Latest News: Forums Technical Reefing – what is best for the tack

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  • #4327

    As a newbie I am looking for advice on what to do at the tack for slab reefs. I am using the Cunningham at present but this is a bit of a fiddle in a stiff breeze when sailing solo. Horns seem to be an option but I cannot find any suppliers. I have alloy Proctor mast and am happy to rivet something in place once know it’s right for me. What is the collective wisdom here. Thanks


    Welcome, Revoli. The Wayfarer Institute of Technology website gives plenty of information about reefing. It’s a great resource of information. Look at the right hand column “shorten sail”. You’ll find it easily through which also lists various other Wayfarer related matters. Safe Sailing, Davdor


    I used to just lash the tack down, but found this quite slow.
    A friend used to have horns on the gooseneck fitting; this was pretty good, until they broke off! The main disadvantage was that you needed to have the boom on the gooseneck whilst you reefed. To get luff tension, this meant sweating up the halyard manually.
    As you probably know it is much easier to get luff tension if you leave the boom hanging free, and cleat off the halyard before pushing down on the boom to get it on the gooseneck.

    I’ve now got a horn on the boom itself. This allows me to put in the reef either underway or before I set off- and most of the time I reef before I go.
    I made the horn out of a shackle, which I sawed a piece off. Maybe a little hard to describe without a photo. To mount it, I removed the split pin which normally holds the tack of the sail, and put a small bolt through there instead, with the new hook mounted on it.

    It is a good system but not ideal- I can’t seem to get such good foot tension, because the hook is a bit too far aft. Ideally the cringle in the sail would be a bit further aft to compensate. But I can live with it because it is much easier to use than the other systems I have tried.


    Than you both for the advice. I guess I will just have to try creating a horn of some sort, maybe just connected to the gooseneck pin initially to avoid hole drilling until I am happy. Being able to tension via the Cunningham is handy and I may look at adding a quick hook up to this somehow. Trial and error and a little imaginative engineering…


    I suggest a bit of line coming out of the tack cringle which you can cleat up. This could be held in place with one of those wooden or plastic balls on each side of the sail.

    Dave Bevan

    I’ve got an eye on the mast on one side just below the gooseneck, with a length of 6mm going through the cringle, and back down to a camcleat on the other side of the mast. Gives a 2:1 purchase to haul it down/forward, and when not in use or when hauled tight, the coiled line is secured under a loop of shockcord around the mast, and the camcleat serves a secondary purpose of securing the main halyard when not in use.
    Not a great photo, but hopefully gives you the idea!

    Bob Harland

    Many people prefer to secure the tack to the boom. The reason for this is when you need to get main down and stowed in the boat, perhaps in a hurry. If the tack is still secured to the mast then this is more difficult, and chances are that before you can release the tack the wind has caught the sail.

    If you are securing the tack to the boom watch out that the bolt rope still has a good angle into the mast groove – it should be close to vertical, so there is no tendency for the sail to pull out of the groove. As no disgrace mentions the position of the cringle is important.
    Getting luff tension is then fairly easy with sweating the halyard a little.

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