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Joe Anderson

No Boom Bang

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Four years  ago I built a Spindrift 10. I really enjoy sailing this boat. The Spindrift tacks very quickly and is fun to sail in all conditions from mild to wild. I think this would be a great boat for grandchildren, nieces, and nephews to learn to sail in, but I don't want to worry about them being hit in the head by the boom while tacking or jibing. I suspect that some of you might suggest that after a few hits you soon learn to duck, but I would prefer to minimize the danger. I have a few ideas on how to do this and I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.

 

1: Raise the boom. The top of my boom is about 2' 11" above the base of the mast. This results in the bottom of the boom being about 24" above the seats.

 

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I could raise the boom about 3 inches and still be able to tighten the luff. There are at least two things I don't know here. How high would the boom have to be above the seats to clear a youthful sailors head? How much would raising the Center of Effort affect the boats performance?

 

2: Replace the existing boom with a sprit boom. The sleeve luff  would interfere with attaching the snotter to the mast. Graham told me he thought the sprit boom would have a significant negative impact on the performance of the Spindrift. Unfortunately this was my preferred choice.

 

So, raise the boom if so by how much, or change to a sprit boom, or any other ideas?

 

Thanks Joe

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To the shock of us spoiled sprit boom/cat ketch enthusiasts :) most sailboats have booms and learning to duck in a tack or gybe is part of learning to sail. 

 

I think that the boom height is not as big a deal for smaller bodies. I would look to pad the boom instead. How about putting one of those big foam pool noodles around it like training wheels until they are used to ducking and being aware of it and the wind direction which causes it's bang inducing movement. 

 

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Beth and I had the pleasure of Joe and Sally's company for a couple days at Mystic as well as Joes famous clam chowder for lunch.

 

We discussed this problem in Joes mind about the boom being too low and now that I see the pictures I see the problem, there is no clew car! The bottom picture shows only an outhaul at the clew and about a 2-3" gap between the clew and the top of the boom. If the boom was lifted to the sail in that picture it would only gain him a couple of inches of boom height but there is no mainsheet tension. In a breeze with normal mainsheet tension there could easily be 6 - 10 inches of boom gap to the sail, not to mention that the lower third of the sail is setting like crap because the clew load coming from main sheet tension flattens the bottom of the sail regardless of the outhaul setting.

 

The outhaul's job is only to haul the sail in and out, not to support boom. Obviously you do not need a real clew car for such a small rig. I use two wraps of 1/8" line tied around the boom and through the clew cringle so that it brings the boom close to the sail while allowing the clew to slide fore and aft along the boom for a few inches.

 

I consider the clew line to be the most important line in the rig and it seems to be the most misunderstood.

 

 

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I learned to duck early in my sailing career too.  I have seen many kids sailing Optimist Prams and they seem to sail them ducking and standing up and all kinds of positions.  I would add the line Graham suggests and Alan's noodle and they will be fine.

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