by Win Fowler

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

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


by Win Fowler, Posted December 13, 2010
Rick McCowan of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, asks:   "My boat has rod rigging. Whenever the wind blows between about 9 and 13 knots, the rigging hums quite loudly and it’s a bit annoying. Why is this happening, and what’s the best way to stop it?" Win Fowler replies: Although I need to know more about your rig to say for sure, I do have some

Halyard Hook

by Win Fowler, Posted October 21, 2010
Leon Lieberman of Ambler, Pennsylvania, asks:   "The center headsail halyard on my C&C 33 needed replacing, and a crewmember accidentally pulled it out without attaching a messenger line to run the new halyard. I’ve been up the mast twice, but can’t get the new halyard to feed in over the sheave and down the mast. Any thoughts on how I can get the halyard up and over the

New Moves

by Win Fowler, Posted September 21, 2010
Joanne Rideout of Astoria, Oregon, asks:   "I’m a new crewmember racing on an Olson 30 and one of the jobs I’ve been assigned is going on the foredeck to skirt the genoa when we tack. I’ve nearly fallen overboard a couple of times trying to get the sail inside the lifeline after it gets caught outside. What’s the best way to skirt a genoa when it gets stuck? Also, how do I

Spinnaker Savvy

by Win Fowler, Posted August 21, 2010
David von Fruke of Ssen, Minnesota, asks:   "Last year I purchased a 202 ft2 asymmetrical spinnaker for my Hunter 170 along with a sock for dousing the sail. My goal is to set the spinnaker singlehanded, and while I can manage it, I do have trouble raising and lowering the sail. I have been thinking about putting the spinnaker on a roller furler. What do you

Tight Strings

by Win Fowler, Posted July 20, 2010
Philip Donegan of Kemah, Texas asks:   "My 35ft boat has a 379 ft2 mainsail. I’m using 10mm braid for my reefing lines, but I am thinking about replacing them with smaller Dyneema lines on the theory that the smaller diameter line will reduce the friction on the blocks. Am I correct, and if so, what is the minimum line strength I can use?" Win Fowler

Tiny Tunes

by Win Fowler, Posted June 19, 2010
Joseph Serio of Brooklyn, New York, asks:   "What is the best way to check that the shrouds and stays are properly adjusted on my Irwin 40 Mk 11?" Win Fowler replies: Let's talk about a single-spreader rig. For more spreaders the principles are the same, but the process is a bit trickier. Before you start, make sure the spreader-tip heights bisect

Well Sprung

by Win Fowler, Posted April 19, 2010
Joe Nieters of Dillon, Colorado, asks:   "What are the advantages of a rigid boomvang? Many boats I’ve seen with them seem to also have topping lifts, and a lot of the rigid vangs also have a block-and-tackle control arrangement." Win Fowler replies: The advantage of a rigid boomvang is that it supports the boom. Having a topping lift and a rigid

Tension Tool

by Win Fowler, Posted January 19, 2010
Paul Derby of Cadillac, Michigan, asks:   "My 1976 Pearson 30 has a hydraulic backstay tensioner and I am wondering what the optimum backstay tension should be when cruising. I’m also thinking about replacing the hydraulic system with something else. Any suggestions?" Win Fowler replies: I can’t give you exact advice on your backstay tension
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