I have sailed Hobies for over 25 years starting with the 16 and I am now flying on a '91 H17.
I also looked into outfitting with a jib because the 17 is so difficult to tack- even under the best of circumstances- without a jib to back the hulls through the eye.
Here is what I found, hope it helps: You can order the the Sport Jib Kit and a Jib. That will cost you about $1200 with a colored jib. That's the easy part except that it costs about what the used boat cost
I am hoping to find a used sport with a jib for about the same price..
If your main is pre-'95 mainsail and you want to convert your main to use the boomlet instead of the boom, you need to have the foot of the main cut higher on the luff and straighter to the clew. Then you have to add a batten pocket and batten to the foot of the main and a section of reinforced bolt rope about 30 inches forward from the clew to hang the boomlet on. In effect, the batten in the foot becomes your boom and supports the foot of the sail and the tackle. A sailmaker can do this for you for a small fortune of course
- or you can buy a new sail for about $1000 to $1250 dollars. This may be your best option if your sails are used and abused anyway.
Personally, I think that you are able to get better overall sail shape with a boom and if your sail is in good shape, live with it, and on it
Happy sails from the Church of the Latter Day Sailors- The Morons