A Head Wind Sailing into the wind is technically known as “beating to windward”, and it is here that the tactics employed constitute the ﬁne art of sailing. A diagonal course must be taken from one side of the river to the other. Whilst it is good policy to sail as close to the wind as possible, do not make too great a sacriﬁce to achieve this. See your sails are always kept nicely ﬁlled, and remember, when they start to quiver and ﬂap, this is a sign you are sailing near to the wind. It is better to gain even a little on each tack than constantly to stall you craft for lack of wind, a mistake that the amateur in his natural ambition to gain as much ground as possible only too frequently makes. It is not always necessary when coming about at the end of a tack to make a direct turn. With a smart breeze blowing and plenty of way in the boat, it is possible to shoot up into the eye of the wind, that is, letting the boat run up into the wind by own momentum before going into the next tack, and so gain considerably on each and every tack. It is worth noting that yachts diﬀer very widely in their ability to sail close to the wind. Most sailing boats require quite individual treatment and the amateur is well advised to thoroughly familiarise himself with the characteristics and peculiarities of his particular craft.
Reeﬁng It is very often necessary to “take in a reef” or reduce the sail area in a very strong wind. Indeed, many boats will sail faster reefed, under these conditions, than in full sail, which brings us to another important point. The majority of sails are made with two or three rows of reef-points or eyelets. The latter are not in very common use. Start at the forward end, technically known as the weather of the mainsail where you will ﬁnd a medium ring or “cringle” on the rope edge of the sail by the reeﬁng line to be used. First make this fast to the gooseneck or tack cringle by means of a stout piece of lacing. Now attach a medium length of lacing on the leach cringle at the other end of the reeﬁng line. Then thread the lacing through the eye of the sail that is already attached to the boom then back to the leach cringle of the reeﬁng line. Then pull the sail along taut and make fast the aft or leach cringle. Roll up the loose canvas neatly and tie up with the reef points. It is better to fasten the reef-points or lacing around the foot of the mainsail and not right round the boom, as by the latter method there is some danger of tearing the sail.
To Shake Out a Reef First untie all reef-points or to take out the lacing. Then unfasten the weather and leach cringles. Be sure to loosen all the reef-points, as failure to do this may easily result in a torn sail.