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I'm redoing this boom outhaul and am also new to sailing bigger boats. I am just curious how much do you take in and out on a mainsail outhaul. I figure around 6-8 inches? I'm talking about the aft end and how far the car (or whatever) moves. Obviously it needs to pull tight but how far would one ever let it out?
 

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6 inches or so sounds right to me.
 

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Ditto on the six inches. Your outhaul "play" won't be much more than your "E" dimension and if you have a bolt rope, you will not get more than a couple of inches of "ease". I trim a loose-footed carbon mainsail on a Cal 40 and never ease more than six inches and usually around four. It is amazing how dramatic the impact of just moving the outhaul an inch.
 

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6" maximum is about right.

How much to take in or let out? ..... Go onto a closehauled course, then ease/tighten as you watch your Speedo; the 'correct' outhaul setting for the current wind/wave conditions is where you get the maximum reading on your Speedo.

Flat sails for 'speed' sailing in flat water (outhaul tightened) - "high gear";
Full draft for 'punching' through waves (outhaul eased) - "low gear".

;-)
 
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