The Wētā Self-Tacking Jib kit consists of a deck-mounted track (using adhesive) and a new slightly smaller jib which enables you to tack and gybe with your hands free, especially when combined with the Wētā Twin Tiller kit, allowing faster, smoother turns.
New boats now come with the supports for the Self Tacking Jib Track built into the deck mold (it can still be used with the standard jib). For older boats there is a kit with the track and supports that is glued to the deck, sail, blocks and lines.
RACING: – A ST allows you to tack upwind without touching jib sheet(s). – You maintain the perfect jib sheeting angle without adjustment each time you tack. – As you go through the tack it is only seconds before the jib sets on the new tack giving almost continuous power. – This continuous power combined with a smooth turn allows you good momentum through the tack. This efficiency could only be matched by a highly skilled crew. – When gybing with the gennaker, the jib does not need to be adjusted allowing you to focus on helming and the gennaker sheet. – When approaching the bottom mark the jib can be sheeted in advance, as you do not need to be on the new windward tack, allowing you more time to focus on the gennaker retrieval and approaching boats. – There is no jib sheet crossing the cockpit which means less chance of getting ropes tangling in your feet. – By not having a sheet to adjust each time you tack you can focus more on tacking technique; choosing a good patch of water, your new heading and be more aware of other boats. – All the above result in more efficiency, maintaining momentum and improving your boat handling.
DOUBLE HANDED: – Some have questioned the need for a self tacker as your crew can handle the jib. In fact we find the crew now take the jib sheet tension up a level and not just be happy to get the jib in and stop it flapping. – The crew can also take on more responsibility, with their head out of the cockpit, looking for wind shifts, tacking angles and giving the helmsperson good feedback for tactical decisions.
CRUISING: – There is less clutter in the boat. – When the breeze gets up the ST enables you to focus more on helming and mainsheet which are more critical for safe boat handling. – You will gain confidence by not having to make jib sheet adjustments as you tack and find your boat handling will improve. – Simplified controls always a bonus cruising or taking out new inexperienced sailors.
Although the ST sail has 10% less area, with its efficiency, it performs very well. For single handed sailors it is especially good. In our racing fleets, the ST sails are becoming very popular because it enables you to make flawless tacks and concentrate on tactics.
The good news is that all Wētā can be fitted with a ST and remain competitive.
However the focus is not purely on racing. For the average sailor the ST will give you a lot more confidence when sailing in the fresher breezes when otherwise you may have struggled a bit.
Available from Wētā Sydney for $1880 – installation available if required. It can also be supplied with new boats for $1570
What is the sail area of the self tacking jib? 3.0sqm. Around 6% less sail area than the standard jib at 3.2sqm.
What is the performance of the self tacking jib? Very little performance loss, if any. Simple 2:1 purchase. Many gains in terms of ease of boat handling. You have another pair of hands available when tacking and gybing. No need to trim the jib every time you tack. Cockpit free of jib sheets with only 2m of central self tacking sheet. Standard jib sheet with 2:1 purchase is about 9m.
Is the self tacking jib adjustable? Yes, using the cleat on the mast.
I have a hinged mast base, can I install the self tacking jib? The hinged mast base needs to be adjusted before the self tacker can be installed, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions.
Can I use my existing jib? No, it is a different cut of sail, specially designed for the self tacking unit. However you can revert back to standard jib configuration with the self tacking unit installed.
Can a new Wētā from the factory come fitted with a self tacking jib? Yes Can I use the roller furling jib with it? It is not possible to combine a roller furler with a self tacker. – the drum required for a furling jib makes it too high to get it low enough for the self tacking sheeting angle. – a furling jib has to be a restrictive cut to allow it to be furled neatly and of course cannot have battens. – the area of a combination sail would be reduced in size to about 80% of the standard jib and would require a new raised ST molding. If you leave the jib cleats in place and just add a central fib swivel, you can use a standard jib, furling jib or self tacker.