Cheap boom replacement ideas for small sailboat?
I am looking for the cheapest way to (safely) replace the boom on my 16' Melges sailboat. I understand that sailing is not the cheapest hobby, and maybe someday I will be able to afford a new boat, but for the time being I would really like to do the best I can with what I have.
I bought the entire boat in as-is (poor) condition for $100 last summer, understanding that it could sink on the first day. With a few DIY repairs, it sailed beautifully all summer, until the homemade wooden boom began to split from dry-rot. As a $100 boat is not worth a big investment, my goal is to spend the minimum amount of money necessary to keep my boat on the water and sailing.
Fully rigged booms can be purchased from the Melges website for just under $500. Does anyone know if/where it is possible to purchase a generic boom (approx 10-12')? Is this even a good idea, or would I spend just as much rigging it in the long run anyway? Anybody tried making a boom?
I have limited tools to work with, but I'm not afraid of a little hard work, and despite all the information the internet offers, I have found very little to answer any of the above questions.