Posted by: Dan Sprague | April 24, 2013

I Reef Sails or Head In When:

I Reef Sails or Head In When:

I am a fair weather sailor more and more as I get older and stiffer. Stronger winds make for an exciting sail but I cannot react to them like I use to. There are a few things that get me to head for the dock or take in sails or change to a smaller jib if I am out. If I am out by myself the first option is to run for the dock if the weather looks like it is building.

One first sign that it may be time to head for the dock is when you start seeing whitecaps to the windward. When they start to appear I start looking for other signs that the weather may be quickly changing.

When the wind gusts become more frequent and the helm becomes heavy I head in or you need to trim sails. I do not like having to fight the helm and the sails both. Putting on a smaller jib is the first step.

When the rail starts to dig in, I definitely head for the dock if I am by myself. Reefing sails by yourself is a lot of work and is not safe. Motoring in is a safer option.

I sail mostly in a small 20’er. She is very stable and can handle bad weather well, but I do not see the need to push it. That takes all the fun out of sailing.

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