Ten Percent Power Loss with In-Mast reefing

In the middle of Cowes week and with the Southampton Boat Show looming on the horizon, I am reminded of some people we met during our sailing years. They were a live-aboard couple, still sailing regularly in the warm Spanish waters despite advancing years and arthritis.

They came back to the UK specifically in order to visit the Southampton Boatshow.

They were really interested in purchasing an in-mast reefing system for their yacht in order to enable them to carry on sailing for just a few more years.

“You have to be aware that as you will sacrifice at least ten percent of your sailing power because of the cut of the sail, it will hardly be worth all the expense”, they were advised by a young salesman.

After some lengthy consideration, they decided to stick with their familiar slab reefing system, and wended their way around the rest of the Boatshow and thence back to their boat in sunny Spain.

It was only when they were out sailing a couple of weeks later that they realised that, rather than have all the work and hassle of hoisting their heavy mainsail, they had got into the habit of leaving it tucked away under its cover and sailing on the roller reefed genoa alone ……. therefore losing not ten percent, but one hundred percent of drive from the mainsail.

The following January, they went to the London Boatshow and bought an in-mast reefing system from a different salesman, who was sensible enough to realise that one does not have to be young to be a potential customer.
They still regularly use their new in-mast system and are thrilled with its performance. They look forward to quite a few more sailing seasons before finally ‘swallowing the anchor’
So…. old sea dogs can learn new tricks and benefit from modern technology.

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