Very basic question but would be glad to have it straighten out. I normally rig outhaul on gut feeling but gave this a thought lately.
Quite often when people are talking about outhaul settings they mention the amount to be pulled in centimeters. " For power keep neutral outhaul, for control add 3 cm outhaul".
How are these centimeters mesured, the length of line pulled out through the pulleys or the distance the sailclew travels? With pulleys you will ofcourse pull far more line than the sailclew moves.
Boom end to clew
For me, I pay attention to the distance from boom end to clew. Often depending on the course i'm racing. (formula). The port and starboard sides of my adjustable outhaul system will often become unequal in length. However, after hours and hours of TOW, you start to get a feel for how many cm's of rope need to be pulled through the pulleys to effectively give the required amount of distance between the clew and boom end.
Relax and go fast
Pull on the outhal cringle with your thumb and forefinger. Unless youe are a muscle bound monkey the point where you cannot easilly pull outwards any further in the neutral position. 3cm more outhaul would be moving the cringle 3cm futher from the mast which is quite a bit on most sails.
Cammed sails can have negative outhaul as there is a batten right next to the cringle which will support the sail but on most rotational sails there is not a batten there so you should not use negative outhaul.
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