Practice Reefing Sails

Sailing in the San Francisco Bay requires that one be ready and able to change the amount of sail he has raised on his sailboat. Reducing the amount of sail used is called “reefing.”

As a novice sailor, I decided that the right way to learn about reefing would be to bring my dog, and a couple of kids out in heavy wind ‘Small Craft Advisory’ weather conditions on the San Francisco Bay the day of the Superbowl.


This was the second reef. My clew line is incorrect and I need to fix the aft reef line to the boom to get more “down force” on the foot of the reefed sail.

I had these lines run incorrectly. In the photo I have my proper reefing line and an add-on that I tried to pull down under way with a trucker’s hitch on a bight. It helped somewhat. But the port sheave at the back of the boom is still frozen, so I really need to get the whole boom off the boat and do a proper rebuild.

The day of reefing practice also made me contemplate the value of Lazy Jack Lines, but I’m still not sure if they are worth the trouble. One more set of ropes to get fouled up, and I would have to get a ‘Stack Pack’ cover to protect my main instead of the regular functional sail cover I already have.