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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > Is the halyard the only support for the boom
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Thread: Is the halyard the only support for the boom Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-14-2013 12:10 PM
Alex W
Re: Is the halyard the only support for the boom

Quote:
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.
12-14-2013 11:25 AM
JoeLena
Re: Is the halyard the only support for the boom

Quote:
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.
12-14-2013 11:14 AM
Faster
Re: Is the halyard the only support for the boom

Quote:
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.
12-14-2013 07:29 AM
jmallett
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.
12-14-2013 05:11 AM
fj007
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?
11-16-2013 11:27 AM
paulk
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.
11-12-2013 06:34 PM
gedaggett
Re: Is the halyard the only support for the boom

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
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!
11-12-2013 06:01 PM
Minnesail
Re: Is the halyard the only support for the boom

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex W View Post
My least favorite is the pig tail, if you forget about it and bear off to a beam reach or down wind you'll now be stuck with a boom near the centerline of the boat and which is pulling hard on your backstay.
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...
11-12-2013 05:42 PM
outbound
Re: Is the halyard the only support for the boom

Be careful if using vang to hold up boom on a bigger boat. When it gets bumpy the boom will oscillate up and down on it's spring. With time occillations will get greater and boom may hit you, dodger or bimini on a larger boat. Much safer to have topping lift. If you have roller furling boom with truly rigid vang ( fixed angle) vang may suffice.
my 2 cents
11-12-2013 12:21 PM
gedaggett
Re: Is the halyard the only support for the boom

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex W View Post
There are 4 common possibilities:
* Pigtail off of the backstay that can hold the boom up. This only holds the boom near the centerline of the boat. It is a cheap option and often the stock option.
That worked well for me and very simple to rig and operate. I would simply bring the main to center and clip it off to the line attached to the back stay.

(not my boat, sniped from online)

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