Reefing test

Thread starter #1
I took my C14 sailing all last week on vacation in VA on Smith Mountain Lake. Its a big lake with a bout 50 miles of navigable water. Last Monday there was a slight chance of showers and we put on the rain gear and went out because the winds weren't that bad, it was a little on the cool side though (low 60s). We sailed for a couple hours and its spit rain a couple times and then it downpoured on us for about 30 minutes while we were about 3 miles from the dock. There was water pouring off of everything, but the winds were not bad so we sailed on. Then after the rain stopped it got calm for a few minutes then the wind built up to about 15 knots gusting to around 20 at times I would guess. As soon as the wind started to build to where I did not have enough butt to balance out, I furled the jib. It was till hard to balance the boat and the GPS said we were doing close to 10mph with the main sheet out all the way on the best and most stable point of sail I could find( we could not sail downwind due to the layout of the lake). This was not fun because it was also spitting rain still and was damn cold by now. The wind slacked for a couple seconds and I was then able to pull my mains'l reef on the tack and clew and this made an incredible difference. Due to the strong wind I was not able to tie the reef points so it did not look pretty but it was most effective. Our speed dropped to just under 7mph and we could balance the boat fairly easily then and this dropped my and my wifes stress level a lot. When we got back close to our dock, we dropped the main the rest of the way and tried to tie it up as best we could but its real hard when the wind is whipping and gusting like that. With the main tied up fairly well we then had the wind at our back turning into the cove where our dock is and we were still doing better than 3 mph under no sail! We got right up to the dock and I cut the boat sideways and we managed to blow up to the dock without turning over. The wind was blowing leaves off the trees and it was difficult getting her on the trailer. As soon as we got her out of the water of course the wind died down, but my wife was not game for any more sailing on that day:( The rest of the week we had winds between 3- 10 knots and had a great time. The last day we had to hunt wind most of the day and just ghosted around but thats ok too.:)
Glad to hear that you and your wife made it back safely! I am also glad to hear that the reefing worked. I will be taking my sails into a sail loft in a few weeks to get reef points in the main and a larger window area for the Jib.

How far up from the foot of the sail are your reef points?

Thread starter #3
I would reccommend putting the reefing clew right under the lowest batten. This gives you the most amount of sail reduction without having to deal with the batten situation. The sail maker should be able to figure everything else out from there. I think it is very close to 4 feet up to the row of reef points. Also I would recommend putting 3 reefing point cringles in to tie up the extra sail instead of just the two that are recommended in the catalina handbook.
Reefing Kit

Talked to Catalina technical who told me they had a "reefing kit" for the 14.2, but they needed to see what the individual part numbers were. Parts has no idea and doesn't know what would compromise a "reefing kit."

I have seen I need:

1. Cheek block (1)
2. Jam cleats (2)
3. Padeye to lead the new tack (1)

Is there something I am missing? And would anyone have part numbers. Repeated phone messages and emails simply go unanswered at Catalina.
Ordered the kit

Thanks a bunch, I ordered the kit.

BTW, it cost me $90 to get the sail reefed in Havre de Grace.

Kent at Catalina told me that they don't have a reefing kit for sale at Catalina. He thought they did.

Thanks again,

Reefing question

Just curious. In the Catalina handbook, there is a description of a "Mainsail Slab Reefing." It in the diagram, it shows putting the reef in only 2'3" up the main. Yet I have seen others telling me to put the reef 4' up, just below the lowest batten.

I am assuming the Catalina Handbook figure of only 2'3" is for a two man crew in heavy wind, and the 4' figure is for a single person in heavy air.

Does this make sense?


Thread starter #10
That is what the handbook says. I talked to a sailmaker at Airforce sails about it and putting it up right below the 1st batten seemed to be the best for me. It reduces the main by a little more than 1/3 and lowers the top down about 4 feet on the mast which makes it heel less as well. I was going to have the sailmaker do it but he had a 7-8 week backlog and it was going to cost $125 plus about $15-20 shipping both ways. I ended up ordering the dacron and making my own patches and doing the whole thing myself. For me, if its windy enough to have to reef, I'm gonna follow the old sailors saying "reef deep and reef early". I didn't think that the 2' 3'' reefing would be enough if I got into trouble. To me reefing is a survival(not capsizing) type thing, not just a sailing thing. I wonder if its possible to partial reef? Ie, only pull the reef tack and clew in half way? I am going to look in to this.:)

Your post reminds me a day when I was paragliding in San Diego. It was a "thermally" day, probably inappropriate to be paragliding, but my family had come to watch me, so...

I launched, and commenced to get pounded and thrown around somewhat. It took me a while to get back to the ground, somewhat shaken. After I landed, an older and more experienced paraglider walked over to me, with a piece of grass sticking out of the corner of his mouth, and grunted with a smile: "I see you now know the meaning of the saying."

"What saying is that?"

"Its a far far better thing to be on the ground wishing you were in the air, then being in the air, wishing you were on the ground."

I am sure its the same for being in a blow with not enough main reefed; so I will take your advice and put in the reef right below the lowest batten.


Thread starter #12
Exactly :D When all hell breaks loose and it hits the fan and chaos is all about. Its nice to be able to at least have a little control by rolling up the jib and getting it out of the way(then you only have one sail to contend with) then reduce the main until you feel pretty sure that the boat ain't gonna flip over. It still wan't fun that day but it wasn't complete terror either which I have experienced on a couple other occasions where I had let the main sheet all the way out till it was flogging like mad and the jib was all over the place and it was hell. I would say it the saying would apply for being on a sailboat too.
Works great

Got my reef, right below the lowest batten. Also centered the traveler with two knots, like it says in the handbook, and it feels like I have a new boat. Pointed way higher, and went out in a nice 15-20 knot blow by myself, and it was no big deal. I had to dump sheet maybe one time.

For those of you that sail solo, the reef in the main works wonderfully.

Thanks to those who wrote the handbook and who gave me guidance about the reef.

I want to second the value of reefing. I had mine put in last year for about $75. Right up under the batten. Hadn't had much chance to use it until this past weekend. The wind was around 25-30. Spray flying off the waves. Really churning. Sailed with just the main, reefed. And it was a piece of cake. Never once felt out of control.