RIGGING GUIDELINES FOR BEGINNERS
this and take it with you to the water.)
First, let me give you guidelines about these guidelines.
Rigging is a combination of science and art.
That means one needs to have certain technical,
straightforward, how-to knowledge (i.e., science).
It also means that knowledge will often be uniquely
applied to different sails in different wind conditions
That's why we call it "tuning" a sail.
Therefore, most of what is below is proven procedure
while some is my artistic opinion.
But, don't worry
IT REALLY AIN'T VERY COMPLICATED.
(But it does help - a lot - if you always follow
the same procedure in detail each time you rig.)
It is critical to familiarize yourself with the dimensions
of your new sail.
1.) Know the LUFF LENGTH (mast sleeve length),
typically in centimeters, so that you can compare this
to your MAST's actual length. Then you'll know
roughly how much adjustment you must make at the top of
the sail - or extension to add to the bottom of your mast
-- to fit the sail to the mast. (For example: Your mast
is 460cm long and your sail has a 448cm luff - be ready
to adjust the head fitting strap of your new sail to allow
about 12cm length of your mast to stick out the top. Or,
your sail has a 478cm luff so be ready to add about 17cm
length to the bottom of your mast with the adjustable
extension.) Be aware, sails may or may not have an adjustable
head, so using a mast which is longer than the sail's
sleeve may not be an option. This is very common on high
performance sails made since '99.
2.) Know the BOOM LENGTH (distance from luff sleeve
to CLEW, the eyelet where you tie the tail of the
boom to the sail). Be ready to adjust your boom to fit
this sail but this can be done by sight later.
1st - Unroll the sail this way:
a.) with the LUFF (mast sleeve) perpendicular
to the wind direction
b.) with the CLEW (hole where you tie the tail
of the boom to the sail) straight downwind
c.) you can read the manufacturere's sail logo face-up
d.) try to rig in a grassy or pine strawed area protected
from strong wind.
2nd -- Thread the mast up the
a.) if sail has CAMS (mechanical cups inside
sail's mast sleeve at mast end of middle BATTENS
that "grip" the mast), follow the manufacturer's
direction on whether the mast should thread up the sleeve
lying over the cams to be popped into place later,
or through the cams, i.e. in their final position
with the mast in the "cup" of the cams.
b.) Seat the top of the mast in the sail head. Sail
may have a male piece that inserts into a female fitting
in the mast tip, or the sail may have a cloth "turban"
cup that the mast tip simply terminates into. If sail
has an "adjustable head", i.e., the turban
or male "T" fitting is on a strap, and your
mast is longer than the sail's luff, let out the strap
to approximately that excess length.
c.) Pull the sail down to the mast bottom as far as
you can by hand.
3rd -- Insert the extension in
mast bottom and thread downhaul line into the
tack grommet at the sail bottom or foot.
a.) Do not have universal joint and/or mast base attached
to extension at this point. b.) Did you adjust the collar
of the extension to approximate the additional length
you will need to add to the mast to fit the sail's luff
size? The extension has markings on it in centimeters.
c.) Run the lines through the pulleys such that they
do not cross each other. If you run the line initially
through the top of the tack grommet and then to inside
of the extension roller, or visa versa, continue that
same way with each loop until you end being able to
bring the line finally straight into the cleat of the
extension, but don't "seat" the line in the
4th - Downhaul the sail
a.) Have a downhaul tool. SIT on the ground facing the
bottom of the mast w/ extension in it, but not the U-joint.
There's no other way to do it. Use your right foot to
brace or push away the mast/extension as you pull the
downhaul line to you. Now, "seat" the line
into the cleat of the extension.
- 5th - Put the boom on. a.)First, undo the adjustment
fittings on each boom arm and leae undone. Slide the boom
tail piece out somewhat. b.) Lift the foot of the sail at
the mast extension and slide the boom on. Bring the boom
head (with the mast-gripping clamp) up to the hole in
the sail's mast sleeve and clamp it on near the top of the
hole, but within the area indicated the mast should go.
Don't bother tying off the excess line yet. c.) You will
adjust the height of the boom (relative to your shoulders)
- 6th - Outhaul the sail as far you can. a.) If the
tail piece is out 7 or 8 inches beyond the sail's clew,
clamp shut the adjustment device on the boom's arms. b.)
Run the outhaul line of the boom end through the grommet
of the clew, back around the roller or plastic grooves or
knobs on the boom, through the grommet again, and finally
through the hole where the cleat is. Take care to keep the
line from crossing itself. Pull outward hard on the line
to draw the sail out flat and seat the line in the cleat..
Leave the excess line loose. b.) If your sail has cams,
and you did not thread the mast through them at the beginning,
now is the time to seat the mast in the cams. Go to where
the mast clamps to the boom. Push down on the middle sail
batten about 2 feet out from the mast just below the boom's
arm with your right hand. Simultaneously, with your left
hand, reach to the cams and help them pop into place cupping
the mast. ( NOTE: The cams should slide down the mast as
you finish downhauling in the next step; but, if they bind
and won't move, you may have to alternately downhaul some
and then help the cams slide down.) c.) Return to the foot
of the sail and sit down on the ground.
- 7th - Complete downhauling. This will take some
serious effort (unless you have a Rig Wrench tool that effortlessly
pulls the line as you turn a handle). a.) Using your line-gripping
downhaul tool, assume the same position as before on the
ground and now pull hard. Watch the outer upper edge of
the sail, called the leech. The sail is properly downhauled
when the leech (the outside edge of the sail furtherest
from the mast betweent he clew and the top of the sail)
begins to get "floppy" between the top 2 or 3
battens. Also, there should be no more than a couple
inches of space between the extension's rollers and the
edge of the sail's foot or tack grommet rollers. b.)
If the sail seems properly downhauled as idicated by
the desired floppiness of the leech, but you have several
inches of space between these two points, the extension
is out too long. Loosen everything, and reset the adjustable
extension collar to a shorter length.( The first time you
rig a new sail, this is a necessary pain; but, once you
find the setting, note it and you shouldn't have to go through
that stage again.) c.) Tie off the excess dowhaul line with
clove hitches around the extension or insert it up into
the hollow shaft of the extension.
- ATTENTION! "Tuning a sail" is
mainly about two things: (1) The amount of "floppiness"
of the leech (defined by degree of downhaul tension); and
(2) the degeree of "flatness" of the sail
(defined by degree of outhaul tension). In light wind, you
want a "powered up" sail which means a slightly
floppy leech and very little, if any, outhaul tension. This
allows for a deep draft (the bulging bowl of the
sail from below the boom to the foot) in the sail to maximize
the sails lifting power. In higher winds, you make the leech
floppier and outhaul more to flatten the sail. This will
alow the top of the sail to "twist off" or dump
excess wind and give you more comfort and control. A sail
is said to have "great range" if it can be tuned,
within reason, to work effectively over a wide spread of
- 8th - Put on the U-joint -- unless it is
one part with the mast base. See step 11 below if
it is. a.) Make sure the pushpins are properly seated in
the mast base holes and the downhaul line is not pinched.
Remember, this is the only connection between your rig and
board -- if a problem develops here on the water, well...
you've got a problem.
- 9th - Finish adjusting the outhaul a.) Return to
the boom tail. Loosen the line from the cleat and now adjust
the flatness of the sail by setting the amount of outward
tension. (Note: Most manufacturer's make their sails to
be properly tuned for light wind (per that sail size) when
there is only a very slight amount of outhaul tension. Also,
when a sail is filled out with wind and it touches the "other
side" boom arm, that is not necessarily wrong. It may
cause abrasion on the sail, though.) b.) Tie off the excess
line by looping it around a boom arm in such a way that
tension stays on the line to stay seated firmly in the cleat.
Use clove hitches on each loop and keep pulling each loop
tight around the pole in the smae direction. I t is important
that this be secure. NOTE: On a camless sail, a properly
outhauled sail will have the battens' tips at the mast ending
at the mid point of the diameter of the mast, or "inside"
the mast. They will not be poking "outside" the
mast sleeve (luff), i.e., pushing the sail sleeve material
and about to poke a hole there.
- 10th - Adjust the boom height. a.) Stand up the
whole rig and hold it like you're sailing. Allowing for
the extra height of the board above the water (the ground,
in this case), unclamp the boom head and knock the boom
up or down until the arms are at shoulder height and then
reclamp the boom. b.) Tie off the excess boom head line
in similar fashion as you did the the outhaul line.
- 11th - Put on the protective pads. a.) Always
use a boom brah. That's the pad that goes on the
outer boom head. It has velcroed straps that clasp it to
the boom arms near the mast. It will protect the board,
theoretically, from dings if you drop the boom head-first
on the board's nose. b.) Put on the mast pad unless
it is an integral part of the sail. This pad will cushion
the mast from abrading the board as the sail lies over in
- 12th - Adjust the mast base location along the
mast track of the board. a.) For beginnners and bigger sails,
put it far foward in the track. For smaller sails and higher
winds, move it back. b.) Tighten down the base securely
and connect the rig to the board in the water.
- NOW YOU"RE DONE! Get on the water and test drive
it. Don't be shy about readjusting any movable setting,
especially the boom height and outhaul.