Forums General Discussion Single line reefing

This topic contains 5 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  David Siegel 9 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #224571

    David Siegel

    Hi all,

    I am considering adding single line reefing to our ketch. Systems that are internal to the boom are more efficient friction-wise, but more expensive. Meanwhile, systems I have seen that are on the outside of the boom are recommended for smaller boats. However, given that the ketch mainsail is small than a 42′ boat with a sloop rig would have, I wonder if it would be feasible. Does anyone have any experience with this?


  • #224573


    I’m in the process of replacing the mainsail boom on my 424. A friend gave me a boom from his Vagabond 47. He re-rigged his wooden spars with an aluminum set of spars from US Spars. They incorrectly shipped him a short boom and reshipped one of the correct length. They left him with the first boom, too short for his rig and just about right for mine. This has fittings for up to four internal lines. Their website parts manual shows the parts and rigging method for a single-line reef. The rigging assumes that you’ll run all your lines back to the cockpit, including the halyard winch. You could put a turning block at the base of the mast to redirect the reef line to a mast mounted winch but you’ll lose all advantage. I decided to leave the reef lines external and ordered external blocks and track from Garehauer.

    For coastal cruising, I don’t reef. Reefing is for pussies. If the wind picks up I ease off the main. With full battens, I can depower the main without flogging it to death. This works up to about 40kts apparent. More than that and I stay in port. Now if I were headed offshore, I’d certainly want reef points, meow…

    The US Spars system is expensive. Even though I got a free boom, I ended up buying some parts to replace what was missing, goosneck, reef bail and block, outhaul tackle, etc. So far, I’m in to it for about $700. I don’t know what the boom would have cost but I would guess it’s close to a grand alone.

    So why am I replacing my boom? The outhaul on the 424 is junk. I didn’t expect these odd parts to be so expensive or I may have fixed what was there. The US Spars boom is very nicely made so it’s not wasted money.


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  • #224574


    Not single line reefing but this may help you.

    I always looked sideways at my reef blocks, and it turned out to be for good reason – both broke between North Carolina and St Maarten this year. But while offshore we rigged something better.

    Tie the reefing lines around the boom slightly aft of its respective reef point. Lash with dyneema a large low friction ring to the end of the boom. Lead the line from the bowline at the boom through the reef eye, down to the low friction ring, then forward to a winch on the boom. All the reef lines can pass through the same low friction ring.

    All the benefits of modern in-boom lines and sheaves, but more robust and more easily repaired offshore.

    I can provide photos Friday when I’m back at the boat if requested.

    Pearson 424 cutter - "Effie"

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  • #224575


    I have always tied one end of the reefing line with a bowline around the boom. Using one of those fittings riveted or screwed to the boom as an endpoint for a reef is foolhardy.
    I frequently single hand so I reef the main after about 25 Knts just to keep things in control. The boat is allready doing hull speed. So why get beat up for no gain. Unless I need the power for bashing through the waves.
    Wouldn’t consider myself a pussy as I’ve single handed most of the ICW, Gulf Stream, Bahamas and eastern Caribbean.

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  • #224577

    Miss Kathleen

    I had single line reefing on my previous yacht. Great system however, it is only used for the first two reefs. It is a safety thing, and reduces the necessity of going on deck. The real problem is that when setting the third reef, one has to go on deck. Not much help.

    Now, on a Pearson, it will not work too well because you will need a mast collar for the blocks at the base of the mast and then a clear path for the sheeting lines and mainsail halyard across the deck back to the cockpit.

    I wish there was space for the kicker sheet back to the cockpit!

    On Miss Kathleen we converted all the halyards internal to the mast and installed a conduit for the wiring.



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  • #224579

    David Siegel

    Thanks for all this great information. Any other approaches or experiences out there? I would appreciate any photos anyone might be able to send to clarify the descriptions. I will also report on whatever we end up doing.


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