To Boomkicker or not

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leefrankpierce
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To Boomkicker or not

Post by leefrankpierce »

While re-setting up my boat for new sails, I came across the concept of a boomkicker.
At the moment, I have been using my lazy jacks to keep the boom up when the sail is dropped. (simular to a topping lift).
I have a vang (pulls the boom down) to tension the main sail. (apart from the main sheet.)
I am not planning on adjusting the twist under sail, just casual sailing.
Would a boomkicker be of any use?
26X in Dallas Fort-Worth area Texas
Slip at Eagle Mountain Lake
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Russ
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Re: To Boomkicker or not

Post by Russ »

People who have the boomkicker really like it.

Frankly, I don't see the point.

BWY rigged my boat when I bought it with a simple topping lift. The simplicity is genius. Two hooks for under sail and not.

This has served me well for 15 years. Now if I had a boat with a heavy boom, this might not work as well.

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LordElsinore
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Re: To Boomkicker or not

Post by LordElsinore »

I don't have one, but a while back when I was researching how to rig a boom preventer (to avoid violent accidental gybes when sailing straight downwind) and thought I read that you can use a boom kicker to also serve as a boom preventer. Now I can't find that article though, so maybe I imagined it.

Could be nice to have one less line to worry about on the mast, but I do line how my topping lift is rigged to be controlled from the cockpit. It's redundant, I guess, since I also have lazy jack lines on the stack pack that could do this too, but I can't adjust those from the cockpit
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LordElsinore
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Re: To Boomkicker or not

Post by LordElsinore »

Also, I see the author of the thread has an :macx: but I see this note on the BWY page for their boomkicker stating that it doesn't work for rotating masts (i.e., no good on the :macm: like mine). So I guess I'll stop looking :)
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rsvpasap
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Re: To Boomkicker or not

Post by rsvpasap »

I've purchased a number of products from Ted Corlett at https://www.seoladair.com which is the company that makes and sells the boomkicker. They have many things that are useful on a small sailboat and they are very pleasant to do business with.
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Be Free
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Re: To Boomkicker or not

Post by Be Free »

The function of the Boomkicker and the topping lift overlap. The Boomkicker is not in any way-shape-or-form a preventer.

I have both a Boomkicker and a topping lift. Think of the Boomkicker as an automatic topping lift. It compresses and allows the boom to come down when you have the main sheeted in tight and raises the boom when the main is eased. This is usually the way you want it to work.

The topping lift may be able to lift the boom higher than the Boomkicker can if that is the way you installed it. That can be useful when reefing or striking the main. Lifting the boom a bit makes lowering the main easier. Maybe my Boomkicker needs to be adjusted a bit, but it does not seem to lift the main enough to consistently help when reefing. I sometimes have the bimini adjusted a little differently when I'm at anchor and being able to lift the boom a little higher with the main in its cover can be useful.

As long as you remember to adjust it the topping lift will do everything that a Boomkicker does and it will give you more range (up and down) than the Boomkicker can - IF you design to do so. If you forget to adjust it (or adjust it incorrectly) you may introduce problems with sail trim or complicate raising and lowering your main. It can also chafe on your main.

I've used them individually and together and here's my take: I sailed a long time with just a topping lift, I would not miss my Boomkicker (much) it if broke, and it would not be high on my list of things to buy if it did.

That said, since a PO did install one on my boat I've learned to use it and I have been seduced by its general utility. I look at it like the difference in a manual and automatic transmission. The manual is more fun but the automatic is easier. I feel a bit more of a sense of accomplishment when I correctly (and consistently) use the topping lift but sometimes I just want to sit back and sail and the Boomkicker gives me one less thing to think about.
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pitchpolehobie
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Re: To Boomkicker or not

Post by pitchpolehobie »

For me the boomkicker is a nice upgrade from topping lift. The topping lift was something I had to get out of the cockpit and adjust on my mast. The boomkicker just works. I got the bwyachts package for my 26X. Took an hour to install. You need a drill bit to drill into the aluminum boom

Ill say its a nice upgrade and completes my singlehanding setup from the cockpit. I think its about 200$.
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Be Free
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Re: To Boomkicker or not

Post by Be Free »

I agree that it's a nice upgrade. Its function (but not its convenience) can be duplicated with a 50' piece of rope.

If I did not already have one it would not be on the top of my list of what to spend the next discretionary boat buck on. It would be on the list, but not at the top.

My answer to the OP's question, "Would a Boomkicker be of any use?": as an alternative to a topping lift - yes.
Bill
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leefrankpierce
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Re: To Boomkicker or not

Post by leefrankpierce »

I tend to use my lazyjacks instead of a topping lift.
Could be the boomkicker would interfere with the lazy jacks getting some tension when the sail is dropped.

All the big boats seem to have a boomkicker and I have small boat complex.
26X in Dallas Fort-Worth area Texas
Slip at Eagle Mountain Lake
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Be Free
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Re: To Boomkicker or not

Post by Be Free »

I'm going to throw out a couple of things to consider. They may or may not apply.

A lazy jack's primary purpose is to guide the main when it is lowered and to a lesser extent when it is raised. They are not (primarily) designed to support the weight of the boom or any forces introduced by it.

That's not to say that they can't or that they don't support weight on some boats. Using a lazy jack as a topping lift is not a new idea (by a couple of millennia). They have (for the last 100 years or so) been termed "lazy lifts" when used in this configuration. They are not without potential drawbacks on a Bermuda rig (like ours).

If your "lazy lifts" are attached to your mast and you don't move them away from the main when you are sailing (which must be the case if you are using them as a topping lift) then they may affect sail shape and they may induce additional chafe. It's pretty much the same issue you could have with a traditional topping lift but with more lines and on both tacks.

If your "lazy lifts" are attached to your spreaders you will lessen the "shape" and "chafe" problems. On the other hand they will be introducing a point load that your spreaders are definitely not designed for. Spreaders are very light and only designed to be under compression. It does not take much to bend them. A bent or broken spreader is very likely to cause your mast to fall.
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pitchpolehobie
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Re: To Boomkicker or not

Post by pitchpolehobie »

pitchpolehobie wrote: Fri Jul 05, 2024 6:19 am For me the boomkicker is a nice upgrade from topping lift. The topping lift was something I had to get out of the cockpit and adjust on my mast. The boomkicker just works. I got the bwyachts package for my 26X. Took an hour to install. You need a drill bit to drill into the aluminum boom

Ill say its a nice upgrade and completes my singlehanding setup from the cockpit. I think its about 200$.
Also my 26x sailed like a flooded bathtub downwind w a topping lift only on light to medium wind days. I would go slower than other comparable boats and would end up dropping sail and motoring. I get much better sailshape downwind w the boomkicker. I use it in combination w a boom vang.
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leefrankpierce
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Re: To Boomkicker or not

Post by leefrankpierce »

I attach the lazy jacks/lifts directly to the masts.
I have noticed people will unhook theirs and get them out of the way, so far (pre stack/pack) I have not bothered to do that.
Designing a new lazy jack/lift setup at the moment as I am adding the stack/pack, point being, now is the time to rethink, re-design, etc...
Considering the lines may disrupt the airflow over the mainsail is sort of what has me looking at alternatives like a boomkicker.
Was hoping for a lot of comments/thoughts to ensure I have looked at all possibilities.
Thank you all for your comments.
26X in Dallas Fort-Worth area Texas
Slip at Eagle Mountain Lake
:macx:
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Be Free
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Re: To Boomkicker or not

Post by Be Free »

pitchpolehobie wrote: Fri Jul 05, 2024 1:08 pm Also my 26x sailed like a flooded bathtub downwind w a topping lift only on light to medium wind days. I would go slower than other comparable boats and would end up dropping sail and motoring. I get much better sailshape downwind w the boomkicker. I use it in combination w a boom vang.
A Boomkicker and a vang are a great combination if you use them right and it sounds like you are!
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Be Free
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Re: To Boomkicker or not

Post by Be Free »

leefrankpierce wrote: Fri Jul 05, 2024 1:30 pm I attach the lazy jacks/lifts directly to the masts.
I have noticed people will unhook theirs and get them out of the way, so far (pre stack/pack) I have not bothered to do that.
Designing a new lazy jack/lift setup at the moment as I am adding the stack/pack, point being, now is the time to rethink, re-design, etc...
Considering the lines may disrupt the airflow over the mainsail is sort of what has me looking at alternatives like a boomkicker.
Was hoping for a lot of comments/thoughts to ensure I have looked at all possibilities.
Thank you all for your comments.
If you are attaching to the mast then the only danger is to your sail shape. That is why many lazy jack systems are designed to pull out of the way when you are sailing.

The Boomkicker will do the normal job of the topping lift while allowing you to move your lazy jacks out of the way. Once you have it adjusted it's pretty much "set it and forget it". It's a good choice if it is in your budget.

Keep in mind that when I'm discussing bad sail shape I'm talking about general best practices. If you were racing (on a different boat) it might make a significant difference but we're talking about a 26X here. In absolute terms, you can make it better but even when it's as good as it gets it's still not going to make that much difference. High performance sailing is not our strength. :wink:
Bill
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