The Great ILCA Vang Debate

The Great ILCA Vang Debate

So you want to take a purchase out of your ILCA Vang?


If you’ve been around the ILCA Class for a while, you would’ve heard sailors on the rigging lawn discussing how many purchases they have on their vang system. Although it was a net positive for the class, and has made sailing the ILCA much easier in strong winds, the extra purchases allowed with the advent of the turbo vang have added significant amounts of rope needed to utilise that pulling power. I’ve sailed my ILCA both as a 15:1 system, and as 12:1. Some people take out even more purchase. Here’s a summary of why you’d want to adjust your vang, and what I recommend.   

Laser 15:1 Vang Setup

The classic 15:1 ILCA Turbo Vang

As I alluded to earlier, the basic compromise in the ILCA Vang is between pulling power, and the amount of rope you have to pull on. To sail competitively in stronger winds, you need to be able to pull on large amounts of vang. The more vang you can get on, the more you can depower the boat, and the flatter you can sail the boat to windward. Although having a 15:1 vang system can make maxing out your vang easier, I’m sure you’ve also been slowed down on the start line before whilst trying to pull on all of that vang. Many people choose to remove a purchase from their system as it allows them to get their vang set up easier before the start. This saves valuable time when you need it most; in the dying seconds before the gun. Having less rope to pull on also means less chance of it getting tangled in the cockpit. 

Here we see multiple Olympian Paige Railey showing off her 12:1 Vang Setup (she's braver than I am!)

With all of the pros and cons of either vang set up out of the way, what would I recommend you use? Personally, I always favoured the ability to get my vang on easily over the amount of time it would take to pull it on. Maybe I’m too weak, but I always struggled to adjust my vang in windy conditions when fully hiked out, with large amounts of tension already on the line. Being able to fine tune my control systems has always been a high priority for me, and the vang is no exception. 


If you’re thinking about adjusting your system, I’d suggest giving it a go for a while, and seeing if you like it. It might take a while to get used to, so don’t give up on it too quickly. 


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