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How Reefing Balances Your Sailboat to Perfection

Are you still confused about the steps for reefing when the sailing weather turns foul? How do you know when to start shortening sail on your cruising sailboat before it’s too late? Go through this easy three-step checklist to find the answer fast!

Forget what you’ve heard about reefing being a heavy weather sailing tactic. Far from it! Many sailors carry sail much too long in a breeze. It might look cool digging the rail in, but this increases weather helm and slows the boat.

Reefing means to balance the boat to the point where she can almost sail herself. You should be able to control the wheel or sailboat tiller with light fingertip pressure.

Dockside, if you sense that you have a reefing breeze, set the reefs in the mainsail before you cast off. That way, when you hoist the main, she’s reefed and ready to go. If you’re already out on the water, go through the three step process at this link.

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