Re: reefing

Absolutely reef the main first. I have sailed around
the world and spoke with Hess before leaving. That
was his advice and my experience were the same.

Lee Gunter

— Tom Harrer < > wrote:

At 11:57 AM 8/11/2002 +0000, you wrote:

would someone with lots of BCC sailing experience
please tell me the
sail reduction sequence. Do you reef the main
before striking
forward sail? Current sailmaker dogma is to reduce
jib size to
number three or less before reefing the main.
Also, what is the easiest way to get a BCC to heave
to ?
my new boat is about 60 days away from launce and
lots of questions
are are starting to arise.
Jim Hiller


Tho’ I only have this summer on WhiteWings,
my last boat favored
reefing the main first and I have continued the
practice with 118. I have
gone as far as two reefs in the main w/staysail and
jib still full. My jib
top is about 110%…the stock version. Seems to
keep the helm nicely
balanced while retaining the drive of the jib.
Regards heaving-to…I
would suggest finding a copy of the Pardee’s book on
storm tactics…we
have very similar boats…


Tom Harrer
S/V Whitewings III

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Aboard Iduna we reef similar to White Wings:

1st Reef - single reef main, staysail and jib

2nd Reef - single reef main, staysail, and tuck (few rolls) in the jib

3rd Reef - double reef main, staysail, and two tucks in the jib, (sometimes we furl the jib completely)

We have never needed to reef beyound this on the Chesappeake.

I have read over the paragraphs about sailing the BCC at - post earlier under Design)

The order of reefing in the article is as follows:

1st Reef - main, staysail and tuck in the jib,

2nd Reef - main, staysail and jib completely furled,

3rd Reef - single reef main, staysail,

4th Reef - double reef main, staysail,

5th Reef - double reef main, storm jib (a.k.a. a spitfire staysail)

Our experience on IDUNA is the standard 105-110% jib induces weather helm as the wind freshens, hence this reefing sequence seems to make sense. Hess’s sailplan called for a smaller working jib than we consider as “standard.”

I want to try this "new’ reefing sequence out ASAP. Has anyone used a similar reefing sequence?


Rod, I would be surprised if the larger jib would cause you weather helm since weather helm is caused by too much sail area aft of the Center of Lateral Resistance. (not sure if I should explain this or not?) Anyway, the BCC was designed with a large mainsail which has always given the boat a severe weather helm (in the beginning). Have you ever tried to sail a BCC with just the main? Far too much weather helm and little drive up wind without the jibs slot effect pulling on the main. The only way to reduce weather helm is to reduce the sail area aft of the CLR (reef the mainsail or increase the sail area forward) (Jib and Staysail).

Back to Jim Hiller’s question on Reefing:

Since I am on the subject of weather helm, The original BCC’s had severe weather helm. Many owners complained. On XIPHIAS, I found I had to make a radical over adjustment to my windvane to stay on course. As the wind strength changed so did my course. Sam tried to solve this problem by shortening the boom. However, at the same time, he shortened the bowsprit because people were complaining that they could not grab the headstay from the staysail stay. The weather helm was slightly improved. Since XIPHIAS already had the long bowsprit and boom I decided to experiment. I tightened the bobstay as far as I could while loosening the back stay. This resulted in a radical bow in the bowsprit while reducing the rake in the mast. The boat sailed much better. (I moved the sail Center of Effort forward) All boat during my watch have a nearly vertical mast. To test your weather helm, sail up wind and release the tiller. If the sails are set correctly, the boat should sail straight until there is a gust of wind and then she should turn into the wind (Never off the wind). This method will work up until you are on a broad reach. After that, the main takes all the wind and begins to blanket the jib. This will cause weather helm. So reduce the main as much as needed to get the balance.

Keeping in mind this balance when you want to reef. I normally judge the time for the first reef is when the bulwarks dip underwater occasionally.

1 st Reef: No matter what the point of sail, the main should ALWAYS be reefed first.

2 nd Reef: No matter what the point of sail, the main should ALWAYS be reef second.

3 rd Reef: Reduce some headsail. If it is roller furling, roll up a bit until the boat feels good. You will know what this is when you do it. If it is a jib with a reef, tuck in a reef. If it can only be changed to a smaller jib then change it. Do not touch the staysail.

4 th Reef: Put in the third reef in the main and consider dropping the jib. A third reef in the main and the staysail provide a good balance (Center of Effort over CLR). This will depend on the point of sail. If off the wind, you might even want to drop the main and sail on just the jib and staysail. Again, maintain that balance.

5 th Reef: Now the weather is really nasty. You should heave too. You should now be on a third reef in the mainsail and staysail only. To Heave too, sail close to the wind on any tack. Without releasing the staysail sheet, tack the boat. Now the staysail is backwinded against the mast. The boat will want to take off downwind and this would gybe the main. So steer the boat back into the wind. You will discover that you cannot tack through the wind because the backwinded staysail prevents it. Now you lash the tiller so it is trying to sail upwind. If the boat is pointing dangerously close to the wind, let out a little mainsail until you feel comfortable with the set. This repeats itself continuously: The boat will be pushed downwind by the backwinded staysail. As she falls off, the mainsail will catch wind and begin to gather speed. As the boat begins to move forward, the lashed tiller forces the boat upwind, thus spilling wind out of the main and stopping forward drive. Again the staysail will push the bow down until the main begins to drive again, etc…

6 th Reef: If it gets even worse, you can drop the staysail entirely and heave too only on the main. The problem is that you must let the main out just enough that it will not drive the boat through the eye of the wind.

This method will apply to any amount of sail area as long as the boat is balanced before attempting to heave too.

I did not mention the storm trisail. It should be the same size as a third reef mainsail. I would use the trisail only if you expect the winds to worsen or there are gusts. YOU DO NOT WANT TO RIP OUT THE MAINSAIL AT THE 3RD REEF.