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Old 28-05-2018, 22:16   #1
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Self tacking club footed staysail... vang or sheet car?

Excuse my ignorance as I ponder switching the staysail on my staysail schooner to a self tacking club footed sail. Managing the headsail and main through a tack/gybe is about all I can handle shorthanded with my current deck layout. Having a self tacking staysail would make things far more manageable.

So the typical setup one sees for a self tacking headsail is a curved track on deck with an unrestrained sheet car just left to travel from one side to the other as the boat tacks. Now, moving that idea to a club footed jib... It seems to me that if I was to add a vang to the club, I could do away with the curved track and simply sheet to a fixed point at the centre of the deck eliminating clutter. This would also have the advantage of being able to simply sheet in hard before going forward to avoid anyone getting clubbed accidentally.

Thoughts?
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Old 29-05-2018, 02:37   #2
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Re: Self tacking club footed staysail... vang or sheet car?

If you are talking about a jib boom, then no that works until any slow foredeck crew get punted over the side on a tack. More hassle than they are worth
Curved track works well, use the Hanse system of the sheet going up the mast from the car.
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Old 29-05-2018, 04:22   #3
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Re: Self tacking club footed staysail... vang or sheet car?

It's very difficult to get a vang to work well on a staysail boom, as the amgles are all wrong.

Better to go for a wishbone boom, a track or widely spaced sheet blocks with port and starboard downhauls/sheets/vangs to fine tune twist. The last setup has worked very well for me on a few boats. Its not completely self tacking, as the vangs sometimes need tweeking to fine tune the set, but this can wait until the important stuff is done.
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Old 29-05-2018, 04:32   #4
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Re: Self tacking club footed staysail... vang or sheet car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markhunter1097 View Post
If you are talking about a jib boom, then no that works until any slow foredeck crew get punted over the side on a tack. More hassle than they are worth
Curved track works well, use the Hanse system of the sheet going up the mast from the car.
My boat's self-tacking staysail has a single sheet which goes up the mast from a car on a curved track. It's conveniently simple, but I would never ever have such a thing for a principle headsail. Even for a staysail (!) I am using a barber hauler (or two) on it, most of the time, to get acceptable sail shape. Also it has a lot of friction running through so many blocks and with so much change of direction.

The owner of KM Yachts in Holland (who built Noelex and SWL's beautiful new boat discussed in here) swears by jib booms. On the contrary, I mean, opposite of the case with the single sheet system, you get excellent control over sail shape with this, and you get actual direct control over angle of attack of the headsail. I haven't sailed with one, but it looks very appealing to me. Jibs are very sensitive to inboard-outboard position of the clew. It would be especially wonderful to be able to smoothly place the clew out over the rail when sailing deep, without rigging a pole. I often rig a barber hauler from the end of the boom when broad reaching, to tweak the clew outboard -- it makes a vast difference in power of the jib, but it's very awkward because any change of boom angle messes up the jib.
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Old 29-05-2018, 09:16   #5
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Re: Self tacking club footed staysail... vang or sheet car?

We have a jib boom on our staysail and I've led the sheet to a car on a straight track (I don't think a curved track is necessary and wouldn't fit on my cabin top at any rate) and it's worked well for us. The track has adjustable cars so I get good sail shape on almost any point of sail.
The joke about how you can get 4 opinions from a group of 3 sailors is true about jib booms. Some people swear by them, others swear at them but I find it very helpful, particularly short handed and if you know it's there and still get hit, well that's just Darwinism in action.
We tried sailing without one and the staysail set poorly on almost all but a few points. My sailmaker asked if I'd sail with a loose footed main?
A club footed jib usually has a short "club" attached to the foot near the clew (sheet attachment) where it is free to swing wildly. Aptly named "club" since that's what it looks like when the sail is tacking.
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Old 29-05-2018, 18:55   #6
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Re: Self tacking club footed staysail... vang or sheet car?

A big issue that people regularly (and rightly) complain about with jib booms is the danger of them gybing unexpectedly. This needs to be properly controlled as from about 150 deg apparent downwind the sail is in the wind shadow of the main and is prone to being backwinded.

The best way I have found to acheive this is permanent port and starboard vangs. This way the boom can be safely locked to leeward or backed, and in a seaway the boom can be pinned while you stow the sail. A side benefit is they can be used to perfectly control twist, especially with an adjustable topping lift that can be used in light airs to hold the boom up. A central sheet can be used for windward work with the the two vangs eased, or they can be used to fine tune the set, or back the staysail. In general the vangs are not heavily loaded.

The downside is it requires four lines, a single sheet, two vangs and a topper. But then a good non boom staysail setup can end up with six lines, 2 sheets, two car adjusters and 2 barbour haulers.

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Old 29-05-2018, 19:27   #7
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Re: Self tacking club footed staysail... vang or sheet car?

I put a traveller in. I can position the sheet to anywhere on the track. But it’s only as long as the cabin top is wide, so I also use a barber haul for more deep sets downwind.

Makes for a lot of line in the cockpit but works for me. Limits how much slamming around the boom can do.
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