Originally Posted by Jeff_H
Lastly, since the death roll that can occur, if you accidentally jibe with a preventer set in heavy air, is more dangerous than the accidental jibe itself, preventers need to be easily eased. And since there are huge loads imparted into the boom and mast if the boom tip hits the water with a preventer rigged, preventers need to be resillient to absorb the shock. Offshore racers generally mount the preventer blocks on a resilient mounting. The use of a comparatively light nylon line (one size smaller than your jib sheet) is recommended for cruising boats.
This is one reason I like boom brakes over preventers... boom brakes still allow the boom to move, but keep the speed it can move at slow enough to avoid serious injuries. They don't require the user intervention that a preventer generally does.
One caveat on preventers—using too light a line can be more dangerous than not using a preventer at all, since the sail can really load up and if the preventer line lets go unexpectedly, it can have a lot more stored energy in it than if it had been free to move by itself. So, don't go down too much on the line size for the preventer.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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