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eric b 125 19th February 2010 04:29 AM

proper rigging
i know there's a lot that goes into rigging a sail properly. i'm having difficulty finding out the effect certain things have on how the sail holds or spills the wind ( like how more or less outhaul changes the sails performance, or downhaul.)
how high should the boom be? - i've read that higher is better because it allows you to put more weight on the mast foot, but where is a good start?

i know this is a pretty huge question, but if someone could point me into the direction of any articles, id really appreciate it. thanks

joe_windsurfer 19th February 2010 04:37 AM

too many questions :)

personally - lotsa searching on the web, DVDs and trial n error

search web for subjects one by one - lotsa info

and then ... lotsa luck :)
some people strongly suggest lessons where much of this may be covered !!! for me that is NOT a possibility

have found a lot of it is personal taste

eric b 125 19th February 2010 05:09 AM

cool dude, thanks. i knew that there is a lot to be said of those questions, and i didnt expect an answer as much as direction. i'll keep researching and when the season starts i'll do some trial and error.

yankiwi 19th February 2010 05:54 AM

Check out the articles at

I found some of these very helpful. See tuning section.

Lanee 19th February 2010 05:56 AM

Check the rigging guide for YOUR sail model and year. That's the easiest, most obvious, AND best answer! Not all sails are supposed to be rigged the same way. Even the same model often changes from year to year. If you don't have a hard copy, look online.

You won't believe how many 'wannabe know-it-alls' you'll find on the beach. Alot of times, they haven't even read the rigging guide for their sail, let alone the rigging guide for your sail. The most believable source is the manufacturer. There are folks you will meet who will claim they know better than the manufacturer. It makes me laugh.

My favorite sails have visual indicators built into the sails. Ezzys, for example, have indicators for correct outhaul AND downhaul.

Lastly, you may want to consider going beyond recommendations in some cases. For example, if you're already at the minimum recommended downhaul and outhaul for your sail, and you're still underpowered, you may want to consider reducing the downhaul and outhaul a little more before rigging a bigger sail. You've got nothing to lose.

eric b 125 19th February 2010 10:24 AM

right before i checked back i unrolled one of my new sails in the living room (the 2.5' of snow makes it hard to check out the new equipment) and saw the rigging guide. i know the basics of rigging from when i was a kid, but tuning the rig is still a bit of a mystery. i'll have to check out that link that yankiwi mentioned, keep researching, and see what a little more experience will teach me. thanks again folks, its much appreciated

Lanee 19th February 2010 10:51 AM

Unfortunately, the rigging section of that link is a prime example of someone thinking they know more than the sail designers. Downhaul your sail as much as you can? What a crock! I'm sure that will work real well with a Sailworks Hucker, Kona One sail, or any of the older sails.

The manufactuer knows best. Generalizations are pretty worthless unless you have absolutely nothing else to go by.

joe_windsurfer 20th February 2010 02:55 AM

ask some simple questions and get a plethora of answers

- simply follow rigging instructions ? good start if you have recommended mast
- downhaul as hard as you can - maybe if sail is too big for conditions or over-powered and not much time left

etc etc

and yet in the end it comes down to personal choice - there are guys out there who break all the rules - like guy cribb's heavier buddy :)

eric b 125 21st February 2010 12:21 AM

i dont really even know what questions to ask, though. like when you say:
- downhaul as hard as you can - maybe if sail is too big for conditions or over-powered and not much time left

why would more downhaul help if the sail is too big for conditions? what does putting more downhaul do? in my head, it flattens the sail out so wind spills from it, rather than the sail catching the wind and producing power. but how is that any different from more outhaul?

i can understand the change in sail shape with different amounts of outhaul- it changes the 'depth of the pocket' in the sail (best way i could put words to what i'm thinking). but as far as downhaul is concerned, how does that change the sail shape? and how will i know to put +/- downhaul or outhaul?

i'm sure a lot of this comes with experience and trial and error, but since it's the off season i'd like to have a baseline understanding of the different tuning effects.

Lanee 21st February 2010 02:01 AM

I have to admit, Joe_Windsurfer, that I would immediately put you in the group of 'wannabe know-it-alls". As a woman, you don't know how many times folks are trying to get me to rig my sails differently than what my rigging guides say. When I hear folks talk about rigging outside recommendations being 'personnal preference', I have to think to myself, 'yeah, if you PREFER to be slow, or if you PREFER to sail with an unbalanced rig'.

The sail makers want you to be happy with your sails, and give the best guidelines possible. I'll give you that they don't give guidance on rigging on a mast that has a different bend than that recommended. But, beyond that, why would you want to go against their guidelines?

Sorry, but this is my big pet peeve.

Eric, I agree that the difference between depowering a sail by using more downhaul or more outhaul is kindy fuzzy. If you're at max outhaul, but not max downhaul, for example, increase the downhaul. I'm interested to see what folks say. There are some things that can be a little counter productive. When you pull on the outhaul to depower the sail, by making the 'pocket' less, you also tighten the trailing edge of the sail. This moves the center of effort, or pull of the sail, up a little. Not a good thing when you're overpowered. I tend to do a little of both.

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