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Old 16th June 2007, 07:24 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Default downhaul specific

When downhauling, should you always leave the leech loose? even if you are underpowered? Some people say downhaul it less or let downhaul off when more underpowered and just pull the crap out of it when overpowered. I understand the later, but won't the letting of the downhaul make the sail way more twitchy and a higher draft etc?

Also, outhaul, should you have to really pull to make it go the recommended boom setting? Some of my sails just rig with little outhaul at all, while others take quite a bit of pulling. Should you be able to pull the clew with your hand (ie no pullies or string) to the end of the clew?

tks guys,

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Old 16th June 2007, 12:01 PM   #2
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Default RE: downhaul specific

Hi Thomas,

Boy, you've opened a can of worms on this issue. Not that it's not a fair series of questions to ask, but in the real world, people tend to feel so differently about the whole downhaul/outhaul thing. Frankly, a person's size and weight is really at the heart of what's right, especially under a variety of conditions.

From my perspective (70kgs), I like a lot of downhaul, and I secondarily adjust outhaul to suit the condition. But. I have to admit that I like flattened profiles, always with noticable positive outhaul. I'd rather rig a bit large and let the mid to top of range of sail design handle the extra power. I'm usually not too happy with a negative outhaul arrangement.

Notwithstanding my perferences, I know many bigger sailors that feel much differently, and as a result, they include much more pocket in the lower part of the sail, and may apply much less downhaul overall. Again, it's about preferences. Of course, different brands and models apply a whole different layer of concerns, and that must take in account the degree of sail structure (cam versus no/cam) and design intent.

Lastly, regarding the rigging process, I always use tools, such a winch for downhaul and hand cleat for outhaul. I didn't always rely on tools, but age has a way of limiting your potential and scope. It's kind of a brains versus braun approach in my mind, especially if your body can have issues.

Overall, experimentation is the key to happiness.

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Old 20th June 2007, 03:41 PM   #3
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Default RE: downhaul specific

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Old 20th June 2007, 04:09 PM   #4
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Default RE: downhaul specific


This will depend a lot on the specific sail you use. Some sails keep behaving well when downhaul is eased off so that there is no visually distinguishable free leech but others do not work in this setting. What can happen is that the sail completely loose its range and keep working, but only in a super narrow range of (light) wind. What can also happen is that the head gets so tight that it sort of brakes the sail and don't let it flow thought the air even in light wind.

It is hard to identify which sails that are gonna behave in a certain way wrt this. For example, I remember that my 2004 Hot SO took well to a tight leech while the 05 version did not, despite them looking virtually identical.

Overall (and this applies to outhaul too) the only way to learn is to experiment. Start with a "safe" setting and then adjust outhaul or downhaul and try to feel what happens.
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