self tacking solutions
Most self tacking refers to staysail. At the last Miami boatshow, there were perhaps a dozen manufactuers represented that had self-tacking staysails, with almost as many different methods. Most involve a boom. Booms can be good and bad--I don''t like the clutter and the thrashing on the foredeck in heavy air. But Island Packet has used them successfully. Harken has a nice drawing of a non-boom method on their web site. Involves a couple of blocks and a single lead back to cockpit. You can mount a curved track just forward of the mast and a car runs on it, then the sheet takes some path back to a winch--some manufacturers run the sheet forward to the stay, one runs it up the mast about 20'' and then back down!!!
So, there are lots of ways to skin the cat. No matter what, to make a foresail self-tacking, it cannot overlap the main, so will be smaller than you might want. On my inner forestay, I can run a storm jib, but not self-tacking.