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Old 27-01-2021, 15:47   #1
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Disable roller reefing boom worm gear

Hello y’all,
I am helping get a boat set up and we’ve come across an issue I could use some help on.

The boat has one of those old roller reefing booms with worm gear and I was wondering what people think is the best and simplest way to disable the worm gear to prevent it from moving. Looks like it is in a bronze housing but gear itself is SS. Not sure what hole in the back is but it might be useful for this project.

Most of the time it doesn’t move but if on the same tack for an extended time in 20kt+ winds the boom has a tendency to roll off the wind towards leeward.

Considering all options. Here’s what we’ve heard so far: adding straps to outside of boom and attaching at mast, drill and tap through the bronze and add set screws, filling with epoxy or JB weld, and welding (although on the hook I’m not sure about possibility of welding the SS gear).

Any first hand experience in doing this would be key but we’re open to any reasonable suggestions.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 27-01-2021, 18:21   #2
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Re: Disable roller reefing boom worm gear

Adding a set screw would be cheap, easy, and robust, without ruining something a future owner might find useful.
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Old 27-01-2021, 18:34   #3
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Re: Disable roller reefing boom worm gear

Or put the winding handle on backwards.
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Old 27-01-2021, 19:33   #4
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Re: Disable roller reefing boom worm gear

If you get a loose-footed main and go with slab reefing, it won't matter if the boom rolls. Jim's idea makes the most sense otherwise.
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Old 27-01-2021, 20:18   #5
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Disable roller reefing boom worm gear

Adding a set screw does seem like the easiest/best option. A good use for the hole on the underside assuming my tap set will thread the bronze. This might be an opportunity to upgrade to a better tap set.

And yes we just set up a slab reefing system. Rolling the sail up to reef was pretty time consuming and seemed to add a lot of weather helm/heeling.
Good point about it not really mattering though.
Sounds like it’s something we are over thinking altogether and we forgot about the KISS principle.
Thanks everyone for the input
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Old 27-01-2021, 22:39   #6
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Re: Disable roller reefing boom worm gear

I have one of those too, but it has never given me any trouble or movement. I don't use it, I have slab reefing. I think the set-screw is the best option too. If loose footed, a rolling boom is still a problem I think because I am figuring you have cleats and maybe blocks on the boom for the slab reefing, right?
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Old 27-01-2021, 22:42   #7
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Re: Disable roller reefing boom worm gear

We have a very similar roller boom fitting on Jacaranda that was built in 1970. The previous owner installed slab reefing. When we bought the boat 35 years ago we kept the slab reefing. Now after 35,000 miles it has been no worries for us. So giving you another thought in case you don’t want to mess with the old out dated Roller Boom.
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Old 28-01-2021, 06:32   #8
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Re: Disable roller reefing boom worm gear

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Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
I have one of those too, but it has never given me any trouble or movement. I don't use it, I have slab reefing. I think the set-screw is the best option too. If loose footed, a rolling boom is still a problem I think because I am figuring you have cleats and maybe blocks on the boom for the slab reefing, right?


Yes I have just installed cleats and blocks for slab reefing. It doesn’t roll much maybe 15-20 degrees and only with higher winds on sustained tacks. The hardware would still accessible once it rolls but you are right in that the angle wouldn’t be ideal which would make things more difficult, especially if the roll is towards the side with the slab reefing gear.

My worry was that if it moves a little now it could/will only get worse. I am assuming that if it does get worse we’ll find out in a situation where things are already a bit more difficult adding unnecessary complication/aggravation.

Thanks for the input!
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Old 28-01-2021, 12:19   #9
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Re: Disable roller reefing boom worm gear

O.K., so i had a 44 ft. Sloop,[ Phillip Rhodes ], with roller furling, that i added slab reefing, i was told the gear at the mast was a weak point, and to beef it up, which i didn't do, so underway to Baha Mexico, i did a crash jibe, obviously not on purpose in building wind, so before i was able to get the preventer set up, the jibe happened, the boom came across, broke the gear at the boom end, boom jumped up and penetrated the deck just inboard of the life lines, came back out, and got tangled in the life lines, sail had a small tear next to the goose neck, was able to anchor behind an island, and effect repairs, so i would advise you to beef that goos neck for sure.
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Old 28-01-2021, 15:53   #10
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Re: Disable roller reefing boom worm gear

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Originally Posted by Sailing Ohm View Post
Yes I have just installed cleats and blocks for slab reefing. It doesn’t roll much maybe 15-20 degrees and only with higher winds on sustained tacks. The hardware would still accessible once it rolls but you are right in that the angle wouldn’t be ideal which would make things more difficult, especially if the roll is towards the side with the slab reefing gear.

My worry was that if it moves a little now it could/will only get worse. I am assuming that if it does get worse we’ll find out in a situation where things are already a bit more difficult adding unnecessary complication/aggravation.

Thanks for the input!
I am kind of surprised it is trying to roll. I wonder what the motivation is. Is it really that loose? Mine is so jammed with 50 year old grease it doesn't want to move. Maybe that's the solution, put in ancient grease.
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Old 28-01-2021, 15:58   #11
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Re: Disable roller reefing boom worm gear

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Originally Posted by Dougtiff View Post
O.K., so i had a 44 ft. Sloop,[ Phillip Rhodes ], with roller furling, that i added slab reefing, i was told the gear at the mast was a weak point, and to beef it up, which i didn't do, so underway to Baha Mexico, i did a crash jibe, obviously not on purpose in building wind, so before i was able to get the preventer set up, the jibe happened, the boom came across, broke the gear at the boom end, boom jumped up and penetrated the deck just inboard of the life lines, came back out, and got tangled in the life lines, sail had a small tear next to the goose neck, was able to anchor behind an island, and effect repairs, so i would advise you to beef that goos neck for sure.
Interesting. I am trying to imagine which part broke. In my case there is actually a lathed wood block between the gooseneck and the forward end of the aluminum boom as a spacer for some reason. I can imagine that breaking possibly, but the gooseneck, itself at the gears, I can't see that. Not doubting it, just trying to visualize it.
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Old 28-01-2021, 17:40   #12
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Disable roller reefing boom worm gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougtiff View Post
O.K., so i had a 44 ft. Sloop,[ Phillip Rhodes ], with roller furling, that i added slab reefing, i was told the gear at the mast was a weak point, and to beef it up, which i didn't do, so underway to Baha Mexico, i did a crash jibe, obviously not on purpose in building wind, so before i was able to get the preventer set up, the jibe happened, the boom came across, broke the gear at the boom end, boom jumped up and penetrated the deck just inboard of the life lines, came back out, and got tangled in the life lines, sail had a small tear next to the goose neck, was able to anchor behind an island, and effect repairs, so i would advise you to beef that goos neck for sure.

Not sure how you would beef it up without simply replacing the whole boom (which likely isn’t going to happen). Do you remember any suggestions? Straps maybe?
I assume your break happened where the rotating boom meets the stationary gear housing, that appears to be the weak spot to me. There isn’t much info I can find about how the internals of any of these rolling booms and what their structural weaknesses are.

I imagine whoever designed these took into account the usual forces encountered during sailing but an accidental jibe is whole different, and usually violent, story. That’s a bummer that happened to you and luckily no one was hurt.
I’ve always been taught to immediately rig a preventer to avoid those unfortunate scenarios but accidents do happen. I like to keep these worst case scenarios I hear about in my mind. My sailing buddies think I’m overly cautious but I like to call it collected wisdom.
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Old 28-01-2021, 17:49   #13
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Disable roller reefing boom worm gear

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Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
I am kind of surprised it is trying to roll. I wonder what the motivation is. Is it really that loose? Mine is so jammed with 50 year old grease it doesn't want to move. Maybe that's the solution, put in ancient grease.


It’s not that loose and takes some effort with a long wrench (original handle is mia) to get it back to place once it moves. Again only happens in higher winds and if on the same tack for a few hours.
What do you mean motivation?
This gear drive is spotless! No grease in sight.

It’s probably really telling us that we should’ve reefed in the main further.
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Old 28-01-2021, 20:11   #14
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Re: Disable roller reefing boom worm gear

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Originally Posted by Sailing Ohm View Post
It’s not that loose and takes some effort with a long wrench (original handle is mia) to get it back to place once it moves. Again only happens in higher winds and if on the same tack for a few hours.
What do you mean motivation?
This gear drive is spotless! No grease in sight.

It’s probably really telling us that we should’ve reefed in the main further.
I meant the motivation for the boom to roll.
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Old 28-01-2021, 22:17   #15
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Re: Disable roller reefing boom worm gear

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Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
I am kind of surprised it is trying to roll. I wonder what the motivation is. Is it really that loose? Mine is so jammed with 50 year old grease it doesn't want to move. Maybe that's the solution, put in ancient grease.
Can you suggest a source for ancient grease?
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