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Merit 25

Boom Kicker

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I'm thinking about getting a boom kicker for the boat. Don't like the weight of a rigid vang on the boat, and I already have a cascade vang set up. Do these work pretty well? I know another merit where it sometimes pops off the bottom of the boom.

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Mine works well. Nice and small. It will pop off if the boom raises up high enough. I've had it happen with sails down when the boom was raised up with the halyard to get it out of the way. Hasn't happened when sailing. If it pops off when sailing it probably wasn't installed right. I suggest marking the vang at the point where the vang will just keep the boom from going too high, and then try not to let your vang go past that point in normal sailing. If that's too restrictive, then the mounting needs to change or it maybe it just won't work on your boat.

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They work ok. The guys who came up with this product really nailed their market.

 

Bang for the buck is high, as they hold the boom up and can eliminate a topping lift, as well as keep the leech open in really light air.

 

Drawbacks are it takes some trimming of the rods to get the return force just right. If you dump the vang in a broach the rods will probably pop out, and for me the big one is that it really adds a lot of pressure to trim the main against if the boat is carrying much rake.

 

If you can afford the grand or more to get a more sophisticated rigid vang I'd do it, but the boomkicker is such a good buy if you can't. I've sold lots of both and people always seem happy with boomkicker, or at least they like the extra $800 bucks they have around!

 

They work ok. The guys who came up with this product really nailed their market.

 

Bang for the buck is high, as they hold the boom up and can eliminate a topping lift, as well as keep the leech open in really light air.

 

Drawbacks are it takes some trimming of the rods to get the return force just right. If you dump the vang in a broach the rods will probably pop out, and for me the big one is that it really adds a lot of pressure to trim the main against if the boat is carrying much rake.

 

If you can afford the grand or more to get a more sophisticated rigid vang I'd do it, but the boomkicker is such a good buy if you can't. I've sold lots of both and people always seem happy with boomkicker, or at least they like the extra $800 bucks they have around!

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It looks like they offer a track for the kicker to slide on under the boom, I'm wondering if the track version allows more travel without it popping out like I've seen others do. I'll have to call and find out. Garhauer makes a nice rigid vang, but I know it's going to be heavy and overbuilt. I also think they want you to use their purchase that's included.

 

Thanks for the feedback.

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Switched from a topping lift to the Boomkicker a number of years ago - maybe 15 or so. We've been very happy with it.

 

If it's a problem trimming against it, sounds like you might have the wrong rods in there. Ours is set to hold the boom up with the main on it, but any pressure on the boom and it will go down. Two fingers pressing the boom down overpowers the Boomkicker. Of course, maybe you have a really heavy boom?

 

After a few years, we had some breakage of the tubes. They can be replaced with standard 3/4 inch PVC, so you don't have to go buy parts. The Boomkicker folks told me that's actually a design feature they did originally.

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We had one on our T-10 and it worked great. We had to trim the rods a bit to get it perfect. The new version comes with a track for easy adjusting, but I have yet to try it. The only issue we ever had was it would pop out if lifter too high, but a knot in the vang solved that issue. I used to sail with the guy who makes them, PM me and I can give you his number.

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Simple, works, very cost effective. Can't see how they pop out unless you sail downwind with the boom pointing skyward. I think that is called a safety device!

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Do I have that right - you can replace the fancy fiberglass rods with 3/4" PVC???

 

I have a boomkicker and I am reasonably sure I need lighter rods as it takes some pressure on the boom to push it down - the folks advertise that they will sell you rods or exchange rods that came with yours new if you haven't cut them, so I am shocked they told you to use pvc pipe?!?

Switched from a topping lift to the Boomkicker a number of years ago - maybe 15 or so. We've been very happy with it.

 

If it's a problem trimming against it, sounds like you might have the wrong rods in there. Ours is set to hold the boom up with the main on it, but any pressure on the boom and it will go down. Two fingers pressing the boom down overpowers the Boomkicker. Of course, maybe you have a really heavy boom?

 

After a few years, we had some breakage of the tubes. They can be replaced with standard 3/4 inch PVC, so you don't have to go buy parts. The Boomkicker folks told me that's actually a design feature they did originally.

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Have one. It's in my garage. We used it for 3 years and then took it off the boat when we broke our boom last year. Haven't put it back on because the boom is a different shaped section than the old one. Anyway, we sailed one season using it all the time but main trimming was a pain so then we used it just to hold the boom up (no topping lift) - we actually used to take the kicker out when racing, we just had a small piece of line attached to it so we could pop it out and it would float there and then we would put it back in when done.

 

I was never sold on the use of it in light air, ours had the potential to bounce around, not sure that helped at all

 

 

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Do I have that right - you can replace the fancy fiberglass rods with 3/4" PVC???

 

I have a boomkicker and I am reasonably sure I need lighter rods as it takes some pressure on the boom to push it down - the folks advertise that they will sell you rods or exchange rods that came with yours new if you haven't cut them, so I am shocked they told you to use pvc pipe?!?

Switched from a topping lift to the Boomkicker a number of years ago - maybe 15 or so. We've been very happy with it.

 

If it's a problem trimming against it, sounds like you might have the wrong rods in there. Ours is set to hold the boom up with the main on it, but any pressure on the boom and it will go down. Two fingers pressing the boom down overpowers the Boomkicker. Of course, maybe you have a really heavy boom?

 

After a few years, we had some breakage of the tubes. They can be replaced with standard 3/4 inch PVC, so you don't have to go buy parts. The Boomkicker folks told me that's actually a design feature they did originally.

 

Not the rods - the pipe-like tube they live in. After around ten years, the original tubes started falling apart.

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Do I have that right - you can replace the fancy fiberglass rods with 3/4" PVC???

 

 

 

Not the rods - the pipe-like tube they live in. After around ten years, the original tubes started falling apart.

 

I think that must be an old design feature - the new ones don't have any tubes - the rods are covered in a heat-shrink vinyl.

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On a lose footed main you can tie a clove hitch in front of the alum. piece that holds the rods together to stop them from popping out of the track. We lost ours twice in 2 years while sailing in light winds to big motorboat wakes that hacked the rig around. Semms to work. So far anyway. Or it just could be that we are keeping the vang w/less slack/tighter from experience w/o realizing it.

 

Tying a knot in a vang is like a stopper knot in a spin sheet; might be okay, then again it might not.

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I'm pretty happy with mine, but it does pop out. When that happens, very bad. Its a pain to get put back in quickly. The best thing to do is, as someone suggested, mark the vang and don't ease it past the mark.

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Had one for about five years on a 30' cruiser.

About 1000nm in open ocean over that time.

Its been great.

Slab reefing is easier , dont have to stuff around with the topping lift.

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