how to use vang? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-08-2012 Thread Starter
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how to use vang?

Hi, I am very new to sailing and I have a few questions that I can't seem to figure out. I have a 10' catboat that is of home built plywood construction. I read several books to teach myself to sail and it went very well the few times I took my boat out in light wind conditions. My question is how do you correctly use the boom vang? I set it by putting some tension on the vang before I set out sailing and I did not adjust it. Is this the correct way of doing it or should the vang be adjusted differently when running or reaching?
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-08-2012
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Re: how to use vang?

The purpose of the vang is to reduce twist in the main. As the sheet is eased, the aft end of the boom lifts and the top of the main "twists". Some twist in the main is good since wind speed is higher up there and the true wind will come from more aft, but excessive twist is bad. Going upwind you can reduce twist by easing the traveller instead of the sheet, but as you head further downwind you get to a point where you can no longer let off the traveler and have to let out the mainsheet. As you do this, cranking in the vang will flatten the main. You can also use the vang upwind to further flatten the main, but I primarily rely on playing off the traveller against the mainsheet for this purpose when heading upwind, and use the vang downwind.
In much wind at all, you need to set the vang before you ease off the mainsheet. There's just too much force against you if you try to flatten the main once it's eased well off.
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-09-2012
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Re: how to use vang?

Cliff notes version -

Heavy air vang on
Light air bang off


Just have fun and don't get hung up on minutia
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-09-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: how to use vang?

Thanks for your replies, this helps me a lot. My lack of experience (and terminology) is giving me some problems understanding what you said though. You said to ease the traveler instead of the sheet, would't this do the same thing? Wouldn't easing the traveler or the sheet just control how far the boom can swing?
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post #5 of 10 Old 08-09-2012
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Re: how to use vang?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fish300 View Post
Thanks for your replies, this helps me a lot. My lack of experience (and terminology) is giving me some problems understanding what you said though. You said to ease the traveler instead of the sheet, would't this do the same thing? Wouldn't easing the traveler or the sheet just control how far the boom can swing?
Not quite the same thing. Easing the traveler while keeping the mainsheet taut means you still have a nice "flat" main since the sheet is pulling almost straight down when you sheet in close-hauled. So it enables you to pull down on the boom/mainsail without pulling it so far "in" towards the centerline of the boat that you "catch too much wind" and heel too much when it's windy (and have to keep easing the sheet out, in, then out, etc--tiring and inefficient). Yeah you may still have to ease the sheet too in the big puffs even with traveler out, but not nearly as often. And if you're still overpowered, it's time to reef the main (though many dinghies aren't rigged for reefing) or think about heading home.

A vang *can* do the same thing upwind as a traveler, but much less efficiently since it is forward on the boom and has less downward leverage than a traveler, which is farther aft or indeed maybe at the end of the boom.

But a traveler only works when the boom is above the traveler, or nearly so, not when the boom gets out past the leeward rail. While a tight vang pulls the boom end down all the time.
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Last edited by nolatom; 08-09-2012 at 12:54 PM.
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-09-2012
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Re: how to use vang?

You will drive your self insane with the seemingly Byzantine physics of the subject.

At this stage, just get the general concepts down pat -

heavy air = vang on = flatter sail = depowered
Light air = vang off = fuller sail = more power


once you have the general concepts understood, the go back to the Byzantine
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-09-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: how to use vang?

I understand now. Now I know why the traveler is used which I had not thought about before. My traveler is not adjustable so I might have to look into this at some time. I hear what you are saying WDS123, I'm just having fun learning it right now. I'm sure after some time this will all make sense.
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-04-2012
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Re: how to use vang?

WDS123. Thanks for the simplicity. I've had the same questions with the vang myself but haven't bothered looking deeper onto it. I figured once I get the basics down, I'd concentrate on the advance mechanics of sailing. You explanation is easy enough that I will try that and get a beter understanding on the concept.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-04-2012
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Re: how to use vang?

If simple is what you are looking for, I'd suggest downwind = vang on (less twist); upwind = vang off (not required).

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post #10 of 10 Old 09-05-2012
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Re: how to use vang?

My simple-minded way of thinking of all sail shape controls is that if you want to depower in higher wind, make the sail flat: tight halyard, tight cunningham, tight vang, tight outhaul, tight backstay... sometimes I even pucker-up a little bit myself

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