Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Windy Wyoming
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Worth noting the Wiki article was written by an advocate; like everything in sailing, wishbone booms have advantages and disadvantages. Certainly they can be fast on small craft -- windsurfers have mucho speed -- and used with a flexy aluminum or carbon stick, they can supply radical prebend useful on small, fast craft. Bet they'd be killer on DN iceboats or Lasers! They are self-vanging and, with lazy jacks rigged off the boom, act like a stack-pack when you reef or drop your sail.
Downsides: you are limited to boom-end sheeting. Where is your vanging ability when boomed far out? Your ability to control twist? Not totally lost, but your snotter isn't going to work as well as a true vang, and you can't apply it w/out outhauling the clew, taking the draft out of your sail. Most performance sailing involves decoupling sail trim features like mast bend, outhaul, and vang; the wishbone doesn't permit that. Apply one, you apply all. Reefing is harder than pulling a sail down to a horizontal boom, the boom's weight is higher off the deck, and you need either a low tack or a high clew to get the most out of the configuration. You cant ease the boom as far on a stayed mast. And so on.
They are clever and a good solution for small boats, but they are not the preferred solution on all craft. If they were, the Volvo 70s would use them, you can be sure.
Albin Ballad 30, Fionn