Setting your sail up correctly
In the surfshop or at the surfschool we see time and time again that people set up their surfsails
incorrectly. An incorrectly set up sail means that you lose efficiency in the sail, which you notice during
Less control of your sail in high wind range.
More difficult to go upwind.
The planing ability of the sail is less.
To have a sail incorrectly set up means in the most cases insufficient tension on the downhaul. More
tension on the downhaul has the following effect:
There is slack in the leech so the sail can twist.More tension means more twist. The leech of the
surfsail should be at the minimum slack till the second batten. It can go almost to the boom in strong wind.
The tension in the sail increases. In this case the wind can’t form in the sail so in strong wind the control is better.
With a higher tension the surfsail is flatter. Flatter sails are ultimately faster. Many windsurfers make the mistake of thinking that in little wind that they need to trim the sail so that it has a bellied profile. This won’t help. The sail won’t give any lift to let you plane and will only feel heavy.
In contrast to the downhaul, the outhaul needs almost no tension. One to two centimeters is enough. One centimeter more or less tension can make a world of difference in the sailing quality.
TIP: the tension on the downhaul of the surfsail is so high that you can’t pull it with bare hands. Bottom left you can see a number of tips to help with setting up your surfsail.
The leech of your surfsail must stay loose. With extra tension, in stronger wind you can get more twist in your sail.