During the week when I’m sitting at my desk and daydreaming about going sailing, I usually imagine myself skippering a well-found boat with an experienced crew, out at sea on a broad reach, before a stiff breeze. Perfect!
But the reality may be far different. Some people rarely, if ever, reef the mainsail on their boats. And, if conditions take them by surprise and they really need to reef, that’s when problems can happen.
Dropping the main halyard and easing the mainsheet to take in a reef makes the boom into a very dangerous weapon. The noise of the sail flapping madly in the wind makes communicating instructions difficult (unless you have a shout like mine!). How can this be avoided?
The wise skipper gets their crew to practice this manoeuvre in light conditions so that everyone knows their job. When conditions deteriorate and it’s time to take a reef, the crew will do the job confidently, day or night.
In Boat Handling 1 and 2, I show how to handle a boat in light, moderate and heavy weather conditions.