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Old 04-13-2009
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Rigging for Self Tacking

I'm probably going to be spending a great deal of my time on the water either single handing and/or sailing with passengers that don't necessarily know how to sail. So I'm curious about what options there are for rigging a self tacking jib setup.

I looked at some of the "out of the box" self tacking jib systems, but most seem to require either a fore deck traveler like the Harken system, or an ankle smasher like the Hoyt system. Those all require permanent modifications to the boat and are pretty expensive.

I could be wrong, but I'm guessing that an overlapping fore sail isn't going to work for this. So can you just furl up until the foot of your sail comes back just to the front of the mast. And then from there, rig a single swivel block at the base of the mast and bring a single sheet back to a single cockpit winch for trim?

Or could you tie off a line on the port side in front of the mast and thread it through the clew to act as a traveler. Then run the other end through a swivel block on the starboard side that leads the sheet back to a single cockpit winch for trim?

I'm not looking for something that's going to give me perfect racing sail shape, but I don't want something that's just going to heel the boat and kill all semblance of thrust either.

Would love to hear from anyone that's tried rigging for self tacking, what your experiences were/are, and pictures would be helpful.
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