Smaller Mainsail


Upstate NY
United States

I am having a sailmaker cut off the bottom of an old main to make something that will behave in 20 knots.  Cut off too much and we'll have lee helm, so, how much to remove?  No change to the jib.  The main has reef points (Schurr) but sailing with those the boat can still be overpowered.  This is not for racing- this is just for going out and having fun.  My best guess is, 6 or 8 inches past the reef points.  Has anyone got experience with this??


First, you could have a second set of reef points installed.

Second, with that much wind,  lower the jib and pull up the centerboardperhaps 1/3 to 1/2 way. The boat will sail nicely this way, pretty fast too! Try it befor modifying the main.

First, you can have a second set of reef points added

 Second, try removing the jib with the existing reef in the main. pull up the cwnterboard 1/3 to 1.2 way. The boat will sail very well

Remember it's important to make sure when you reef the mainsail to put very tight outhaul tension in the reef, otherwise you will gain nothing in the reef with too much drag and the balance will be off with no benifit of the smaller sail.

I like this idea and might try it with my old mainsail. What size did you end up cutting down?

Just wondering if anyone has actually had a main cut down to one reef size or smaller. I single hand my Scot 100% of the time and am finding, either because of climate change or my age, that I sail with a reef in almost all of the time. I'm thinking about cutting the sail down to save that extra reef rigging every sail. What has your experience been?

For those suggesting a second reef, how far up from the first do you place it? 

SVMonNeg's picture

I just received a new main sail which I had additional reef points added. I fear that the reef points are too close together and won't do the job I wanted.  I agree, add reef points in better locations. Unless you have an old sail to cut down.  Best Regards,  Jude FS 887   (Formerly CruisingScots Club)