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Old 05-15-2002
Mark Matthews Mark Matthews is offline
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Preventers on Wishbone Booms

Is there a way to rig a boom preventer on a Nonsuch 30 with its huge, wishbone boom? Also, is there a way to jibe safely and efficiently? The bimini support we have rigged prevents me from cranking in the the boom for a controlled jibe, which would take so long to accomplish that tacking might be faster on a broad reach. Can you offer any advice?

Mark Matthews responds:
Thanks for the question. I’m familiar with the type of rig you’re talking about, having had the opportunity to sail a Tanton 43 for hundreds of miles some years ago. The large sail plan means that you’re dealing with some serious forces. Don't despair, however, as there is a way to rig a preventer on the boom. On board the Tanton, we used a line running from the aft end of the wishbone boom—which was fitted with a padeye expressly for this purpose. The line was led forward to a block on the bow and aft to a cleat near the cockpit where we could easily adjust it as need be.

One caveat here about jibing: with this kind of rig, make sure you release the outhaul beforehand. We found out several times the hard way what can happen otherwise, namely that a flying jibe has the potential energy to rip the luff track right out of the mast!

As far as jibing safely and efficiently, there is a way to do this as well. The drill is to bring the mainsheet in as much as possible to prevent the boom from flying across the cockpit. I’m not sure why your bimini support would prevent you from jibing—perhaps it’s set too high, and if so you should look at configuring it in a better way.

Anyway, to execute a safe jibe, begin pulling the mainsheet in as you continue sailing downwind. At the same time, steer a course slightly more to weather so that you won't inadvertently jibe in the process. After you can bring the sail in no further, steer back to your original course, and the mainsail should come over almost on its own. Then you can ease the sail, re-rig your preventer, retighten the outhaul, and you should be off and running. I'd recommend that the first few times you try this, you do it in moderate winds if at all possible, that way you'll work out any wrinkles that pertain to your particular boat (like the bimini support issue). Best of luck to you.