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October 2014 Cruising Tip

Posted by on October 2, 2014

Love Handles for easier Mainsail Reefing and Dowsing

A squall threatens; you want that mainsail down quickly. You ease off the halyard then try to grab hold of the sail to get it moving downward. Nothing to grab, you can’t get your hand between the luff rope and mast. Now you have to head directly into the wind and hope that the sail will start to fall so you can grab a fold of sail cloth.  Carol Hasse, a very keen sailor, has been building sails in Port Townsend for almost 35 years. Whenever we are together she shows me her latest favorite ideas. This year she showed me a simple, elegant solution to this mainsail dowsing problem. She installed what  she originally called it Luff handles. “But my customers found them so useful they got renamed – love handles.” Carol stitches a short length of nylon webbing securely onto the sail 12 inches above the foot of the sail and above each set of reef points, just aft of the luff rope and the same side as the halyard winch (traditionally the starboard side – reason, since the vessel on starboard has right of way, working sailing craft tried to be on the starboard tack while they were tucking a reef into their sail and might have a harder time maneuvering out of the way of another vessel.)

Here’s Carols Love/luff Handle, note she doesn’t trust hooks alone to hold reefing cringles in place.

Here’s Carols Love/luff Handle, note she doesn’t trust hooks alone to hold reefing cringles in place.

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