Shortening Sail

What is the best way to shorten sail on a Flying Scot?

My wife's and my major interest with our boat is cruising, although we may do some casual racing in the future. The set of North Sails that came with our used, but "near new" boat are in very good shape and would be very adequate for any racing that we would do. However, we've gotten to like sailing on Lake Michigan, and sometime the winds can get quite strong. We've tried sailing with just the Main alone which has worked well with balancing by moving the center board up/back a bit, but we are interested in other ways of shortening sail for more relaxed sailing in those 20+ mph winds. On the forum, I've read about reefing the main, using an old Snipe sail as the main, etc. The reefing sounds very feasible with the reefing kit, but I would have to get reefing points in my sail which I'm relutant to do for fear of ruining it if we do decide to race. Therefore, I'm wondering: Does having reef points put in your sail ruin it for racing? Is it better to buy an old used FS sail to use as my "reefable" sail? Is buying an old Snipe sail the way to go? Does North put in reef points if I decide to go this way? If not, will other manufacturers put reefing points in a North Sail? I'm leaning towards buying an older, but still reasonable FS Main with reef points already in (if I can find one), but don't really want to have multiple sails lying around if not necessary. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Rog I have two sails that have reef points, a Shurr and a Fisher( Fore runner of North). I also have a set of newer Gus without the reef points. I baby the Gus sails so that I can get as much racing life out of them as possible.
Even without the reef, the Shurr is by far the flatest cut and handles easiest in a blow. The fuller sails such as the North take more crew weight to hold the boat down.
The reef point on both my sails are below the lowest batten, appx 30 inches above the boom. Shurr also puts in a gromet about 6 or 8 inches in from the clew near the bolt rope so that you do not need any extra hardware at the end of the boom. The reef line goes along the boom to the this gromet and then up to the reefing grommet on the leach and back to the end of the boom. I keep the reef line connected all the time and it is there ready for use.
I have soloed in hevy air with just a reefed main, no jib, and the board 1/2 way up. The boat is in great balance and quite fast.
The reefed main is the way to go. Changing down to a second smaller sail if the wind comes up while you are sailing is very impractical if you have to take the Scot sail down and put up a smaller sail.
Get a flat Shurr sail and have them install the reef.

I agree with karaflath. I have Shurr sails (I won't buy North because of their hideous labor policies in Indonesia - the Nike of sailing). My Schurrs have reef points that work very well with the Flying Scot Inc's jiffy reefing system: depowers the flat main sail by about 25-30% - quite safe in a blow. For really hellacious weather, Schurr also sells a storm jib. Some day, if I sail my Scot from NY to Key West along the intracoastal waterway, I'll probably get one for Chesapeake Bay.
-Richard Larson (5573)

Our first Scot came with it's original Shurr Main with reef points. We tried it out once with a jib in a breeze for fun and it worked fine. We did not add any additional hardware to the boom, just secured the tack and clew to the boom and tensioned the outhaul to the reef cringle aft.

One caveat about sailing with no jib hoisted:
Run the jib halyard down to the bow ring and snug it up to the same tension as the headstay. According to an old article by the designer Sandy Douglas, the headstay was not designed to take the full load of the main without the jib up.

He also advised this jib halyard placement whenever mooring the boat in the water.

Last year at Lake Norman, NC an unfortunate new Scot owner was driving his boat on the trailer to the launching ramp and brushed an overhead tree branch with the mast. The forestay broke and the whole rig fell aft into the cockpit. If this happened at sea, someone could get hurt.

It appears that getting a used, relatively flat sail, probably a Schurr sail and getting Schurr to put in reef point is the "way to go." Schurr makes 4.4 hard cloth and 5 medium cloth sails advertised for racing or day sailing respectively. I hope to buy a used, but still reasonable sail, so I may not have a choice, but are there any opinions about which cloth type to get? Any of you with an appropriate sail that you want to sell? Thanks for your advice.

Now, what about the jiffy reefing kit? From other forums, it sounds like those that have it generally like it. However, G. Karafiath (in separate email) did state that while the jiffy reefing kit is the delux version, there can be a rare problem with the side block on the boom end getting snarled with another boat's standing rigging. Additionally several of you don't use the jiffy reefing kit, and it does seem like it would be quite easy to set up the reefing without the kit or much additional hardware. This would have the advantage of not having extra hardware for something that is only rarely used.

What are the opinions? Should I get the jiffy reefing kit or no?

Thanks again to all for their responses regarding my questions and for the reminder about the jib halyard.

Skip the jiffy reef kit.

The only time you would use it is to shorten sail while underway, and you would need to have the reef lines rigged up in preparation along a very long boom & up to the leech grommet. They would hang down and be in the way of crew's heads in the cockpit, a hazard when not reefed particularly when tacking and jibing.

Lowering the main with the winch while under way and taking in the reef lines is a 3 person operation, including a helmsman, pit man on the winch and a crewmember hauling in 2 reef lines, fore & aft. This works fine on a cruising boat, but not so well on a Scot.

Also the snagging of neighboring boats rigging with the added kit blocks is another potential problem.

When you reef, do it at the dock or on the trailer and get underway already reefed. K.I.S.S. method.

You can always try reefing without the kit and if you think you need it, add it later.

I have found the FS Inc. jiffy reefing kit very simple to deploy under sail, and not to be a bother in the cockpit if one secures the boom end properly. We have used it while lake sailing in high summer when strong weather suddenly piped up. You lower the main, yank on one line, and tie up the reef points afterwards (the crew can do this easily).
Well worth considering, in my view.