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Can't get sail out to 90 degrees

Rory Seydel

New Member
I am a newb to sailing, but loving it so far! I've gone out a handful of times one thing I can't seem to figure out is how to get my sail way out (to 90 degrees or even close). Are my vang and Cunningham too tight? Maybe there's not enough wind (only around 5-6 KM/hr so far) Do I need to let everyting out to get a nice sail shape? I've seen videos of people sailing with the sail way out and it looks smooth and fun. What am I doing wrong? I have a pretty old laser with recreational/original/not racing rigging (maybe this is also the issue).
 
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Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
In very light winds you may have to push the boom out.
I don't think the C'ham has much to do with this, but you do want to release the vang so that the boom is horizontal (more or less).
 

Rory Seydel

New Member
Cool thx! I pushed the boom out but I don't think I released the vang, I"ll try that next time. Seems like the mast doesn't swing like it should. Is that a thing with older lasers/rigging?
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
In extremely light conditions, the weight of the sheet overcomes the wind force, with the result you noticed (and you probably noticed as well how things get even stickier when the rope hits the water :confused: ).

The solution for downwind sailing is to let the boom out more than 90° and to heel the boat to windward. Gravity pulls the boom forward, which takes the slack out of the sheet. (Which should be at least 12.5 metres long for this to work; 13.5 is the standard length.)

When reaching, you may have to keep the sheet tight and out of the water by pushing on the boom. Heel the boat a bit to leeward.

Vang tension has no effect on this (as it's contained within the rig), but it should still be at its max loose setting (the boom a bit higher than 90° to the mast) for aerodynamic reasons. Likewise, the cunningham should be completely slack.

Keep the mast step clean so there's no extra friction. They're identical in old and new boats, so that shouldn't make any difference. If anything, the "old" outhaul control should let the mast rotate a tiny bit more freely as it's not attached to the hull. If you have a mast retainer line (like you should, but which may be missing on pre-2001 boats), rig it loose enough so it doesn't restrict the rotation.

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Rory Seydel

New Member
Thanks for the tips! I think I just had everything rigged too tight in fear of losing something if I went over lol. I'll try with some slack see if I can get it out more than 45 degrees ha. Cunningham should be slack? I think been cleating it in pretty tight. That might be part of the problem too.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
A tight cunningham may hinder the boom going out on the tack on which it hits the vang tang, but fundamentally it should be slack because it should be slack going downwind in all conditions anyway. As said, the vang and boom-cleated outhaul have nothing to do with your problem. Just see to that your sheet is long enough (see my previous post), and push the boom beyond right angles, and heel to windward. With the centreboard raised about halfway up you can "hike" off it with your forward hand.

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