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  • #3399

    I’m planning to have a second row of reefing points added to a nice new sail. My experience last year in Norfolk makes me think this would be a good idea! The current plan is to take the sail over to Alverbanks in Derby because they are quite local and have done work for my sailing club in the past. I’m quite willing to take their advice as to where the reefing points should be, but if anyone else can offer me any advice / measurements that would be great. I could measure off the old baggy sail, but it had the annoying feature that when the second reef was in the boom was lower than normal, so I think the outboard cringle should have been higher. Bottom line….any advice guidance welcomed!


    I have a second row of reefing points. Unfortunately, there is one problem about it. Take a look at my illustrated explanation:

    I asked Mr. Ralph Roberts for opinion. He gave a fine suggestion: “…use a short piece of rope attached to the front of the boom, pass it round the mast, through the tack cringle, round the mast again, and then cleat off on the boom. This would then keep the sail pulled forward, and help to resolve the problem.”

    I agree with Mr. Roberts, but if you are going to have the reefing points installed by the professional sail-maker, try to have them do the job properly and thus reefing the sail simpler, easier and safer.

    Best regards,



    Hi Charles,
    You are getting serious!
    The leach cringle is normally slightly higher than the luff cringle to lift the boom slightly – keeps it off heads.
    I found even with an old and baggy sail a second reef gave a really flat and low power shape, so don’t have the second reef too deep. The usual is about 3 feet, but I have more than thet on my first reef – just over a metre I think. You need to start the other end really and measure down the mast from round about a foot above the shroud band to the boom. That is how long you want your luff when the second reef is in. Much lower and the sail will be too small.
    Good luck,


    If my memory is correct the first reef is 0.9mtr up the luff and the second a further 1mtr, if it would help you are welcome to measure where the points are on my sails I could bring the red main to the AGM


    Thanks for the advice / guidance. Much appreciated. The sail now in the hands of Alverbank. Lets hope I don’t have a droopy boom on the second reef!


    @mato wrote:

    I have a second row of reefing points. Unfortunately, there is one problem about it. Take a look at my illustrated explanation:

    The problem in the pictures is the reefing line is too far back. Judging by the details it is the solution made by Porter’s. Please remember that Ian Porter is not a cruiser. In my case I simply added a block further forward and left the existing sheave in place. You may want to move the clips as well. They are also too far back and will eventually be pulled from the boom. Throw them out and attach the bitter end of the reefing line to an eye in the bottom track of the boom, there it won?t be pulled from the boom. The reefing line thus comes out the existing sheave, runs forward through a new block and then up the sail. From there it comes down to the bottom of the boom where it is knotted to an eye. When reefed the new block should be exactly where the reefing eye is when it is tensioned maximal. This way over-tensioning (as in the picture) is avoided and there is sufficient down pull on the sail. (There is virtually no down pull in the picture and far too much backward pull).

    Don’t be tempted to have a reef going slightly up at the leech as advised by some. Trust me, you are quite used to the boom height as it is, and the argument that the chance of hitting your head is less with a slightly higher boom is nonsense. The problem is that the kicker won’t fit anymore. The range of a 16:1 kicker just isn’t enough to cope with a higher boom position. Under condition where you need to reef, you don’t want to play around with shackles to extend the range of the kicker.

    Personally I think the first reef as designed is useless. What it does is easily accomplished by flattening the sail through kicker, outhaul and rig tension. I have my first reef about 4″ above the first batten. This allows the batten to stay in the sail and the reef is now good enough to handle a force five or a low six provided the boat is balanced with a small jib. In my case I have the new Bartels furler which makes it much easier to select a head sail size that balances the boat well.

    One could argue that with such a setup a second reef is obsolete. With a force six or higher we need a try sail or run under (reefed) jib only for shelter.


    Thank you very much for your suggestion. I’m planning to try out your solution as well as Ralph’s on first possible occasion.

    Best regards,


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