Outhaul Systems – Ordering Guide

The following is designed to help you choose the optimum outhaul system by looking at what is important, the types of system available, and then the blocks, rope, inhaul bungee and clew strap. If you have any questions or need further advice please don’t hesitate to contact us.

What’s Important

Unlike the kicker and downhaul, the forces on the outhaul system are lower, but to be effective the outhaul system needs careful attention. All of our systems have a 6:1 purchase which is what the vast majority of Laser sailors use. There are a number of variations on the 6:1 system relating to how the sail clew is attached to the system, and where the system blocks are located.

As the forces are lower, the block type and size on the outhaul isn’t as critical. What is really important to effective operation of an outhaul system is the clew strap and the elastic, as we want to be able to pull the outhaul on easily without it getting snagged up on the boom, and when we release it we want the sail to run out by itself, even in the lightest wind, without having to help it.

The first decision to make is about how the sail is attached to the clew

There are two main types of system, both of which enable the sail clew to be easily released from the outhaul system, but in different ways.

  • Normal System – uses a clew block attached to a hook or shackle, so that you can easily detach the outhaul system from the clew of the sail without having to undo any knots. There are a number of hooks available and they are subtly different. We use the Harken hook supplied by Laser Performance in conjunction with a choice of block type. But the hook can get caught and release inadvertently. A good alternative to the hook is a captive click shackle.

Example Clew Blocks with hook and with shackle

  • Quick Release System – uses of a block that is fixed to the sail clew. Our spliced clew block is a neat way of having a block secure on your clew, with the advantage of being able to move it from sail to sail. Blocks permanently attached to the sail clew are what a lot of the top sailors use due to the security it provides, but you need a way of easy way of undoing the outhaul primary to release the sail when you come ashore. One way of doing this is to have a ‘quick release’ system where the primary line has a large loop that fits snugly over the end of the boom. This neat solution is becoming more and more popular. For more information as to how this system is rigged have a look at the installation instructions..

Spliced Ronstan 20mm clew block and attached to sail

We offer both of the above system types, which are listed separately under Outhaul System Normal and Outhaul System Quick Release pages. Note that our outhaul systems assume that you are using a clew block – if you don’t want to use a clew block, send us an e-mail after any order and we will lengthen the primary by 10cm to compensate.

Where do you want the blocks located?

There are three choices here:
1. Centre Top of Boom  – The first (and most popular) is to have the centre block fixed to the cleat in the middle of the boom so that it sits on top of the boom, one block along the boom, and the third block at the gooseneck.

Block Location – Centre Top of Boom

2. Centre Side of Boom – The second variation is very similar to the first, but the block at the cleat sits alongside the boom, rather than on top.

Block Location – Centre Side of Boom

3. Front of Boom – The third variation has two blocks on a strop at the gooseneck, and the third block in the system located towards the front of the boom at the end of a longer primary line.

Block Location – Front of Boom

There is no measurable performance difference between the systems – it is mainly down to personal preference and how/where you like to mark your calibration markings on the boom. You can choose what is best for you via the Block Location drop-down menu.

4.7 Rig

If you want an outhaul system that is specifically built and optimised for the 4.7 rig, add the System Option ‘4.7 Rig Optimisation’ that is listed below the outhaul systems.

Block Types

Unlike the downhaul, the outhaul can get away with smaller blocks and we recommend Harken T2 Soft-Attach 18mm (which is what you get with a new Laser) or the economic Allen 20mm Dynamic Tii or Ronstan 20mm Orbit blocks.

From left to right Ronstan 20mm Orbit block, Allen 20mm and 30mm Dynamic Tii blocks and Harken T2 Soft-Attach 18mm and 29mm blocks

Rope Types

For the primary line a light but strong 3mm D12 Dyneema is perfect.  For the secondary line (the one that you pull on) we use three rope types: Robline Dinghy Control, Gottifredi Maffioli EVO Race 78 and Robline Dinghy Polytech. The Polytech has Technora in the cover which makes it more durable. All our secondary line ends are epoxied/heatshrink sleeved to help keep them nice and tidy. We offer a wide range of primary/secondary colour combinations. If you want more information on our secondary lines and how to select which is best for you read our article on selecting secondary lines.

Handle Type

The secondary control line length can be selected for either a simple loop handle or a braided handle.

Simple loop and braided chain handle types

Outhaul Elastic/Inhaul Bungee

You need a shock cord to help release the outhaul in light winds. This wants to pull the clew of the sail back along the boom in the most effective manner. There are two types of outhaul elastic/inhaul bungee systems.

  1. The first is a simple bungee that just pulls the sail clew back in towards the boom centre cleat.
  2. The second, and far better type, is a ‘double puller’ elastic.  One part of the elastic pulls the clew back in, and the second part pulls the control line back through the blocks, fairlead and cleat. The double puller is attached at the boom cleat at one end, and just behind the floating outhaul block at the other. To do this in an easy to rig way we use a bungee with loops at each end, and a toggle to loop the free end of the bungee over.

Double Puller Outhaul Elastic System Option

You will find both of the above listed underneath the outhaul systems under Systems Options

Clew Strap

Finally, it is also important to use a good quality clew strap to reduce friction in the system to a minimum, and McLube the end of the boom to ensure that it is nice and slippy.

Rigging Instructions

All our systems are supplied with detailed rigging instructions which can be seen here:
Normal outhaul installation instructions
Quick Release outhaul installation instructions.

Switching between 4.7 and Radial rigs

One of the questions that we regularly get asked is how to easily adapt the outhaul system for sailors who regularly switch between 4.7 and Radial rigs. The foot of the 4.7 sail is about 10 inches/26cm shorter than the Radial. There isn’t a simple answer to this question as it depends on the type of outhaul system being used, type of clew block and also the type of inhaul bungee you are using.

For a ‘normal’ outhaul system where the end of the thin primary line is luggage tagged to the blue plastic eye on the end of the boom, one simple way to adapt a radial/standard rig outhaul is to use a short extender strop luggage tagged to the 4.7 sail. This works with a clew block with a captive shackle, but not with the hook. The extender strop is listed on the primary lines page.

4.7 Extender Strop

For a ‘quick release’ system where there is a large loop that fits over the end of the boom, things are a bit easier. In this type of system the clew block remains attached to the sail. On the radial, this block typically sits close to the clew, attached by a ‘semi-permanent’ fixing such as a Dyneema soft shackle, or strop with toggle, or one of our ‘luggage tag’ blocks. To adapt this outhaul system for the 4.7 rig, a simple solution is to have a clew block attached to your 4.7 sail with a longer strop, so that when rigged it will sit in the same position as the block on a radial sail. We have added this clew block/strop for the 4.7 rig available with a range of blocks. These are listed towards the bottom of the quick release outhaul page under system options.

4.7 Extender Strop/Clew Block

Whatever outhaul system type you use, the inhaul bungee/outhaul elastic will need to be switched between rigs as it is important that it goes through the sail clew grommet, and not the clew block/shackle or hook. Therefore, one length of bungee will not work – you need to use the right length for each rig. We offer both ordinary and our double puller elastic for the radial/standard and 4.7 rigs.

Finally, many thanks to our customers who continue to challenge us to come up with novel solutions to things like this!

What we offer:

Complete ready to fit systems, spliced assemblies, rope and blocks, free advice!

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