Gorge Rigging Tips – Part Two: Outhaul
A properly rigged Panther will reward you with a balanced feel along with the power and range to handle the gusts and lulls. Sure, it’s fun to introduce sailors to the new Ezzy sails, but I’m also on the beach to help Ezzy sailors get the best performance possible from their sails. Setting the outhaul is important with all Ezzy sails, and setting it correctly on the Panther is a must.
David has been focusing on a draft forward design for several seasons. This results in a sail that locks the draft in place, giving it an extremely light and balanced feel. The reason behind this is simple; the draft stays where it’s designed to be. If the draft moves in a sail it causes instability that you’ll immediately feel. It’s especially noticeable in strong gusty conditions. In a non-draft forward sail, when a gust hits the sail the draft typically moves back and results in uncomfortable pull on your back hand.
Draft Forward Design
The Ezzy draft forward design begins before the panels are sewn together. Instead of sewing the straight edges together; each panel edge is carefully cut to a designed curve that when sewn together creates the desired draft shape along that panel. It’s a challenging and labor intensive way to make a sail, but David Ezzy wouldn’t do it any other way. It’s easy to see the draft forward design after setting the downhaul. But setting the outhaul correctly is critical in keeping the draft where it’s designed to be.
Rig The Boom
Attach the boom at the desired height and lift the clew end of the boom and use the three strings at the clew to set the correct boom length for light, medium and high winds. The picture is a 5.0 Panther. Please notice that the minimum outhaul required, even for light winds, is 6 cm. I’ve heard sailors say, “I just bag the sail out for more power”…please don’t do it. The draft forward design requires at least the minimum outhaul. As shown in the picture, the difference between the minimum and maximum outhaul is 3 cm. Even at max outhaul the sail will still have noticeable draft, however from the leach forward along the battens it will be more flat than when set for full power. Always pull the clew to the inside of the boom. I’ve found that for the Gorge I set the downhaul once and then adjust the outhaul as needed as conditions change.
Another great season winds down here in the Gorge, and we’ll be heading to Baja soon. If you’ll be in La Ventana this winter stop by the campground on a windy day and take a Panther for a test ride. We’ll keep you updated on the Baja lifestyle. See ya on the beach, Gary & Nancy
La Ventana Sunset