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Halyard Tension - John Martin

Hoist the sail and sail on a close-hauled course.  With proper sail tension, there should be no wrinkles in the luff.  If you see vertical wrinkles, the halyard tension is too tight.  If you see 'crows feet' at the sail slides (or hanks), the halyard tension is too loose.

On a light wind day, raise the sail and set the proper tension.  Use an indelible marker and put a mark on the halyard about head height.  Place a piece of tape on the mast, that matches the mark on the halyard.  This will be the halyard tension for light wind conditions. 

On a windy day, raise the sail and set the proper tension.  The mark on the halyard, should be a few inches below the tape on the mast that indicates light wind tension.  Place another piece on tape on the mast, next to the mark on the halyard, for windy day halyard tension. 

With a little practice, the halyard tension can be pre-set depending on wind conditions, as you get underway.