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Single Line 3rd Reefing Setup

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Martin&Rene View Drop Down

Joined: 06 December 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Points: 342
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    Posted: 01 December 2017 at 12:14
Over the past few months, I have made a number of comments on various threads about how I rig a single line 3rd reefing system.  So I thought I would pull them all together into one thread. 

Firstly, acknowledgements must go to Cindy's Island, owner of a 341/342, who first posted a thread on this idea way back on 18/10/2015 on page 25 of the 341/342.  If you dig deep, there is so much good information on this super forum.

My Selden boom has 4 pulleys at the aft end.  At the front end there are 2 pulleys on the topside for the 1st and 2nd reef and two pulleys on the bottom side, of which one is used for the outhaul.  I rig the third reef through the remaining pulley and then there is a turning pulley fastened under the gooseneck and the reefing line goes round this and then up to the third luff reefing point.  The ball bearing turning pulley with becket is secured by rope to the lower kicker mast fitting and held up by shockcord close to the gooseneck.  You can just see it in this photo.   I then added another pulley to the sail organiser and another clutch by the cockpit.

Hope these diagrams help a bit.

The first diagram shows the overall layout of the third reef line (red line).  The rope is fastened to the boom, in a similar manner to the other reefing lines, runs up to the leech 3rd reef point, back down to the boom end through the pulley set and into the boom.  At the front of the boom, the rope then comes out through a turning pulley on the bottom of the boom, round a new turning block, then up to the luff 3rd reefing point, down through a reefing lead to the mast foot.

As I did not have a spare mast foot attachment point, I use a block and fiddle pulley *, with the 1st reef line going around the main pulley and the 3rd reef line going around the smaller pulley.  You can just see it on the port side of the mast foot.  I do not use a double pulley, as when it is only loaded on just one pulley, it twists and jams slightly.

(*Barton size 4/5 ball bearing sheave fiddle block, reverse shackle)


Now looking in more detail.  Under the reefing load, the turning pulley** by the front of the boom is pulled upwards, so I have fastened its attachment rope to the mast kicker fitting. (It is the white/blue rope you can see in the earlier picture.)  As the pulley would fall when it is not under load, a piece of shock-cord is fastened to the becket loop, goes through a micro-pulley fastened to the mast gooseneck fitting and the down to the mast kicker fitting.  (This is the blue line you can see in the picture.)

(** Barton 4/5 single block, ball bearing sheave, reverse shackle with becket)


As friction is a problem on single line reefing systems, I have added blocks at all turning points.

For the 3 luff reefing points I used Barton swivel eye ball bearing size 4 pulleys, as the pulleys wheels are covered on both sides.  With the pulley on one side of the sail and a 50mm stainless steel ring on the other, I fastened them together with thin dyneema lines, one line from the ring, through the sail eye and then to the block and another line from the ring, round the front of the luff rope and then to the block.  The reefing lines now go up and down on the same side of the sail, so the reefing lines will need re-routing somewhere.  If your sail drops in a fixed set of folds, then try to match in the pulleys with the folds.

For the 1st and 2nd reef leech pulleys I used Harken T2 29mm blocks and fastened them to the leech eyes with loops of dyneema about 20cm long.  For the 3rd reef, I use a another  Harken block and attach it to the sail with a long soft shackle that I made up, so I can disconnect the leech 3rd reef line in light weather and so reduce the amount of rope dropping in the cokpit.

Whilst we are on general sail control topics, some people may also find this thread interesting.


Martin&Rene Hanse 341 Dipper Wheel steering, 3 cabin layout & shallow keel, normally based in Scotland
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