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Old 06-08-2017, 20:34   #1
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How to retrieve hardware from mid-boom

So, someone (ie. me) got a little overzealous when trying to tighten the boom topping lift, and, when it wouldn't tighten, just kept turning the winch. Turns out, the reason it wouldn't tighten is that I was on the outhaul and not the topping lift, and the outhaul was already all the way out... A loud pop and a little investigating later, and I found the line attached to the clew of my mainsail lying limp atop the bimini with a bowline holding a small pin. I'm guessing that there's a pulley system inside the boom that makes my outhaul work, and I'm also guessing that it's now stuck somewhere inside my boom.

Any suggestions on how to go about retrieving it so I can either repair or, more likely, replace it? A friend suggested running a rigid wire up the boom from the end and attaching to the exposed part of the line near the gooseneck, but I'm pretty sure the block and tackle that are probably involved make this infeasible. I have no idea how to disassemble the boom, and I'm a liveaboard, so I really don't want to have to haul out to make it happen. Please and thank you, and yes... lesson learned: if it doesn't want to pull, make sure it's not hung and you're pulling the right thing.
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Old 06-08-2017, 23:59   #2
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Re: How to retrieve hardware from mid-boom

Usually you wind up pulling off one end cap or the other in order to reach & work on what you need to. Which one depends on how they're attached to the tube, & what hardware is located where. And don't feel bad, this kind of thing happens to most folks at one time or another, if they keep sailing long enough.

BTW, knock on wood, there shouldn't be any reason to need to haul out, or even any suggestion about such. At worst you'll wind up removing the boom in order to make it easier to work on things. And if you get in way over your head, take the boom to a rigging shop. Though odds are someone at your marina has worked on this kind of thing before. Either way, it's nothing new.

Alsi, if you post some pics, we can offer up some better targeted solution options. Ditto if you tell us what type of boat it is, & what the hardware setup is on the boom, internally, & externally.
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Old 07-08-2017, 06:05   #3
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Re: How to retrieve hardware from mid-boom

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This is the end of the line that cam flying out of the aft end of the boom. I'm not sure exactly what to expect inside, but it's on a '99 Catalina 380.
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Old 07-08-2017, 06:21   #4
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Re: How to retrieve hardware from mid-boom

The C38 probably has the same boom outhaul design as the C36, PDF file attached. I'd consult your manual for the exact design.

It appears that you pulled the becket off the last block attached to the wire outhaul. Since the remains are probably right next to the gooseneck fitting, it probably means pulling the boom off (use a halyard to support the weight to lower it to the deck), pulling the forward end-cap, and fishing the stuff out ot replace that block. This is a do-it-yourself job that will require no special tools. It will probably require a new block, so that's $50. Sorry, but as noted above, it's not the first one of these to break, and if you keep sailing it won't be the last thing you break.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf C36MkII_Owners_Manual Boom Vang.pdf (310.0 KB, 129 views)
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Old 07-08-2017, 08:00   #5
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Re: How to retrieve hardware from mid-boom

Thanks John_Trusty, that's exactly what I needed! I'm sure someone around the marina would have had an answer, but I'm doubting they'd have had the diagram. And I'd have had to spend an extra hour or two this evening asking around. Now I've got all afternoon after work to try and get the broken bits out so I can go find an appropriate replacement.

Any thoughts on if I'll have to take the main off? I was thinking I might could manage to just pull the two or three little runners closest to the tack out of the track on the mast and that would give me enough slack to reach the deck. Or, maybe just keep the halyard tight and leave it suspended while I fish around. Am I just begging to break something else for the sake of laziness here?
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Old 07-08-2017, 08:28   #6
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Re: How to retrieve hardware from mid-boom

Personally, I would remove the main to make it simpler to isolate your work. It's difficult enough handling a 16-foot long aluminum pole without thirty-pounds of loose sail material on top. Select a windless day and have a halyard and perhaps a belaying line to hold it near the mast. There's nothing like an ungainly piece of aluminum swinging around in the breeze to mess up your whole day! BTW, did you find your own manual or from the C38 site, to validate you have the same design? Good luck.
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Old 07-08-2017, 08:49   #7
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Re: How to retrieve hardware from mid-boom

Unfortunately, I agree with your points about taking the sail off. Given the forecast down here, looks like it may be a while before I get a calm day. We tend to get a squall with a fair bit of wind, no wind for a brief bit, and then it picks back up to carry in the next squall. Maybe with enough of a window I can get it down on the deck and secured between gusts.

I went back through my own manual as well as searching around online. The closest I can find is a diagram of the reefing system that runs through the boom, but since both my reefs work, I'm hoping I can work out the details once I see what's inside. In theory there should only be one piece that's completely loose, but theory and practice aren't always that closely related.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:56   #8
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Re: How to retrieve hardware from mid-boom

Before disassembling your goosenevk, a trick I have used and one I saw done.
Remove the kicker and possibly the sail then pull the boom as high as possible with the topping lift. Blocks inside the boom should drop to the mast end. This may not help as I suspect you need access at the other end.
Alternatively remove the boom clew end and use a safety wire removed from the guard rails to push through from the gooseneck end.
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Old 08-08-2017, 00:07   #9
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Re: How to retrieve hardware from mid-boom

There are as many ways to set up the outhaul internal to the boom as there are companies that make cars. Meaning a LOT. Here are schemctics for a few of them Harken Sailboat Hardware and Accessories And most outhauls are built using a multi-part purchase/tackle, along with a cascade block or two. There's no one way that it must be done, even if "fixing" an old, failed, system.

The bit which pulled out on your current system may have simply been connected by drilling through an aluminum plate, & allowing the flange on the pin to anchor the end in place. Which, once the pin was slipped through the hole, the shackle was attached to it to mechanically lock everything together.

However, over time, & with dissimilar metal corrosion, such configurations do fail, including when pulled on by a well meaning owner. As the stainless fastener sipped through a hole in the aluminum plate causes the aluminum to corrode. So that when pulled on, later in it's life (like now), it gets fully pulled through the aluminum plate.
Then again, you may have just had an old block on your outhaul system, inside of the boom, fail. It happens, often for reasons such as the above. Dissimilar metal corrosion.

My standard comment about breaking things onboard is that if it was easy to break. Meaning that nothing foolish was being done to a piece of hardware at the time, & no excessive levels of force were being used. Then it was time to fix it anyway, as not very long from now it would have broken on iti's own, due to standard wear & tear. Which on a boat tends to be pretty high, thanks to the salt laden environment, & endless cyclical loadings. Make sense?

A tip for rigging a new one is to use the smallest diameter line that you can get away with in the system. So that the line rolls more freely over any blocks in the it. And that on everything but the part which gets pulled on by hand to adjust things, it's best to use small diameter Spectra. As it's strong, & super slippery. Which makes the system operate that much more freely. And you can always add cover to Spectra anywhere that you need to grip it, use a winch on it, or lock it into a cam cleat. That, or strip the cover off of a Spectra cored line, like Warpspeed, where it runs over blocks & through other hardware.

Just be sure to taper the cover into the Spectra core, & lock stitch it into place, at the point where the transition occurs, so that it's doubly locked in place. And there are lots of tutorials on how to do this online, including videos. Ditto for ones on how to splice Spectra.

Note, that if you need to, there are ways of having the line exit the boom on any of it's sides or bottom. As denoted in some of the Harken diagrams. And you can even do this in order to add an external anchor point for the line if configuring an internal one is proving difficult.

Although sometimes an easy way to add an anchor point inside of the boom is to drill all of the way through both sides of the boom, & add a small diameter bolt through said holes. With or without a compression sleeve, & the same with regards to reinforcing "washers" for the head of the bolt & the nut. "Washers" being in quotes, as if you use stainless ones, you also need to use nylon ones underneath of them, to electrically isolate the stainless from the aluminum.
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Old 08-08-2017, 06:15   #10
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Re: How to retrieve hardware from mid-boom

Thanks everyone. I pulled the boom off yesterday, leaving the mainsail attached (against good advice). I didn't see any non-destructive way to remove the end cap, so I started looking into taking off the sail. Then I remembered that I have two reefing lines run through the boom as well and some hardware on the sail that I'm unfamiliar with. Considering my lack of experience, I did the walk of shame down to my neighbor a couple piers over who's a rigger. He's cutting me the neighborhood discount and going to walk me through the process of fixing so I know what to do in the future. I'll be out a little more $$, but at least I don't have to worry that I'm breaking it more.
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