At what windspeed would you consider reefing?
When I can't control it anymore or when something fails. Seriously.
I've been able to continue with a full sail out by having Cindy hike out on the upwind trampoline; if she wasn't there to provide that extra weight and reduction of the side-load on the rudder, I would reef down fairly frequently.
The mast is incredibly bendy - like a windsurfing mast - and once the mast-base screws were treated with Loctite, we haven't had an issue with any of the mast components. Likewise we haven't had any issues with the mast base turnbuckles, the roller furling system, the mast lock mechanism or any of the metal bracing. Considering the immense load the whole mast system and hull must sustain under high winds, I'm frankly amazed at how well it has held up.
The sail is very strong; we finally had the back edge of the sail flapping like a flag on Saturday, which is something we've never seen before - still... no failures with the sail, the battens or the batten retaining lines.
The main sheet is slowly shredding (not fraying - SHREDDING); it has not eaten through the outside sheath into the central core of the line yet, but it's close - I'll post some photos later this week. All things considered, the line has held up pretty well and the cleats really grab it, even though the line is damaged in the process.
The akas and amas, with their support metal structure attached to the hull, have performed beautifully. We've seen them flex a little during the very roughest of conditions, but no failures. And considering the sail is sheeted with the cam cleats on the cross bracing… I'm just amazed at how well everything has worked.
The trampolines are also performing very well. We thought the fabric would be the weak point, but it turned out the buckles are the first failure point instead. Cindy doesn't hike out as far in rough conditions as she once did and is always uses both hands when the going gets rough - that's why we don't have so much of the wild video content anymore.
At present, the rudder is the weakest link of the entire package and is iffy in anything over 7 knots of wind - sometimes it'll work flawlessly and other times it won't - that's why we have the yellow-bladed paddle with us at all times now. During the last three days we were out on the water, I lost control of the rudder three times on Saturday, none on Sunday and twice on Monday. Having Cindy hike out on the upwind trampoline really helps with the rudder side-loads - without her there I lose control of the rudder far faster and more frequently.
- Why so much water in the hull? Are one of your control lines hanging down as they can act like a siphon. I have sailed for days w/o draining the hull and it stays almost completely dry. One time I opened a hatch and was under sail - learned my lesson on that one.
- Do you use the little drive well plugs? I have found them useful.
Our forward and middle round hatches don't seal well, so water goes down into the hull via that route. At the end of this past weekend we also discovered the flexible seal around the front bow hatch has begun to delaminate from the hatch itself and would allow another entry point for the water. Water floods over the front *and* the rear in the Chesapeake chop, so water is also entering in through *all* the control holes. By the time we make it back to the ramp at the end of the day, Cindy is drenched head-to-toe and I'm drenched to about mid-chest level or higher; the TI is a *VERY* wet and exhilarating ride for us.
On Saturday the water in the hull was about 1-1/2 to 2 gallons. On Sunday there was so little that I mopped it out with a towel. On Monday there was so much that I got tired pumping it out with the bilge pump - I'd say over 3 gallons - due to the extreme chop and waves we kept going through. However, even with all that water in the hull we didn't notice any degradation of performance nor did we notice it sitting lower in the water.
When I sail solo I use the drive plugs, but not when Cindy sails with me. When she sails with me, we both want instant access to the Mirage drives in the event something goes south in a bad way. We also feel that having the drives locked in place helps us to control the TI in wild conditions better, even though they knock down the speed by a measurable amount.