Forums > Windsurfing General

Is strong downhaul always recommended?

Reply
Created by Francone > 9 months ago, 23 Dec 2014
Francone
WA, 208 posts
23 Dec 2014 4:11AM
Thumbs Up

Since I sail mostly in light winds, my overriding concern is not to waste ANY wind power. From this perspective I wonder whether one should not make an exception to the “ golden” rule of a strong downhaul, which is normally strongly recommended.. In fact, when sub-planing in light winds, (12 knts or so) having the top of the sail loose down to the 2nd panel through a strong downhaul, as normally recommended, combined with a loose leech, unnecessarily depowers the sail, I think. This may explain why I always have to use very large sails ( 8.5 +) in order to get going in light winds. However I am caught in a sort of catch 22 situation, because when I try to keep the downhaul to a minimum in order to have a tight leech, then the sail becomes very hard to rotate. Perhaps this is the lesser of the two evils, after all, because I can always push out the sail with one hand. Even if it didn’t fully rotate, I wonder whether this is more serious than spilling too much wind. I wonder whether any body has comments on this

Thanks

Francone

powersloshin
NSW, 999 posts
23 Dec 2014 6:42AM
Thumbs Up



The problem with less downhaul is that when the leech becomes tight, the entry around the boom, where the power comes from, becomes loose. I would prefer a bigger sail properly set.

jp747
1548 posts
23 Dec 2014 5:14AM
Thumbs Up

Have always been wonderin' for the rest of the sailors.. Do you really have time to go back to the beach and downhaul more when the wind picks up? I've seen a lot of guys rigging loose and only to complain that it was too 'baggy'.. I would do it like powersloshin's if I brought at least to sails to cover the the day's wind average

choco
SA, 3420 posts
23 Dec 2014 7:17AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
Francone said..
Since I sail mostly in light winds, my overriding concern is not to waste ANY wind power. From this perspective I wonder whether one should not make an exception to the “ golden” rule of a strong downhaul, which is normally strongly recommended.. In fact, when sub-planing in light winds, (12 knts or so) having the top of the sail loose down to the 2nd panel through a strong downhaul, as normally recommended, combined with a loose leech, unnecessarily depowers the sail, I think. This may explain why I always have to use very large sails ( 8.5 +) in order to get going in light winds. However I am caught in a sort of catch 22 situation, because when I try to keep the downhaul to a minimum in order to have a tight leech, then the sail becomes very hard to rotate. Perhaps this is the lesser of the two evils, after all, because I can always push out the sail with one hand. Even if it didn’t fully rotate, I wonder whether this is more serious than spilling too much wind. I wonder whether any body has comments on this

Thanks

Francone



If your sailing in 12 knts you got to use something bigger than an 8.5, you could always buy a race board sail something like this www.loftsails.com/products/sails/raceboardblade

stanly
QLD, 306 posts
23 Dec 2014 7:47AM
Thumbs Up

I think you just have to experiment, get an North XTR adj mast base then you can adj the downhaul on the water.

boardsurfr
WA, 752 posts
23 Dec 2014 7:43AM
Thumbs Up

Longboard and RS:X racers usually sail with adjustable downhauls and outhauls. I've seen an RS:X rigged by an olympic sailor, and she could switch from a totally tight leech to a fully loose leech (down to the boom) in a couple of seconds. But she'll use the same 8.5 sail to plane in 8 knots and it 30 knots, and weight about half as much as I do.

The Kona One sails also have a huge trim range - probably several cm to inches downhaul, and at least 15 cm outhaul on the larger sizes. They don't rotate easily anymore in light wind settings, you may have to use your hands or knees to push.

But how tight a leech you can use depends a lot on the sail. Most sails are made for much more limited wind ranges, and often behave very badly with just a cm or two too little downhaul. For example, they may feel very heavy, and become unstable even in small gusts. Another common problem is that the battens poke out too much, which can quickly damage the batten pockets. Sails designed for very wide wind ranges, like the RS:X and Kona One sails and longboard sails, usually don't have these problems.

mathew
VIC, 1725 posts
23 Dec 2014 10:01AM
Thumbs Up

Its not a question of power, but one of efficiency... In its simplest form, modern rigs trade power for efficiency **. If you are sub-planing, then more power helps - however if you can get your board planing [ at all ], then you will be travelling quite a bit quicker so the effect of the apparent wind becomes significant.

Also, you are thinking about it too much. Sail design teams have spent a lot of years developing the sail to set using a specific profile -> if you go to far outside the recommended specs, you are doing yourself a disservice.

** That isn't exactly true, but it is close enough for this example.


Worth noting that sails don't "spill wind" to become inefficient... the spilling of the wind makes them more efficient. [ If that weren't the case, we would all be sailing designs from 10 years ago. ]

ikw777
QLD, 2995 posts
23 Dec 2014 10:15AM
Thumbs Up

Yes, as above. Don't over think it. Go with manufacturers recommendations. They have done the work for you. If you are used to sailing boats you have to leave your old tuning skills behind. A tiny bit less downhaul is ok in the light stuff (10-20 millimetres), but if you attempt to bag it out hugely with downhaul adjustments you're just going to get a very sore body for no increase in speed or efficiency. It will be like wrestling a circus tent.

Sailhack
VIC, 5000 posts
23 Dec 2014 10:46AM
Thumbs Up

^^^ Spot on. I do it on occasion due to my (deliberately) limited quiver of sails and to be honest - it's barely worth it. The pull from the top of the sail puts unnecessary strain on my body and the whole setup typically feels like poo!

Paul Kelf
WA, 677 posts
23 Dec 2014 8:47AM
Thumbs Up

Don't forget that the outhaul has a big part to play also.
Try rigging with say 3/4 recommended downhaul and neutral outhaul for light wind.
As the wind picks up it is easy to adjust the outhaul and the sail will be sweet.

N1GEL
NSW, 861 posts
23 Dec 2014 12:10PM
Thumbs Up

I had a really un-fun sail in 30kts yesterday... mainly coz I rigged a sail I rarely use and I'm pretty sure I didn't have anywhere near enough downhaul, which made the sail feel really twitchy and unbalanced. That combined with no being able to get my harness lines quite right really put a dampener on my session.

In my limited time windsurfing, I've found that too much downhaul is better than not enough. Makes the sail feel more stable and softens the blow when a gust hits. I always put as much downhaul as possible and very little outhaul, but that's just me.

seanhogan
3007 posts
23 Dec 2014 10:26AM
Thumbs Up

+1

I always downhaul my sails to the max (even in light wind) and just play with the outhaul.

those point 7 need to be tamed or you'll only be sailing 1/2 hour before your arms are gone....

jh2703
NSW, 1176 posts
23 Dec 2014 6:59PM
Thumbs Up

Recommend downhaul every time, You get your power from your outhaul.....The less you have to play with the better.

petermac33
WA, 4877 posts
23 Dec 2014 5:27PM
Thumbs Up

If you don't like using big sails--- a smaller size sail with a tight leech will provide nearly the same power.

If you sail very deep off the wind though,the larger sail will provide much more power.

I can get my bagged out 7m Pryde slalom on a 122 Patrik with a 46 fin going nearly as early as the anyone with the 8.6m.size.

The 8.6 to 8.7 seems to be the 'in' size at the moment for light 10-15 knot conditions.

Were I to use that size--- I certainly would use more downhaul and outhaul.

Much prefer the lighter feel of a smaller sized sail.

As the boom and luff length increase------ the swing weight increases too.

The rig maybe light as----- but the swing weight makes it feel heavy.

Mark _australia
WA, 18959 posts
23 Dec 2014 9:58PM
Thumbs Up

^^^ until you have ANY variation in the wind and then it does not work.

A bigger sail rigged to spec is waaayyy better than a small sail with insufficient downhaul, as with the latter any little gust makes it all out of shape.

Otherwise, wouldn't Formula be guys with 200L boards and underdownhauled 6m sails..........??????


boardboy
QLD, 554 posts
24 Dec 2014 12:30PM
Thumbs Up

recommended down-haul bro.

cammd
QLD, 2127 posts
24 Dec 2014 1:01PM
Thumbs Up

Is a strong down haul always recommended?? Not always, it depends on the sail. One design sails like RSX and Techno are very tunable, those guys that sail with adjustable downhauls use them for a reason. Raceboard sails as well. Formula sails I don't think so much but my 11.0mtr Severne Formula Experience is sensitive to small downhaul adjustments, in really light wind less down haul gives it more draft and a tighter leach which is helpful to get planing but if the wind creeps up, a bit more downhaul helps to flatten the draft and loosen the leach which makes it more comfortable and easier to lock down on the deck without getting that back handed pressure on the front.

I think if you just set your sail to recommended and never do any tuning you could be leaving some performance and comfort on the table.

actiomax
NSW, 1350 posts
24 Dec 2014 8:51PM
Thumbs Up

If you really want to test rigging go windskating you can just drop sail& change rigging & check preformance all the time & you can then easily determine if its going to work on that particular sail then you can note optimum performance . . Bet it will be factory specs . But it is a good way to experiment.

joe windsurf
1453 posts
24 Dec 2014 11:05PM
Thumbs Up

or on the snow



I have an ice version too, but it is MUCH more dangerous for the uninitiated !!

actiomax
NSW, 1350 posts
25 Dec 2014 10:07PM
Thumbs Up

Joe I like your style



Subscribe
Reply

Forums > Windsurfing General


"Is strong downhaul always recommended?" started by Francone