Click here to get an overview of the Whitecap Windsurfing site!Who and what is exactly Whitecap Windsurfing?Need to get your feet wet? Ask Whitecap about lessonsNew gear? Used gear? Whitecap can help you!...from Augusta to the Atlantic coast...Recommended  windsurfing and weather links

 

BASIC RIGGING GUIDELINES FOR BEGINNERS

(Print 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. Huh?
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 (i.e., art).
• 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.)


Preliminaries
:

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 correctly.
    d.) try to rig in a grassy or pine strawed area protected from strong wind.

  • 2nd -- Thread the mast up the sleeve
    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 cleat yet.

  • 4th - Downhaul the sail about halfway.
    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) later.

  • 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 wind speed.

  • 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 the water.

  • 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.
 
   
Chuck Hardin
(706) 860-0639

Homeg Who is Whitecap? g Instruction
Equipment g Places to Sail
g Windsurf Links

Click Here to E-mail