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Sailing Tips: How to Sail Faster on Reaches!

Another sailboat for sale and there it was. Bare, naked and neutered. How did this person sail the boat on reaches without this critical appendage?

Beats me. It’s sort of like driving a car in first or second–without the ability to accelerate. Make sure your sailboat has this vital sailing gear for maximum sail power.

What happens when you fall off the wind to a reach or run? Your mainsheet no longer has as much ability to pull down on the boom. Indeed, it’s now at an angle to the boom. Without some help, the end of your boom will begin to lift. In a seaway, your boom will bounce around.

That’s tough on the boom and boom fittings. And the mainsail leech? It’ll belly out like a pregnant whale–dumping lots of wind. Your boat will be tough to control as weather helm increases.

Which brings us back full circle to the intro of today’s article. My burning question. Why would any responsible sailboat manufacturer sell a sailboat without a boom vang?

The vang must be installed onto the boom at a specific location to avoid excessive loads and distortion. In general, the upper vang bale (“U” shaped fitting) will be located about 1/3 of the way aft of the gooseneck along the boom.

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About John Jamieson

John Jamieson
Captain John Jamieson was a search and rescue skipper, ship driver, navigator, and master training specialist in the U.S. Coast Guard. He later directed the Seamanship and Chart Navigation departments for the Professional Mariner program at the Chapman School of Seamanship in Florida. He is the author of 'Seamanship Secrets' published by McGraw-Hill and has written 20 other eBooks on navigation, seamanship, and small boat handling. Visit his website at www.skippertips.com

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