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Old 24-08-2012, 07:51   #1
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What to use for Boombrake?

Threre are the Walder, Wichard and other makes making expensive boombrakes and there are the rescue descenders much cheaper such as the typical 8 and more sophisticated ones such as these: RescueTECH Technical Rescue Descenders

I was trying to purchase the RescueTECH Personal Escape Descender to use as a boombrake ($US 22.00) but nobody would sell and ship it to me in Canada.

Has anyone fabricated a "home made" boombrake? It seems so simple to do, but will it work?
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Old 24-08-2012, 08:03   #2
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Re: What to use for Boombrake?

On your 42 footer, I would skip the cheap and cheerful and fork out the bigger dollars on a Dutchman boom brake. I have had mine for 4 years while cruising and its the ducks guts.
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Old 24-08-2012, 17:50   #3
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Re: What to use for Boombrake?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
On your 42 footer, I would skip the cheap and cheerful and fork out the bigger dollars on a Dutchman boom brake. I have had mine for 4 years while cruising and its the ducks guts.
I would second Simons comments.

I have a wichard [for simon, its the bees knees!]
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Old 24-08-2012, 20:14   #4
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Re: What to use for Boombrake?

I assume you've tried Mountain Equipment Co-op? They are in all major Canadian cities and carry a lot of climbing gear, including descenders.
I have a simple Figure 8 from my climbing days and am going to try it in two weeks during a shakedown in Andaman Sea.
Pete
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Old 24-08-2012, 21:59   #5
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Servobrake-style installation

To anyone considering fitting a simple brake like a figure 8, whether or not you make your own (and I've made a slew – it's not difficult): the one simple act which lifts the braking controllability and performance more than any other is to rig it as recommended for the ServoBrake.

(which itself is a more sophisticated and very rugged alternative to the sort of descender you posted - perhaps the key attribute is that it causes much less line wear - photos below show the generous rope groove taking the fixed line through the entire two-turns odd)

Note that such brakes rely on being paired with a powerful kicking strap / centreline vang.

I attach a couple of clips showing the Servobrake setup principle.

The key is that the black line is fixed at both ends, abeam of the mast. The blue control line runs around turning blocks alongside those end fixings, and back to a decent clam cleat (small boat) or clutch (big boat) at the cockpit. The cleat doesn't see anything like gybing loads, but it's still appreciable.

I became a believer in this setup after being forced (in order to avoid an island I'd misplaced) to carry out a gybe in the notorious Cook Strait in a heavy squall with 35 knots across the deck under full main on a generously canvassed modern 40 footer. Alone. At night.

Somewhat to my relief, it was entirely drama (and shock) free.

I rate this brake more highly than either Walder (and clones) or Wichard, mainly because of the better control from the way it's rigged. (In engineer-speak, it gives better control over the lesser of the T1/T2 pair)

If there's any possibility of dipping the boom at speed, I recommend fitting a 'fuse' connecting each control turning block to the chainplate: something which fails in order to spare the boom breaking, but only lets the boom come inboard uncontrolled a short distance before the brakes come back on and decelerate the further inswing. Such as a weaker lashing making a short loop, inside a much stronger lashing of nylon cord (for shock absorption) which is longer by a predetermined amount to create the behaviour I describe.
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Old 24-08-2012, 22:07   #6
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Re: What to use for Boombrake?

I forgot to mention that I prefer to rig the vang so it pulls on the bottom of the brake (in the ServoBrake case, the lower, inverted arch, with the tradename cast onto its front face)

This makes the setup more stable and less likely to jam in light winds.
Which reminds me of the single demerit of this sort of brake (whether you rig it as shown, or more simply with a brake line which is adjustable rather than the fixed line depicted hereabove):

The problem is trying to coax the boom outboard in light airs.

For this, and for stabilising the boom on any point of sail in sloppy conditions, it's hard to beat a purchase to the rail on either side from a point on the boom, about half the vessel's beam aft of the gooseneck (ie the same place a brake should be attached)

Once again, though, I recommend a fuse with LIMITED release distance, and shock absorption at a very high level, reliably built in at one end of each purchase.
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Old 25-08-2012, 07:42   #7
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Re: What to use for Boombrake?

Andrew:
This is good stuff you are presenting. I will study further with emphasis on 'weak link' breakaway item to prevent boom breaking. Not braking.
Thanks,
Pete
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Old 25-08-2012, 08:01   #8
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Re: What to use for Boombrake?

Also, if you want to save a few bucks, you do see the boom brakes for sale periodically. Think I saw one here on CF recently.
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Old 29-08-2012, 11:38   #9
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Re: What to use for Boombrake?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
On your 42 footer, I would skip the cheap and cheerful and fork out the bigger dollars on a Dutchman boom brake. I have had mine for 4 years while cruising and its the ducks guts.
X2 love the dutchman. tried the wichard, but found I could not feather it to 'brake' as easily and as smoothly as the dutchman. The wichard was either all on or all off. The supplied special line was too short for my application as well. Calls and emails to wichard for assistance went unanswerd.

Calls to Dutchman were answered on the first ring. Great product, great service!
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