Heaving To And Reefing

The scooner heaves to admirably, which is necessary to reef her in a wind. She does fore-reach at a couple of knots, however, so heaving to close to a windward shore may result in running aground before all the reef lines are tied!

Before heaving to, you should be sailing to windward normally. The end of the foreboom is secured in position--an occy strap or shockcord to the staysail ring on the sidedeck works fine--so that it is not free to swing to the other side. If you don't do this, the boat will end up tacking herself out of the hove-to position.

Once the foresheet is secured, start a normal tack with the helm well down. The boat will come to the wind and the secured foresail will be taken aback, which is what you want. Keep the helm down (tied with another occy strap if necessary) and the mainsail will be in reach for reefing. Pressure on the foresail will tend to push the boat off the wind, and the down helm will tend to bring her up to the wind. She'll gill and fill like this, not forever, but until the slow forward motion this imparts runs you into something. She'll also behave better if you get the jib in rapidly.

To reef, someone should be handling the peak and throat halyards, which need slacking off a bit. Tie the throat reefing pendant and the tack pendant first. The tack tie can go through the grommet at the full sail's tack. The clew pendant is best led through holes in the reinforcing strips along the boom, and tied under the boom.

Then tie the individual reef ties under the foot of the sail (not round the boom), working in from each end.

Once finished, set the main up again, free up the foresail, back off the wind and you're off. Total time from heaving-to to sailing again, five minutes once you're practised.

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