Is the halyard the only support for the boom - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 17 Old 11-12-2013
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Re: Is the halyard the only support for the boom

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My little boat has a split backstays with a cradle strung between them for the boom, kind of like a pigtail. The previous owner could not stress enough how crucial it was to remember to take it off before sailing! Sounded like it was personal experience...
My standard mode of operation was to take off the main sail cover, attach the main halyard to the back end of the boom and remove the pigtail. I made it a habit, second nature so that didn't forget. I also had a little mental checklist of things to check before raising the main and that was the last thing on the list. It was an easy thing to remember for me as it was at eye level and I used a bright yellow line so that it was visible. to me it wasn't a big deal......then again I might have a different opinion had I forgot 1 time in a good blow!


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post #12 of 17 Old 11-16-2013
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Re: Is the halyard the only support for the boom

No one has mentioned another option for holding up the boom at anchor: a boom crutch. Hoisting the sail generally lifts the boom up off it, so removing it is simple. It also provides a piece of wood that might come in handy in some emergency situations. (Jury rudder/tiller/bumper board/splint for boom...) A boom crutch is obviously not helpful for reefing, but a spring-loaded rigid vang has worked for us since 1997 w/o replacing any springs, and we've done a reasonable bit of reefing when we've needed to.
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post #13 of 17 Old 12-14-2013
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Re: Is the halyard the only support for the boom

So when is the right time to cleat the topping lift? do you raise the mainsail, which then lifts the boom to the proper height, then attach the topping lift line to hold it in place?
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post #14 of 17 Old 12-14-2013
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Re: Is the halyard the only support for the boom

On small boats an additional option is a boom crutch. There are various ways to rig these but most are set up inj the cockpit and stand about the same hieght as the boom would be when properly rigged.
Before lowering the main, or slackening the halyard, the boom crutch is set in place and the boom lowered in to it as the halyard is slackened.
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post #15 of 17 Old 12-14-2013
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Re: Is the halyard the only support for the boom

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Originally Posted by fj007 View Post
So when is the right time to cleat the topping lift? do you raise the mainsail, which then lifts the boom to the proper height, then attach the topping lift line to hold it in place?
The topping lift need only support the boom a) when the sail is down, or b) when the wind is so light the weight of the boom drops the clew and 'closes' off the leech.

Under ordinary conditions the sail and the forces on it will support the boom, and the vang and sheet used to overcome that force to get the correct trim. Then the topping lift should be removed or completely slacked. It's common for an overtight topping lift to interfere with mainsail trim.

Ron

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".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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post #16 of 17 Old 12-14-2013
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Re: Is the halyard the only support for the boom

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Originally Posted by paulk View Post
No one has mentioned another option for holding up the boom at anchor: a boom crutch. Hoisting the sail generally lifts the boom up off it, so removing it is simple.
The oar on my '77 Rhodes 19 was a boom crutch. It was from the factory like this, had a cutout for the boom and a metal clip that secured it to the cockpit floor.

'72 Catalina 27 Tall Rig #519
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post #17 of 17 Old 12-14-2013
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Re: Is the halyard the only support for the boom

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Originally Posted by fj007 View Post
So when is the right time to cleat the topping lift? do you raise the mainsail, which then lifts the boom to the proper height, then attach the topping lift line to hold it in place?
I don't adjust my topping lift on a regular basis.

It is adjusted normally adjusted to be a little bit longer than the leech of the main sail. This normal position keeps the boom off of my dodger but allows the leech of the main to lift the boom. That prevents the topping lift from affecting sail trim.

In very light air I might use trim the topping lift a little bit to force mainsail shape. When I get back to the marina I ease it back to it's normal position.

On your FJ there is very unlikely to be a topping lift. My 505 (also a racing dinghy) has no boom support when the mainsail is down. One could be added, but it is additional mast weight which is very undesirable on these light boats with very light rigs.

It's funny that I forgot about boom crutches in my original list, the boats that I teach (Blanchard Junior) on use them.
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