As one of my friends said to me while negotiating a coastal sail during a gale off the coast of France one day, shouting a bit to be heard, "if it were easy, everyone would be out here!" Well, I guess that's right. At the moment I was a bit more focused on our survivability to be able appreciate the comment. Wind can be a delightful and deadly thing for a sailor. But it pays to understand it better if you're going to get blown around by it.
Reefing a sail permits the vessel to sail more effectively without being overcome by gusts, which can come intermittently, or, can arrive as a constant barrage like that day in France many years ago. Reefing should ideally be done before the gusts arrive like dinner should be made before guests arrive--same idea. It's easy to reef when arriving at the lake and you see a good blow going on across the water. That'd be a good time to reef if you're going to reef at all!
Also, it helps to know at what point your vessel might need to reef rather than to simply fear the wind and reef from anxiety! If you know your rig, you can probably determine from the wind forecast whether you need to reef. That comes from experience. This day was an intentional process as I'd not reef unless winds were in excess of 20kts. Anyway...
The Cape Dory Typhoon is such a simple rig that I only had to secure a reef hook and join it to the goose-neck already on the boom. And that took some fidgeting and so forth, and getting around to, and ordering, and measuring, and some consternation, and so forth. It was simply a matter of getting it done and then taking the sailing time to practice with the reefed main, something I'm loathe to do as I stated.
So, once rigged it was out on the water to work the reefed main and see how she pointed with less heel than she'd have with a full mainsail in the wind. You will probably note that in several previous videos I've posted that winds have been much more aggressive than this particular day. Part of that is due to the limitations of a GoPro locked into place--you cannot see the rough water to windward. And part is also due to the fact that with the reef in place, the degree of heel is reduced, and the dory is not overpowered by the sail when turning. It's a delightful way to engage with the winds and enjoy the art of sailing.
For best viewing of the following 1 minute video, click the "full screen" icon on the lower right of the video box to allow the view enlarged for your entire screen. Or, you can click and got directly to YouTube too. Either way it works better larger. Blogger does not seem to allow for a larger inset. Or, perhaps I don't know how to do it!
I do highly recommend the CDSOA.org site if you are interested in learning much more about all things Cape Dory, regardless of sizes.