Navy 44 Sailing Guides


Safety Considerations:

(1) Due to wind/weather conditions necessitating a reef, harnesses may be required.

(2) Avoid stepping in the bight of the main halyard.

(3) Ensure personnel remain clear of the boom and mainsheet partners to prevent injuries from erratic movements.

(4) This evolution requires constant communications.


General Situation:

Assume sailing on a beam reach or closer to the wind in moderate to heavy conditions.


Required Positions:

(1) Helmsman.

(2) Mast.

(3) Main Halyard.

(4) Mainsheet and vang.

(5) Reefing Line.


Sequence of Events:

(1) Helmsman calls out "Prepare to reef" and crew takes positions.

(2) Mast checks mast ensuring sail slides are free to run and reefing hooks are free.  Takes position on the windward side of the mast and reports "Ready" to Helmsman.

(3) Main Halyard ensures halyard is clear to run, uncleats or removes halyard from the self tailer, removes excess turns from winch, and reports "Ready" to Helmsman.

(4) Reefing Line ensures line is led fair and places necessary wraps on winch.  If the second reef is being taken, ensure the first reefing line stopper is closed and first reefing line is clear of the winch.  Reports "Ready" to the Helmsman.

(5) Mainsheet ensures vang and sheet are clear to run, takes position facing the main and report "Ready" to the Helmsman.

(6) After receiving "Ready" reports from crew, Helmsman calls out "Take the reef" and maintains course, anticipating the boat's tendency to fall off once the main is eased.

(7) Mainsheet eases sheet until sail luffs and releases vang.  Then watches clew to guide reefing line trimmer as he takes on the reefing line.

(8) Main Halyard eases halyard as the sheet is eased.

(9) Mast assists sail slides down the track, puts reefing cringle onto the reefing hook, and calls out "Made".  Communication with Main Halyard about whether halyard needs easing or trimmed is critical.

(10) Reefing Line takes in excess slack as the halyard is eased.  As soon as he hears "Made," he pulls hard to get any excess slack, takes the reefing line to the self-tailer and inserts winch handle.  He then grinds in the reef line until the Mainsheet trimmer indicates that the new clew is in position.

(11) Mast jumps main halyard immediately after calling out "Made", keeping an eye on the cringle to ensure it remains seated.

(12) Main Halyard trims halyard after hearing "Made", putting on extra turns as needed.  Works with Mast to watch luff tension as halyard is ground in.

(13) Mainsheet directs Reefing Line to grind until the clew is snug against the boom and under tension.

(14) Once halyard and reefing line are trimmed, Mainsheet trims sheet and vang.

(15) Main Halyard and Reefing Line make off and coil respective lines.

(16) Excess sail cloth is pulled to windward, rolled, and tied with sail ties reeved through the reef points and between the foot and the boom (use a slippery reef knot).


Notes: If the reef will be in place for a while, tie a sail tie through the new clew and around the boom as a safety measure.  If conditions are worsening and a second reef is anticipated, put the stopper on the first reefing line and rig second reefing line both forward and aft.

- This page last updated 05/04/2005 -