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Vang Solution with a Deck Cleat Only?

LostSailor

New Member
Hey Now,

I rigged my sunfish for the first time this morning — just in time for the wind to die out. I followed a how-to video showing the rigging of a mast with a cleat on its side, but my boat only has a deck cleat, so the procedure for tying my vang had to differ.

Eventually, I managed to make something functional, but I think the solution I arrived at limits the mobility of my boom. I couldn't quite get it out to 90º.

First I tried rigging it as if there were a mast cleat: hoisting the sail, passing the halyard through the eye, then up around the gooseneck and back through the eye before finally hitching to the deck cleat, but it kept falling.

The only way I could get the thing to work was by hoisting the sail, passing the halyard through the eye, tying the halyard to the deck cleat, then wrapping the gooseneck, passing back through the eye and tying a second cleat hitch on top of my first. But, like I said, this seems to limit the mobility of the boom.

I'm sure I'm missing a simple step.

Any suggestions?

IMG_1526-1.jpeg
 

Pippins

Member
Having the vang tighten with the movement of the boom is a no no. The simple step you missed was going back through the deck eye one more time before cleating.

The halyard goes through the deck eye and is then cleated as you normally would. Then you take the tail of the halyard and pass back through the deck eye, up above the goose neck, around the mast, back through the deck eye and then is re-cleated over the existing halyard cleat. It is easiest when using an appropriately small sized halyard, something in the 4mm to 5mm range (looks like you already have this). If you halyard is oversized it might not be possible to get the three passes through the deck eye or have enough room on the cleat for the vang.

I'll mention again the round trip around the mast, if you make the round trip around the gooseneck and back on the same side of the mast you will tighten on one tack and potentially pull the deck eye or deck out of your boat.
 

LostSailor

New Member
Note that a mast cleat is not part of boom vang rigging. Everyone uses only the deck cleat.
But the halyard is secured first on the mast cleat (or to the deck cleat). Then you use "only the deck cleat" to secure the vang. I now understand that rigging the main and vang requires two cleat hitches, I just hadn't found a tutorial showing how to do both on a single cleat.

My problem now is making it physically possible to do correctly; this line is a little too thick to pass through the eye thrice. Not sure how the previous owner sailed it.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
The halyard has to be cleated to the deck even with a mast cleat. That is so the rig doesn’t fall out if you flip. The halyard should go through the deck eye 3 times easily. Maybe you need a thinner halyard.
 

tag

my2fish
My vang setup only uses the deck eye/fairlead twice - but you have to have a mast cleat.

Halyard comes down the mast to the mast cleat and is tied off, so at this point, the rest of the line is just the tail with no load on it.
Continue the halyard down to the deck fairlead (1st time), then up and over the gooseneck, around the mast and back through the deck fairlead (2nd time), then back to the deck horn cleat to tie off.
 

Charles Howard

Active Member
LostSailor for no mast cleat. Raise sail, halyard through eyelet and then cleat. As belar said the rest is the tail, so back through eyelet front to back, over gooseneck back to front, back to eyelet front to back, then to cleat.

Your picture is putting a lot of force on the cleat and it can pull out.

We were doing vangs long before the mast the cleat was legal.
 

Pippins

Member
I've heard a picture is worth a thousand words, so I took these last night.IMG_1521.jpg
Step 1 - Halyard rigged as normal.

IMG_1522.jpg
Step 2 - Adding the Vang. Halyard goes back thru the eye, over the gooseneck, around the mast, back through the eye, and back on to the cleat.

IMG_1523.jpg
And one final image showing how I rig the vang when using a mast with a cleat.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Very nice. Pix do help!!! But why don't you do it the same in the "with mast cleat" version and the without version? Your "with mast cleat" version gives the line more length to stretch and allowing the vang to loosen. The entire line from mast cleat, thru the loop for the vang, and to the deck cleat can stretch. With the no mast cleat version, the just the line to and from the deck cleat and the loop for the vang can stretch.
 

Charles Howard

Active Member
Agree with Beldar. Everytime you are adjusting the rig you are untying the rig from the boat and if you capsize in waves the rig could fall out. After the rig is cleated you tie the vang and cleat
If you need to adjust vang you uncleat adjust and cleat.
 

Pippins

Member
@ Beldar, there is no reason not to rig as you are stating and I actually used to as well (which is identical to the without mast cleat option but with the halyard being tied off at the cleat on mast on it's way to the fairlead on the deck. You are also correct about there being less line to stretch, but in my experience this has not been an issue, I use dyneema cored lines which are very low stretch and I run relatively light vang pressure. I set my vang tension by pressing the palm of my hand on gooseneck and hitching it down about two or three inches and cleating it off. I do not adjust the vang while sailing and I do not change it for different conditions (with the except of going harder on it for very high winds).

I'll note here that the Sunfish vang is very different then the vang in most other common boats. In most boats the vang is primarily there to control the twist in the upper region of the sail and is adjusted often. On the Sunfish, the vang cannot do this as upper yard cannot fall off and it's angle to the wind is controlled by boom's attachment to it at the interlocking eye bolts. I see the Sunfish vang as pulling a small amount of draft out of the sail upwind, and critical to controlling the boom down wind, and by critical I think it is critical that you have it, and the amount is secondary. Without the vang in a blow some really nasty things can happen downwind which can result in swimming.

In regards to the rig being unrestrained in a capsize, I do not see it a major issue as it's only off for a few seconds and you shouldn't be doing this in a situation when a capsize is a high probability. I also shim my mast with tape at the bottom and near the deck level to prevent slop and it's tight enough to make the rig falling out to be improbable (it's tough to remove from the boat after sailing).
 
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Charles Howard

Active Member
Pippins you were commenting you have your mast shimmed tight. Do you get much mast rotation that way? The group I race with uses thin plastic notebook covers as shims in the mast tube. It shims but allows good mast rotation
 

Pippins

Member
@ Charles Howard - I haven't actually bothered watching how much rotation I get, I haven't noticed any oddness with the set of halyard so I will call it a non-issue, at least for me.

My favorite tape for these types of application is what is commonly called "vacuum sealer tape" or "PTFE or Teflon tape". I got introduced to it as a slippery surface for the shoe on the ram vang on my 29er skiff and I have been finding new uses for it ever since. It is relatively durable, very slippery and inexpensive.
 
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