Harken Derm

ADVICE: Simple systems for jib sheeting

Published on February 4th, 2015

DEAR CURMUDGEON: It seems that keelboat trends are toward simplicity, and with many now having non-overlapping jibs, is there much use of self-tacking jibsheet systems? – CURIOUS IN VANCOUVER

DEAR CURIOUS – We reached out to our friend Dr. Harken for the latest input on this subject:

“Self-tacking jibs are increasingly popular on new-build yachts. They make a boat very easy to sail upwind, with minimal effort and action required! There is also a trend to fit self-tacking jibs onto older boats. This is easily done, but requires some thought.

“Basically, the sheet from the jib is led to a car which moves across the boat when the boat tacks—very much like a mainsheet traveler.

“Tracks vary from straight across the boat, to bent track with the ends forward, to bent track ends-up and then tilted forward. In each case, the idea is to make the car movement smoother and the sheet tension more consistent. It can be a challenge to work out the ideal bend. Click here to learn about the three basic ways to rig the sheet.”

Like most rigging decisions, it depends on the boat and how it is to be used. – THE CURMUDGEON

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