The halyards are talking to us, sending us signals, telling us whether we are using our sails well or not. And then we need to know how to read these signs, to understand how to improve the shape of our wings.
The adjustment of halyards is a matter that needs to be investigated well if we are to sail, even when cruising, properly and above all efficiently. Any change in the load on the mainsail halyard or genoa results in a change in the fat on the sail and should therefore be weighted according to wind and sea conditions.
Halyards – When sails speak
The sails give two macro signals when we adjust the halyards by leaving or capping them. When there is little tension, small horizontal creases form along the infieritura. If we are sailing with little wind and wave those creases, hinted at, must be there to have a powerful sail with the right amount of fat. On the other hand, if we sail in winds above 10-12 knots, the halyard should be capped instead until the creases disappear.
Halyards – watch out for the vertical crease
Instead, the second signal that the sails give us is a vertical crease parallel to the infieritura. When it appears it means that the halyard has too much tension relative to the wind strength on the sail. It should then be left until the crease is eliminated to restore the proper shape. Even in winds above 15 knots, the halyard dicks adequately to make the horizontal creases disappear, but the vertical crease should never be created. In case the stopper in very strong winds cannot hold all the tension we give to the halyard, we can decide to lock it on self-tailing, if our boat’s winches are equipped with it. Stoppers plus self will ensure that the voltage does not drop under load.