Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Reefing With A Rope Clutch"
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Thread: "Reefing With A Rope Clutch"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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Reefing With A Rope Clutch


My main is currently set up with three slab-reefing points and one winch on the starboard side of the boom without any way to cleat off the clew lines. It looks like some hardware may have been removed in an attempt to allow reefing from the cockpit. Would it be a bad idea to run the three clew lines through a triple rope clutch between clew and winch? Do these fail/jam often? Also, is the winch necessary/helpful?

Aaron Norlund

Dear Twelve,

I'm averse to clutches - even the best are hard on lines. That said, for something like reefing lines, they would work well and seeing as you don't spend a lot of time reefed, wouldn't chew your line up too quick. If you go with clutches, spend the money for good Schaeffer or Harken clutches. Also consider using cam cleats - they're loads cheaper and work well if the lines are properly led. Another option is to mount two or three cleats. I'm old school and prefer cleats, but to each his or her own.

Also consider using cam cleats - they're loads cheaper and work well if the lines are properly led.

A reefing winch is near the top of my list for any boat that might see wind. It's really tough to get a tight foot and flat sail in thirty knots by hand.

Fair leads,
Aaron N.

Mike and Ivana Meyran

On the reefing topic, I am setting my main up with reefing lines. How are you set up with the luff reefing? Do you use reefing hooks, or lines?

Aaron Norlund


I use gooseneck hooks for my reef tacks. Jiffy or slab reefing works swell, but I'm at the mast anyway. I have a clew out/downhaul running to a winch for both. This runs from my boom winch to a block near the end of the boom, up through the reef's clew ring, then back down to a pad eye on the opposite side of the block.

Hope this helps!
Aaron N.

Mike and Ivana Meyran

thanks aaron, big help.

Hey Mike,
Randy again. I now have some experience with jiffy reefing on my boat. Last week when I was hove to the reef was not proper because a block led from the clew of the first reef point disintegrated. See what I mean about old gear? Anyway, it seems like jiffy reefing is the easiest, but like some say, KISS. Maybe you should try a non-jiffy reefing system to get started and see what you think.

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