Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Mainsail Shaping"
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Thread: "Mainsail Shaping"

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


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Mainsail Shaping

Mike McCoy

I have the 'standard' mainsheet rigging... No mainsheet traveler, just a couple blocks on the boomkin that run to/from a double block at the end of the boom. The mainsheet exits at one of the blocks on the boomkin and that's it. I do have an outhaul and topping lift.

I have no room for a vang (propane locker is in the way just aft of the mast).

I'm thinking even adding a preventer/vang about 2/3 aft on the boom (attached via snap shackle to the caprail) will help me control sail twist at least somewhat.

Anyone have any ideas how I might improve my ability to control sail shape while using my current mainsheet setup?

Dave King

Ahoy Mike, I also use end boom sheeting. I also do not use a standard vang. I have a heavy duty nylon strap around the boom at about the 1/3 aft point. I attach to this a "soft Vang" via a snap shackle. The lower end attaches to a mid mooring cleat that is mounted on the bulwark. On my previous W-32, I attached the lower end to a car on the genoa track. On that boat I used a very strong, rubber strap around the boom instead of nylon. I have always done it this way and it has served me well. On other boats I have used about every conceivable alternative but have not been tempted to change what is on my boat. I should also mention that at sea I use one set-up on each side. The tail of the vang, which exits through a cam cleat, is run loosely along the deck to the cockpit area. I can easily "whip" the line and cause it to uncleat from the cam, even under heavy load. This eliminates having to go forward everytime I gybe.

Mike McCoy

That's exactly what I was thinking of doing. I like the nylon/rubber strap idea... it eliminates me having to install a bail on the boom. Especially since initially I'm not exactly sure where it should be ideally located.

Sounds like you discovered that the best location is '1/3 aft' point on the boom. Good to know as I was thinking more like 2/3 rds aft.

Interesting idea using two vangs. You don't find leaving the vang/preventers rigged (on both sides) causes too much 'tackle clutter' when wanting/needing to move forward on the windward side?

I'm curious why you abandoned the rubber 'shock absorber' for a nylon strap. Think the Nylon has enough stretch to prevent undue shock during a gybe? Or do you loosen both vangs and only haul the lee side tight after the gybe?

Dave King

The extra tackle on deck from the "lazy vang" means one more step. It has not been an issue for me.
When I sold my first W-32 I let the big rubber strap go with it. I bought the nylon strap for Saraband because it looked interesting to me at the time and is super strong. Both devices worked without fail although the rubber does deteriorate after a few years and will need replacement. You are right in that the rubber offered much better shock protection. It was comforting and scary to watch it give - depending on the severity of the maneuver.
At sea I typically keep both vangs tight.

Mike McCoy

Since I don't have any mid mooring cleats (avoiding any 'toe stubbers' on deck) I'm wondering if it would be OK to use a 'pad eye' type slide on the genoa track to attach the preventer?

I'm getting the parts together for a vang/preventer and I'm having a hard time finding a proper rubber shock absorber. I picked up a 'heavy duty rubber tarp bungie' I think (hope) might work. I'll want to swap the standard steel hooks on the end for a D shackle though. Any other ideas for what might work as a 'shock absorber'?


How about a rubber mooring snubber?

Jim Focha and Julie Gwin

We have pad eyes on the inside of the gunnal with backing plates. Our preventers are made from Garhaur blocks and attached to a nylon strap like Daves, although in light winds I sometimes just use a bail.

Mike McCoy

What I am thinking would be an ideal shock absorber is a flat rubber strap.

A flat strap would be more likely to stay in place better (vs a round 'bungie' profile like a mooring snubber).

A pad eye would be the preferred method for attaching the vang/preventer but I don't want to mount one until I fix the proper location (I'd hate to drill holes and discover it should have been a foot further this way or that).

Thus my question whether the genoa track would be 'beefy' enough to hold the vang (at least temporarily)

Paul Whistler

On my current 32 Pablo, we use a track car on the rail for a moveable vang placement. The vang has snap shackles on the lower ends of the two separate tackles. We have also replaced the rear lower shroud pins with the correct size SS shackles. So on any point of sail we can reposition the vang lead from any position on the rail, to all the way forward to the rear lower shroud base as a vang and preventer for down wind use. This is the second 32 we have owned and have run the vang this way on both for a total of about 3 decades with no trouble. We do use the large red rubber snubber on the boom and we have cam cleats on the aft sides of the cabin house for the vang tails.

Mike McCoy

Now that's a great idea about replacing the aft stay pins with shackles.

Good to hear the track will handle the vang/preventer load. It seemed like such a perfect solution (for proper positioning). I just wasn't sure it was up to the task.

Where did you find your 'big red rubber snubber'?

Paul Whistler

The red rubber snubber is a device made just for this purpose. It has large bronze eyelets with about 1 inch openings in them the other end of the bronze eye is molded into the rubber. The band is quite stout, it is 2 inches wide and 3/4 thick. It is long enough to loop around the boom completely and the eyes dangle about 6 to 8 inches below the boom. For kicks I called a friend in the business who informed me these are no longer available. So when mine breaks I'll be searching for a used one or cooking up a replacement. Probably heavy dacron webbing with several strands of thick bungie inside.

Mike McCoy

I got some good ideas from the CWBB board. I think I'll use this one:

Use a nylon strap (wide enough to distribute the load over the boom). Wrap the strap over the boom and attach the 'bungie' to the two ends of the strap. Then attach the vang preventer to the other end of the bungie.

For the bungie someone pointed me to the 'shockles' site:


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