"We were walking from Sonderburg to Schleimünde when we were unexpectedly surprised by a heavy shower," recalls Thomas Schubert from Gladbeck. "The view was gone, the wind turned 90 degrees to the southeast within minutes and rose to 35 knots. We reduced the sail area as best we could, more bad than right, one should actually say. The furling system of the Genuliess itself Hardly operate in the strong wind, the main roller tilted when rolling away halfway and neither went forwards nor backwards. Absolute chaos!"
The scenario is a bit of a nightmare for sailors; not life-threatening, but at least scary for inexperienced crews. Not least because of this, many crews already stay in port when larger whitecaps appear behind the pier - winds over 6 Beaufort scare many. Boat handling is made more difficult by new yacht layouts that focus more on living than on sailing.
Especially when there is a lot of wind: every move should be perfect, even when trimming. Not only to get the last tenth of the speed out of the boat, but rather to be able to sail safely and in a balanced way beyond 20 knots of wind. All the more so as many yachts today come with extremely wide stern. This is due to the fact that the shipyards are trying to accommodate more and more volume in relation to less and less length - a dubious formula for success. The boats look modern and usually have a lot of space.
But: "You have to be able to sail with ships like this." Marc-Oliver von Ahlen, yacht designer from Kappeln, points this out. "The wide stern was originally developed for extremely light planing yachts," he explains. "The hydrodynamics of comparatively heavy touring yachts are completely different. Nevertheless, a well-designed wide stern can increase the performance potential of them too - if the crew has mastered the trim." On the other hand, if the ship is over rigged or sailed with an unfavorable trim, it can become uncomfortable
The solution: Reefing, the right way! On yachts with conventional sails, which cannot be rolled away, the order depends very much on the type of yacht and the distribution of the sail plan. With large genoas, it can make sense for the crew to first reduce the foresail area, i.e. set a smaller foresail, before integrating the first reef into the main. However, some older yachts lose so much pressure that it can be better to start with the 1st reef in the main, also because this is usually easier to integrate than a complete head sail change. If the jib is already relatively small at the factory and the mainsail is partly large, as is the case with more modern yachts, it can make more sense to tie a reef into the main first. This would then be followed by a smaller jib with a further increase in wind, then the 2nd reef in the main, and finally the storm jib. The crew has to try out which order is the best. However, if reefing is done in a vertical direction instead of in a horizontal direction, because furling systems for main and genu are available, other criteria must also be observed, as described below.