I want to jump in as a new guy and say I'm luv'n this thread. I bought my first big boat, and Little Harbor 46 (1988), back in Aug as part of my long planned retirement
goal. The day is here and my wife and I are thrilled. I'm kind of a safety
freak, and knowing the majority of our sailing will be just the two of us, and in far away places, I'm currently obsessing over things that are less than ideal on the safety
meter. We're not afraid of taking risks in general, but anything reasonably preventable should be in my mind. I've particularly been obsessing over a preventer and/or boom brake
Note: my boom is sheeted at the aft end, and is well above head-height in the cockpit
My first observation is that very few boats have them. Shouldn't all boats built/rigged for blue water
simply have this problem solved
? In Sep I walked around the Newport boat show
for three days and only found two or three new production boats that had any sort of noticeable preventers rigged. Those that had them were smart - from the end of the boom the loose end of the line came out and could be brought forward, outside the shrouds, to a forward cleat or padeye, while the other end threaded through the boom to the mast
end, down to the deck
, then routed back to the cockpit
to a winch
. One boat had both port and stbd lines rigged this way giving the most control, and safest access. Nice. I really like the idea of this system. When not in use I'd keep the loose end of the line connected somewhere along the boom closer to the mast
for easy access to grab and bring forward as soon as warranted, and then leave it out.
Looking around my marina I also see few preventers. I will certainly explore the subject with other guys as I get to know more skippers.
In all the reading I've done, and somewhat summarizing this thread, I see three main choices for making the boom safer:
1. "Single Line preventer": line running from end of boom way forward to the bow, through block, back to winch
at cockpit. Some debate here if line should be non-stretch or be able to take some shock.
2. "Vang/preventer": Hold boom down and forward from mid boom to deck
near aft shroud
. Seems like racers who want to flatten their main when running downwind would want this most, but maybe not your average cruiser. But Jim Cate tells us about his above - very convincing.
3. "Boom brake": no discussion on this thread but lots elsewhere. This gets permanently rigged to boom generally just aft of the vang and connects to the deck on both sides near aft shroud
, with one end of line going to winch in cockpit. Seems least fuss of all options. Opinions are strong in other threads on who makes the best one, but it seems nearly all posters really like having brakes.
Not sure why I just wrote all this other than for my own summary. I have all winter to think about it and put something together. I have to say I'm leaning towards the boom brake
option. Or maybe I'll just thread some lines through my boom... (This is certainly the most work since lots of hardware
would have to be added to route/manage the lines).
My obsession continues...