Do I need outside jib tracks?

AaronD

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Aug 10, 2014
537
Catalina 22 9874 Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
It's time to rebed my outside jib tracks. They're one of the last bits of deck hardware I haven't attacked with @Maine Sail's approved approach. But we haven't been using them recently, so it seems it might also be the right time to ask whether I need them at all (perhaps that question is next unto 'What anchor should I buy?'; thankfully that decision is already made).

It's about the same amount of work to rebed or replace them, or to just fill the holes. It seems that the answer is pretty specific to a Catalina 22, and would differ for any other boat (perhaps even to a specific sail size). So I'm hoping for a little input from some of the C-22 experts hanging out here.

Current details:
--3-foot inside track ending right at the cabin bulkhead - 1" track with pin-stop cars. Simple, and they're working well. We use these all the time.
--Stock 4-foot 15/16" outside tracks, centered on the bulkhead (so overlapping the inside tracks, and ending further back). With screw-type cars that are harder to adjust than the pin-stop ones.
--120% roller furling genoa. If I were to replace it today, I'd go even smaller - maybe a 100 or 105 (in light wind, we pull out the code 0). The 120 is only 3 seasons old, so we'll be sailing with it for a long time. But I add that comment to note that we're unlikely to go larger, and might go smaller over time. That would seem to indicate that we don't need the aftmost portion of the outside track (reasonable assumption?).

I see several options. Two likely ones:

1) Rebed the outside tracks I have (2-3 hours including potting the holes with epoxy, and ~$20 in new screws if I don't have enough in my parts bins)
2) Remove the outside tracks completely and use inside tracks only (~1-2 hours, including filling the holes). In this case, I might try to cut down the 15/16" tracks and repurpose them as side-mount bimini tracks (more solid than the tracks sold specifically for bimini usage).

And a few really unlikely possibilities:
3) Replace with 1" tracks and pin-stop cars ($250+? But parts do turn up on eBay)
4) Move my 1" pin-stop tracks from inside to outside and replace the inside tracks with Garhauer EZ-glide tracks and cars (~$325-400)
5) Remove the outside tracks; mount fixed padeyes and use low-friction rings as leads and 'twings' ($25-50)
As described at More on Jibs and Jib sheet Twing. Interesting, but perhaps overly complex for a cruiser.

I enjoy rigging projects, so any of those options are doable. But I'm not good enough at sail trim to evaluate the pros and cons.
 
Last edited:
Jul 12, 2011
985
Catalina 36 1771 Ft Pierce, Florida
I'm not an expert at the Catalina 22, but had a Hunter 216, a similar boat. When would you use these tracks? Anything between beam-reach and downwind sailing. On such a sail angle, the precise downward tension is not that critical which is the reason you have a track not just a single point - so you can move the foresail lead forward and back to adjust out the twist. Perhaps an easier solution would be to replace your track with a single deck block (vertical on a spring to keep it neat)? I wait for the true trimming experts to tell me how bad this idea is. ;)
 
Sep 15, 2016
615
Catalina 22 Minnesota
If you are already using the inside tracks you likely will never use the outside again. I race and cruise my boat regularly and since installing inside tracks I don't use the outside tracks at all. The sheeting angle for a 110 or a 150 is all wrong for pointing and they add far too much twist. No one will want to use the outside if the inside is an option for sailing even if only for a casual cruse.

If you go smaller than the 110 for a head sail the outside tracks will work even worse as they again will leave too wide of a sheeting angle. The only time I use my outside tracks is when i am goofing off (not racing) with my Spinnaker. Its a Symmetrical that is cut for a Capri 22 and not for my C22 at all. I fly it without a pole just for some fun down wind once in a while. Then I will use the outside track to bring the line to the cockpit winch. But I am sure there are better sheeting angle for that as well. If your already flying a code 0 I will assume that you have it rigged to a block at the stern of the cockpit (as this is standard) and still bypass the outside tracks.

I say all this to say that if you want to ditch them then do so. Otherwise you'll have to rebed them and come up with a creative new (non sailing) use for them. Perhaps you could use the cars to make movable fender mounts for docking, or engineer some sort of sliding attachment for a cockpit awning. Either way if your looking to save yourself some time. Ditch them and repurpose them. The next owner (if you ever sold the boat) will likely never know the difference as they tend to sail the boat the way the PO had it rigged. If there a racer they would laugh at all the extra work or remove, pot, drill, and bed the outside tracks. However as always this is just another internet opinion and it is your boat so its your choice.

Happy sailing!
 

AaronD

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Aug 10, 2014
537
Catalina 22 9874 Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
If you are already using the inside tracks you likely will never use the outside again. ...
Thanks @LakeShark. That's really helpful, and confirms my naive intuition about sail twist. Definitely for our current 120%; I wasn't sure about a 150 (as our remaining 150 is a hank-on, and stashed somewhere in the attic, since we added the bowsprit and code 0). Yes, we have turning blocks lashed to the stern cleats for the C0 sheets, and that works great.

My tentative conclusion is to get rid of the outside tracks.
 
Jul 13, 2015
768
Catalina 22 #2552 2252 Kennewick, WA
@AaronD -- serious question, you really don't use your outside track? I think my go to headsail is my big 150 -- granted I don't get a ton of wind on average and rarely use my smaller 120 , 110 and 75 -- but I love my outside rail for shape and if I could get someone (anyone?) to sell me an asym or drifter I know I'd use it even more potentially.

The only time I've opted off my outside rail is with the tiny storm jib , which I've done infrequently and usually just to see it fly. Think I might vote for keeping it around just to have the flexibility ?

Old pic-- but referential on where mine happen to land- I assume they are '73 stock locations


rail.JPG
 
Last edited:
Sep 30, 2013
3,291
1988 Catalina 22 central Florida
I've never had inside tracks, so I'm probably the wrong guy to comment. But I'd keep the outside tracks, just because I can't see any real reason to remove them. It's not like they're heavy, or taking up space. And it's conceivable someone might want them someday. Nice place to put a movable midship cleat, if nothing else.
 
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AaronD

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Aug 10, 2014
537
Catalina 22 9874 Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
@AaronD -- serious question, you really don't use your outside track?
...
Old pic-- but referential on where mine happen to land- I assume they are '73 stock locations


View attachment 193792
Thanks, @pclarksurf. Those are pretty close to my locations too, although I don't think the inside track was standard for my '81 - my outside track is the standard (if strange) Catalina 15/16" track, and the inside is a 1" with spring-loaded pin-stop cars. And agreed about using the outside tracks with a 150%. But our 150 is stashed away permanently, in favor of the code 0 - 284 ft^2 vs. ~170 ft^2 for a 150% - and prettier, too :).

I've never had inside tracks, so I'm probably the wrong guy to comment. But I'd keep the outside tracks, just because I can't see any real reason to remove them. It's not like they're heavy, or taking up space. And it's conceivable someone might want them someday. Nice place to put a movable midship cleat, if nothing else.
Yes, I had the same thought once, and went so far as to buy a really nice set of stainless Schaefer sliding cleats off of eBay. But that was before I learned that jib track sizes aren't standard (what was I thinking?!?), so I ended up with 1-1/4" cleats, which don't fit either my 15/16" outside tracks or my 1" inside tracks (and that's before we even consider 16mm, 19mm, 22mm, 27mm, 42mm....yes, apparently those all exist :facepalm:). I gave up and bolted in fixed midship cleats. The sliding set is still sitting around somewhere waiting for a big-boat friend from whom I need a favor.

To add a little more thinking (or mis-thinking, perhaps), I imagined 3 use cases:
--Case 1) If I want more twist (e.g. on a beam or broad reach), I'd move the jib cars forward. The inside tracks support that better than the outside tracks, as they extend farther forward.
--Case 2) If I want less twist, and a flatter sail (e.g. trying to point higher on a beat), I move the cars farther back and sheet tighter. The inside tracks sheet tighter (because they're ~6" inboard of the outside tracks), so another compelling reason to use them.
--Case 3) Beating with a 150% or larger genoa. The inside tracks don't extend as far aft, so this would be a good use case for the outside tracks. But anyone (myself or some future owner) who chose a 150% over the bowsprit and code 0 would have to be a bit crazy, wouldn't they?

Perhaps a future owner who wanted to race without taking a penalty for the sprit. But a racer probably doesn't want a boat with all the heavy crap cool stuff I already added to Breezy.

We'll see. If I figure out how to make or adapt some sliders to the 15/16" tracks to turn them into solid bimini tracks, I'll probably repurpose them as such. I not, maybe it'll stay as-is.
https://forums.sailboatowners.com/threads/so-many-projects-where-to-start.1249927737/post-1683602
 
Sep 15, 2016
615
Catalina 22 Minnesota
@AaronD So I race and cruise and use my inner tracks for boath. Adding or removing twist is generally a function of headstay sag and car position on the track. The further back the less twist and flatter sail. Even with the 150 (my primary sail) the outside tracks do not allow you to sheet in tight enough for the best upwind performance (sail 1-2 inch off spreader tip). The outside tracks on my boat are just there now and I no longer use them. Well except for a jib downhaul line and as a toe stubber. Everything is done from the inside track and windward performance is greatly improved. The only drawback is having to foot the jib over the life lines, and the sheet contact with the life lines when running downwind with the whisker pole installed.

Here is a video that shows the angle a bit (though not great).

:51 Shows inside sheeting track
3:08 Shows the sheet rubbing on the life line with pole set

The neon green line is just a jib downhaul and we were experimenting for the best banjo sheeting position (sheeting from Cabin top not side) for the Catalina 22 Nationals in Pensacola this year. We finally got that worked out this past weekend during our first race. It should be interesting. Oh and to preempt the other questions yes we were "tuning" the stays by adjusting rake, halyard tension, and car positions for best performance in tacking angles. Winds were light and shifty at about 5 mph

 
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Sep 15, 2016
615
Catalina 22 Minnesota
@AaronD -- serious question, you really don't use your outside track? I think my go to headsail is my big 150 -- granted I don't get a ton of wind on average and rarely use my smaller 120 , 110 and 75 -- but I love my outside rail for shape and if I could get someone (anyone?) to sell me an asym or drifter I know I'd use it even more potentially.

The only time I've opted off my outside rail is with the tiny storm jib , which I've done infrequently and usually just to see it fly. Think I might vote for keeping it around just to have the flexibility ?

Old pic-- but referential on where mine happen to land- I assume they are '73 stock locations


View attachment 193792
Just an FYI those do not look like inside sheeting tracks. Those inside tracks in the picture look like they are more for a Bimini than sheeting cars. An inside track on the Original design (never standard and always added by a PO somewhere) typically come back 1/2 or so the way to the winches. The sheeting car position is somewhere near the aft window corner (depending on conditions) and those tracks look a little short for where the block would need to be. Just an FYI.
 
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