Reefing a Jimmy Skiff II

�How would one reef the sailing rig on a Jimmy Skiff II? I didn't notice any reef points on the sail, tho I'm very new to sailing. I'm settling in on the boat I'd like to build, Jimmy looks the part, but I surely don't want to be out in the Puget Sound with too much power.

5 replies:

« Previous Post       List of Posts       Next Post »

RE: Reefing a Jimmy Skiff II

Hey Ed,

Sorry, I have no idea about how to reef a JSII, but I just wanted to ask where you're at?  I'm up on Camano Island, but I was living on Green Lake for several years.  I've got a Passagemaker that I just put a reef in the mainsail and I'm working out how to reef it so the halyard stays in trim.


RE: Reefing a Jimmy Skiff II

Looking at the photos and videos on the CLC Jimmy Skiff II page, it looks like the sail is hoisted on a track with a halyard, with the tack set up hard with a downhaul.  This sort of "leg-o-mutton" sail could be reefed by adding appropriately spaced cringles on the leech and luff with reef points parallel to the foot to gather up the reefed part.  The sprit is then either allowed to run farther forward to allow for the shorter distance between the mast and the reefed clew, or the reefed clew is attached to the sprit further inboard.  I've seen photos of it both ways.

Working craft with this sort of sail often had the sail lashed or laced to the mast with no intention of reefing.  It's a good rig for being able to flatten the sail out as the wind increases, which sort of depowers the sail and allows the gusts to be spilled more readily.  You might notice in some of the photos, where John has her going along in a good breeze with a grin on his face, that the mast, which pretty light and heavily tapered, seems to be bent somewhat, after the fashion of Lasers and other small racing dinghies, which pulls a lot of the "belly" built in along the luff of the sail.

Mind you, this is all just my own book-learnin'.  You might ought to have a conversation with John or Doug Fowler (sailmaker) about what would be needed.

That Jimmy Skiff II video is sho'n'uff powerful boat lust material!


RE: Reefing a Jimmy Skiff II

Bolger, in 103 Sailing Rigs, says absolutely nothing about reefing the leg-o-mutton with sprit, which reinforces the idea that it is not meant to be reefed. With other sails, he discusses reefing methods, including difficulties, locations of reef points, etc. For Rig 4 he says nothing about reefing. In fact, for the generic leg-o-mutton, he says "... usually rigs like this are used only in small sizes that don't need reefing in any weather that's fit for sailing".

In an emergency, it should be possible to just let the sheet fly. Since it's an unstayed mast, the sail will align with the wind and lose most of its power. If you're going downwind anyway, you can continue on with the sail flapping in front of the boat. Elegant? No. Effective? Yes.

Wonder if John will chime in?



RE: Reefing a Jimmy Skiff II

Speaking of old Phil, here's a link: a manual for the old Eddy & Duff Dovkie, a Phil Bolger design built in some numbers, as an example of an atypical sprit-boomed leg-o-mutton which was meant to be reefed.  The extreme rake of the mast was, if memory serves, meant to somewhat the mitigate the effect of shifting the center of effort forward as the sail was reefed.

It's worth noting that Dovkie's sail was normally meant to be furled by rolling the fully hoisted sail into the mast by a sort of crank handle inserted along the lower bit of the leech, even though the sail was equipped with a halyard and could be fully lowered, as well.  Quick and tidy, it was said by devotees of those boats.  Small sails like this in working boats were typcally furled by rolling up the spirt and sail into the mast in similar fashion, making a tidy bundle which could be unshipped and laid down in the boat, probably hanging over a bit one way or the other.

I sometimes used to employ a similar technique, minus the crank, on my Sea Pearl 21 cat ketch, whose sails were loose footed (though not with sprit booms in the common Bermudan rig) and were fitted to the masts with luff pocket and could not, as a result, be lowered quickly.  (Sails were normally furled by rolling up around the rotating masts.)

Anyway, inspired by Bolger's remarks about his Dovkie, I tried it out one time when I had landed on a beach and was anxious to get the sails furled quickly for some reason.  I released the quick-release shackles at the clew, grabbed the leech, pulled down and back, and started to roll, securing the sail with a tight tie as far up the mast as I could reach.  It was so effective that I dubbed it the "Bolger Quick Pearl Furl" and subsequently used it in situations where I wanted furl the sails quickly for short periods of time.

Dovkie notwithstanding, Laszlo's correct: these sprit-boomed, leg-o-mutton sails were typically used in small boats and were rarely intended to be reefed.  The one case of these sails being used in larger craft that comes immediately to mind is the cat-ketch rigged sharpies.  Those were typcially arranged so that, if the wind increased, either the main (foresail) or mizzen could be stepped in an extra mast step and partners arranged more amidships, so no reefing of those, either.


RE: Reefing a Jimmy Skiff II

Hi y'all. thanks for your inputs. 

I'm still getting my sealegs, as it were ( meaning, I've only recently taken up sailing ). The place that I've been renting boats from doesn't have any Leg-o-mutton rigged boats

CaptainSkully - I'm in the Ballard bit of Seattle, very near the Locks. I've been sailing out of the CWB quite a bit lately, and I'm considering how I'd like to manage getting through our lovely waterways on my own. 

>  Gramps - I believe that I have also seen some images of a leg-o-mutton with reef points along the luff. Many of the pics that I've seen of L-O-M sails don't appear to have any accommodation for reefing, tho. I must admit I'm a bit confused about that.  It seems too much wind is maybe even a larger concern than not enough. 

Laszlo - I reckon given the choice between too much and none, the decision could be easyish 😂I'm certainly not too proud to depower, tho the prospect of being forced to wait out strong winds doesn't exactly bring a happy feeling. 


« Previous Post     List of Posts     Next Post »

Please login or register to post a reply.