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To kick or not to kick .. that is the question ..

Started by Ken, May 14, 2016, 10:56:25 PM

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I can only find a few (4?)  refs to using a kicking strap on a Winklebrig here.
I'd be interested to hear more ideas / comments on it's efficacy on a gaff sail .... especially from anyone who's tried both with and without.
Mine has wooden mast, tabernacle and boom with a high peak sail.

David Bone

A friend of mine fitted a kicking strap to his Winklebrig, attaching to the back of the wooden tabernacle. Due to the shallow angle, the stress was excessive and it broke up the tabernacle. After making a new tabernacle, he decided not to refit the kicking strap. I think the heavy boom and having the mainsheet on a horse across the stern, help quite a lot.


Thanks David. I had thought it would need a fairly hefty metal strap round three sides of the tabernacle but was still not sure if that would hold. Do you know how your friends was fixed ?
In the mean time I noticed the youtube of Mary-Ellan(?) on Kielder showed a kicking strap and I see the guy who was sailing it every month or so so I'll check out how he got on.
Thanks again to David and I'm still open to more experience "out there"


Hi Kayeselle. What are you trying to achieve with the kicking strap? Very few Gaffers have them and like most Gaffers the Winklebrig's rig is not designed to be fine tuned in this way and I think you will find that by putting stress on one part of the rig, it will 'give' somewhere else. You might simply be  pulling your gaff down or stretching the forestay. 
If you are trying to flatten the sail for improved upwind performance I would try other things. A horse on the main sheet does it for some. The use of balast and  weight distribution does it for others. However, in general these boats sails much better when sheets are eased and you don't try to point to close to the wind. 
Good luck!

David Bone

Hello Ken,
I contacted my friend with the kicking strap and broken tabernacle. He advised the the back of his tabernacle split along the grain line, so constructed the replacement in two layers with the grain running at 90 degrees.  He has refitted the kicking strap but I understand that he really thinks it is of little effect and concurs with Martin's comments/recommendations.


Thanks for input Martin and David.
I think the idea occurred when I noticed the boom seemed to pull up quite high especially when in front of a biggish wind. However, operating with wooden components for the first time, I was a bit wary about the sort of leverage a kicker would exert. It seems the main sheet horse might be the gentler way to start as I've been using mine with the central mainsheet eye it had.
Fine day out last Mon. More this weekend I hope.
Thanks again both .