Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Downhaul"
Westsail Westsail Owners Affiliation
 Important information about this site! 

Thread: "Downhaul"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


Text Strings  

Full Phrase  


All Words  

Any Word  


Message Text

Text & Author  



Mike and Ivana Meyran

I am plugging along in setting up my once "bare" rig. I have nothing setup for a downhaul or boom vang yet. The gooseneck is attached to the main with set screw, which I have left in place for the meantime. I am getting tired of the boom hopping along the gallows when I tack, and as you would guess, i dont get the greatest shape out of my main, especially upwind. Do I need to use both a downhaul and boom vang or can I use a downhaul alone and be ok (and preventer when needed)?

Bud Taplin

Sounds like your main is not up all the way if it hits the boom gallows when tacking. You may have to raise the boom at the gooseneck slightly to prevent that. The boom should just clear the gallows when the main is strapped in tight.

The boom vang is helpful when you have the main partway out, such as on a reach or run.

Aaron Norlund


I'm confused about your use of "downhaul" when referring to the main.

The only lines used for shaping the main are the halyard, outhaul, cunningham, vang, and sheet. Use a vang when going off the wind to keep the "wing" shape in your sail.

If you don't have a "bail" on your boom, you can use some sheet-size line to tie onto the boom about five feet from the gooseneck. If you have a tabernacle, there ought to be some holes where you can attached the other end of the vang's tackle.

I have one vang with a carabiner on each end. When on a close-haul to beam reach, I'll attach it to the tabernacle. When further off the wind, I attach it to shackles I've installed on my after-lower shroud's lower turnbuckle toggle in lieu of a clevis pin. This lets it act as a preventer and vang.

Some people have two vangs - one for each tack and leave them permanently when reaching at sea. I'll probably set this system up one day, but for now I just move my vang from side to side.
Hope this helps!
Aaron N.

Aaron Norlund


You are probably familiar with boats that have booms on adjustable tracks, enabling the boom to be pulled down by the cunningham to shape the sail.

On boats with set-position goosenecks, there is usually a cunningham ring a foot or more above the main tack through which a line is rove and hauled taut to tighten the luff.

The idea is you can have a sail that uses every inch of your available mast track to give a bit more windward ability. Most cruising sails don't "max out" the mast though, so you can use your halyard to adjust the luff tension.

I do not have a cunningham setup - I stick with my outhaul, vang and halyard, and still manage to get decent shape from my very old, partial-batten-main-that-I-use-without-the-battens-because-they're-a-pain.

Sweet, salmonella-free tomatoes!
Aaron N.

Mike and Ivana Meyran

Aaron, as always, thanks for the insight. Is your gooseneck fixed or sliding? I am growing my own tomatoes this year...

Mike and Ivana Meyran

yes, cunningham covers it. To be more specific, does the boat require both? The gooseneck set screw attached to the mast doesnt give me the ability to pull the luff tight (down). Just wondering if anyone is successful with this setup or should i just set up the cunningham.

Aaron Norlund


We have a LeFeil mast with a gooseneck joint welded in place. There are advantages to a slide in terms of pure performance, but I try not to spend all of my time fussing for an extra .1 kts. It's not a race for me.

Aaron N.

Mike and Ivana Meyran

Yea, I hear you. I will move the gooseneck fitting up a few inches and spend my time keeping the beer cold...

  Forum Archive Home    Back to Previous Page   Show Posts w/ Images   Windbag Newsletter 
This site is provided as service to Westsail Owners by Jack Webb on Westsail 32, Hull #438, at http://HighSeasDrifter.net,
This site is provided as service to Westsail Owners by  Jack Webb (s/v Drifter, Westsail 32, Hull #438)