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Vangs 101: types and characteristics you should know to get the best one for your boat
Depending on your sailing style, you should look for a specific Vang system that allows you to get the most out of it. There are many different options, but here at MAURIPRO Sailing, our sailors simplified it into four main categories that we consider you must know:
It is the most simple vang type, as it's made out of blocks, with a purchase that applies a downward force to the boom. Also, it allows the sailor to control the tension of the leech at all points of sail, regardless of the boom's sheet tension. For midrange boats, it needs a topping lift to support the boom.
Also known as Hard Vang or Boom Kicker, it is a spring-loaded telescopic tube with purchase building. It allows the user a quick way to de-power the boom's sail if needed and also helps to support it so that you won't need a topping lift.
The Gnav (vang spelled backward) is an inverted Vang, as simple as that. It has a rigid strut that extends obliquely upward from the boom to the mast, exerting a force that pushes down on the boom. Hence, it has the same functionality in a different way. It is commonly used on small sports boats, such as Melges 15, as it provides more room for the crew to do the maneuvers.
This vang type is very particular and not so common by its difficulty and costly characteristics. However, the principles are the same, whether it's a double-acting push-pull (for larger yachts with heavy booms) o a gas return vangs. A stainless steel piston rod with an aluminum piston rides inside an anodized aluminum cylinder/body. This is all accompanied by a series of seals that will need to be serviced/replaced once in a while. The big deal is that it requires the boat to be plumbed with hoses, a reservoir, and a control panel. These systems have to be professionally installed, costing as much as the most expensive mechanical vang mentioned above.
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