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Adding a reef to a headsail

Started by JWalker, October 03, 2010, 11:55:08 AM

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Hi, I'm new here, but I'm gonna dive right in.

I know several members have reefable headsails...such as the pardeys advocate.

I have been on a yankee 30 that has a headsail with a reef in it, and I looked at it closely.

I understand putting a clew higher up on the sail, and some reinforcement, sail ties ect....but I've got two questions.

1: How do you attach the reef tack to a wire luff? or do you? is this something to worry about?

2: is there a formula for figuring out where to put the reef?

Thanks for any input!

j d

Hi Jonnie, No on else has come to your aid here and I am probably the least qualified to help you. I have roller reefing and that isn't always the answer when the sail should be changed to smaller but as I understand here is how it goes.

The head sail is reefed from the bottom of the sail as you would feef the main. so you would lower the sail and tie the loose foot via the reef points that are now to be the new foot and there is nothing else to attach to the forestay as its already there. I think you may have to change your sheet to the new clew.
Some one please help me if I am wrong. I have never done this. The sail maker who is adding the reef points to your sail should know how high to put them. Hope I understood your question.   John
s/v Meander
Cape Dory 27
Presently berthed in Antioch, CA
exploring the Delta and bay


That's pretty much it. I have an extra pennant on the jib at the reefing tack. That stays on always. I just snap it in down at the tack shackle. The sheets get moved up to  the reefing leech grommet. I use a button arrangement so it's quick and easy to change. Then the bunt of the sail gets rolled and tied just like a main sail would, although nit's much more important on the jib that they be tied tightly and neatly. Whole thing takes just a few minutes.

This is the best pic I can find of the jib with it's reefing points. I have since added permanent nettles at each point.

Here's how I attach my jib sheets- open-


Charlie J

Lindsey 21 Necessity

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera


Thanks for the replys!

CJ, great attachment for the sheets....I'm definatly going to rip......I mean borrow that

Did you have them done by a sail loft or do them yourselves?

I knew a lady in alabama that did them herself...but no longer have contact info to ask her how she figured the size.

Seems like I could take the sq ft of the 100%, and if I wanted a 70% for heavy weather....take a sq ft of that.......uhm.....geometry right? never was good at that.


Our reef points were installed by the person who made our sails. The sails are kits from SailRite and a friend of ours is/was an amateur sailmaker. SailRite worked with me on the design of the sails.

The sails are Contender Super Cruise, 6.5 oz, triple stitched. The jib reefs to the storm jib specs for the  boat.

I found a pic of the jib hauled up on the rear of our house-You can see the reef tack pennant clearly.

By the way- in Bruce Bingham's "Sailors Sketchbook" pages 22 and 23 there's a set of sketches showing how to set up a reefing jib  with a wire luff. We have rope luffs. I don't like the use of the snap shackle as I think they are really dangerous used like that, but the rest makes sense.

Charlie J

Lindsey 21 Necessity

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera


Thanks for the book reference Charlie!

I went to the library yesterday and got it, your explains exactly what I was wondering about....lots of other great ideas also!


Charlie J,
I hadn't thought of the additional reef pennant.  I just hook the reef cringle to the tack hook on deck.

Are you concerned about or have you had any chafe issues with the reef point pennant? 

Any safety concerns with the pennant when lowering the jib when reefing?


Not a problem really. We have a snap shackle on the bow where the regular tack pennant hooks. We just open it, drop in the reefing pennant and finish the reefing. Takes a little longer than reefing the main but that's because there isn't a boom to lean on.

Haven't seen any signs of chafe.
Charlie J

Lindsey 21 Necessity

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera