One Suggested Method

by Gavin Barr

Procedure:  Boat is hove to.  Ease out mainsheet and allow sail to flap. A crew member sits forward by the mast on the windward side (in this case starboard). Ease the Kicker.  Ease the main halyard and pull on the after reefing line. Cleat main halyard so that the forward reefing cringle is a few inches above the boom. Pull on the forward reefing line and tension the luff of the mainsail. When convenient fold in the reefed slab of the mainsail and tie in the reefing points. Tension Kicker.

Gavin Barr’s suggested method


  1. Boat shown is rigged for heaving to on starboard tack. can equally well be port, especially if main halyard exits mast on port side.
  2. System can be adapted to reef from either side.

Another Way

A Variation by using a Single Reefing Line

by Wilf Bishop

This method will appeal to cruising sailors as it involves only one reefing line and has a built-in bungee system for quickly furling & stowing the reefed sail area.

The reefing line is fastened to an eye on the port side of the boom at ‘A’ and then passes up through the aft reef cringle and down to the block on the starboard side of the boom at ‘B’. From here the line passes through a bulls eye fitting midway along the boom at ‘C’, round the block at ‘D’, up through the forward reef cringle and down to a clamcleat on the port side of the mast fitted about 300mm above the foredeck level at ‘E’.

A piece of 5mm bungee is passed through the line of reef cringles from luff to leach and a plastic ball stopper is fitted to each end of the bungee line so that it lies freely though the reef points with no sag and no tension applied to the sail. Short lengths of 5mm bungee about 150mm long are made-up into strops with a stopper ball at one end and a plastic hook at the other and these strops are fitted to all of the cringles on the line of reef points including the luff & leach cringles see sketch. Fit the strops so that the hooks lie on alternate sides of the sail.

To reef, one hoves to on the port tack and eases the mainsheet. The crew member moves forward to the mast on the windward side (port side), eases the kicker and takes the weight of the boom on the topping lift. The main halyard is eased whilst hauling in the single reefing line.

To quickly snug down the after reef cringle to the boom it helps to pass a hand under the boom and pull directly on the reefing line. Cleat the main halyard so that the forward reef cringle lies just above the boom and finally snug down for good luff tension and cleat the reefing line. Finally the topping lift is adjusted and the kicker tensioned.

The reefed sail is rolled against the boom, the bungee line is pulled down to lie under the boom and the bungee strops on the opposite side of the sail are pulled down to hook over the bungee line this completely secures the rolled sail.

I rigged the system to work for reefing when hove to on a port tack as this utilise the blocks already fitted to a standard Wanderer boom but one could of course rig it the other way round.
Editors note: if hove to on starboard tack and making way then you have ‘right of way’ while applying the reef.