How to use a boom preventer

The two minutes it takes to rig a boom preventer properly can pay off in so many ways, yet still a lot of sailors consider it an unnecessary hassle. Pip Hare begs to differ.

Rigging a boom preventer will allow you to sail a true downwind course without a constant worry about crew safety. I also use it to pin the boom in its preferred position in light winds with sloppy seas.

When racing short-handed with a symmetric spinnaker it also allows me to use aggressive windward heel to make extra metres to leeward. Here are a few of my top pointers for getting the most out of this valuable set-up:

The preventer should be attached to the outboard end of the boom to avoid damaging the tube in the event of an accidental gybe. Some boom end castings have a designated hole through which a preventer can be attached.

If this is not the case then a large bowline loop passed around the end of the boom between the clew and the end casting will work just as well. The loop should be long enough so it can be undone from the side deck without the need to re-centre the boom.

Alternatively, to avoid hauling the boom in every time the preventer is required, make a strop around two-thirds of the length of the boom with an eye in both ends. One end can be permanently attached to the boom and the other will be attached to the running part of the preventer.

The strop can be accessed easily from within the footprint of the deck while the mainsail is out. When not in use, the strop can be tensioned with an elastic cord from either the kicker fitting or inboard boom casting.

For the full article, see: https://www.yachtingworld.com/expert-sailing-techniques/boom-preventers-125154

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