Boom, It’s Done and Lowered 6 Inches

One of the last larger projects to wrap up, the boom. It was in poor shape, the goose neck fitting was seized up and tilted to port about 10 degrees permanently hindering the sail shape and twist.  The reefing system was anything but efficient.  The boom was missing the appropriate hardware for reefing, too many holes drilled and left unplugged, useless hardware that hung from the bottom, and corroded. First thing was removing all the hardware, no problem, some corroded screws to drill and tap.  The end caps were corroded so badly that we soaked the screws with a can of screw loose lubricant and let it sit overnight. Still most of the screws had to be drilled and tapped on those too.  Once the end cap with the goose neck fitting was out John tried to remove the pin.  Nope. The pin on the goose neck fitting wasn’t going to be coaxed out with lubricant and no amount of DEAFENING POUNDING budged it.  An hour of pounding on the pin with a rubber mallet, echoing in the storage unit was more than we could take, even with the ear protection. We heard someone yelling to knock off … Blah blah blah or something to that effect, sorry we weren’t able to hear you!  John finally gave up with a sore shoulder from pounding.  We took it to the yard where he borrowed a hydraulic press and used a bolt as a pressure point to press out the pin, but the bolt was too wimpy and the bolt head flattened and broke.  Found a larger stronger bolt and increased the amount of hydraulic pressure.  20,000 pounds of pressure pushing down, the pin popped out with a large bang.  Day saved, the pin and goose neck were in good shape, just needed to be cleaned and lubricate.  The goose neck now rotates properly! The reefing system was cumbersome for John and damned ugly if I did it.  A lot of muscling the main sail down and yanking on the jammed lines was the routine. The cheek blocks and pad eyes were 2 sizes too small for the lines and would get stuck and chafed. It wasn’t a priority job since we rarely reef while sailing on the Columbia river but out on the ocean John didn’t have a choice about reefing, somebody had to do it, so it became his job while I watched the sail flail and boom bounce around, safely in the cockpit taking orders for raising and lowering the sail as required. I never claimed to be manly. imageimage We now have dual sided reefing with Lewmar #6 winches, reef hooks secured at the mast, rope clutches, cheek blocks and cleats all sized for 7/16 inch line.  The topping lift line runs all the way to the mast, and the new hardware won’t be chewing up the main sail while flaked.  Beautifully painted with 2 part epoxy paint, it’s all ready to go and I’m very excited to practice reefing! In addition to sparse hardware, the boom was really high, probably standard height for WS but too high for me to attach the main halyard to the headboard or even flake it  adequately (for non-boaters this means folding it neatly with pleats on top of the boom for stowing).  John drilled new holes in the mast and dropped the tack attachment plate 6 inches.  Took very little time as our boom fitting attachment plate is very simple and not welded, just screwed on.  It’s still plenty high enough to clear the boom gallows and I’m able to attach the halyard, flake the main sail, and cover it. Lowering the entire main sail also reduces the weather helm, 6 inches doesn’t seem like much but it does make a difference in handling the boat when the sail is loaded.  Thanks Gary Burton and Dave King for your tips, you guys know it!