|Trple-stitched, reinforced both hither and yon, and a very deep second reef.|
|The numbers are only close, not exact, because my "trapezoids" do not have parallel bases.|
A note on our logic in going with just two mainsail reefsSome have questioned our decision just to go with two deep reefs rather than the customary three (or even four). Part of our decision relates to weight aloft, a desire to keep the reefing gear simple, and the simple acknowledgement that our SA/D calculation is "heavy goddamned undercanvased motorsail" (it's about 12.5, if anyone is keeping score) and that we carry full sail longer than many other boats (all things being both equal and tied down properly) and that if we do need reefing, it's going to be a significant sail reduction, which can be considered a "gear shift" of sorts.
heaving to versus running off is situational, of course, and there's strong cases for both in variable circumstances. Preparation, however, is key, and that includes the crew with the correct clothing, adequate rest, the proper safety gear and the proper preparation of the boat in terms of lashings and stowage. I've been in some heavy weather when gear has come loose, and it's no joke to be the person who keeps a flogging solar panel from going into the Atlantic.
Alchemy, being a heavy displacement full-keeler, is intrinsically sea-kindly in a blow (bar bad stowage or bad seamanship) but if we have enough information about the "storm track" of whatever storm track the gale we happen to be in, and land isn't nearby, running off is also a sound tactic.
The photo the new main with the numbers represents a rough (because my sail areas are off a bit, due to non-parallel bases of the trapezoids comprising the sail area reductions of each reef) estimate of how much sail area reduction, and thus sail power applied, there is to each reef. The actual first reef sail reduction is about 35% and the second reef is about 67% of the total main area, which are ratios I devised with the sailmaker as matching our goals. I estimate is about 305 square feet for the old main and about 330 square feet for the new one picture. It's not hard to factor in the sail gained by the extra roach and fractionally higher hoist and foot dimensions of the new main, but it's not strictly necessary to calculate, either; this main is heavier, but bigger: performance in light air should be a wash, whereas it has been built to withstand higher true wind speeds better. As experienced passagemakers Beth Leonard and Evans Starzinger note, the amount of time spent in truly windy weather can be quite low, and the tools to avoid it at sea have improved greatly in the last 25 years.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but the current sail inventory consists of
- light air main (spare; stowed)
- heavy air main (on the main)
- Yankee top jib (rigged on the forestay furler)
- light air genoa (spare, stowed)
- Cruising assymmetrical chute (stowed)
- Staysail (bagged, hanked on)
- Storm staysail (stowed, hank on)
|Vang always sounded villainous to me.|
|Wichard gear: Choose it even for unconvential uses.|
|The staysail in the anchor well. We generally leave it rigged and ready to go in its bag, like a spinnaker.|
|Battenless, a sail's more like a tarpaulin. A four-grand tarpaulin.|
|More or less flattened, and the roach favours the lower portion of the main.|
|Battens in and fully hoisted.|
The two reefs are unrigged for the moment, as I want to ponder the best lines for the job. I also need to get a tack hook and other bits and pieces, although much of this can be improvised with light lines.
|Battens battered in.|
|These sewn-in fabric bands spread out the shearing forces on the sail's corners; in this case, the clew.|
|The old mainsail cover simply won't do.|
|And this is why: the old one has been outgrown.|