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post #1 of 9 Old 12-27-2005 Thread Starter
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Raise Boom/Shorten sail

Thoughts pro or con regarding raising the boom 8 inches at the mast and having the main sail shortened. Reason: The sail in in for cleaning and repair, so good time to consider this. Raising the boom would prevent many head bangings upon entering the companionway and also provide more space for a larger bimini. The boat is a 31'' and we do not race it. Would it affect control or sailing and if so how?
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post #2 of 9 Old 12-27-2005
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Raise Boom/Shorten sail

Neicy,

I did almost exactly what you''re describing to the mainsail on my 26 footer. I''ve yet to notice any adverse effects of shortening the mainsail nine inches on over-all height. I use the boat as a cruiser, and not a racer.

One item to consider though.Once you shorten the sail and move your boom upward, will you have enough stroke on your main halyard to raise the sail all the way up? Don''t forget that you''ll loose some halyard travel at the head of the sail after moving it upward.This may, or may not be a concern. It depends on how close the head of the sail is to the top of the mast before the modification.
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post #3 of 9 Old 12-27-2005
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Raise Boom/Shorten sail

I have never personally had the vertical dimension altered on my sails, or moved the main boom higher off the deck. My main is over the pilothouse and doesn''t interfere with the cockpit. I suppose, in your case, the trouble & expense would be worthwhile.

The height of my mizzen boom however, is adjustable by sliding up or down a mast track. I always raise the mizzen boom to allow vertical clearance for the aft deck helm when the sail is furled . . . rarely raised while unfurled. The mizzen could be reefed though, providing additional clearance while under sail, at the expense of reduced sail area. Not that great of a disadvantage for a mizzen''s function.

I wonder if you could install a track to the mast and modify the gooseneck fitting, allowing for raising the main boom and reefing as required.

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post #4 of 9 Old 12-27-2005 Thread Starter
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Raise Boom/Shorten sail

I am not sure about the top of the sail deal but will take a closer look at that. I plan to raise the boom via the gooseneck track. I have measured and there is approximately 8 inches of track there available for this. The boom on this 1977 boat is lower than the boom on newer boats. It does not exactly extend into the cockpit, just the end hovers over the companionway step area and is perfect for banging your head if not paying attention. Thanks for you input.
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post #5 of 9 Old 12-27-2005
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Raise Boom/Shorten sail

I would not recommend this unless your boat has a lot of weatherhelm. Years ago I consulted on a boat that had tremedous leehelm. So much so that the boat was dangerous to sail in heavy going (the boat would bear away rather than round up and then go into a knockdown). We had changed mast rake and were about to alter the skeg and rudder when someone noticed that the gooseneck had been raised roughly 6".

After consulting with a sailmaker, we concluded that the sail had been cut down pretty dramatically, although frankly a lot less than you are talking about. In any event if I were in your shoes I would have the sailmaker install a cringle at the position of a "flattening reef". Then I would rig your outhaul to that flattening reef cringle and see how the boat sails before screwing up a decent sail and potentially putting the boat at risk.

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post #6 of 9 Old 12-27-2005
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Raise Boom/Shorten sail

I second Jeff''s suggestion. A cringle used in the manner of a flattening reef would raise the outboard end of your boom and give you the added clearance that you want over the companionway hatch. That would accomplish your objective at less cost than changing the dimensions of your mainsail, and it would leave your mainsail at its stock dimensions, so that you could use the full-sized sail in light air, if you wished. Altering your mainsail could affect the resale value of your boat. I believe most sailors wouldn''t buy a boat with a shortened mainsail, unless the owner gave a significant allowance to replace the mainsail.

Also, changing the size of the sail can have unexpected consequences. A friend had a boat with a shortened mainsail, and, when he raised it, he couldn''t keep the gooseneck slide in the track.
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post #7 of 9 Old 12-28-2005 Thread Starter
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Raise Boom/Shorten sail

Well all this sounds pretty high tech and a little over my head. Sail Care in Pa. has the sail and the recommendation was to shorten it near one of the top battens, therefore not altering the shape of the sail. Have only had the boat since summer and all is pretty new. The mainsail is by Hathaway, Reiser & Raymond and per Sail Care is original to the boat. The Dufour emblem is at the top as well as the hull no. which makes the sail 27 yrs old. With the work at Sail Care, Jerry says we should get 5-7 more years out of the sail. As sailing is pretty new in this family the weatherhelm etc is something I am not sure of. Sail Care seemed to think there would be little effect. The thing about the gooseneck slide coming out of the track could be of concern as that is the planned method of raising the boom. Jerry at Sail Care is going to call prior to cutting so if there is anymore info out there on this matter, lets hear it.
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post #8 of 9 Old 12-28-2005
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Raise Boom/Shorten sail

Let me try to explain the flattening reef idea more clearly. The three corners of the sail are the head, the tack and the clew. Presently, the mainsail outhaul is attached to the clew, located in the aft, lower corner of the mainsail. The idea is to install a new cringle about 12-15 inches above the clew. Then, instead of attaching the outhaul to the clew, you would attach the outhaul to the new cringle. When you put tension on the outhaul, it will pull the outboard (aft) end of the boom up to the new cringle.

The gooseneck would remain at the same height on the mast, but the aft end of the boom would be raised enough to give you more clearance for people in the cockpit and for a bimini. You only have to raise the aft end of the boom a little to accomplish your purpose.
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post #9 of 9 Old 12-28-2005
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Raise Boom/Shorten sail

If the sail is really 27 years old, it is probably dead already. I would not invest a penny in it. However I doubt that this is the original sail. The Dufours of that era typically came with sails made be Elvstrom (a small red crown in at the tack). My guess is that the Hathaway, Reiser and Raymond sail is a replacement for the original sail. In those days most quality sailmakers typically would have included the Dufour insignia and hull number on a replacement sail.

If you are a new sailor the last thing that you will want to do is to end up with a boat with leehelm. On a gusty day, weather helm is your friend, telling you which way to go to get out of trouble.

Jeff
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