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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
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There is a considerable performance advantage to the shape and extra sail area of a roached main. Even though you are not a racer, getting that extra bit of speed for given conditions can make the difference between getting that last mooring buoy, prime anchoring spot or marina slip at the end of the day's sail in the crowded season.
You are right to be concerned about the complications with the topping lift - they are a nuisance to set just right, and a constant source of chafe to the sail.
The various rigid vang designs are really worth the cost in what they provide for boom support, allowing you to get rid of the topping lift once and for all. The spring action makes for better sail shape in the light stuff as it can support the weight of the boom and let the sail take the proper shape and avoid closing the leach.
You'll be able to maximize the benefits of your new sail too!