough to take 27/28 knots of wind in perfect safety.

Taking a reef step 12

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