Reefs 1, 2, 3 for the mainsail can all be done from the cockpit. For Reef 4, I have to crawl to the end of the boom and make a lashing in a special line for Reef 4, and then make a special adjustment at the mast for the luff of reef 4. For our staysail and solent, that are always up, I can roller furl or unfurl from the cockpit. To hoist the genoa (our biggest upwind sail) I have to do that at the mast, and it’s a big job. The same goes for the fractional gennaker and masthead gennaker (our big, lightweight downwind sails), they have to be dealt with at the mast, and its a big job. The genoa and the masthead gennaker both way about 150 pounds, and that gennaker is about 3700 square feet (343.7 square meters), simply gigantic.

I had the great pleasure last fall to sail with Dee Caffari from Horta, Azores, to Southampton, England. She has raced around the world 5 times, in 5 different events, all successfully – amazing! And she had some good ideas for how to manage the big sails up front more easily, and more safely. These entailed hoisting and lowering the gennakers right out of the forepeak hatch, without hoisting the whole bag on deck, and then also a way to control the halyard when you’re easing it off and trying to control the monster snake of a rolled sail waving around in the sky. She put a carabiner on the deck, then led the halyard through it, so it would always lead properly from the winch, and didn’t risk coming off the winch, which could be catastrophic, with the sail – or skipper – going where you don’t want to go. So thanks Dee!

Question submitted by Jim Cleary, Floral Park, NY, USA