Off boom sheeting

Our new club seams to be predominantly light winds and shifty conditions. I haven’t normally enjoyed this type of sailing but enjoyed it on Sunday and seeing how some sailors just got their boat moving. I am also over the suggested Streaker weight. I feel being heavier sitting well forward in the light stuff helps. To do this I have extended the tiller extension, the longer tiller extension required me to move the boom block forward to allow the tiller extension to pass forward and this got me thinking.

I generally can get quite comfortable sitting on the thwart, leaning forward on the side tank, I play the main from the boom. I have found the main sheet and ratchet block get in the way. If there is a slight increase in pressure the transition from boom sheeting to sheeting through the ratchet block is messy. In the process some mainsheet always slips out an I am sure I loose all the flow over the sail.

I have now experimented with removing the ratchet block from the thwart and mounting it on the boom, performance Skiff style. I have taken the boat out in F2/3 conditions and have to say I like it. I can sit/lie comfortably and respond to gusts and lulls easily and very smoothly.

One other advantage is I can keep my weight forward in the tack, in the past with the mainsheet in the way I think I have been depressing the stern too much. I seamed to keep more speed through the tack with boom sheeting.

Obviously the main has less control over the leech, but I felt that with careful attention to the kicker the sail was the shape I wanted. It was also possible on purpose to over sheet and bring the boom too far inboard, this however was very easy to see and I don’t think it is something you would do in reality.

I have checked the rules and don’t see anything preventing me from doing this.

I posted a version of the above on the Streaker FB page and got a few comments from a few sailors and it was all positive. Looking forward to more testing and doing a few races with this setup.

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