Bill Meyer, Fjordia, #393
On Fjordia #393 an EC boat, I simply reef the main around the first of June and shake it out around the 1st of Sept. She sails just as fast but with no weather helm and less heel. Even when we get the infrequent low wind days on the Bay, it's still less hassle than reefing and unreefing. Of course I'm just pleasure sailing, not racing!
Rob Squire, Head Over Heels, #96
There isn't a true ideal foot length for San Francisco Bay. If you're in the slot, you'll probably reef and if your in the South or North bay, you'll want as much sail as you can stand. Bigger head sails are a help here. Head over Heels has a 12' foot giving approx. the same sail size as a reefed standard main. If a boat has a lot weather helm, then shortening the foot will help some upwind, but in the '60's, they raced the bay with those monster mains and moved the mast or adjusted the rake. It's only an opinion, but if your caught in irons over a foot length, define the type of sailing you'll be doing with the new main and adjust down for more wind and up for less. If you opt for a longer foot, maybe add an additional reef point, spaced closer together to fine tune your ventures into the heavier wind. As a point of reference, I can balance Head over Heels with the genoa alone. She'll sail hard on the wind, not point quite as high, but balance so well that I can leave the helm and it will jog along. The mast is moved forward 6" and has little rake. When I bought the boat, the mast had a pronounced forward rake. I didn't like the look, so I shortened the foot and stood the mast nearer vertical. When in heavy wind, I tension the outhaul and tighten the backstay to help flatten the sail. A cunningham helps reshape the sail if the belly moves too far aft. I try to keep the boom sort of centerline-ish on a beat although if the helm gets heavy, I drop the traveller down.
Tom Beck, Patriot, #104
I just got one of my mains back from the sail maker. I had them take out the battens and hollow the roach. That should take care of the weather helm. I still have some more projects to do before I can go sailing, but will let you know how it works.
Bill Rickman, #363
I am trying to improve my pointing ability...sailing with the fleet in the Plastic Classic demonstrated how much work I have to do in that area. So far, balance hasn't been a problem.
I know that in the 60's, those big mains produced a lot of weather helm and the solutions I hear most often is a shorter foot on the main and moving the mast forward. My mast is already all the way forward, thats's what I credit for the good balance so far.
The foot on my main measures more than 13', and it has a big belly down low. I haven't tried reefing it yet, maybe that's the solution.
I do have a flattening reef, but it only reduces the foot length by 4 or 5 inches. I have a feeling, for SF Bay sailing, the foot needs to be much shorter.
Larry Suter, Dogstar, #607
Does the luff of the jib break first or the luff of the main? My problem was the jib luffed first and the cure was more backstay tension.
Dave Hoyt, Overdraft, #537
Don't any of you guys have "flattening reefs" installed? A crinkle about 15" up the leach with a reef line in it. Nothing on the luff. Trimming it in flattens the lower part of the main and takes some (6"?) off the foot.