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As you guys can see by the latest photos the masts are almost complete. I just had a visit to the yard from a guy that knows a lot about everything. He asked what kind of tracks I'm putting on them, I said none and explained that I'll be using a wingsail that incorporates a 4ft pocket that wraps around the mast. "Oh dear!" was his reply, when I asked why he said that due to surface tension they are almost impossible to reef in when they're wet as the sleeve just clings to the mast. In theory I can see where he's coming from. But I'm wondering if any of you wingsail rig owners have had any experience of this?

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Can you elaborate?  Is this to gain some of the benefits of leach control without needing a boom?  Would it make any difference to raising/lowering sail as per topic problem?

I am looking at building a larger Tiki and may sail short-handed.  The comments from Ann and Nev raise some concerns.  As purchasing sails is some time away, I can choose either sleeve or lacings and as usual have found this forum a great source for planning items.

Fair point Ann. As you say each boat is different, and I am sure the pressures involved with Tiki 46 sails is a lot different than a Tiki 21, 26 and 31 that I have experienced. I would be interested to hear what the Wharrams had to say about the issue as they used the big wingsails on Gaia??

Upon further reflection - Cookies mainsail does have a difference that probably makes it easier to drop. I have a permanently sewn sleeve with no zip or webbing straps. I feel that the zip could be a weak point going offshore. The straps are needed of course at the high stress points of the reefs etc., but they must add friction to the system.

Taming of the larger sails is a very good discussion point. What process do you use Ann to raise the sheet up to a higher reef point aboard Peace??

Cheers, Rory 

I have no problems rising or lowering the sails in may Tiki 26 and indeed I have found that it is more easy than with the tracks in my previous boats. The weight in the gaff helps a lot when lowering the sail. When reefing I usually luff and then it is very easy to lower the sail, I have not tried it without luffing. 

The problem I have is that like Rory my main has the sleeve permanent sewn, so it is very complicated when I have to make any repairs in the sail, because I have to haul out the boat, then lower the mast, remove the shrouds and the stay, remove the anemometer form the top of the mast, and then I can take off the sail from the mast. For this reason I am thinking in changing to lacings like in Peace IV. 

Once we figured out the process, we never had any issues with our wingsails during the raising/lowering process in any weather. There were two primary factors we found that made lowering or raising the sails very easy:

• Most important was to make certain that the gaff was hanging completely free with no tension on any of the lines. Originally the blocks did not have enough room to tilt from side to side. This allowed the lines to slide against the block cheeks, causing too much friction. This was solved by adding an additional shackle to the upper block. Once the lines ran friction free, the gaff would easily and effortlessly drop to a hanging position. (When raising or lowering the sail, you do not want the gaff jaws to be in contact with the mast, and the lines need to run free.)

• Next was to properly tension the internal sleeve straps. Once these were tensioned to take just enough load to free the sail sleeve from the mast, all of the sleeve friction eased to the point of being effortless. Once the halyard and topping lift were released the sail would fall under its own weight down 3/4 of the way.

(Rory, until you run a Hasler/McCleod junk rig, you will never know the true meaning of effortless sail handling)

Rory McDougall said:

 I have loved the fact that the main can be dropped and raised pretty easily even with strong winds from astern - I don't know of any other mainsail system that can do that.

The zipper on our foresail broke and the sail had to be lowered and could not be fixed at sea.  That was a bad situation.  On a Tiki 46 you do go to sea (why else have that big a boat?) and you cannot just go to the beach and lower the mast and take it down if you are in the middle of the ocean.  And you should not need to go through all that simply in order to make repairs your self or else take the sail to a sail maker for repairs.  That is way too complicated for us.  The ropes work fine and we even used old ropes and the grommits are not expensive either.  It works.  It is simple.  It is an old and trusted way to put the sail up and get it down easily.  I have lots of old books about schooners and gaff sails and there are pictures and photographs showing the rope lacings.  

We admired the shape of the original sails before we switched to rope lacings, but they were reluctant to come down.  Nev was swinging on them with his full weight one wet and gusty day and we vowed to get them altered and did so right away.  It was a  good decision we are happy we made.  But everybody else is free to do what they want to.  That is why we live on boats.  We are free to follow our own light and do what we want.  The GAFF RIG is a book you can get by John Leather and it shows exactly what we have on Peace.  

If we let the halyards go now, the rope lacings release easily and the sails fall down nicely.  

Ann and Nev 

I'm glad I found this thread as I was about to post about the difficulties reeding and dropping the sails on my tiki 46 whilst sailing from brazil to the Caribbean. In light winds I find it not too difficult to drop the sails, however when sailing downwind and the wind is up and it's time to reef then so far I have found it very difficult to get the damn sail down. The pressure of the gaff against the shrouds and the surface tension of the sleeve against the mast makes it neigh on impossible to pull the sail down by hand. I have a line that runs up the sleeve and attaches to the gaff, I then lead this to the drum on my anchor winch and I can winch the gaff lower, however this doesn't solve the flapping leach problem. It is now difficult to attach the main sheet to the next reeding point. So far it's been a dogs dinner every time I need to reef and I dread it each time.
Now I should clarify that before the 46 we had a tiki 30 and while it was sometimes hard to reef in a strong following wind I had a nice system to reef. I ease the haliards whilst hauling down on the line I had connected to the D rings sewn to the leading edge. Once this was at the right height, I would run a line from the clew up to the next reef point for a turn or two and haul this until the two clew grommets came together. Tie it off and make some fine adjustments and it was relatively stress free. This just doesn't work on the 46, the pressures are two great. The only easier way I've found so far is to pay out the main sheets whilst rounding up into the wind, drop the engines and motor into the wind whilst hauling the sails down. This is no for the faint hearted when flying downwind in 3-4 m seas.
I am still experimenting with various options but if I can't sort it out easily then I'll probably try the lacings like ann and nev, as the option of a mast track and batcar system is too expensive. I'm currently anchored amongst some traditional gaff schooners here in Union island and their lacing system seems to work fine and still retains the traditional look.
So far my thoughts are the sleeve wing sail is fine for the smaller designs but can become unmanageable on the bigger boats without some systems to effectively manage the loads.
I think that ann and Nevs system is probably the way forward, and I plan on installing booms at the earliest opportunity

Have you folks seen this reefing system from an early article on Wharrams'?

You never have to release the mainsheet from the clew . . .

This one looks good in theory, but you have to make very sure the pennant can't loosen.  If it does the leech loads transfer to the nearby reef point, and those points usually only have a little bit of reinforcement and will most likely rip.  If you plan on using this arrangement make sure the reef point close to the leech is made extra strong.  Also remember the small nylon cleat can be subject to one hell of a pull in a sudden gybe or when sailing hard on the wind.

I had an arrangement similar to this on a Drascombe longboat years ago, but the mainsheet attached with a very big caribina.  You could leave it attached to the clew while also hooking it through the reef cringle.

When I reef now I always lower the sail a bit further than the reefed position, put the reef in, then tighten it back up.  It sometimes takes a bit longer but it's much easier and safer as you don't have to wrestle with flogging sailcloth.  As I get older I like to make life easier for myself, so unless it's unavoidable I turn the boat rather than reef running straight downwind.

kim whitmyre said:

Have you folks seen this reefing system from an early article on Wharrams'?

You never have to release the mainsheet from the clew . . .

Robert Hughes said:

...When I reef now I always lower the sail a bit further than the reefed position, put the reef in, then tighten it back up.  It sometimes takes a bit longer but it's much easier and safer as you don't have to wrestle with flogging sailcloth.  ...

This is the only way you should perform reefing. Any other method will end up in not properly aligned leeches and reef points.

And a comment to a reply before: With a two masted boat like the Tiki 46 you should never be forced to use the engine to go into the wind. Release the sheets of the sails which you want to reef and keep the other's tight. Then you can reef your sail at least on all courses between close to the wind and reaching beam. Reefing with the wind form behind will always be a challenge.

If the reefing pendants are transmitting the load to the _strong_ reefing cringles, and well-hitched to the cleats, as Robert emphasizes above ;-),  you should be good to go. And as Armin emphasizes, reefing headed upwind is a much simpler proposition.

On Dragon (T38)I have had no difficulty with dropping my mainsails, wet or dry and regardless of wind direction or strength. As for reefing my main sheet attaches to the clew by snap shackle.  I have spliced a short rope strop with a loop at the end into the clew of the sail. When lowered to reef, the mainsheet is disconnected from the clew, the strop is then threaded into the clew of the reef and the mainsheet is now attached to the strop. The strop has then gathered in the loose sail and makes it easier to tie in the reefing points. Shaking out the reef is even easier.


Guys many thanks for all the great replies, makes very interesting and apprehensive reading. The masts are already built and the have a 9" diameter therefore if I employ Ann & Nevs lacing concept I will lose the efficiency of the wingsail rig and cause a lot of turbulence around the mast. Ann & Nev did you notice any great difference in performance when you changed to the lacings?

Here is the kicker: I pretty much planned from the outset to have my sails made out of kutch dyed calico.

Dacron is slippery in the rain so having that slide down the mast would be a damn sight easier than Calico. However the sailors of the traditional boats around Connemara don't like Dacron in the rain for the same reason as you can't get a grip on it. Another thing that turns me off using Dacron in the tropics is it costs twice as much as Calico and only lasts half as long due to the extensive amount of UV damage it gets here.

I'm thinking of a liner I could put in the pocket to break the surface tension and ease the dropping of the sails. If that doesn't work and with a diameter of 9" I may have to omit the pockets all together and employ ash rings:


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