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Tom Stewart N3395

Are you one of those people who have spent the last couple of years fitting and perfecting a self launching jibstick? Unfortunately just when you thought you had caught up, self launching technology leapt forwards. Two years ago the I.S.A.F. changed the rules and allowed jibsticks to be used on both the windward and leeward side. Patrick Elcombe was the first to come up with a neat solution (as published in a previous issue).

It seems that Middle Nene is the current hot bed of development as Steve Lightfoot came up with this solution to the problem earlier this year.

The idea (like most good ones) is blindingly simple. The pole slides up and down the mast on a piece of string that is tied from the spreaders to the old jibstick. It is launched with a line that runs from the clew of the jib through the length of the pole and then down to a cleat on the deck. Retrieval is simply done by a piece of elastic dead ended at the top of the pole round the spreaders and down the mast to the goose neck area. Velcro on the bottom end of the pole is sufficient to keep it snug to the mast up the beats.

We know Steve has hit upon a good ideea as people are starting to copy him, including the Martin Family and Ian Gore. Early reports all claim increases in offwind boatspeed. No doubt as the crews get used to the system the results will be even better. Caroline Martin says that the crew needs to adopt a new technique as they are using both the launch string and the jib sheet to control the twist and shape of the jib. I expect that we will see many more of these poles on the water in 1998.

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