H38 Reefing - When, how much, in what order?

Jul 27, 2011
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
One reefing strategy I use is to reef the head sail first then furl the mainsail.........this depowers the boat sufficiently to controllably reef the mainsail, particularily if single handling and on autopilot.
I may do this as well. But with single-line reefing from the cockpit it’s not obligatory to do so. Easing/luffing the mainsail out far enough allows me to reef it while keeping way on with the headsail.
Jan 1, 2006
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
Quick question for clarification, when we're talking reefing wind speeds, are we talking AWS or TWS? I'm guessing AWS but correct me if I'm wrong.
In my post #17 I was speaking of True Wind Speed. When going upwind in 15 Kts. TWS your sails are seeing 20 or 22 knots AWS. Between 12 and 15 TWS you should employ depowering techniques before reefing.
Feb 21, 2013
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
With a furling mainsail I find depowering the boat by reducing the headsail area, then with the boat on a "slight" starboard tack one can easily and quickly reef the mainsail, especially single handling with an autopilot. Otherwise reefing the furling mainsail is really difficult. I learned that the hard way single handling on a long sail from San Francisco Bay to the Delta.
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Apr 11, 2010
Hunter 38 Whitehall MI
I have the same boat. We bought her new from the dealer. During our trial sail the dealer told us to
1. Reef the main first. Because the 38 has a large roach main and a much smaller fractional jib the main is the power sail.
2. When the wind hits 15 knots or above take the main in to about 75% of full sail. I find this to be right about where the Hunter logo is on the sail. Dealer told us and we’ve seen from 13 years of ownership that when we do that the boat flattens out a little and actually picks up speed. Dealers words were “if you don’t reef you over heel and with the beam carried so far aft it’s like dragging a barn door through the water”.
3. If more reefing is needed bring the head sail in a bit next.
Have been sailing the boat for many years now and that strategy has worked well for us
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Apr 8, 2011
Hunter 36 Deale, MD
Quadrill38 has it right. We reef our H36 main when TWS reaches 15 kts sustained, then again at 20 and balance the boat by reducing the 135 genoa as needed. She sails faster flatter.
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Feb 21, 2013
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Uhm, wasn't that a downwind sail? from San Francisco Bay to the Delta
Not totally..........when you sail to the Delta through the Carquinez Strait from the Carquinez Bridge in Vallejo to the southwest side of Benicia you are often on a beam reach and when you sail back to the San Francisco Bay you're beating all the way back, except through the Strait. Some where on either leg you might need to reef at some point as the wind begins to gust, so with a furling in-mast mainsail you need to be on the appropriate tack to do so. Below is a snip & sketch from "Windy" Windy: Wind map & weather forecast showing wind directions at various points in the San Franciso Bay to the south, San Pable bay to the north, Carquinez Strait between Vallejo and Benicia and Suisun Bay to the east.

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Feb 26, 2004
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
I know it very well. Sailed the Vallejo Race a couple of times, up both rivers and to The Delta on my C25 and this boat a dozen times. Nice for others to know, though.
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