Amazing I could write three blog articles on mainsail improvements… but it is possible.
In the second article, I explained how we added two additional “clutches” to secure the reefing lines to free up the winches for the jib. Those worked out just as planned, but we found the reefing lines would chafe where they connected to the sail. Furthermore, the lines were under lots of stress when being used. This caused the lines to creak and groan (which is also related to them chafing).
This summer I watched a webinar about sailing catamarans in strong winds given by the famed Gino Morrelli who has designed lots of catamarans, including America’s Cup boats. In the webinar, Gino talked about his solution to reefing lines they adopted for the HH line of catamarans using a hook developed by Karver (a French company) which grabs the clew of the sail and holds it without tension on the reefing line. That sounded like a great solution… how to get that on Gemeaux? Not that easy as it turned out.
The major problem was getting the hook itself. The hook is very expensive in France and the US distributors seem to think that twice that price was reasonable. While I loved the solution, $1500 for a piece of aluminum seemed way over the top. I ended up buying from a French distributor and getting the part shipped to the US for free.
Now that I had the hooks, I needed to install it. I enlisted a rigger in Annapolis to help figure it out. Turned out that it wasn’t too difficult. We replaced the low friction rings on the sail with dyneema loops. The reefing lines were replaced with lines with dyneema cores and the cover was removed at the end near the sail. This allowed the line to attach to the hook and run smoothly through the dyneema loop on the sail.
For most applications, they use a remote line to disengage the hook, but adding a couple more lines to the boom and running them back to the helm was a no-starter on Gémeaux. However, the boom itself is quite accessible from the helm, so we just routed the disconnect lines to the boom.
Wow, what a difference! Reefing lines are slack while underway, boom is very quiet, chafing is gone.