Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: San Francisco Bay area
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Re: Boom vang for reefing safety?
Last year I installed the Garhauer rigid vang. Comes with custom brackets for boom and mast, and a clutch cleat. So far it has done as advertised, that is keep the boom up when reefing and furling the sail. I had the topping lift removed completely but now would probably leave it in place as a backup.
I strongly recommend bringing the vang control line back to the cockpit. I at first did not, and then brought it back to the cockpit later on. It's much more useful when it's easy to adjust. In particular, it's a very good idea to be able to release it quickly in a gust. In a beam reach in say 20 knots, the difference in heel can be a factor of 2, vang tight vs. released. That's how much affect it has on the sail shape especially at the top of the sail. Some people add a cam cleat and then leave the line long enough to reach from the helm, to allow for easy adjustment. That way you can "play" the vang, tighten it in lulls and ease it in gusts.
I have found that, for reefing, in the "boom fully raised" position, the boom doesn't rise enough to easily tighten the reef downhaul, IF the tack has already been attached to the hook and the halyard tensioned.
Therefore reefing procedure is to :
Fully release the vang
Luff the main or heave to
Drop the main to a foot past the normal reefed point
Tension the reef downhaul
Attach the tack to the hook and tension the halyard.
Re-tension the vang if required
However I would also expect you to be able to find a setting for the topping lift, that you can leave alone, where this procedure would work - dropping the main past it's reefed point, tightening the reef downhaul, THEN attaching the tack.
Bristol 31.1, San Francisco Bay
Last edited by MarkSF; 06-15-2012 at 01:33 PM.