Project: Adding a second reef line

Through trial and error (and lots of sewing), we threaded another reef line through the boom!

11/24/20222 min read

After our spicy sail from Long Beach to MDR, we made reefing a priority. Free Range came to us with two reef points in the main, but only one reef line! Naturally, this project topped our list. The problem: the inside of the boom is inaccessible other than two small openings on either end where the outhaul and reef lines emerge. We had to figure out how to thread a second line through the boom, and we had to be extra careful not to lose anything inside!

We had two choices for how to thread the new line through the boom: we could either attach it to the outhaul or the existing reef line. The outhaul was an attractive choice since it emerged from larger openings in the boom, which allowed for more manipulation and space for a bulkier line. We sewed the end of our new reef line to the end of the outhaul on the mast side and hauled away from the end of the boom. Suddenly, the line caught. Craning his neck to look down the boom with a headlamp, Jack noticed a pulley system about halfway along the inside of the boom. The outhaul ran through the pulley, and our thicker reef line couldn't make the squeeze. Since we couldn't access the pulley, we had to abandon the outhaul strategy and haul our line back to square one.

We moved on to the second strategy: attaching the new reef line to the old reef line. After ripping our stitches out of the outhaul, we sewed the two reef lines together. The existing reef line emerged from the boom through a tiny hole--no wiggle room for our wonky sewing! There was no way we could jam the new line through the hole. We detached the lines (again). Thankfully, we had some paracord on hand! We sewed the p-cord onto the existing reef and hauled it all the way through using the aft end of the reef line.

At the aft end of the boom, we pulled out our stitches (again), moved the reef halfway up the paracord, and hauled the reef back to the fore end of the boom using the p-cord while holding the other end of the p-cord at the aft end. (Is your head spinning yet? Mine still is... ). We now had a length of p-cord running through the boom. We very surgically moved it over from one side of the boom to the other, using screwdrivers to access it through the tiny boom opening. Once it was on the other side, which was empty and ready for the new reef, we used the p-cord to haul the new line through.

Voila! Safe sailing ahead!