by Win Fowler

Win Fowler has built sails for America’s Cup boats, coastal cruisers and one-design racers

I have a 30-foot C&C. The boom on this boat is too low for a standard vang; instead it has to be rigged to the toerail. The mast has a female internal track that receives round slugs. I’ve lived with the rig, but it is growing old. Can I raise up the boom with this type of mast track to make room for a vang?

Ask Sail: Flying Jib

by Win Fowler, Posted March 14, 2012
  When sailing my Baltic 35 I usually fly a large 140 percent genoa on a roller furler. When the wind gets too strong, however, I find it is too big to roller-reef efficiently. The boat also came with an 80 percent working jib that I’ve never used.

Asymmetric Ambitions

by Win Fowler, Posted August 24, 2011
Richard Roach of Youngstown, Ohio, asks:   "I have a 1988 Freedom 30 with an unstayed carbon-fiber mast. What risk do I run of harming my mast if I fly a small full-hoist drifter or asymmetric spinnaker? I occasionally attach the tack of my lightweight genoa to the bow pulpit (where the spinnaker pole is normally mounted in a canister designed to hold it) and hoist it

Vang Connections

by Win Fowler, Posted July 22, 2011
Jan Warren of Brighton, Michigan, asks:   "I have a 1982 Catalina 30 and have just purchased a 4:1 boom vang. What is the best way to attach the vang to the boom and mast? I have been told to do it different ways and am a little confused. The vang is set up with a snap shackle for the mast attachment. I was thinking of installing a Forespar curved base mast eye and drilling

Rigging Inspection

by Win Fowler, Posted June 22, 2011
Mike Allen of Beaufort, South Carolina, asks:   "My standing rigging is 22 years old. It seems to be in good shape, but there is some oxidation and discoloration. Is there an ultraviolet penetrating dye that can be used to inspect standing rigging, chainplates, turnbuckles and other hardware? If so, do you know of any vendors?" Win Fowler

High-Modulus Upgrade

by Win Fowler, Posted May 22, 2011
Ben Cantor of New Bedford, Massachusetts, asks:   "I’ve been cruising on a 1973 Pearson 36 for the past 10 years, and this year I plan to splurge and buy all new sails and running rigging. I expect I will order high-quality Dacron sails. I’ve read a lot about high-modulus line and would like to try it out, but I wonder if it is worthwhile using it on a cruising boat. I like

Outboard Sheeting Angles

by Win Fowler, Posted April 14, 2011
James Caven of San Diego, California, asks:   "I’ve been reading some older “how-to” sailing books and one describes a technique for taking a jib or genoa sheet out to the end of the main boom when reaching. Is this worth the trouble? Is it a commonly used method today? I assume it is to open up the sheeting angle. Is there an easier way to achieve the same

Bowsprit Dreams

by Win Fowler, Posted March 8, 2011
Frank Fosse of Charleston, South Carolina, asks:   "I sail a 1983 Beneteau First 42, which I enjoy very much. I would like to fly an asymmetric spinnaker and/or a Code-O sail from a bowsprit, like on many of the more modern boats I see these days. I see there are some removable bowsprits on the market, but they look a bit light to me. Are they really strong enough for what I

Mainsail Reefing Protocol

by Win Fowler, Posted January 25, 2011
Elroy Schwartz of New Orleans, Louisiana, asks:   "When I was learning to sail I was taught when reefing a mainsail (with slab reefing, that is) to first tighten up the reef line securing the clew and then take full tension on the halyard to tighten the luff and tack. When I reef this way on my current boat, which I bought used a couple of years ago, the foot of the sail gets

Asymmetrical Drag

by Win Fowler, Posted December 14, 2010
Hal Garner of Fort Myers, Florida, asks:   "My mast doesn’t have sheaves for a spinnaker halyard, so I fly my asymmetric spinnaker on my second genoa halyard. I also bend the sail’s tack onto a line that runs down through a block directly behind the forestay to a winch in the cockpit. When tacking the boat, I handle the spinnaker the same way I would a genoa. However I’ve
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