Reefing Downwind in 30 Knots

Here’s a great video taken in this year’s Race to Alaska that shows the crew of SHUT-UP AND DRIVE reefing their main while blasting down waves. The boat is a Figaro 2, which is a 33-foot one-design created for shorthanded ocean racing. The wind was blowing a steady 30 with puffs up to 40 knots. Take a look and note the following details:

  1. All three on deck were wearing PFDs – a good thing.

  2. With the wind pressing the luff of the sail against the shrouds and spreaders, a downhaul had to be attached to the reef point so they could pull the reef tack down to the reef horn on the boom.

  3. The driver was doing an amazing job of keeping the boat flat despite having a chute up in following seas and experiencing unpredictable puffs.

  4. At about 1:35 into the video, the driver gets the boat accelerating down a wave, which lowers the apparent wind. This reduced the pressure of the main against the shrouds and spreaders making it a bit easier to lower the main. She then continued to sail a little high to reduce the load on the main during the reefing process, all the while keeping the cleated spinnaker full.

  5. The reef was finished in under five minutes. Good seamanship, boat handling, and nerves of steel.

Zoom, Zoom!

For a good article on how to reef properly, go to the Learning Center of the UK Sailmakers website, click here.