• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Boom vangs

Phil Herring

Dethroned Admin
Mar 25, 1997
4,723
Hunter 450 Bainbridge Island
What kind of boom vang do you have, and how do you use it?

Are you using the vang that came with your boat? Chances are (for most but not all boats) thats a traditional blocks-and-rope vang.

Some owners have a more capable rigid, spring-loaded vang.

What do you have, how often do you adjust it, and what are your secrets for using the vang for better trim?

Screen Shot 2019-10-23 at 3.39.56 PM.png
 

DougM

.
Jul 24, 2005
1,910
Beneteau 323 Manistee, MI
My Bene323 has a rigid vang. I do adjust depending on wind conditions, but not to the extent that I used to when I was racing small boats that had a block and tackle adjustment.
I like the rigid vang for the function of holding up the boom, but its kind of a “belt and suspenders” approach.
 
Mar 26, 2011
2,695
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
No vang, just a wide traveller. Same on every multihull I have owned. Not very common on multihulls, even racing types. Topping lift works fine.

One reason multis don't snag battens on lifts and lazyjacks is that the main have a lot of roach and full battens; the lines are well clear of the leach.
 

Alan

.
Jun 2, 2004
4,174
Hunter 35.5 LI, NY
Hall Spars Quick Vang with control line lead aft to cockpit. Got rid of topping lift as a result and gain control of mainsail twist particularly off wind reaching.
 

JRT

.
Feb 14, 2017
1,840
Catalina 310 211 Lake Guntersville, AL
I replaced and upgraded on my old O'day 25 and I liked playing with it and seeing a result. My Catalina 310 has a Garhaure Boom Vang that I just replaced all the lines this weekend. I haven't adjusted it much but I note that leaving the line loose seems to push the boom end up too much so I have to pull it down to get a flat sail. I'm still leaning and this is my first experience with a spring loaded vang and no topping lift.
 
Apr 8, 2010
1,461
Ericson Yachts Olson 34 Portland OR
Spring return vang with multi part tackle for down force. This replaced the '88 factory gas cylinder return version that was losing pressure by the mid 90's.
If we had known how great it was to have the boom supported without a topping lift on our prior boat we would have put one of these on it.
:)
I bought ours from the inventor/machinist, and he later sold the rights to Hood Systems and it may still be offered by them as a "Performance Vang". Solid product with adjustable force SS springs.

Note: one small caveat is that the main halyard shackle needs to be clipped to the boon end, at the dock, to keep the boom centered and 'tight'.
 
  • Like
Likes: Dalliance
Oct 6, 2018
113
Watkins 25 Seawolf Dunnellon / Crystal River
Pics would be nice for those of us not so versed. Very interested.
 
Apr 8, 2010
1,461
Ericson Yachts Olson 34 Portland OR
Pix can be found easily on line for the one from Garhauer (likely best ROI), but for a 25 foot boat there are less expensive ones like the Boomkicker.
 
Dec 6, 2018
40
MacGregor 19 Lake Isabella
I like my boom kicker with a block and tackle vang on my '99 McGregor26x. The boom kicker gives the boom lift support as I am dropping sails, while the vang allows me to adjust it to the height I need.

The thing is, I rarely adjust the vang undersail. My question to you who may know, "do i need a 4x shiv block and tackle? Would 2x work? Am I missing something by not adjusting my vang all the time?
 
  • Like
Likes: JerryA
Jun 9, 2008
1,622
- -- -Bayfield
To answer your question, you use the vang to control the twist in your mainsail at the leach. Sailing very close you tighten down on the vang to straighten out the trailing edge with little twist. If you ease it some, you will open up the top part of the leach. As you sail off the wind, you can adjust the vang along with the mainsheet to create a twist that resembles the twist in the genoa/jib so that you create a nice slot of air slipping between the two sails. When you are going deep down wind, then you use the vang to keep the boom from lifting - especially in heavy air. Twist dead down wind is not so important. In extreme heavy air, then you want to haul down on the vang big time to help flatten the mainsail. If you get a gust of wind, you dump the traveler instead of the sheet and then only the sheet if you continue to get knocked down.
 
Dec 6, 2018
40
MacGregor 19 Lake Isabella
Barnacle Bill, brilliant explanation. That makes alot of sense. I just thought it was to hold the boom down at all times. I hadn't thought of shaping the leach. Thank You.
 
Jan 22, 2008
699
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
Since you asked, just finished rebuilding my vang after it failed after too many hard jibes. I added a cascade block raising the purchase to 16:1, really makes it easy to adjust under load, I'm loving it. I'm breaking a running rigging rule, but I used a nylon line in the fiddle blocks to help absorb shocks from jibes to try keep expensive parts on the vang from breaking in the future. The little bit of stretch under load will not affect mainsail shape enough to worry about. Other lines coiled at the mast, red is the topping lift, the green line is outhaul and Cunningham, white is the whisker pole halyard.

Rodkicker Repair

IMG_6849 (2).JPG
 
Oct 6, 2007
747
Hunter H30c 1982 Chicago IL
To answer your question, you use the vang to control the twist in your mainsail at the leach. Sailing very close you tighten down on the vang to straighten out the trailing edge with little twist. If you ease it some, you will open up the top part of the leach. As you sail off the wind, you can adjust the vang along with the mainsheet to create a twist that resembles the twist in the genoa/jib so that you create a nice slot of air slipping between the two sails. When you are going deep down wind, then you use the vang to keep the boom from lifting - especially in heavy air. Twist dead down wind is not so important. In extreme heavy air, then you want to haul down on the vang big time to help flatten the mainsail. If you get a gust of wind, you dump the traveler instead of the sheet and then only the sheet if you continue to get knocked down.
Barnacle Bill,
Very good explanation of vang use. I have a spring loaded Garhauer rigid vang, and like FastOlson mentioned, I also use the main halyard like a topping lift, in opposition to the main sheet, to secure the aft end of the boom while at the dock. Also, while at dock, I leave the vang just a little slack for maximum lift of the boom and to minimize long term spring compression.
 
Oct 26, 2008
4,579
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
I spent a lot of time considering a Seldon rigid vang and never pulled the trigger on that purchase. I finally assembled this 6 to 1 purchase with lines leading to both sides of the cockpit.
IMG_0897.JPG

Note all the bird crap on my roof! :banghead: While I couldn't effectively use the original 4 to 1 without a winch, the 6 to 1 works very well by hand. I was thinking of cascading blocks for either 8 to 1 or even 12 to 1. Found out that 6 to 1 is suitable and, for that, I'm happy.
IMG_0898.JPG
 
Last edited:
Oct 19, 2017
6,505
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
We always used block and tackle vangs. What I like about them is how we also used them as preventers when running down wind.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
Oct 29, 2016
1,609
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
The Sapphire is equipped with a rod kicker with block and tackle, I have purchased the gas shock for this and will have it installed for next season.
 
Apr 5, 2009
1,287
Catalina '88 C30 tr/bs Oak Harbor, WA
My boat came with a 4:1 rope vang which did not give me enough power to properly trim the sail in higher wind. I added a 2:1 cascade which got me to 8:1 which is much better. I also added a 4:1 block with a 2:1 cascade (8:1 total) on the flattening reef to increase the main halyard tension. My outhaul is 3:1 x 2:1 x 2:1 for 12:1 total. I now am able to flatten my old Dacron sail pretty well and get a good draft shape with max chord at 40%. I am sure I could get good shape easier with a new main but this will work (until I tear the poor old thing in half)
 
  • Like
Likes: Ward H
Nov 9, 2012
2,490
Oday 192 Lake Nockamixon
4:1 rope vang (probably overkill for my little boat) combined with an easy to adjust topping lift allows me vang sheet. Since my end boom sheeting doesn't have a traveler, vang sheeting allows me to control leech tension and twist (through boom height control) and allows the mainsheet to control angle of attack independently of leech tension. This helps a lot in lighter air, but I could always point a little better if I had a traveler that allows the boom to be brought up to the centerline. Vang sheeting makes the most of what I have.

It should be noted that I have a sliding gooseneck with downhaul to adjust luff tension and draft position. If I had a fixed position gooseneck and Cunningham to control draft position instead, I would probably install a Boomkicker to lift the boom and prevent the weight of the boom pulling on the leech and removing twist. That being said, too much mainsheet tension would pull down the Boomkicker, so that would be a significant drawback.

For a more racing capable boat with a more performance rig, I'd have a rigid vang of some type, such as a GNAV.
 
Aug 10, 2010
46
Hunter 36, Quarter Berth Model Placid Harbor, Cuckold Crk, Patuxent River
Just installed a "homemade" rope vang on our '82 Hunter 36. A couple of low friction rings and two (overpriced blocks from West Marine) plus some Amsteel Blue..line leads through a deck organizer to the cockpit with a Garhauer Rope Clutch. I haven't tested it yet though. With TS Isaias on her way I don't want to test it in those winds....eventually I'll replace the strap on the boom with a permanent, interior mounted loop.
 

Attachments

Last edited:
  • Like
Likes: Will Gilmore