Rigging guide

Setting up your rig and learning to manage it in the right way is an important part of becoming a better windsurfer. Follow our advice in this rigging guide and try to put into practice what you learn when you next hit the waves.

Video guide: the Kona rig

Setting up your rig

  • Unroll the sail starboard side up.
  • Set your boom and mast to proper lengths, as indicated on the sail (for adjustable mast and boom).
  • Slide the mast into the mast pocket.

Keep the battens above and below the boom cut-out close together as you work the sleeve down the mast; this will reduce tension considerably.

  • Set the adjustable head to the shortest possible setting, then fit the head cap over the mast top
  • Downhaul your sail until the leech goes loose around 1/4 of the way into the sail body between the top end second batten. This is a good downhaul setting for both strong and light winds. Downhaul should be adjusted only in the most extreme wind conditions – a little more for strong wind, a little to less for lighter winds. Make sure that the tack pulley is within 2-3 cm of the downhaul cleat.

Always use as little mast extension as possible.

  • Attach boom as desired sailing height.
  • Thread your outhaul and tension to the prescribed length. This should be about 4-8 cm of positive tension from the neutral position.
    Tip: Your boom end should always be within 2 cm of the final outhaul position.
  • Finally, tension all battens until all vertical wrinkles on and around the batten pockets disappear.

Proper batten tension is critical for top performance but it is also important to over-tension battens. An over-tightened batten will improve the performance considerably.

Fine tuning your rig

After basic rigging is complete you can fine tune the sail to suit your particular style.

The single most important factor for performance is outhaul tension. You need to get the correct amount of outhaul/downhaul on the sail for top performance. An over-downhauled sail will feel stiff, will provide less power and will have a tendency to pitch you backward. Correct downhaul tension will prevent this.

The benefit is once you have the correct downhaul it works an all conditions and you can leave it unchanged. However, different conditions may require different power settings, which you may adjust with the outhaul.

If you are sailing in light wind, flat water and small chop, try a little less outhaul and downhaul to power up the sail. If you are sailing in heavy swells or strong winds, or just want to make the sail as manoeuvrable as possible try adding a bit of outhaul. This will make the sail more neutral for manoeuvres.

The power of the sail can be changed greatly by adjusting the outhaul just 2 cm. Try changing the setting 1cm at a time and check the result on the water. This is the best way to find the setting that is right for you.


  • Realease outhaul completely
  • Release downhaul campetely, and remove extension
  • Detach boom from mast
  • Remove mast from sail

Slide the pattens above and below the boom cut – out down the mast, and pull out the mast with a spinning motion. Roll the sail tightly for storage, starting at the head, all the way down to the tack.

More tips

  • The most common rigging problem is over-downhaul. It is better to start with a little too less, and then test the sail gradually with a little more downhaul each time until you find the setting that is right for you.
  • Always re-check and adjust your outhaul when the downhaul setting is changed.
  • Use the outhaul to control the draft depth and overall power in the sail.
  • Do not over outhaul your sail in high wind. It is necessary to maintain depth of foil for draft stability.
  • An over downhauled sail will feel twisted and unstable and the leech will flutter to much and wear out quickly.
  • A softer than recommended mast will make the sail more powerful while a stiffer than recommended mast will make the sail less powerful especially in high wind conditions.
  • A stiffer than recommended mast will make the sail more controllable and a softer than recommended mast will make the sail more unstable especially in high wind conditions.
  • Every sailor has different preferences, so take the time to try several different downhaul and outhaul settings on the water.

This exercise will improve your sailing!

Technical specification considerations

  • Smaller sails might be equipped with adjustable heads.
  • Luff lengths are measured from the tip of the mast to the bottom edge of the tack fitting.
  • Adjustable heads should always be the shortest possible setting for the mast being used.
  • Listed specs are the starting point for basic rigging, but the final dimensions should be determined by the on-water performance.

Troubleshooting guide

Problem Solution
If the sail feels top heavy Add slight downhaul tension and outhaul tension
If there are wrinkles in the boom area Add downhaul tension or reduce outhaul tension
If the leech is excessively loose and noisy Reduce downhaul tension
If the leech is tight and not twisting correctly Add downhaul tension
If the sail feels flat and powerless Reduce outhaul tension
If the sail has a lot of back hand pressure Reduce outhaul tension and/or increase downhaul tension and/or more harness lines back an the boom
If there are wrinkles around the batten pockets Increase batten tension
If battens aren’t making an S-shape Increase batten tension
If the foot of the sail is loose Increase outhaul or make sure the tack of the sail is pulled close to the downhaul