Boom Kicker?

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Boom Kicker?

Postby Anstigmat » Mon Oct 25, 2021 1:15 pm

I've recently come across info on a piece of hardware I wasn't aware of called a Boom Kicker. It looks like it does double duty as a topping lift replacement and partially acts as a kinda-sorta-not-quite vang... In fact most of the posts I've seen have them used in conjunction with a vang.

I haven't been super thrilled with my topping lift. The extra line adds clutter and slight complexity when raising and lowering the sail alone or with inexperienced people. A kicker + vang seems like a decent upgrade to make? Anyone do this? Would love to hear more.
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Re: Boom Kicker?

Postby GreenLake » Mon Oct 25, 2021 6:41 pm

Usually this is a bendy fiberglass rod that is sized to be strong enough to keep your boom horizontal, unless you tighten the vang. It counteracts some of the effort of the vang, so if yours was marginal, you may need to upgrade it.

Unlike a topping lift, it doesn't get in the way of the sail; you might find that this allows you to help lift the boom in light airs for better sail shape.

Have you looked? Are there any sold that would fit the DS (geometry) and are sized for that weight of boom?

I don't recall reading about any successful installations here on the forum (you may try a search and prove me wrong), but I've sailed on other types of boats that had some form of rigid vang. The non-rigid version you mention has the advantage that it opposes a tight mainsheet passively: you can get away will pulling the sheet tighter than the vang is set, as usual.

I see no reason why you couldn't rig one, if that's what you like, but I'm also not sure whether you'll get your money's worth out of it; so you may have to be our pioneer and guinea pig.
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Re: Boom Kicker?

Postby Anstigmat » Mon Oct 25, 2021 10:31 pm

https://www.seoladair.com/boomkickerStore.html

I’ve not seen one specifically for the DS but this store says they have them for this boat length. I’m just assuming if you have a 16-19ft boat like the DS the boom and mast is roughly similar…

Even just to be able to drop the main without the boom hitting the deck, if you don’t pass back the topping lift would be a great thing. Maybe I will try it!
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Re: Boom Kicker?

Postby GreenLake » Tue Oct 26, 2021 1:48 am

Sounds good. They claim that their K400 model (16-19') has been sold for DS and some other boats that are similar, whereas the boats listed for the next smaller size range include models that I recognize as having lighter booms.
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Re: Boom Kicker?

Postby tomodda » Tue Oct 26, 2021 6:53 am

Look at the one from Vela, slightly less painful to the wallet:

https://www.velasailingsupply.com/boomkicker-for-sailboats-16-to-19-k0400/

Advantages: The boom sits in a sling, so you don't have to take anything apart when you're unrigging the mast; the kicker attaches to the mast via a slug in the mast slot, so no drilling. Disadvantage - one more thing going into a very tight space (thus applies to any kicker, not just Vela's).

I had considered a kicker and decided against it, both for cost/benefit and space considerations. In the end, I've rigged a topping lift with a "twist." Instead of leading the topping line from the end of the boom to the mast head, thru a block then down to the foot of the mast, I go the other way. I have a light line permanently attached to the top of the mast (right below the windex, above the main halyard block), then it goes to a cheek block at the end of the boom and forward to a small cleat at mid-boom. The cheek block has an open back, so I can simply pop the topping lift off it when unrigging the mast. Advantages - topping lift always ready, and easily adjustable from my usual sitting position - I slack it off when sailing in most airs so it doesn't catch on the leech, and I tighten it up in light air or running DDW. I tighten it quite a bit when I take the sail down, just to raise the boom out of my way. Disadvantage is that I do have to remember to adjust it 2-3 times during my sailing session (setting out, then when dropping sail), and if I don't slack off enough then the lift gets caught on the sail. Also, the mid boom cleat is hard to access when the sail is furled over it. And more screw holes in the boom (NOTE). Still, the good outweighs the annoyances, at least for me.

Tom

NOTE: You may want to include the price of a tap set and center-punch ($35-45 total?) in your cost analysis. I'm assuming you already have a drill and bits. I bought the taps and punch specifically for my running rigging work, but have since used them for other household projects.
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Re: Boom Kicker?

Postby Anstigmat » Tue Oct 26, 2021 10:17 am

I see that the Vela one listed has the same model name as the other one, so I wonder if they're the same, just with a lower price as not MSRP...

The only concern I have now is that gooseneck stop at the base. My Proctor mast has an unusual track which does not fit most slides I've been able to source from Rigrite or D&R. I had to heavily modify mine with a dremel to get it to fit the slot. Because of this I was planning on installing a fixed gooseneck, which it sounds like the Kicker needs anyway, but I would be concerned that the included Gooseneck will be too big causing complications.

This dang Proctor mast! It's a real beauty and very light weight, but the slide has been driving me nuts.
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Re: Boom Kicker?

Postby GreenLake » Tue Oct 26, 2021 11:18 am

If I were to rig a topping lift, I'd do it the way Tom described it. But I would use rivets for the strap and block.
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Re: Boom Kicker?

Postby tomodda » Tue Oct 26, 2021 10:51 pm

Off topic, GL, what do you see as the downside of tap and screw into the mast/boom?

T
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Re: Boom Kicker?

Postby GreenLake » Wed Oct 27, 2021 2:55 am

My understanding from something I read here in passing is that the wall thickness is marginal for screws. That would limit the number of threads that can grab the screw. For rivets, as long as the wall isn't so thin so that you can rip the rivet through altogether, it shouldn't be as critical. (But, if you have solid info, I'm always ready to learn new facts).

My boom vang strap is held by aluminum rivets and they proved strong enough (loaded in shear) to hold even in the face of a small misalignment that bent the actual strap. Ideally I would have got that angle right, but it's nice to see how strong these rivets are.

Now, I have used tapped screws for one set of cam cleats used for reefing - they really can't be riveted, and have held, so far.

For a vang, a trough bolted bail might be an alternative, not a part I had, otherwise I'd tried that.
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