Ullman Sails Series Part IV: The Boom Vang

boom vang 1
courtesy Sail-World.com

What’s a Boom Vang? Boom…Vang…it’s a weird word, but it’s a part of the boat that is often overlooked but can be essential in the performance of your boat and your main sail. A boom vang (US) or kicking strap (UK) is a line  on a sailboat used to exert downward force on the boom and manage the shape of the sail. Here’s a diagram

Boom vang

You guessed it, the guys over at Ullman Sails have some great ideas on how to control your boom vang (especially on smaller boats) to make the most of your sail. Here’s their article. To read the full article Read Here.

If you have a powerful boom vang, you can use it to induce lower mastbend if you want to flatten the main entry low down. In general, this is not necessary on most big boats.  Off the wind, the best rule is to keep the top batten parallel to the boom. When close or beam reaching, you can also watch the top telltale to make sure it continues to flow.  On a power reach when you are on the edge of a broach, keep a hand on the vang to dump it off if the rudder starts to feel like it is stalling.  And downwind in big waves and wind, you can help stop oscillation by “overvanging” and hooking the leech.

Here are other three parts in our series:

Part I: Mainsail Controls

Part II: Cunningham & Halyard

Part III: The Backstay

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