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Saily types, any advice?


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I'm contemplating installing a self-tacking jib on my 20 foot Broads halfdecker as part of this winter's work schedule.  The reason is that I often sail single handed, and it's always a bit of a faff managing both sails on the narrower rivers (the Ant for example)  I've sailed some boats in the Hunter fleet with a boom at the bottom of the jib, and been pleased with the ease of handling the boat with only one sheet to worry about.  However, my boat - unlike the Hunters - has a furling jib.  Now I've seen a few boats around on the water with a furling jib and a wooden jib boom self-tacking set up, but never got close enough to investigate how it all works.  When I google the topic, all the illustrations/articles I can find are about systems on modern boats, involving metal tracks on the foredeck.  Has anybody got this set up on a more traditional boat?  If so, (a) how do you find it, does it work OK for you? and (b) could you possibly post some close up pictures so I can have a look at how it all fits?  Thanks.

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Brilliant has a self tacker-though not furling, and I can see that you could probably fit a jib boom to your foresail. You need fixing points on each end of the boom, which should be the length of the foot of the sail. We run with a carabiner clip on the bitter end of a long jib sheet. We have eyelets on the foredeck, but sometimes attach to the low point of the forward shroud to port. Pass the sheet then through a block placed at or near the clew on the jib boom and then through a block on either a stb. eyelet or one on the stb. forward shroud; finally run back to the cockpit.

You can play with the positioning of the block on the boom for best result on your boat. 

You might consider just joining your jib sheets with an extra length of rope to make a continuous loop long enough to reach you at the helm. I do this single handing the dinghy, and did so on our previous boat too. Might save you some faffing about and give a more positive performance than with a self tacker. :)


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Now I'm peeved ;cos I just spent an hour typing my setup and miskeyed and lost the lot :-(

I have the furling self-tacker you seek, Bob and very happy to show, but not till Spring 'cos I took it all off last Sunday in prep for lifting out tomorrow :-(

Based in Ludham if that's convenient for you?  Description to keep you going....

Lazy jib is easy.  Use existing single blocks by the shrouds (which currently turn your twin sheets. Attach jib boom a few inches aft of the jib tack with some kind of swivel (fancy steel or a rope grommet a la Hunters), and hang a small single block under the jib boom about a foot fwd of the aft end (anywhere convenient).  Single jib sheet now runs from your left hand (ideally with a jammer inside the coaming) along left deck, under left shroud block, over the single block (hanging from the boom) and terminates at the RH shroud block.

For furling - you've already got the Wykeham string which furls the jib, so no change there.  

For unfurling - Two more small single blocks and a long line (mine's 6mm). First block attaches to the FWD (top side) of the new boom. Second block attaches to the AFT end of the boom (top side).  Long line runs from your right hand, fwd to FWD end of the boom, turns 180 around the first block, along the boom, 180 again around the second block and ties to the jib clew.

To unfurl, release the Wykeham string, haul the long line and cleat somewhere (I use my aft mooring cleat), then jam the Wykeham string for tidiness. To furl, uncleat long line and haul the Wykeham string.

Works a treat, best mod I ever did as SWMBO prefers to watch the view and I can sail this happily singlehanded.  Unexpected bonus, the boom makes goosewinging much easier as there's support so the jib doesn't collapse so easily. Slight downside is the jib and boom have to be short enough in the foot to clear the mast when tacking, so can't overlap.  This means the jib size is restricted but for me, mostly cruising not racing, the benefits hugely outweigh the small negatives

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Thanks folks, particularly for the time you've taken to give detailed replies - very generous and kind.  I'm not the most naturally mechanically minded person, and can't visualise things in my head easily.  I usually have to look at an example closely and copy it, rather than work it out from scratch.  I can see entirely how it all works with the Hunters set up - I've sailed the boats and used the system - my problem was understanding how to install the boom and keep the self-furling gear, and thanks particularly Saily, your description is very clear and I can see that all in my head.  I'm not a serious racer, join in occasionally for fun but don't expect to trouble the scorers, it's hassle free cruising I'm looking for.  I'm going to have a go at sorting it all out over the winter.

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PL had a furling self tacking Jib, when I bought her the jib boom was fixed between the deck and the bottom of the furler but did not work particularly well.  I modified it for the following year by shortening the boom and fixing it to the deck around a foot from the front.  This worked well and gives a fuller sail when on a reach as the pole effectively shortens.  The line to set the jib was led from the. Tack to the end of the boom before going back to the stem and then back to the cockpit this allows the sail to be set, the furling line works as normal  once the set line is released. A jib sheet was then fastened to the shroud on the starboard side before passing through a block on the boom and then through another block on the port shroud and back to the cockpit.


Hope this makes sense .


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Glad you could decipher my ramblings - a couple of pics attached as promised - the sail isn't there but hopefully they clarify some details...

JIb 1 hopefully gives some idea of the string for flying the jib - loop in SWMBO's left hand ties to the clew; the string in her right hand runs back to the cockpit threaded through a couple of fender eyes (although I intend to fit some tiny blocks as there's more friction than I'd like).

Jib 2 shows the block hanging below the boom - the jibsheet is anchored to the right deck (using the old sheet turning block but any point will do, as there's no scope for changing the sheeting angle with this setup as the whole thing is kinda fixed) - sheet runs from that right end, over the block hanging from its grommet (needs a potter bridge to stop this sliding along the boom) then back through the left sheet block and to the cockpit (jammer here almost essential or you still have 2 hands full of sheet!) 

Bowsprit 3 show the relationship between the fixings - forestay at front of course, with an eyebolt a few inches back where the Wykeham attaches (gap to allow the thing to rotate without wrapping the forestay into the jib as it furls) .

A few inches behind that is the attaching point for the fwd end of the boom (ignore what I said about a grommet here, it needs to be a fixed swivel fitting as the tension in the jib foot is trying to pull the boom forwards, so this point needs to resist that).  The gap between the Wykeham and the boom attachment means that when sheeting tight the sail is pulled quite flat, but as you bear away from the wind and sheet out, this difference between pivot points allows more belly in the jib, which is handy off the wind.  You may need to play with this point to find the sweet spot, but mine's around a foot or so with a jib foot around 11ft long.

Finally, you may have spotted my natty turks head on the aft end of the boom - it cushions the bang when you want to furl, as the first thing that happens when you slacken the long line is the boom drops overboard or crashes onto the deck.  I've learned the knack of sheeting to bring the boom over the deck then slacken the line gently til the ends has dropped, only then pulling the Wykeham string.

I'm firmly in your camp ref cruising vs racing, and happy to forgo the last ounce of drive for the relaxation of easy singlehanding :-)

Hope this helps :-)


Jib 1.JPG

Jib 2.JPG

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Glad it helped :-)

Your 'spot the location' challenge is now running, so over the 'on-land' period you may wish to use the clues provided to see where to come in the Spring for a closer look - invitation open if you'd like :-) 

Merry Christmas!

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Good show :-)  

Prizes all round (not that it was hard to spot!)

Jenny's time concerns noted and sensible, but since I'm a customer rather that staff it wouldn't be a problem, subject to prior arrangement so we'd both be there at the same time... I'm still tied to earning a living Mon-Fri for the moment, but weekends after the weather turns should see the annual paint/varnish malarky in full swing, so let me know if you'd like a gander...

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