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Old 12-04-2010, 21:04   #1
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Boomkicker vs Rigid Vang vs 'Soft' Vang

Any suggestions on the merits or demerits of the various types of boom vangs available? I have a traditional multi-purchase cord vang and have been considering adding a boomkicker so I can eliminate the topping lift. The boomkicker is cheaper than the rigid vangs I've priced. Are there advantages of one over the other (besides price)? Do the more solid vangs offer any performance that the traditional vang doesn't?
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Old 12-04-2010, 21:48   #2
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I love mine. It sure beats a topping lift, and the company was great to work with.
They made sure I had exactly the right fit and rod size.
Go to Boomkicker.com to see a pic. Look for 1500 on a Dragonfly 33.

What is your boom length and more specifically, the weight at the end of the boom with the sail flaked on it? When I bought mine, 50 lbs was the max.
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Old 13-04-2010, 01:03   #3
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Steve
any pics of the fitting on your tri?? I have emailed boom kicker site re my 47 ft cat. How did you measure the weight at outboard boom end to arrive at 50 lbs? ? tension meter on topping lift rope end
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Old 13-04-2010, 14:30   #4
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I prefer a rope vang and a topping lift because on my boat, the gooseneck is located fairly low and I lay the boom on the deck when in harbor or at anchor, to have it out of the way.

Since there is so much powerboat wash around my mooring, I stow the boom belowdecks when I'm not aboard, to reduce wear and tear on the gooseneck. In this case, a rigid vand would be impractical to remove.

Alain
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Old 13-04-2010, 14:38   #5
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That is what I was wondering, how much can it hold. The thing I don't like about them is you set them (for racing anyway) to support the boom when sailing but when you drop the main the additional weight makes them sag or drop a bit. Damn boom is flopping around as you go through waves.

We use them on dinghys and they work fine. On our boat we use hydraulics with a nitrogen shock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
I love mine. It sure beats a topping lift, and the company was great to work with.
They made sure I had exactly the right fit and rod size.
Go to Boomkicker.com to see a pic. Look for 1500 on a Dragonfly 33.

What is your boom length and more specifically, the weight at the end of the boom with the sail flaked on it? When I bought mine, 50 lbs was the max.
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Old 14-04-2010, 04:04   #6
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I have a rigid Garhauer vang on my Pearson 34, ~12.5' boom. Like it alot & was reasonable price. But I did not already have a soft vang. Supports boom & sail just fine.
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Old 14-04-2010, 04:34   #7
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We have a Selden Rodkicker plus a topping lift. The Rodkicker is nice to stablize the boom when you're taking in sail, and to prevent the boom from falling down if you forget to set the topping lift, but it doesn't give you much control over the vertical placement of the boom (which is really important if you have in-mast furling as we do). Nor does it exert enough force to really lock the boom in place against the pull of the mainsheet for when you are motoring or anchored and want the boom well belayed. I can't quite imagine doing without the topping lift.
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Old 14-04-2010, 07:29   #8
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It might be worth looking into a Garhauer Rigid Vang which completely elimiates the need for a topping lift, works well and is inexpensive. We added one of the units to our First 42 and have found it very good equipment.

FWIW...
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Old 14-04-2010, 07:57   #9
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Maybe folks with newer boats won't have this problem, but when I looked into getting one I discovered that I would have to get rid of the gooseneck that slides on a track and replace it with a fixed gooseneck, and the boom cannot swivel as you are pushing up on the bottom of the boom, another problem I would have to fix. It became more trouble than I was willing to deal with.

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Old 14-04-2010, 08:24   #10
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there is a safety element provided by rigid vangs. no longer can the boom be inadvertently dropped on the dodger, bimini or crew by accidentally blowing the topping lift. On my boat, where the boom is big enough to do some serious damage, that makes the rigid vang worth its purchase price.
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Old 14-04-2010, 08:53   #11
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Quote:
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there is a safety element provided by rigid vangs. no longer can the boom be inadvertently dropped on the dodger, bimini or crew by accidentally blowing the topping lift. On my boat, where the boom is big enough to do some serious damage, that makes the rigid vang worth its purchase price.
My topping lift has a multi part purchase in the boom. It runs out of travel before the boom hits anything. A stopper knot in the appropriate place would provide the same protection on a single line system and is a little bit cheaper.

One of the reasons I wanted the rigid vang was that I didn't like tangling the topping lift around the radar reflector on the backstay when I had loosened it too much. Of course a length of shock cord would fix that problem at much less cost also.

John
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Old 14-04-2010, 09:43   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svstrider View Post
Steve
any pics of the fitting on your tri?? I have emailed boom kicker site re my 47 ft cat. How did you measure the weight at outboard boom end to arrive at 50 lbs? ? tension meter on topping lift rope end
I used a hanging type scale at the end of the boom with the main flaked. No other boom support other than the gooseneck of course.

Which fitting do you mean? Mast base, or boom fitting?
I could take pics, but the mast is off and being updated in my yard.
Boom's on the deck of our house. Kicker's on the settee of the boat.

Boomkicker said my boat's boom weight (with mainsail) and angle to the mast were at the limits.
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Old 15-04-2010, 20:55   #13
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All,
Thanks for the great info; many points of view, and several considerations I hadn't thought of.
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Old 29-06-2012, 15:09   #14
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Re: Boomkicker vs Rigid Vang vs 'Soft' Vang

Bought a Boomkicker for my Newport 28 but found out it won't work on a rolling boom. No where in their literature is it indicated their product won't work with a rolling boom. Called the manuf. and they suggested welding or pinning the goose neck so the boom wouldn't roll. Not a good solution and I haven't been able to come up with something. Feel a bit had. Modified the topping lift so it works easily from the cockpit now but leaves me with a brand new useless Boomkicker.
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:30   #15
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Re: Boomkicker vs Rigid Vang vs 'Soft' Vang

We put a Boomkicker on a customer boat in SE Asia which has since sailed to Florida. It's hard to beat in terms of simplicity and reliability.
Rigid vangs can cause damage to the gooseneck if installation is not well executed. Worth hiring a rigger to do the install or consult.
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