Friday, March 5, 2010

A Rigging Lesson With David Ezzy

It was my 2nd trip to Maui back in the summer of 2006. I had brought my own gear, and as it turned out, I was getting blown away on my 4.5 that first day at Kanaha. It was gusting way up into the upper 30's, not really what I was used to back home on the Delmarva (at least not in summer months anyway). Well, in between sessions, I see a sailor on the beach helping someone adjust his sail. It was David Ezzy. I pointed him out to my wife and waited for the right moment to introduce myself. I was a little apprehensive approaching him, but a friend had met him the prior year and told me that he was very friendly and is usually willing to help other people fine tune their sails, especially, I suspect, if he designed them. "Hi David, my name is George, I've bought an entire quiver of your sails, and would you take a look at how mine is rigged? I’m struggling in these heavy winds."

Much to my delight, he spent over 20 minutes completely re-rigging my sail and educating me on the some of the more technical aspects of sail design and rigging. I was humbled to learn that after 18 years of sailing, I was no where even close to having it rigged as the designer had intended.

I had room to shorten the luff and reduce the amount of extension. He told me that the top of the sail and the leach are the most important real estate on the sail, and ideally there should be as little excess mast sticking out the top. I suspect this has something to do with the ideal curve of the sail shape as it relates to the bend characteristics of your specific mast, and where along the mast those critical sections of the sail lies.

I had tightened the tack strap over the top the base pad. He stressed that it was important to cinch it up under the pad, even over tighten it to the point that the tensions pulls on the foot of the sail, forming a sort of a pocket down there near the board.

I had also over down-hauled the sail, which meant the outhaul was also off.

My boom was too low. Raising the boom would improve control in the heavy winds.

After all of that, he wanted to watch me sail. No pressure, only the man who designed my sails wants to watch how my re-rigged sail handled.

I blasted out, hit a couple of really nice jumps, and was completely stoked at how incredible that kit felt.

Much respect is given to David Ezzy for the kindness he extended to me in taking time out to give me a tuning lesson.

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