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Old 06-12-2011
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Question about self tacking jib

I've thought about a self tacking jib but really cant afford the track etc.nor do I want to spend the money to set it up the way I've read about it. What is the reason that the jib boom has to be attached to a track at the rear instead of a single point in the middle of the deck. I do not race and sail on the Columbia river where we must make a lot of tacks.

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Old 06-12-2011
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You can attach the jib boom sheet to a single point. You won't have quite as much control over sail shape, but it's analogous to having a mainsheet without a traveller.
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while you can sheet your main to centerline, you shouldn't do it with your jib. It has to be offset a few degrees so it will create the 'slot' effect with the outside of the main when both are filled and on the wind.

too close in on the jib and it will be stalled, since the angle of attack with the wind will be wrong (meaning it's in too far).

You might look for a 'bar'-type traveler rather than a track, it might be cheaper and available used?
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There are 2 basic self tacking systems;


Rail/track on deck just forward of mast

Or

The Hoyt Jib Boom system


Which system are you considering ? Each has it's own advatanges and disadvantages.
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See here for some more (often "old-school") options. The trick is keeping the clew end of the jib-boom from lifting up. A traveller system, or a Hoyt jib boom do this more or less automatically. A more traditional set-up often uses a bridle type of system. One thing to think about is the propensity for a jib-boom to whack one in the shins. A way around this is to use a traveller without a boom. Paul Kamen has a nice description of such a system on his Merit 25.
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Old 06-12-2011
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Inexpensive self-tacker

We rigged up a cheap self-tacking jib on our Soling that worked quite well. It consisted of a stainless steel pipe that we bolted to the deck (with some 2x4 blocks as spacers, to keep it up above the forward coaming). We put a big ring on the pipe, and attached a line to the ring to regulate how far out it went. We ran a wire sheet from the clew of the jib, through a sheave that was attached to the ring, and then forward to near the forestay, and to an underdeck tackle that we adjusted from the cockpit. It worked well for several years in a pretty competitive fleet of 16 boats. We didn't replace it until we came across a ball-bearing setup (used) at a price we couldn't resist: about $100.
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