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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From your personal experience, what is the best boom brake? I have a free-standing mast, large main (~500 sq ft), only two winches, and fairly inaccessible cleats at the back of the cockpit. I have read quite a bit about the different set ups, but have hesitated to make a decision so far because of the cost and wondering if it will work as intended. There seem to be 3 types (see below from info that I copied from one site). I've been leaning toward the Dutchman. It would be great to get your thoughts on this.

Friction Broom Brakes

Broom brakes like the Wichard Gyb'Easy Boom Brake have no moving parts. The continuous line from port to starboard passed through the device, which produces friction on the line. The more tension in the line, such as during a gybe, the more friction - thus slowing the movement of the boom. This is simple to install and easy to use, with no moving parts to break.

Drum Type Boom Brakes

Drum type boom brakes like the Walder Boombrake function similarly with friction as the port to starboard line wraps one, two, or more times around a drum in the device. This is similar to how friction slows movement in a line wrapped around the winch. The more tension in the line, the more friction – again, slowing the movement of the boom.

Adjustable Sheave Boom Brakes

Boom brakes like the Dutchman Boom Brake use multiple sheaves in which tension on the line can be adjusted with a knob. This is easier than changing the number of wraps around a drum to adjust tension. With more moving parts, this type is usually more expensive.
 

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I have installed the dutchman on the last 2 boats. For it to really work well the control line needs to be lead to a winch so you can adjust the tension. I have it lead to one of my secondary winches. When conditions get snotty, on a run in following seas you tighten it up and the booms not going anywhere. Makes for really safe sailing when you have a preventer rigged all the time ready to go when ever you need it.
Jim
 

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You didn't ask, but FWIW, I don't use a boom brake. When off the wind, I use a preventer. As a rule, I don't go directly downwind preferring to keep the AWD no more than 160 degrees. As such, the need for a brake is much reduced. But I use the preventer to keep the boom from lifting and "just in case" my helming gets sloppy. On the rare, rare occasions when we sail wing and wing, the preventer is set snug to keep the boom where it belongs. But I hate w-n-w because it's such a PITA so that's not often.
 

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Agree with sabreman. Money better spent on having the easiest preventer set up you can. On my boat have lines from extreme aft portion of boom lead forward and cleated to boom near gooseneck. The ends are snap shackles. Then have lines that go through rope clutches mounted on sides of cockpit. This second set of lines go all the way forward through a snap blocks mounted at the bow and also end in snap shackles. When not deployed they are snapped near toe rail by shrouds. It takes two seconds to uncleat line on boom and connect the two snap shackles. Then pull on the line back in the cockpit.
For a controlled gybe ease one preventer and pull on the other. Or have option ( use this in big wind) of grinding in main sheet while easing preventer.
DDW use parasailor and no main. Then use lines that go to bow as fore guys.
Vang/kicking strap should prevent boom from rising.
 

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Money better spent on having the easiest preventer set up you can.
We have a moveable eye on our genoa track forward of the genoa car. We hook a 4:1 tackle w/cam cleat that we use as a general purpose vang/preventer/cunningham from a bail mod-boom to the eye. We adjust the eye fwd-aft so that it's directly beneath the bail, then give the tackle a tug to take up slack. Each end of the tackle has a snap shackle so it can be moved or removed in an instant.
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I appreciate the feedback on the preventers. I had tried to hook up a preventer but the angle wasn't acute enough so it wasn't holding. It seems I would have to go forward to cleat it and release it. I plan to single hand so wanted to avoid that as much as possible. I also understand they have a tendency to catch the boat in a back-winded situation if an accidental gybe does occur. One thing I could not figure out was how to determine whether the preventer works without breaking something because either it's holding too well or it causes a crash gybe. My boat doesn't have shrouds or tracks so there's only the toe rail to hook the blocks onto. There's no way to hook anything onto the gooseneck and there's only one cleat on the boom that I use for the lazy jacks. The mast boot is already chock full of blocks, one for the vang and four for the two reef lines. I just took the downhaul away because it was getting too busy so one of these days I need to get back to figuring out how to make that work, too. I don't mean to sound so whiny! I'll definitely try to diagram these set ups and see how I can make something work for my boat. It sounds like the way to go. Thanks :)
 

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Gam the beauty of the set up I tried to describe is once you have it deployed you can use the dual preventers without leaving the cockpit. I've gybed the boat by myself without the need of calling any one else on deck. Turn off the ap. Put a bit of brake on the wheel and ease one pull the other until gybe done. Or use 10 degree function on ap. In any kind of wind also pull in main sheet, gybe then ease sheet.
If using genny just roll it up until main is dealt with. If using Solent do main first or go wing and wing for a bit until I see what's up for course and apparent wind.
Had the system sabre described on several prior boats. It works great but you need to have no proventer for awhile and need to crawl around outside the cockpit so need someone else at the wheel. Also been whacked by a block more times then I care to remember. Maybe that's why I can't remember .
 

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Pictures would be a huge help when describing these set-ups, I'm a newbie :D

I've only got 6 months under my belt mostly on C22's single handed.

If I head down wind I only use the head sail and drop the main because I just get to nervous watch the wind as it bounces around behind me :laugher

I'd love to rig something up so I can relax a bit and enjoy the ride. I read somewhere a marine strength bungee cord can be rigged up.

Thanks in advance
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Gam the beauty of the set up I tried to describe is once you have it deployed you can use the dual preventers without leaving the cockpit. I've gybed the boat by myself without the need of calling any one else on deck. Turn off the ap. Put a bit of brake on the wheel and ease one pull the other until gybe done. Or use 10 degree function on ap. In any kind of wind also pull in main sheet, gybe then ease sheet.
If using genny just roll it up until main is dealt with. If using Solent do main first or go wing and wing for a bit until I see what's up for course and apparent wind.
Had the system sabre described on several prior boats. It works great but you need to have no proventer for awhile and need to crawl around outside the cockpit so need someone else at the wheel. Also been whacked by a block more times then I care to remember. Maybe that's why I can't remember .
Awesome. I'll see about doing this. At first I read "gybe with ease." I see that you had written, "gybe then ease sheet." Ha. That's my brain hoping to make this simple... Anyway, I have a self-tending jib so even if I'm sailing wing on wing, that can flop over without me having to tend to it.
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Pictures would be a huge help when describing these set-ups, I'm a newbie :D

I've only got 6 months under my belt mostly on C22's single handed.

If I head down wind I only use the head sail and drop the main because I just get to nervous watch the wind as it bounces around behind me :laugher

I'd love to rig something up so I can relax a bit and enjoy the ride. I read somewhere a marine strength bungee cord can be rigged up.

Thanks in advance
I'm in the same boat as you, AZ, with just a little bit more sailing experience. Good on you that you're single handing your C22 already. That's gutsy. For me, it helps to have a wind vane on the mast to make sure you don't sail by the lee, but all the really good sailors will tell you to feel it on your face. You can also watch if your jib starts to luff, which means you're getting too close to a gybe and should turn back up. Check out Singlehanded Sailing Society (sfbaysss.org). Under the link to resources is a singlehanded sailing guide that you can download. Really great info, especially for tillered boats.
 

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The Dutchman is a nice piece of gear, I've never had the chance to try any other. One of the nicest benefits of a boom brake is how useful it can be at anchor, at least on a boat like mine. I have end boom sheeting, but with the boom brake I can disconnect my mainsheet from the boom, and swing it outboard a bit, which can greatly free up my cockpit...

One caution about the Dutchman, if you flake your main in a conventional manner, the top of the brake can be a chafe point against the main... Or, when reefed, when the bunt of the sail can lay against it... I'd suggest you configure some sort of anti-chafe 'drape' over the top of the brake, like the patch of elkhide just visible in this pic...

One other downside to a boom brake, at least how it might be rigged on some boats, is that it can create a bit of a tripping hazard on deck...Tor that reason, I'd recommend the use of a high-visibility rope like a yellow, or neon green, especially if you ever sail with crew who may not be familiar with your deck. Dutchman suggests a deck attachment at or near the chainplates, but I prefer to take mine all the way out to the toerail... Of course, that can interfere a bit with the passage going forward, and the running of jacklines... But I keep my brake attached to the chainplates further inboard whenever it's not in use, so they're not in the way at all most of the time - as seen in this pic, with the yellow line for the brake still run to the 'stowed' attachment points, as there's no need to snug it up until sailing deeper off the wind...



As for preventers, the sort of end-boom arrangement outbound describes is definitely the best way to go, IMHO... Mine also do double duty as a pole foreguy, and live permanently rigged when underway... I really don't like any sort of mid-boom preventer at all, the loads are greatly increased, and I think you really run the risk of breaking gear, or the boom, in the event of an accidental jibe, or dipping the boom...

I'd also suggest using a more elastic climbing rope for both a boom brake, or a preventer...
 

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Freedom 39
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When I bought my cat ketch there was a Dutchman boom brake installed on the main sail. The lines ran from toe rail to toe rail and would put a lot of pressure on the life lines if the boom was let out very far. It is great for gybing when adjusted correctly, just turn the wheel and watch it control the boom across the deck. I took it off after a few months for a variety of reasons:
1) It was a tripping hazard for the side decks when going forward
2) Could not really let the boom out as far as I wanted in certain conditions
3) Another line to deal with in the cockpit. With two masts I have plenty back there!
4) Chafed on sails when reefed
5) Chafed on sail cover
6) Was in the way for stowing the dinghy on the deck by hanging under the boom

I island hop around, race pretty regularly (not on my Freedom) making me a frequent sail trimmer, and don't currently having a working autopilot. I might have one accidental gybe every few years. The hassle factor of having it installed far outweighed the convenience for me to just pay attention when going downwind. If I were going to spend days sailing someplace downwind or decided to get the autopilot working, I would probably reinstall it. It would only take about 15 minutes. It does work as advertised and I have zero complaints with the system. Learning how to adjust it for varying conditions was very easy. If you have the tension too high on a light wind day, the boom will NOT gybe and acts as a preventer. If you think it would solve a problem you have, I can fully endorse it's functionality.
 

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On 44' Pape I installed. Dutchman, led to a winch. Really needs the winch on this size boat. Angles worked out fine going to the toe rails. Wife hated the tripping hazard so I welded hard points to the coach roof. I haven't tried that out yet but looks like it might work well enough.

On the 33' Brewer I have dual 4-1 preventers/bangs. They work a treat as well. They go to a bail mid boom, just a head of the gallows. Now that I put the dodger on I may need to work out another solution as it gets in the way. I gybe just as described in a previous post. It is still a tripping hazard, but oh well.

Both of these solutions work.
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I appreciate your thoughts on this, FarCry and Hpeer. It does get to the heart of the dilemma I'm facing. Just today someone mentioned that, with my large, roachy main and being a single-hander, it might be better to have the break than a preventer. As with most everything in sailing, I guess it would be good to try it out a few different ways and see what works best for the boat and skipper, though it would be nice to avoid the added expense of trialing and erroring everything....
 

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If I head down wind I only use the head sail and drop the main because I just get to nervous watch the wind as it bounces around behind me :laugher

Thanks in advance
now that's an idea. heck, my boat is even set up for a staysail, too. i could strike the main and fly wing and wing with the genny and a staysail. unless you sail wing and wing, the jib is usually blocked by the main, anyhow.
 

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The double headsail rig makes huge sense in trade wind sailing but I thought the issue was singling. Running two poles is a female dog for my tired old knees. Think poles are more to deal with then preventers. Not using poles is hard on the sails and makes for lousy shape. Sometimes if just day sailing will avoid need for pole by over trimming main so it dumps air into the headsail going wnw.
 

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Another trick is to reef main early so headsail not shadowed. Personally, unless restricted by channel would fly asm or parasailor before going double headsail except for heavy air. If restricted by channel and by myself would avoid using a pole unless really on my game.
 

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The double headsail rig makes huge sense in trade wind sailing but I thought the issue was singling. Running two poles is a female dog for my tired old knees. Think poles are more to deal with then preventers. Not using poles is hard on the sails and makes for lousy shape. Sometimes if just day sailing will avoid need for pole by over trimming main so it dumps air into the headsail going wnw.
the OP's issue is singlehanding. mine's not ;) my girlfriend will be sailing with me most of the time, so the wing and wing headsails set up makes a lot of sense. it would also move the balance of the boat forwards which is good for running with the wind
 

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Freedom 39
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I'm not sure that those responding are actually familiar with the OPs sail plan. The headsail is, by necessity, pretty small on her Freedom and will give very little drive downwind alone. It is designed to feed the proportionally huge main that this boat carries. Think more like a catamaran sail plan except that the mast is so close to the bow there just isn't as much room to put much of a headsail up. There is no way to really tension the headstay much because of the freestanding mast. Like all things on boats, there are many compromises.
 
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