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Downhaul and Traps


Gazereth78
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Hi All

Two quick questions,

1 - Should the downhaul on an old windy be cranked down as far as possible,and is a bend in the mast desirable?

2 - Do the trap wires flap around when not in use or should the elastic rope travelling under the tramp be tight enough to hold them in place?

Cheers

Gazereth78 - Novice Sailor.

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Hi All Again

Just down a little research on other sites, the downhaul seems to be more important than i had imagined. I'm now wondering if there is any point in adjustment mid race on a small cat like the windy 14. Is it just a set and forget to meet wind strength of the day? ie - strong winds more downhaul, light winds no downhaul. Not really sure if any of this matters as not being a serious racing competitor. Just curious is all.

Cheers Gazereth78

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G'day gazereth it's good that you want to work out how to sail the boat properly, the down haul and sail battens are extremely important not only for faster sailing but looking after your sail. When you put your sail up on the beach and there are some wrinkles in the sail if you pull the downhaul on hard on the beach you will see that the wrinkles go the sail gets a nice shape and the sail starts to flap in the wind. I think batten tension is extremely important, if there's not much wind I tie my battens as hard as possible to give the sail shape without having to use downhaul if there's heaps of wind I tie the battens in just to take the wrinkles out so that when I pull the downhaul on it can flatten the sail this is not only faster but depowers the sail so you don't tip up all the time, it also enables you to leave the boat on the beach without it flapping around. You use the downhaul differently all over the course, downwind you let it off completely upwind I pull it on in gusts and off in lulls instead of playing the mainsheet. If you pull your mainsheet on and not your downhaul you will see the sail gets funny wrinkles in it, that is stretching the sail out of shape. If you capsize and leave your downhaul on while trying to right the boat the sail because of its shape will keep sucking the boat back to the water, you may find the mast will get 2ft from the water and stay there.

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interesting subject for me too. I've read that in the big cats (Nacra 5.8's etc) downhaul is one of the primary tools to manage the sail, rather than mainsheet and traveller. I have a Maricat and on them, downhaul tends to be a one way affair, you can pull it down and it's only when the main is released (eg for a tack) that it will come up again. Also if you pull it on hard then the mast won't rotate when you tack! On the Eastwind sail that I had when you pulled the sail up it bent the mast and when you pulled the downhaul you could see the top section of the sail falling off which is what you want in breeze to depower the top of the sail. Interesting that Windy's you can let the downhaul off upwind under tension.

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when the boat accelerates, you need to flatten the sail, then the boat will accelerate again, etc. when i sail two up on the stingray, my daughter trims the richie ( cunningham) whilst i trim the sheet/traveller. get a gust = more richie, get a lull = less richie.... the boat will go much faster if you flatten the sail in a gust rather than dump sheet, the boat will accelerate rather than just lay over :)

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Great thread thanks for the tips.

I've just had a week of sailing my new to me windrush 14 and had a play with the sail shapes but without vang. What I did notice was that like Jimbo's mari, once I get a nice bit of downhaul on, it doesn't really loosen off until I luff. Would adding a vang help it adjust while still under pressure?

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All the Windies I've seen have a cross-cut sail; that is, the sewn seams go across the sail with the battens. When pulled tight, the downhaul/cunningham is very effective at flattening a cross-cut sail. Typically you want to do this going upwind, to help pointing. You'd ease the downhaul on reaches and downwind, to allow a fuller, more powerful sail shape. Working it in the gusts & lulls might help your velocity made good to windward, or you may find the extra speed with it eased comes at the cost of pointing lower.

To make those kinds of adjustments, you'd need about 12:1 ratio blocks and good cam cleats. A typical cat downhaul setup would include a swivel cam-cleat on each side of the mast, running up to a triple block, down to a double block at base of the mast, and through the swivel cam-cleat on the other side. The triple block is tied to the end of a rope that runs through the sail eye, and a pin stops the gooseneck from sliding down too far.

Using a pin/stopper means that when you ease the downhaul, the sail can go up without having to drag the gooseneck with it. It makes a huge difference and allows proper adjustment of the downhaul.

To go with that, you'd want an adjustable outhaul, with at least 4:1 ratio. A typical setup would have a rope going from end of boom, through sail eye, into exit block at end of boom, to a pulley inside the boom. A separate rope runs from a hole in the side of the boom, through the pulley, and exits through a slot to another swivel cam-cleat.

Again; pull tight upwind and ease off wind.

To get finer tuning, add marks to mast to indicate how far the downhaul is pulled, and marks on the outhaul rope to indicate how tight the outhaul is. With a bit of testing, you can find good settings to consistently use.

The vang on a Windie seems pretty much useless. Generally on a cat these are attached to a lever to control mast rotation, but as the Windies has no lever and instead has stoppers on the mast base, I suggest the vang has no function.

To control sail twist and leech tension, use the traveller. If it's really windy and you've eased the mainsheet to de-power the sail, then have a look at the angle between the mainsheet block on the traveller, and the mainsheet block hanging from your boom. The idea is that the mainsheet should pull down, not across. Pulling down makes the leech tight, which helps pointing.

In a 45minute race, I'd expect these differences in race times:

- upgrade from crappy 3:1 downhaul pulled sort-of tight, to fully adjsutable system used properly; 5 minute improvement

- upgrade outhaul pulled tight and tied off to the end of the boom, to fully adjustable used properly; massive increase in speed on reaches; about 3 minutes per race.

- traveller and main used to keep sail trimmed and leech tight; huge improvement in speed and pointing, if also used with good body movement to keep hull flying and reduce drag; another 5 minutes per race.

Fitting a good adjustable system in the start, and it creates the potential for a tail-ender to become a race winner.

Of course winning is all relative to the other boats & skippers. If they all have new sails, you might need one of those too.

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I'm not sure, but I don't believe a downhaul system that is rigged with the 'preventer' pin or 'stopper' is class legal - the gooseneck always travels up and down with adjustment.

As far as playing the downhaul goes, unless it's light to moderate wind, it's just not practical - and i've never witnessed any1 doing it...

I'm sure attention to major sail trim and what's going on around you is faster than 'playing' the downhaul on a Windrush 14...

Honestly I really can't say I've ever heard of this technique - but I'm not one to talk - as i'm still on a learning curve with my boat for sure...

Also, extreme downhaul in really strong winds helps to keep the draught in the sail forward - which is what you want for speed and pointing... it's not just about keeping the sail flat - but correct me if I'm wrong about this?

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I speak as a back of the fleet man in most cases anyway but first I find that a vang has a use, but only as a 'preventer', ie when you're off the wind and can't use the traveller to control the boom and leech (mid to full reach and beyond) the vang stops the boom from rising, holds the leech in place in a gust. This way you get a quicker acceleration. You set it so that it bags upwind - so the mast rotation can work without any pressure to not work. I generally leave it off because it reduces clutter.

On the downhaul I've fiddled with various ideas. On my last cat I had the gooseneck separate from the sail tack and the downhaul between gooseneck and tack. This worked but was only effective because the gooseneck fitting on that cat tended to jam easily. It did lower the boom which meant I had to stay flexible to get under it when tacking!

However, the big problem is (me being on the lighter side) going upwind in breeze I need quite a bit of downhaul and with the two cleats (and 6:1) either side of the mast method I found that if you pulled the gooseneck down and cleated the boom wouldn't 'tack' ie it got stuck when you tacked and you had to kick the boom to get it to go over. Releasing the downhaul before the tack did nothing because the friction in the system meant that the boom wouldn't go up until you were tacking (which meant that you could uncleat but couldn't recleat because there was no tension in the line).

What I do now is have a standard 4:1 pull down type dowhaul to set the initial tension. I then have a 4:1 adjuster and on either side of the mast I have small bullet blocks to redirect the line to the sides of the boat. On the line I have a stopper each side. To generate additional tension after I tack I just pull the adjuster (which is tied off to the stays so easy to reach). This pulls the gooseneck down further. It goes down easily as long as there's tension on the mainsheet (which is trying to pull the whole lot down anyway). Actually what it does is to pull the leeward stopper against its block which then puts it under tension so I can pull the gooseneck down. When I tack it all pops up and the mast tacks properly.

I like this system and it does work well, I just have to start sailing faster and get further up the fleet! I'm still trying to work out whether I should let the traveller off further uphill or in further and point higher and go slower. I guess more time on the water is the answer but it's something I don't have the time to do.

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[However, the big problem is (me being on the lighter side) going upwind in breeze I need quite a bit of downhaul and with the two cleats (and 6:1) either side of the mast method I found that if you pulled the gooseneck down and cleated the boom wouldn't 'tack' ie it got stuck when you tacked and you had to kick the boom to get it to go over. Releasing the downhaul before the tack did nothing because the friction in the system meant that the boom wouldn't go up until you were tacking (which meant that you could uncleat but couldn't recleat because there was no tension in the line).

On the Nacra 16 squares we get around this problem by simply putting a knot in the down haul rope on both sides outside of the cleats. As you prepare to tack, you release the downhaul and it will stop at the knot. Tack and pull on on the downhaul once on the new heading. It allows the mast to rotate cleanly, it stops the main getting strecthed as the mast straightens and bends on new tack and if done correctly will get the boat going a bit quicker out of the tack

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Hi Mr K_O_B, is this on a Windrush, or Maricat? Can u post some pix? I agree with you about the vang - I miss it on the Windy - it definitely helps to control twist off-wind especially in hairy conditions...

Of course others will say on a super-sloop you should either be going dead downwind or tacking downwind - so it's not necessary. At least that's the rationale...

As for letting tension off the downhaul b4 tacking, I would have thought that would do 2 things - slow the boat down - which is detrimental, and also distract the skipper from concentrating on a 'clean' tack...

Personally, I don't think I've ever had a problem with the mast not rotating - if you've made it through the tack the mast will 'pop' over if you 'pump' the main at exactly the right time...

It really is all about timing IMHO... :p

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I'm talking about my Maricat. Not too different but the mast bend characteristics certainly are. I've cut away the mast base so that it rotates further (as have most racing Maricats) and this causes the mast to bend forward more and flattening the main). It's an interesting subject though and I've certainly learned something from this thread.

This downhaul arrangement means that it 'automatically' releases on a tack when the mast goes straight. This means that the lack of tension allows the mast to tack properly and it also means that the sail has more shape which should in theory be what I want at the start of the new tack given that I virtually stop dead (something I've been working on for a long time!!).

When I get it right I can tack quickly and be on the new tack at full speed quite fast - when I get it wrong . . . . which is most of the time.

The Windy mast is more round so it bends differently.

If you're up at Manno next week my cat is No 73 (red numbers on a Tasker sail). Come and have a look if you feel inclined.

And my 'name' was thought up by the old MSN - the other logins that I asked for were already used and it 'suggested' a name and it stuck!

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The Windy mast is completely round... so not sure if it's something that would translate... but better not go there - the intro of the square top sail cries out for an elliptical mast... unfortunate lost opp as far as I can see - Windrush is too frightened of the backlash apparently... even tho' the dye for the round mast has been destroyed... and it will cost them big bucks to resurrect it...

Could this be the time to upgrade the rig to it's logical conclusion?

Hmmm - a Maricat sailor commenting in a Windrush forum? Couldst be that you're thinking of making the logical switch? :)

Yes – I plan to be at Manno... C U there...

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A bit more on the vang:

"it definitely helps to control twist off-wind especially in hairy conditions"

In strong winds you especially do NOT want to limit twist offwind. Power at the top of the sail driving the mast forwards will contribute to cartwheeling. Or submarining, as Windies love to do. Allowing the sail to twist reduces that force.

With no vang you either:

- broad reach with the traveller right out and pull the mainsheet in to control twist. Especially if you're sloop rigged, where the jib helps curve the wind to the main. Steer at the angle that keeps the lower tell-tales flowing, and sheet in to get the upper telltales flowing. Work it baby!

- run square, with the traveller right out and the main eased. The twist allows the top of the sail to go forwards, and catch the wind better. Also have a knot in the mainsheet, to stop the boom pressing on the side stays, which can compress the mast and lead to it bending.

Re this Windy forum, well I'm mostly a PT sailor, but always happy to share info and talk sailing. Might be on a borrowed Windy for a couple of months while "Tigerdelic" is shipped to NZ & Back. All good fun.

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1. like TQ I'll jump into anything that piques my interest irrespective of what forum its on

2. wonder what Windy will do without the die for new extrusions. do they have a stock of blanks?

3. I do tend to leave the vang off when its windy simply to reduce clutter. I have though found good results in lighter conditions, it's also quite a good footrest when standing up going downhill.

4. I'm unlikely to 'invest' in a Windy, I find that the Mari suits me ($600 for the boat on trailer helps) as I'm a cheaparse and get more kicks from being in a oldie. The old Mari's seem to be still competitive with even foamies.

Looking forward to this weekend.

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Hmmm - I was being facetious guys, U R more than welcome to comment on anything in the Windy Forum... did u not notice the smiley face? :)

OK, the vang is there to stop the boom rising when you run out of traveller - right? So, it's a twist limiter... and I would have thought that allowing the top half of the sail to move forward is actually putting more pressure on the leeward bow - at least that's certainly how it feels...

Might it just be a matter of perception – or different techniques of sailing off-wind?

TQ, the comment that a Windrush 'loves' to stick its nose in is simply untrue.. it's no better or worse than any other 70's design cat... and if you do stick the nose in, it's a lot more forgiving than either the Maricat or the Hobie 14... this is a well known and acknowledged fact... and is the reason a lot of guys love the Windy - as it's more forgiving and can generally be driven harder off-wind because of the deeper bows... this was a big selling point in the boat's rise to popularity... can't comment on PT's though... although one thing I do know is that both the Maricat and Windrush (as body-hiked boats) are a lot more comfy on your arse and hamstrings... :p

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Agree; out of Windrush, Maricat, Paper Tiger and Hobie14, the Windy is the most forgiving when the leeward nose goes under. I found that at speed, a nose-dive might completely submerge the entire leeward hull, then the boat slows and it rises back up again.

The more banana shaped Mari & Hobie can pitch forwards a bit and give a chance of recovery, but once the nose is under, you're gone!

The PT has a lot of bouyancy and sits fairly high, but those wide flat decks dig in like shovels. If the nose goes under on a reach, the boat stops abruptly and 15knots boat speed converts to 20knots skipper speed as he flies through the air.

I also found on the Windy that older boats with more upright rigs tend to bury the leeward hull a lot. It's a fair challenge to fly the hull on a reach without the hull submarining. Cranking on the mainsheet to increase drive is like the submarine commander yelling "dive, dive, dive." The fix is a tad more mast rake, but this seems to require re-swaging the rear stays to a shorter length.

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Older boats are generally 'looser' - and the hulls twist more - they need to be tightened up, and the rig raked back - this will prevent any tendency to nose-dive. Can't comment on any structural issues that may cause loss of buoyancy up front – that's Darcy's province... but I have an early 80's boat that behaves well - no more tendency to nose-dive than my new boat... but admittedly, it also needs the old 'seatbelt under the beams' trick to tighten it up a bit more...

Older boats have the (superseded) shorter twin forestays - and need the new adjustable chainplates and a longer single adjustable forestay to achieve the required mast-rake... this makes the boats so much more fun to sail, and completely fixes what you describe above while reaching. It's not a Windrush thing at all - it's simply correct rig adjustment - any cat will do what you describe with a rig that's too far forward...

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Great to pick on all these great tips. We have no competitive Windys here so this advice is great!

Could any of you post some photos showing the set ups for down haul and out haul and how you guys are setting up rigging ie adjust fore and side stays. last but least what's the best mast rake and how to measure?

Cheers

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Yep lovig this thread.

It leaves another question though. On my old style windy the side stays are mounted to the hulls with SS saddles. Do the newer windys have chainplates?

I have bought a set of adjustable stays that have vernier adjusters on them, maybe I need to get better hull fittings before I add to much tension?

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Yep lovig this thread.

It leaves another question though. On my old style windy the side stays are mounted to the hulls with SS saddles. Do the newer windys have chainplates?

I have bought a set of adjustable stays that have vernier adjusters on them, maybe I need to get better hull fittings before I add to much tension?

Windrush haven't changed the saddles which are embedded into the hulls - so unless there's cracking around that area – it's all good.

OK as far as mast-rake goes, this is a question that can be answered by Mr Windrush Supremo - TornadoSport - so I'll ask him to advise on how he measures it.

But, to give you an idea of what's required, you should be going nearly block-to-block - upwind – in anything over 15 knots – with a low-profile 6:1 mainsheet system.

The low-profile system is mandatory if u wanna get performance - and ease of sheeting.

If you're going block-to-block without a tight leech in these conditions, you have too much rake, if you can't go block-to-block, you need more rake. And you need a TIGHT rig onshore... you should be able to 'strum' the sidestays... no slop at all - it's not just about rake - but a sloppy rig will make you S-L-O-W... sloooowwww... and allows the rig to move forward off-wind - which also contributes to pitch-poling...

Simplest way to achieve correct tension is to use a long D-shackle on one saddle - to temporarily attach one of the sidestays - and attach the other sidestay directly to the saddle - I think it's the 6th hole from the top on an 11-hole chainplate...

Then, raise the sail, position boat so there is no pressure in the sail - take traveller to side of boat with the 'loose' sidestay, and crank on the main until you can get the sidestay all the way down using the same hole as the other chain-plate...

If it's too windy to do that, just hang off the trap wires while someone else releases the snaphook from the D-Shackle, and puts the stay onto the saddle for you...

It all depends on who else is around, what the wind is doing, and what system you have - you could also go to the finnicky process of undoing O-Rings and then fiddling with them -but I HATE O-Rings - and they 'somehow' drop into the sand, or the mast falls down and hits someone - while your fiddling about trying to get the right rig tension etc etc...

Keep in mind you have to be quick, as when you take the snaphooks off the D-Shackle, there's nuffin' holding the mast up on that side until you get the snaphooks down onto the saddle... so a helper is nice. I can do all this by myself 95% of the time - raise the mast, do the juggling with the stays - but you do have 2b confident to achieve all this without someone else 'spotting' you... and understand what may go wrong if a sudden wind gust catches the sail... so be warned.

It comes down to how much extra hassle you're willing to go to to get a nicely balanced, responsive boat... but when it's set-up correctly there is no better feeling - coz when you're in the 'groove' - and the boat is balanced, responsive and doesn't stick the nose in - it's just the best sensation...

If in NSW, you can order all the gear through me at Hero Hoists... much easier than trying to make stays yourself - which may or may not be correct length...

The single forestay system works with the mylar jibs only. If you have an old dacron jib and want to set-up the boat with correct mast-rake, you will need to make adjustments to the line that the top swivel ties to...

[ATTACH=CONFIG]1120[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]1121[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]1122[/ATTACH]

post-25085-13776299703002_thumb.jpg

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Thanks for the shots PP. That is the same setup I now have. I wasn't too keen on stressing out the fittings at this early stage of the relationship. LOL Also FWIW I was making the stays go slack by hanging of the mast with the main halyard and then having my son clip them on, seemed to work OK.

I can see how the block to block and leech correlation makes sense thanks for that.

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Next time i have my boat set-up, I'll see how far back in relation to the rear beam the top of the mast is, and let you know.

Keep in mind this is for the mylar sails, and things depend on where the deepest point of your sail is... as you want to achieve very slight weather helm.

This gives the boat some 'feeling' on the tiller - and is what you're ultimately aiming for...

I'm sure that more experienced/technical sailors could expand on this topic... but it all really comes down to getting the downhaul, outhaul, and sail depth for the conditions right - and getting the helming 'feel' and rake working in unison...

Also keep in mind that too much rake makes the boat difficult to tack... so don't overdo it... :p

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