Sails used to have just a hole at the bottom next to the mast sleeve through which one would attach a downhaul pulley hook which allowed for the lines to run perpendicularly from the mast base to the sail.
For a few years this system was changed to the pulley set was in line with the sail but 90° to the mast base. This has been changed back to the original orientation by some manufacturers.
I’ve had a lot of people asking me how to sort the downhaul lines on their sail as it can get confusing since the mast base and the pulleys of the sail are usually at 90 degrees to each other meaning that the lines will most likely end up at various angles or twisted.
Basically, the only thing we need to keep in mind when arranging the lines is that they do not touch at any point as rubbing of any sort will cause erosion of the lines and end up in a startling snap of the downhaul lines (most likely when we are in the middle of an awesome session, Murphy’s law and all that).
Here is a quick description on how to achieve this. Bear in mind that not all sails and mast bases are like this so this guide will not work for everyone.
Basically we are using the niches of the sail from the outside to the inside and the pulleys of the mast base from the origin to the sawtooth. This is not possible with all mast bases however. Here is an alternative sequence which you can use: