More about the Boomkicker - by Heath Johnson
Many people have asked about the Boomkicker and how it works together with
a boom vang. Here is a longer explanation.
The Boomkicker is a device that compliments the boom vang. A boom vang holds the boom down. This is
helpful when running downwind (for instance), because it pulls the boom down and gives you better sail shape. This means
more speed. It also helps to control the boom from bouncing around when you hit waves, etc.
The Boomkicker, on the other hand, holds the boom up. This is useful when the wind is light because there is not enough
force on the sail to hold the boom up and still keep a good sail shape. That is, the sail sags down under the weight of the sail
material itself along with the boom. With the Boomkicker holding up the boom, the sail doesn't sag as much, you get a better
sail shape, and therefore better speed. This doesn't mean that the Boomkicker is just a performance item. In fact, the best
features are what the Boomkicker does for you when you're not sailing at all.
When you finish a sail and begin lowering the main you have to support the boom. This can be done either by resting it on the
cabin top, using a topping lift, or by using the boom/mast support post that fits in the pedestal.
If you rest the boom on the cabin top while lowering the sail, you still need to put in the support post when you are done to
hold up the boom. If you use a topping lift, you always have to loosen and tighten it depending on if you are sailing or
not. If you use a Boomkicker, you don't have to mess with either of these! Just lower the sail and the Boomkicker starts doing
its job holding up the boom. No post to worry about, no topping lift to adjust.
It's also nice when you are raising the mainsail. If you use the mast support post for the boom, I recommend removing it before
raising the main sail. Otherwise if you have the boom held in place while you raise the sail, the pedestal can experience some
large forces if the wind starts to catch the sail. If you use the Boomkicker, just loosten the mainsheet, head into the wind, and
raise the main. The boom doesn't rest or bang around on the cabin top, and it's free to move about on its own to keep from
sailing before you have everything adjusted and ready to go. The Boomkicker is great
for singlehanded or shorthanded sailing.
Another thing that is nice about the Boomkicker is how it works with a bimini. If you use the mast/boom support pole in the
pedestal, you have to find some other means of supporting the boom when you put up the bimini. I used to use a main halyard
running from the cleat on the mast to the end of the boom. This essentially works as a topping lift. With the Boomkicker, you
don't have to worry about either. The boom is supported from near the mast, and you don't have another line to worry about.
We installed a Boomkicker on our Mac and I just can't imagine sailing without it. It makes things so much easier. I'm
selling them on this website because I think that every Mac owner would benefit from having one!