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View Full Version : Homemade Cheap Downhaul Tool?


matt12
9th February 2008, 08:51 AM
Are there any simple devices that could make up at home to assist in downhauling? I think it is time to give up downloading just with a screwdriver and my back!

steveC
9th February 2008, 11:52 AM
Hi matt12,

Why try to recreate the wheel?

The two viable downhaul tools that I've used with great success are the "Right-It-Right" leverage tool and Chinook's winch (configurations matched to 2-pin cups and the Europin designs). Admittedly, quite different concept approaches, but both work very well. Realistically, the mast extension and universal type can truly influence the best design approach, but the right products are already out there.

Really, the money involved in these products is a drop on the bucket, and well worth the price of admission.

Roger
9th February 2008, 11:11 PM
Hi Matt12,
I totally agree with Steve C. here.
I use the Chinook Rig Winch (I have both the Chinook/WSH Cup version favored in the US, and the Euro Pin version that seems favored everywhere else) and the Rig Winch is well worth several times what they cost.
Here's a link: (Need to scroll down the page a ways):

http://www.chinooksailing.com/web03/components.html

Think of it this way.....
The $46-48 USD MSRP cost of a Rig Winch is less that half the cost of your first diagnostic visit to a chiropractor or osteopathic physician to have your lower back
problems diagnosed.
Where did your lower back problems come from.....downhauling your sails, primarily.
So, a very worthwhile product and a very reasonable (considering the alternative is temporary to long term lower back pain) price.
There are other devices that work on the same principles. Some sailors like the Rig It Right lever tool, but I found it chews up the DH line a bit and is a little unwieldly to use and store.
The Rig Winch is small light weight, and while there are some improvements that could be made to make it better and "adapt" it to specific mast base configurations, it works as it is, almost universally as long as you have the correct type (Chinook cup or Euro Pin to fit your mast base universal type.
Hope this helps,

matt12
10th February 2008, 05:20 AM
Thanks Roger. Now I just need to find a place in Australia that sells them at a reasonable price. I found this online ... but at double the US price, I think I can find a better deal somewhere else hopefully :)

http://www.surfsailaustralia.com.au/showProduct/Windsurfing+-+Accessories/Downhauling+Help/C200E

Phill104
10th February 2008, 05:33 AM
It's not double the US price. 99$au is about 89$us. Not a lot in it really.

If you have a GUN dealer over there (which I doubt) they do a cheap one that is almost exactly the same as the Chinook model. It's 30 here in the UK. I would suggest buying it from here but including shipping would cost about 98$au.

*edit*

A quick check of the gun website links to the Aus distributor.
69$au to you sir.

http://www.windsurfingsales.com.au/products/rig-accessories/

matt12
10th February 2008, 07:08 AM
No it is US$48 on the Chinook website that Roger listed ... so it is double the price in AUD which is not a good deal so I think I can find a better price somewhere in Oz.
http://www.chinooksailing.com/web03/components.htm

The GUN tool looks very similar. Has anyone tried both to compare the quality & performance?

Unregistered
10th February 2008, 09:19 PM
Just get a piece of pipe, 300mm long 25,50mm thick, drill a hole through the center to the other side, then scre a clam cleat to one side. Pust down haul rope through and into cleat and pull. I have never not been able to get my sail to twist to the sail indicaters as per rigging instructions. Even with my new sailworks hucker. just my 2 cents worth.

Roger
10th February 2008, 10:20 PM
Hi Unreg.
Yes, I used to get a nice piece of oak (or other hardwood) dowel and drill a couple
of 1/4" diameter holes through it about 1" apart and about 1/2" off center.
With the 2 holes, you don't need the cleat (which usually jams the line and is very hard to get loose after you finish downhauling. Just run the line in one hole from the front, then back forward through the other hole and cross the line back over the outside of the tube/dowel and tuck it under the loop between the 2 holes on the back side and you have a great little downhaul tool.
Then if you use only your legs (not your back) to do the pulling, you might not give yourself any long term injury or back problem.
But once you've used the Rig Winch or other "crank type" downhauling tool you will quickly see that all the pressure that you used to absorb in your legs, and lower back is now completely handled by the tool.
A fairly well known WS personality here in the US (who owns a big shop with rentals, lots of rigs, and is his only source of income) was having some serious lower back problems.
When his diagnostic X-Rays came back, the doctor asked him what he did for a living as his spine had lots of damage similar to a "hod carrier" (hod carrier - a laborer who carries supplies (concrete mortar) to masons or bricklayers) up onto the top of brick buildings under construction.
Well, it turns out that the damage to this fellows spine was directly attribtable to injuries from downhauling lots of sails.
So, you can continue to use your back and legs, and risk temporary or permanent damage to your lower back, or simply get a downhaul tool that eliminates this risk altogther.
Hope this helps,

Phill104
10th February 2008, 11:00 PM
Matt12,

There are quite a few sailors over here that use the GUN one. They never seem to wear out and work really well. There aren't too many chinook stockists here and GUN is the cheapest alternative.

pierrec45
11th February 2008, 12:04 AM
I would just add that boom height makes a huge difference in rig weight when pulling up. Regardless of the make.

Just imagine way-too-high booms, then pulling up would be nigh impossible. It's a sine-cosine thing.

It doesn't mean to you must keep it low or lower-than-should just to assist your pulling. But just in case, review your boom height again. As a matter of fact, I find a lots of sailors booms are too high, they can't start or waterstart, and are awkward when sailing on a reach, without realising it.

All depends on your style, rig, wind strength, but very minimum is armpit-high, and goes way up from there on for small boards and strong winds.

One final note: don't let your mast "window" determine the boom height. It should be where you want it to be, then extension and mast should follow suit.

Cheers & 'luck.

Heka
11th February 2008, 01:46 AM
Don't buy the GUN-one. i broke mine after a few times downhauling my severne 11,8 ssr...
Chinook's works just great though...

davide
11th February 2008, 02:14 PM
Just get a piece of pipe, 300mm long 25,50mm thick, drill a hole through the center to the other side, then scre a clam cleat to one side. Pust down haul rope through and into cleat and pull. I have never not been able to get my sail to twist to the sail indicaters as per rigging instructions. Even with my new sailworks hucker. just my 2 cents worth.
I actually used a piece of pipe for years WITHOUT drilling any hole. All you need is a clove hitch knot (http://www.tollesburysc.co.uk/Knots/Knots_gallery.htm) and you can pull. The clove hitch takes about 1" to thread on a pipe. You just make two loops in opposite directions and slide them on the pipe ... and you are done.

Having said that ... for racing sails I use the Chinook tool ...

Unregistered
11th February 2008, 06:08 PM
Downhauling takes 50percent of unpleasant things in windsurfing. The next are: wet wetsuit, board tying to a car roof, searching for a shadow to put sail after sailing, carying formula board to shore thru surfbreak.
North XT mast base eliminated downhauling from that list. It completely changed downhauling. No back pains, you can downhaul sail on the water, absolute precision, no ropes driving thru the holes on sail pulley, or base.

matt12
11th February 2008, 06:27 PM
Yes the North XT is great .. it is just a pity that there are very few dealers that stock the replacement rope ... so really the life of the XT is limited to the life of the rope!! Very disappointing! Who knows why this is the case in Australia ... seems such a simple issue to resolve from a customers' perspective but I guess there are complex issues in the supply chain somewhere unfortunately :(

Ken
11th February 2008, 11:12 PM
I might add -

I can't speak for sail brands other than Maui Sails, but their 11.0, 9.2 and 8.4 TR-3's can be down hauled without a special tool. I am an old guy with back issues, but can still down haul them. I have a downhaul crank, but haven't used it since I got the TR-3's. I hope the TR-4's are the same.

The TR-1's required a tool.

kimax
17th February 2008, 10:50 PM
DIY: http://www.boards.co.uk/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=14192&KW=kimax

I use it now for 1 year for wave and Gaastra GTX 10.5 m2, no problems.

steveC
18th February 2008, 01:56 AM
Hi kimax,

You did a fine job, especially in light of the fact that it was done with very minimal tools or support fixturing. Just goes to show "where there's a will, there's a way".

sailquik
20th February 2008, 04:22 PM
No it is US$48 on the Chinook website that Roger listed ... so it is double the price in AUD which is not a good deal so I think I can find a better price somewhere in Oz.
http://www.chinooksailing.com/web03/components.htm

The GUN tool looks very similar. Has anyone tried both to compare the quality & performance?

I have not used the 'Gun' brand downhaul winch but I have used what I believe to be an identical winch sold under a different brand name made I believe in the same factory.

There were 2 serious problems with the 'Gun Type' winch I used with Euro pin systems.

The first is that the 'pin' was far too soft and easily bent.

The second is that crank does not slide side to side so the rope must always start at a large distance from the hub. This puts a lot more side pull on an already too weak/soft 'pin' and on the base that it is inserted into.

Two easy things to re-design but AFAIK this has not been done.

The Chinook winch works very well for me.