Reefing a Series 2 Holt-Speed FRP GP14
21/05/2018 at 12:25 pm #14653
The sail that comes with this dinghy does not have any reefing points. I don’t know if reefing claws could be used – firstly it is centre-main rigged and secondly the gooseneck is round rather than square.
If I get a second sail with eyelet(s) at the leech, ie. one with reefing points, how would I add a reefing line to the boom (it doesn’t currently have one). The boom is made by SuperSpars if that’s any help!
21/05/2018 at 1:06 pm #14657
The boat sounds like it’s set up for racing, with racing spars and sails (rather than cruising sails) and a centre mainsheet block.
I am sure Oliver can provide more info on reefing points etc. as I am not familiar with that!
- This reply was modified 2 months, 4 weeks ago by Chris Hearn.
21/05/2018 at 1:36 pm #14661
I agree with Chris; you appear to have a racing set-up.
If you want to fit a reefing capability, which I warmly endorse, I strongly recommend that you go for slab/jiffy reefing; see my paper on the topic in the Members area of this site (click on All about your GP14, and you should then find it). However this direct link should work https://www.gp14.org/members/members-2/all-about-your-gp14/
With slab/jiffy reefing you won’t need a reefing claw; that is relevant only for roller reefing, but to my mind in the debate over which system to use the jury is no longer still out. Roller reefing was standard when the GP14 was designed, and the GP14 was designed with that system, and it works adequately. However slab/jiffy reefing is a whole order of magnitude better; it is quicker and easier to pull down a reef while at sea (which is vitally important if conditions freshen while you are out), and quicker and easier to shake out the reef if the wind drops, and in addition the sail sets better when reefed than it does with roller reefing.
I hope and believe that my paper above will provide all the details that you need, but do feel free to get back with any further questions. You mention that your boom is be Super Spars; so were my ones on both Strait Laced and A Capella, which are copiously illustrated in the paper. Fit a pair of slides (the type with eyes), with screws to lock them in position, to the track underneath the boom; use freely positioned small single blocks as turning blocks for the leach reefing lines, and use 3 mm dyneema to tie each of these to its slide beneath the boom. The system will repay the investment of a modest amount of time in setting it up ashore to get the positioning of everything right, but once you have the location of the slides correct the blocks will look after themselves; and you should never need to change the position of the slides again as long as you still have the same sail and boom, so you can lock them in position and more or less forget about them.
You will need to have reef points fitted to your sail, but you may do better to look for a purpose-built cruising sail; that will be cut flatter than your racing sail, and it will set very much better when reefed. It will also be differently constructed, and from a different cloth, which will enable it to stand up much better to the sort of abuse it is likely to get when cruising, including being crumpled up and then sat on or stood on. If you are lucky you will find a second-hand cruising sail which already has reef points fitted, but if you need to fit them to a sail which does not already have them then I draw your attention to the measurements given in my paper.
If budget is a consideration initially, use whatever sail you have available and simply fit the reef points (or get them fitted); a sailmaker may perhaps be able to also recut the sail for you, but that will be at an additional cost, and you will have to evaluate whether it is worth the expense. In the longer term the luxury solution is a brand new purpose-made cruising sail, complete with reef points; and if either now or in the future you decide to go down that route I warmly recommend Edge Sails, who in the days when I was actively sailing GP14s (not all that many years ago) were the sailmaker of choice for cruising sails in the class.
Hope this helps,
- This reply was modified 2 months, 4 weeks ago by Oliver Shaw.
24/05/2018 at 10:05 pm #14714
I’ve just purchased a second hand sail with 4 reefing cringles from the luff to the clew (see attached photo). I’ve read your paper on reefing. I was wondering, though, with this sail, if I could get away with simply running a rope from each cringle down to the boom. If I need to reef, I’d lower the main halyard, so that the cringles are just above the boom, then tighten each reefing line around the boom with a reef knot, having folded the lower part of the sail beneath the cringles. I realise that this would not be as quick or easy a way to reef whilst sailing as your method, but is there any reason why it wouldn’t work?
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24/05/2018 at 10:47 pm #14716
It would indeed work – after a fashion … …
But think about the circumstances in which you would want to be pulling down a reef at sea. It will be blowing hard, perhaps not a real hooligan, but certainly outside your comfort zone; that is why you want to reef in the first place. Will you really want to be working at the outer end of the boom in a 14-ft dinghy in something of a maelstrom? I know I wouldn’t!!
The second point is that once reefed you want, and indeed need, the sail to be as flat and as efficient as possible. Are you really going to achieve that by just tieing down the clew with a simple lanyard and a reef knot? I doubt it; I forsee the sail setting like the proverbial set of old lady’s underwear.
To achieve adequate flatness of the sail you need the clew reefing pennant to be pulling aft at least as much as it is pulling downwards. And the tack pennant needs to be pulling forwards at least as much as it is pulling downwards. So setting up primitive ad hoc lanyards while actually at sea in hairy conditions is going to be an absolute nightmare.
Your approach is an excellent solution if you are badly caught out, you most desperately need to do something, and the boat is not properly set up. Been there, done that, myself; and in my case it was while single-handing a borrowed yacht, not a 14-ft dinghy. But it is not something to aim for.
I strongly urge you to take the modest time and trouble, and embark on the modest expense, to get it right, with a really top class system. And then practice, practice, practice; so that when you do get badly caught out – and sooner or later it can happen to any of us – at least you are adequately prepared and in as good a position as anyone to cope safely.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Oliver Shaw.
25/05/2018 at 4:33 pm #14728
Thinking further about this, you have correctly identified that your proposed simple reefing system “will not be as quick or easy to reef a sail as (my) method”, but until you have actually been out there trying to do the job it may not be so obvious that speed and ease – and reliability – of the reefing system are all important aspects of safety. As is the quality of set of the reefed sail, because that determines its efficiency; in particular it determines the ratio of drive (which you want to maximise) to heeling moment (which you want to minimise), and it also affects how high you can point. Whether the ability to point well is relevant in any given situation depends on whether you will need to work to windward in order to get home, but forgoing in advance the ability to do so is rather like playing Russian Roulette.
Another consideration, pertinent to my second paragraph, is that the very last thing you want is for your efforts to reef the boat to themselves cause a capsize. That means that you want to be able to do the job with your weight either in the middle of the boat or on the weather side, and you certainly don’t want to be doing any more than you absolutely must on the lee side of the boat. Likewise you don’t want to pull the boom central until you are able to get your weight to weather to counterbalance the boat and keep her upright. That is why working on the end of the boom during a reefing operation is such a problem.
Hope this helps to explain the situation.
28/05/2018 at 12:06 pm #14761
You have convinced me that I should do this properly! I’ve read your document and I was wondering if you could tell me what size block I should use (my sail only has a single reefing point set). For the cleat mounted on the boom, would you recommend fitting it with self-tapping screws or rivetted (if I can find someone with a rivet gun!)?
28/05/2018 at 12:42 pm #14762
Glad I have convinced you!
The block for the boom can be quite a small one. A dozen years ago I bought all my reefing kit on A Capella from Rob Helyar, http://www.flexible-reefing-spars.co.uk, and I can recommend him; his prices are fairly mainstream, but most important is that he has developed and refined the systems and is well geared up to exactly what fittings are suitable.
Self-tapping screws are fine for attaching the cleat to the boom provided you don’t have any internal lines running through the boom. If you do have such lines (and the outhaul may well be one such) I recommend pop rivets, as being kinder to the internals.
If you don’t manage to borrow a pop riveting gun they are not wildly expensive to buy, although I do think it is worth going for a moderately heavy duty one, such as the one in this kit; https://www.diy.com/departments/mac-allister-chrome-vanadium-steel-rivet-starter-kit-set-of-100/705913_BQ.prd, rather than a more lightweight one. It is always worth investing in decent tools, and this one is perhaps mid-range; it looks like the one that I have, and it is just up to the job with the largest size of rivet (from memory 5 mm). However if you can borrow one, well and good.
I say this particular tool is just up to the job with the largest size of rivets not because of whether the tool itself will withstand the load, but because of the amount of brute force you personally need to apply to the grips when working at maximum capacity.
Hope this helps,
- This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Oliver Shaw.
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