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sneuman 01-28-2003 06:21 PM

Boom Vang
I just bought a 28ft Taipan sloop in Hong Kong (almost a copy of Cheoy Lee''s Offshore 27/Newell Cadet). The vang just loops over the boom - presumably no fitting in order to accomodate roller reefing. My question is - where on the boom should it attach. Also, if the mainsail is reefed at all, there''s no way then to attach the vang. What then?

Any thoughts, suggestions appreciated.

WHOOSH 01-29-2003 12:58 AM

Boom Vang

When roller reefing used to be more common - funny how things have come full circle, isn''t it!? - it was normal to find a Boom Claw on a boat''s boom. This is an almost-complete ring, usually cast of aluminum, that was open at the top perhaps 2" (allowing the hoist of the sail). The two ends of the Claw, one on each side of the sail, had plastic rollers. As one rolled in a reef, the boom would rotate inside the Claw. The base of the Claw could therefore be attached wherever you found it suitable, usually to the base of the mast but also taken to the side deck when needed. The Claw always remained on the boom, even when the sail was furled.

You might find it quite easy to locate a Boom Claw in one of the consignment or used boat gear shops in the U.S. but I don''t know if you have easy access to them. Perhaps a friend in the States can seek one out for you? (Sailorman in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Bacon''s in Annapolis, MD, Minney''s in Newport Beach(?), CA are all examples).

Good luck with the new boat!


sneuman 01-31-2003 02:41 PM

Boom Vang
Thanks John. I did a search on "boom claw" but it seems to be a device more suited to in-boom furling, or am I missing something? I think the previous owner just tied it around the boom, but that wouldn''t get me anywhere once the main is reefed at all. Maybe I should just abandon this and go to Jiffy Reefing??

sneuman 02-18-2003 03:28 PM

Boom Vang
Hoping to kick this back up. My thanks for the response on boom claw, but I''m not sure that''s what I''m looking for. Maybe general opinions on main roller furling (ie. around the boom instead of inside) would be helpful. Does this system work well, or would jiffy reefing or some other system be better?

paulk 02-18-2003 04:16 PM

Boom Vang
Jiffy reefing is better for a number of reasons. It is easier to do. Roller-reefing can be a nightmare of easing the topping lift, holding the boom up, pulling the leech out, easing the halyard and hanging on (in conditions that warrant reefing) while someone cranks a little handle up by the mast until he drops the handle overboard. Jiffy reefing is also faster. You ease the sheet and halyard and start trimming the first (or second, or third) reefing line. The mastman hooks the new tack in place at the gooseneck, and the halyard is tightened back up. When the clew is where you like it, you trim the sail. It is safer, since only one crew is needed at the mast- no one needs to hold the boom or stretch the sail along it. There is less equipment to break - jiffy reefing uses lines, blocks, winches, and halyards that most boats already have or are simple to rig. If the reefing handle cracks or goes over the side, is there a replacement? What if the gears inside the boom get stripped...?

All that said, roller reefing can and does work. Perhaps you can look into jiffy reefing later, when you need a new mainsail. For the vang, talk to a rigger or a REAL chandler such as Hathaway Reiser & Raymond in Stamford, CT about getting a jaw, or claw, so you can vang the boom down even if it''s reefed. It''s a C-shaped thing, about a foot or so in diameter (the rolled sail has to fit inside the C, along with the boom!) often cut from aluminum plate with plastic rollers on the jaw ends, to protect the sail. The opening is just a few inches across - big enough to slip over the mainsheet and then it goes down the boom, with the jaws up. There''s a shackle on the side opposite the opening, where you attach the vang tackle; it is generally led to the toerail or a padeye on deck. In theory, you roll in your reef and the sail slips past the jaw and around the boom. You then tighten the vang. I looked in the Defender Layline, and Harken catalogs and didn''t see any of these things, so perhaps posting in the classified section here, or going to a nautical flea market would also work.

JimOppy 03-13-2003 06:17 PM

Boom Vang
I have a Cheoy Lee Offshore 27, and it has boom roller reefing. I also have one of the boom claws that are mentioned here, meant to be used to vang a boom that is roller reefed. Aside from being ugly (it''s bright yellow) I had serious concerns about the chafing that might occur when the main is reefed. Nontheless, I wanted to test it in a nice December blow on Long Island sound. Wanting to try it myself, I gave the helm to a friend when the rail went under. We were on a starboard tack and the roller mechanism in on the port side of the goosneck fitting, so hanging off the underside of the boom I tried to manipulate the roller handle to get the boom rolling. I dropped the handle in the sound. We jiffy reefed, and I have since never taken the time to have a new handle made. I use the handy billy that came with the claw, but have bolted a U-bracket on the underside of the sail and vang in the traditional manner. No roller main for me.

Theoretically, the boom claw works just fine. It is what you are looking for. I''d be happy to part with it. E-mail me at and I''ll mail it to you. Just pass along a favor when you get a chance...

jklewissf 03-14-2003 04:51 AM

Boom Vang
Jiffy reefing is the only way to go. You end up with a better shaped sail with a lot less effort and risk. If its not easy to reef your main you will tend to put off doing so. Make it as easy as you can to tuck a reef or two in the main and your boat will go faster.

I had a boat with a long footed main when I lived in florida. It has roller reefing and it was a real pain. We had to roll up bath towels in the center of the sail to keep the reefed sail from being too baggy.. Baggy sails contribute to heeling force.

When setting up jiffy reefing I advise against leading the reefing lines aft to the cockpit. Doing this puts all the force of the sail in the gooneck.

A good way to do it is to put sheet stoppers on the boom. Just pull the reefing lines through the sheet stopper to reef. This way all the tension of the new clew is on the boom itself.

Another trick that a friend taught me is to go to REI and buy narrow nylon webbing (like mountain climbers use) to make the nettles for your sail (lines used to tie up the excess sail when reefed.) The nylon webbing is easier to tie and untie than line.

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