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Old 10-15-2008
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Rigid Vangs - Spring Loaded vs. Hydraulic

I’m looking for opinions and comments respecting the advantages and disadvantages of a spring-loaded rigid vang versus a hydraulic vang with a remote pump in the cockpit that also works the backstay. The issue arises because I am considering acquiring a “project” boat that has a hydraulic system. The deck of the boat needs to be redone, which presents the opportunity to update equipment including, if prudent, removing the hydraulic control panel, etc. On my last boat, a 36 footer, I installed a Hall QuikVang which was an excellent piece of equipment. The boat that I am considering is a 40 footer that was built (in 1979) to race but which would now be cruised short handed. Having never sailed with a hydraulic system, I would like to know whether these systems are reliable and how their functionality compares with a spring-loaded vang. Many thanks.
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The hydraulics on such boats are great to have. The loads involved in these boats are significant, having hydraulics makes all adjustments easy to do, so you'll do them.

Typically you'll get vang, backstay and if you're lucky, outhaul controls on the same panel. The boat you're describing sounds similar to one of our previous boats.

In 12 years we had to have one cylinder rebuilt.. the rest of the system was rock-solid and in no way would I remove a functioning hydraulic system in favour of any other.
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Many thanks for your comments. On the boat that I'm looking at, the pumping mechanism is located in the cockpit, which seems like an odd place from which to adjust a vang. Perhaps that's just something to get used to (because the control line on the vang on my old boat was led through a clutch on the cabin top and worked very well).

How much pumping is involved to adjust the vang? Is the adjustment as quick as a block and tackle? Also, am I correct that the hydraulic vang provides significant upward support?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel9331 View Post
Many thanks for your comments. On the boat that I'm looking at, the pumping mechanism is located in the cockpit, which seems like an odd place from which to adjust a vang.
In fact, it's the ideal place to do it because you can, from the cockpit floor sight up the mainsail and see the results immediately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel9331 View Post
How much pumping is involved to adjust the vang? Is the adjustment as quick as a block and tackle? Also, am I correct that the hydraulic vang provides significant upward support?
It's not as quick as a mechanical vang, but you have more control and it takes less effort. Some hydraulic panels have a "dump" switch that allows you to dump the hydraulic pressure in a hurry... say if you're broaching and have to get the vang "off" in a hurry. In multiple port panels (eg Vang, outhaul, backstay) make sure you're selected to the proper port before you make adjustments - especially sudden large ones. It can get exciting when you're "dumping the vang" only to realize that the vang hasn't moved and suddenly your backstay is slopping around like a wet noodle.....

The released vang will support the boom - a handy feature in light air (admittedly provided by spring loaded vangs too, but again, better control and easier access)

Try it ... You'll like it!
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I see your point about being able to adjust the vang from the cockpit. I will give the system a more careful look to see what features it has and whether it is in good condition. Thanks again.
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