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  #1  
Old 07-05-2009
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Want to Install a Boom Vang - Cal 25

Hi everyone.

After shopping around and finding a boat in my price range and suitable for my needs - day sailing on a lake - I just bought a 1978 Cal 25 (as of yet unamed) and she's in great structural shape. I had the boat inspected and apart from blisters on the hull bottom - which I expected from a boat that has been in fresh water for 2 years - the boat was in excellent shape. The interior was refinished, electrical all upgraded, the deck, bulkheads and mast-step are all sound; she looks great and sails fine, too. At least in light winds - this time of year in inland Georgia the temps hover around 90 degrees and the winds are usually only 5-10 with gusts of 15 to 20. I took her out yesterday for the first time and she was a delight to sail in the mostly 10-12 mph winds - I should state that I'm a novice, having recently completed an ASA Basic Keelboat course. I have also lurked on this forum learning so much from everyone.

Now, the rub . . . The boat doesn't have a boom vang or a topping lift. It looks the prior owner detached the topping lift when he installed the bimini over the cockpit and just attched the boom to the backstay via a wire/schackle. I'm going to replace this and re-install the topping lift although I'll probably hire someone to do it since I'm not too keen on using the bosun's chair.

Regarding the boom vang, I want to install one myself to help the boat's performance - I noticed the sail twist in the main while sailing downwind yesterday and I can see how flattening the sail via a boom vang would help. The issue confronting me is making sure I install the boom vang correctly . . .

First, my mast step isn't set up with a bailer or any other existing hardware to take a fiddle block (although the boom seems to have a slot forward of the slot where the main sheet system attaches to the boom so I'm guessing I could attach the upper section of a boom vang using that slot?) I'll try and post some photos of the boom and mast. There is an eyelet on the mast that looks like it could be used to attach the boom vang to the mast but it seems to be positioned too high up - it's midway between the mast step and the gooseneck. Any good books I can read on installing the boom vang? I want to make sure I choose a system that is strong enough for my boat and install it properly so the wind force doesn't damage the mast or boom. (In other words, is a mast hound adequate or should I through bolt a bailer?) Would love to get your recommendations. If there are any experienced sailors in the Lake Lanier, Georgia area who might be willing to contact me offline and help me, that would be most appreciated!

BTW, I've considered a rigid boom vang to address topping lift and boom vang but would need assistance on choosing the right system.

Thanks,
Thomas
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Old 07-05-2009
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You should have a vang not just for performance but for safety. You don't ever want the boom flying up, and that can happen with a sudden gust on a run.

A vang will come under considerable force and a pad eye on the mast or boom is not sufficient. You have a few options.

First, there is your current plan, a topping lift and a traditional rope vang. I am planning to remove my topping lift because it fouls in the top baton. Mine is just a wire that is shackled to the mast head and comes down to a fiddle block on the aft end of the boom. Others will suggest you rig a topping lift like a main halyard, meaning from the aft end of the boom, to the mast head, over a sheave, down into the mast, and out on to the deck and aft to the cockpit. They point out you now have a spare main halyard. Personally, I think that's just one extra piece of running rigging you don't need in the way.

As you thought, you'll need to through bolt a bail on both the boom and the mast, unless you have a deck plate below the mast step you can attach the vang to. Or, you'll need to do something very strong, but I doubt drilling and tapping will be strong enough. Maybe pop rivets, but I don't know. I'm sure you'll get many suggestions. If you buy an assembled vang from someone (Schafer, Harkin) they will tell you how to mount it.

Another option is boomkicker.com. This eliminates the topping lift by putting a springy rod under the boom and inside the vang. It will hold the boom up, and you pull it down with the vang. Pretty reasonable cost, but since you have no vang now I think there are better options.

Usually you don't see a ridged vang on a boat your size, but there is a company that will make you one:

Garhauer Marine Hardware -8892546
Garhauer Marine Hardware -8892547

That one is $330, which may be a good deal considering it means you won't need the vang or the topping lift. I would probably do this if I were in your situation, but maybe a better idea will be posted.
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Oh, I almost forgot, congrats on the new boat! Sounds like a great find!
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Oh, one other thing, how is your gooseneck attached to the mast? Is it fixed in place or does it slide up and down on a track?
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Old 07-06-2009
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Thanks for the replies.

Since I need to add a toping lift and I'd probably pay someone to go aloft to run the line to the mast I may go ahead and install a rigid boom vang since the price doesn't seem too steep and I've heard good things about Garhauer.

I'm not sure about the gooseneck. I believe it does not slide but I could be wrong. I don't think the prior owners upgraded any of the standing rigging for improved performance or safety. But I'll check and let you know. Why did you ask? I'm guessing it may have to do with somehow fixing the gooseneck in place if I have the type which slides?

Thanks again,

Thomas
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Old 07-06-2009
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I second the Garhauer rigid vang. The small version will work well on your boat.

As for the rigging, in additon to renewing the wire & turnbuckles, it would be very wise to check your chainplates very carefully on an older Cal, looking for elongated pin-holes and especially for any evidence of leakage on the underside of the deck and behind the chainplates in the bulk-heads. Loosing the rig to a ruptured chainplate weakened by crevis corrosion at the thru-deck point-which we have seen several times-will ruin your whole day. If there is any doubt, replace them. JSI rigging in St. Pete can provide replacement chainplates very inexpensively.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbaftandAbeam View Post
I'm not sure about the gooseneck. I believe it does not slide but I could be wrong. I don't think the prior owners upgraded any of the standing rigging for improved performance or safety. But I'll check and let you know. Why did you ask? I'm guessing it may have to do with somehow fixing the gooseneck in place if I have the type which slides?
Well I believe that if you go to a rigid vang you will need the gooseneck to be fixed in place, but I did read about a system that does not require that. Garhauer is very good about talking to people, but on the phone. Don't bother emailing, they will just reply telling you to call.

I suggest you call them, explain the situation and see what they suggest, but first find out if your gooseneck slides or is fixed in place.

Installing a rigid vang is less aggravation then installing a rope vang and topping lift, and for $330 the price is right. I have been very happy with the hardware from Garhauer, but I have not bought a rigid vang. That is a next season project.

If you do call, let us know that they say!
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Old 07-06-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbaftandAbeam View Post
Hi everyone.

After shopping around and finding a boat in my price range and suitable for my needs - day sailing on a lake - I just bought a 1978 Cal 25 (as of yet unamed) and she's in great structural shape. I had the boat inspected and apart from blisters on the hull bottom - which I expected from a boat that has been in fresh water for 2 years - the boat was in excellent shape. The interior was refinished, electrical all upgraded, the deck, bulkheads and mast-step are all sound; she looks great and sails fine, too. At least in light winds - this time of year in inland Georgia the temps hover around 90 degrees and the winds are usually only 5-10 with gusts of 15 to 20. I took her out yesterday for the first time and she was a delight to sail in the mostly 10-12 mph winds - I should state that I'm a novice, having recently completed an ASA Basic Keelboat course. I have also lurked on this forum learning so much from everyone.

Now, the rub . . . The boat doesn't have a boom vang or a topping lift. It looks the prior owner detached the topping lift when he installed the bimini over the cockpit and just attched the boom to the backstay via a wire/schackle. I'm going to replace this and re-install the topping lift although I'll probably hire someone to do it since I'm not too keen on using the bosun's chair.

Regarding the boom vang, I want to install one myself to help the boat's performance - I noticed the sail twist in the main while sailing downwind yesterday and I can see how flattening the sail via a boom vang would help. The issue confronting me is making sure I install the boom vang correctly . . .

First, my mast step isn't set up with a bailer or any other existing hardware to take a fiddle block (although the boom seems to have a slot forward of the slot where the main sheet system attaches to the boom so I'm guessing I could attach the upper section of a boom vang using that slot?) I'll try and post some photos of the boom and mast. There is an eyelet on the mast that looks like it could be used to attach the boom vang to the mast but it seems to be positioned too high up - it's midway between the mast step and the gooseneck. Any good books I can read on installing the boom vang? I want to make sure I choose a system that is strong enough for my boat and install it properly so the wind force doesn't damage the mast or boom. (In other words, is a mast hound adequate or should I through bolt a bailer?) Would love to get your recommendations. If there are any experienced sailors in the Lake Lanier, Georgia area who might be willing to contact me offline and help me, that would be most appreciated!

BTW, I've considered a rigid boom vang to address topping lift and boom vang but would need assistance on choosing the right system.

Thanks,
Thomas
Welcome to Lake Lanier. Congrats on the new to you boat. I am not a seasoned sailor, but you can often see me sailing out on Lanier on weekends (Chattahoochee Bay, between Aqualand and LLSC).

Sounds like you had better weather on Sunday that I found on Friday or Saturday. The wind was to politely put it "variable"...
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My boat is at Port Royale. Hope to see you on the lake sometime.

Thomas
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