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Old 18-11-2020, 15:25   #1
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Let's talk self-tending staysails and booms

Hi everyone,

My eyes have wandered over the Island Packet 350 of late. Seems a very practical boat for the kind of shorthanded cruising I usually end up doing, usually with crew who are along for the ride but don't really want to pull on sheets and halyards. (Those of you who have found life partners who want to sail as badly as you do, I salute you.)

I've been frustrated in the past with self-tacking jibs on Hanse 375 and 415 for lots of reasons (can't adjust shape; a real drag to furl in a blow, because you've gotta run up there to ease tension on the sheet between the block at the deck and the one on the clew as you furl, which kinda defeats the porpoise for short-handing; car can get stuck and there you are running up to fix it, which also kinda defeats the porpoise) that it seems like the Hoyt boom might mitigate.

What are those Hoyt booms like to handle? What are the drawbacks?

Oh, and I'll take pointers on those Hanse self-tacking jibs if someone wants to share tips. My belief is that when something goes wrong, it's because I'm not doing something right that I can learn from you.

Thank you!
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Old 18-11-2020, 16:00   #2
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Re: Let's talk self-tending staysails and booms

You never have to leave the cockpit to do any adjustment to an IP’s Staysail.
There seems to be a lot of hate about the booms, that I don’t understand, to me they just work.

The drawback is the boom exists and takes up space.
My old type boom is articulated right at the deck and can easily be brought up and fastened out of the way, or removed with one bolt if you really want to put a dinghy there.
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Old 18-11-2020, 16:06   #3
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Re: Let's talk self-tending staysails and booms

Thanks, a64. I like the sound of "never have to leave the cockpit." I'm trying to understand the source of this hatred. I saw an older thread in which people were describing removing the boom to create space for a tender, and a caution that someone on the deck could get knocked off the boat if you unintentionally jibe. I'll take my chances with both.
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Old 18-11-2020, 16:53   #4
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Re: Let's talk self-tending staysails and booms

My former Bluewater Blackwatch cutter had a handy boom jib. That's all I hung over a 15-knot wind forward of the mast, otherwise a flying jib in addition. All halyards, down-hauls, and sheets were cockpit accessible! Also had jiffy reefing for the main. Handy!
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Old 18-11-2020, 16:59   #5
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Re: Let's talk self-tending staysails and booms

I'm sure my staysail is a very old design since mine is a pretty old boat. But the sheeting still runs to the cockpit. I don't have to be on deck to manage the staysail.

It's not on a furler, and I do have to hoist the halyard at the mast, but once it's up, it's managed from the cockpit. And if I installed a furler, I'd do away with that as well.
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Old 18-11-2020, 17:18   #6
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Re: Let's talk self-tending staysails and booms

Two boats; both cutters with staysail booms.

I don't get the hatred either.
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Old 18-11-2020, 17:50   #7
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Re: Let's talk self-tending staysails and booms

Quote: "...you've gotta run up there to ease tension on the sheet between the block at the deck and the one on the clew as you furl, ..."

Really? Are you sure it's rigged right?

Tell us just how you've led you staysl sheet.

As for the Hoyt booms: Very pretty, but far from necessary. The old fashioned boom you have will do the job just as well if rigged right, and going old school will save you two grand or more :-)!

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Old 18-11-2020, 17:57   #8
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Re: Let's talk self-tending staysails and booms

Unless there is some way to control the vertical travel of the boom over the whole wind direction range they are a total PITA. They work sailing hard on the wind because the sheet pulls the boom down and controls twist in the sail's leech. Unfortunately, as soon as you ease off the wind and loosen the sheet, the boom begins to rise causing the leech to develop a bigger and bigger curl as the sheet is eased. Eventually you end up with a head height floppy boom that is a danger to anyone on the foredeck and a terrible setting sail. The only way to cure this is to vang the boom down. That means the vang is no longer self tending which defeats the whole purpose of the boom. A traveller for the sheet can help only over a narrow range of sail point but is not a cure all even if the track runs from gunwale to gunwale.

It's so much easier and a better setting sail to sheet the staysail as you would a jib with tracks and/or block on the cabin top.

A Hoyt boom takes care of the kiting problem with the boom but the boom is sill in the way.
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Old 18-11-2020, 18:35   #9
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Re: Let's talk self-tending staysails and booms

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Unless there is some way to control the vertical travel of the boom over the whole wind direction range they are a total PITA. They work sailing hard on the wind because the sheet pulls the boom down and controls twist in the sail's leech. Unfortunately, as soon as you ease off the wind and loosen the sheet, the boom begins to rise causing the leech to develop a bigger and bigger curl as the sheet is eased. Eventually you end up with a head height floppy boom that is a danger to anyone on the foredeck and a terrible setting sail. The only way to cure this is to vang the boom down. That means the vang is no longer self tending which defeats the whole purpose of the boom. A traveller for the sheet can help only over a narrow range of sail point but is not a cure all even if the track runs from gunwale to gunwale.

It's so much easier and a better setting sail to sheet the staysail as you would a jib with tracks and/or block on the cabin top.

A Hoyt boom takes care of the kiting problem with the boom but the boom is sill in the way.
Thank you! Just to be certain, that nightmarish description at the beginning of your response is the Non Hoyte Boom®, right?
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Old 18-11-2020, 18:38   #10
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Re: Let's talk self-tending staysails and booms

We had a self-tacking jib on our Soling without any jib boom. Seemed to work well. Only had to go on the foredeck to gybe the spinnaker. Jib leech tightness was adjustable by attaching the sheet to one of the several holes in the clew plate. Jib booms do seem to be dangerous, especially downwind. While the Hoyt boom vangs itself and doesn't need a traveler, it seems an expensive solution that does still encumber the foredeck.
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Old 18-11-2020, 18:39   #11
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Re: Let's talk self-tending staysails and booms

It's true I rarely use my staysail downwind. But this is more to do with the way it gets blanketed by my massive main.
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Old 18-11-2020, 18:45   #12
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Re: Let's talk self-tending staysails and booms

Why do you use a Staysail running down wind? It seems to have little to no effect then.

From my limited experience the Staysail is a going to windward thing, helping to form a slot between the Genoa and main and increase lift, downwind it’s simply too small and blanked by the main.

It was also my Storm sail, very rarely used as I was a Coastal sailor and forecasting was good enough to keep me out of trouble.

I think a purest doesn’t like a self tending Staysail and saying you have one makes you not a “real” sailor, but a self tending Staysail in my opinion fits the mission of an IP well, face it, it’s not a purest “rugged sailor’s” boat. it’s a boat meant for an older Mom and Pop crew who values comfort and ease of use over performance.
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Old 18-11-2020, 19:01   #13
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Re: Let's talk self-tending staysails and booms

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
it’s a boat meant for an older Mom and Pop crew who values comfort and ease of use over performance.
or, in the case of me, an older Pop with no crew.
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Old 18-11-2020, 19:41   #14
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Re: Let's talk self-tending staysails and booms

I used mine down wind for several days running from Dominca to North Carolina.

I had the genoa out on one side, poled out by a sheet on the eased main boom and did have the staysail boom vanged out on the other side. Seemed to work OK. We were not pushing things and had a great sail.

If I was just farting around for a couple of hours run it would have been a lot of work. But to set it and forget it for a week? No big deal.

Our stay sail is our most used and most valuable sail, on both boats.

The big boat has just a single line to a block on the cabin deck.

The 33’er has a full traveller. Makes foe a lot of lines led aft but does give more control.

Nothing is perfect in all situations every day.

On a different downwind run I was having a lot of trouble with the AP holding a good course. That day I found a way to use the staysail so that as the boat yawed the sail lost drive and brought her back on course. Unorthodox use perhaps but it worked.
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Old 19-11-2020, 07:47   #15
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Re: Let's talk self-tending staysails and booms

i am looking at purchasing a boat that has a "Camber Spar spar but missing the sail". Is this the same thing as a staysail on a boom? Does anybody know the specifics of it? The owner is not very forthcoming with information, hence the question.
thanks
jon

edit: the boat in question is the one in my avatar...
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