Old as Dirt!
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Tampa Bay Area
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Re: Is a Vang Really Useful on a mid to Large Boat?
I have a vang that I hate and consider virtually worthless. I'm considering removing it and am looking for opinions. I get that on a smaller boat, the vang is very useful to shape the main as the wind increases. But on the configuration shown below with the mid-boom sheeting, I wonder if it is of any use...
In addition to what others have already offered, I can assure you that a vang is a necessary safety measure. In the mid 1970’s, while living in San Francisco, we were moored at Ayala Cove for a Thanksgiving Weekend raft up. Some friends with a Cal 25 rafted to us and at one point we all decided to take their boat for a round island cruise. Things went well but it occurred that we were hit by very heavy northeasterly winds as we rounded the southwest side of the island and turned into Raccoon Straight. Beating up-wind was exciting but not too problematic after we doused the jib and started the outboard to give us some extra oomph. Once we finally reached the Cove however, we had to turn down wind to get back to our own boat. Unfortunately the Cal was not equipped with reefing gear so we were dealing with a full main. With the turn we eased the sail out somewhat and with that, took off before the wind like a shot. In addition to heavy wind, there was a lot of wave action pounding into the cove and reflecting back off the cobble stone beach and at one point we were thrown over and the main gybed. With this, the boom lifted sharply and the little vang ripped off the mast. Unrestrained the boom slammed upward and into the back stay where it stuck! It did so because the owner had used a snap hook carabiner clip on his outhaul and that had pressed opened and snapped around the back-stay when the boom hit the stay. With this we were forced around, head to wind by the flogging sail and I had to climb up on the stern pulpit and hang off the back stay with one hand and try to release the outhaul carabiner clip with the other. Fortunately, we were able to finally free the sail (despite stained arms and shaking knees) and then make modest headway to windward, and stay off the beach, but in no small measure because the bluff’s overlooking the cove created something of a pressure bubble that mitigated the wind. Had we not been able to free that sail, we surely would have ended up in the surf at the foot of the bluff. The loss of the boat's vang could easily have been fatal for five...
"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
Last edited by svHyLyte; 01-30-2014 at 01:13 PM.
Reason: correct typo