Installing a new boom vang
Installing a new boom vang

Improve your boat's performance and handling with the installation of a new boom vang. This essential piece of equipment provides better sail control, increased safety, and ease of use for your sailing adventures.

Installing a New Boom Vang

Welcome to another informative article in our Boat Modifications and Upgrades section. Today, we will be discussing the installation of a new boom vang, an essential piece of equipment for any sailing enthusiast looking to improve their boat’s performance and ease of handling. This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about boom vangs, from their purpose and benefits to the step-by-step installation process. So, let’s dive in and get started!

Table of Contents

  1. What is a Boom Vang?
  2. Benefits of Installing a Boom Vang
  3. Types of Boom Vangs
  4. Choosing the Right Boom Vang for Your Boat
  5. Tools and Materials Needed
  6. Step-by-Step Installation Guide
  7. Boom Vang Maintenance and Troubleshooting
  8. Conclusion

What is a Boom Vang?

A boom vang, also known as a kicking strap or vang, is a line or mechanical device that connects the boom to the base of the mast. Its primary function is to control the boom’s vertical movement, which in turn affects the shape and efficiency of the mainsail. By exerting downward force on the boom, the vang helps to flatten the sail, reducing twist and improving the boat’s performance, particularly when sailing downwind.

Benefits of Installing a Boom Vang

There are several advantages to installing a boom vang on your boat, including:

  1. Improved Sail Control: A boom vang allows you to control the shape of your mainsail more effectively, which can lead to better boat speed and handling, especially in downwind conditions.

  2. Safety: By preventing the boom from lifting too high, a vang can help reduce the risk of an accidental jibe, which can be dangerous for both the crew and the boat.

  3. Ease of Use: A well-designed boom vang can make it easier to trim the mainsail, particularly for single-handed sailors or those with limited crew.

  4. Versatility: Many modern boom vangs can be adjusted from the cockpit, allowing you to fine-tune your sail shape without having to leave the safety of the cockpit.

Types of Boom Vangs

There are several types of boom vangs available on the market, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most common types include:

  1. Rope Vangs: These simple, cost-effective vangs consist of a line that runs from the boom to the base of the mast, often through a series of blocks to provide mechanical advantage. Rope vangs are easy to install and maintain but may not provide the same level of control as more advanced systems.

  2. Rigid Vangs: Also known as solid vangs, these devices use a combination of mechanical components, such as springs, pistons, or gas struts, to provide a more consistent downward force on the boom. Rigid vangs offer improved sail control and can often be adjusted from the cockpit, but they tend to be more expensive and may require more maintenance than rope vangs.

  3. Hydraulic Vangs: These high-performance vangs use hydraulic cylinders to provide precise control over the boom’s position. Hydraulic vangs are often found on larger, more advanced boats and can be adjusted remotely from the cockpit. However, they can be expensive and may require specialized knowledge to install and maintain.

Choosing the Right Boom Vang for Your Boat

When selecting a boom vang for your boat, there are several factors to consider, including:

  1. Boat Size and Type: The size and type of your boat will play a significant role in determining the appropriate vang system. Smaller boats may be well-suited to a simple rope vang, while larger or more performance-oriented boats may benefit from a rigid or hydraulic system.

  2. Sailing Style and Conditions: Consider the type of sailing you plan to do and the conditions you are likely to encounter. If you primarily sail in light winds or sheltered waters, a basic rope vang may suffice. However, if you frequently sail in heavy winds or open ocean conditions, a more advanced system may be necessary to maintain optimal sail shape and control.

  3. Budget: As with any boat upgrade, your budget will play a role in determining the type of boom vang you choose. Rope vangs are generally the most affordable option, while rigid and hydraulic systems can be more expensive.

  4. Ease of Installation and Maintenance: Consider the complexity of the installation process and the ongoing maintenance requirements of the vang system. If you are not comfortable with more advanced installations or do not have access to specialized tools or knowledge, a simpler system may be more appropriate.

Tools and Materials Needed

Before you begin the installation process, gather the necessary tools and materials, which may include:

  • Boom vang kit (including vang, mounting hardware, and control lines)
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Screwdriver or wrench set
  • Marine sealant
  • Measuring tape
  • Marker or pencil
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves

Step-by-Step Installation Guide

Follow these steps to install your new boom vang:

  1. Read the Manufacturer’s Instructions: Before beginning the installation, carefully read the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your chosen boom vang. These instructions will provide specific details and recommendations for your particular vang system.

  2. Determine the Mounting Locations: Using the measuring tape and marker, determine the appropriate mounting locations for the vang on both the boom and the mast. These locations will vary depending on the type of vang and the dimensions of your boat, so consult the manufacturer’s instructions for guidance.

  3. Drill the Mounting Holes: Once you have determined the mounting locations, drill the necessary holes in the boom and mast, taking care to ensure they are properly aligned. Be sure to wear safety goggles and gloves during this process to protect yourself from injury.

  4. Install the Mounting Hardware: Apply marine sealant to the mounting holes and install the mounting hardware, such as brackets or eye straps, using the appropriate screws or bolts. Tighten the hardware securely, but be careful not to overtighten and damage the boom or mast.

  5. Attach the Vang: With the mounting hardware in place, attach the boom vang to the boom and mast, following the manufacturer’s instructions. This may involve threading the control line through a series of blocks or connecting the vang to the mounting hardware using shackles or other fittings.

  6. Adjust the Vang: Once the vang is installed, adjust the tension and position of the vang according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This may involve tightening or loosening the control line or making adjustments to the vang’s mechanical components.

  7. Test the Vang: Finally, test the boom vang to ensure it is functioning properly and providing the desired level of control over the boom’s position. Make any necessary adjustments to the vang’s tension or position as needed.

Boom Vang Maintenance and Troubleshooting

To keep your boom vang functioning properly and ensure a long service life, follow these maintenance and troubleshooting tips:

  1. Regular Inspections: Periodically inspect your boom vang for signs of wear, damage, or corrosion. Pay particular attention to the mounting hardware, control lines, and any moving parts.

  2. Lubrication: Keep any moving parts, such as blocks or mechanical components, well-lubricated to ensure smooth operation and reduce wear.

  3. Cleaning: Keep your boom vang clean by rinsing it with fresh water after each use, particularly if you sail in saltwater environments.

  4. Repairs and Replacements: If you notice any damaged or worn components, repair or replace them as soon as possible to prevent further damage or potential failure.


Installing a new boom vang on your boat can greatly improve your sailing experience by providing better sail control, increased safety, and ease of use. By carefully selecting the right vang for your boat, gathering the necessary tools and materials, and following the step-by-step installation guide, you can successfully upgrade your boat and enhance your sailing adventures. Remember to maintain your boom vang regularly and address any issues promptly to ensure a long and trouble-free service life. Fair winds and happy sailing!