Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Does anybody use a BoomBrake on their dinghies? I have a 17 foot dinghy and I sail a lot with the kids. I was just thinking that it would be great to have a boombrake so that the boom doesn't violently swing across in case mistakes are made. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like a good way to capsize most dinghies. Might get away with it if it's more of a barge then a dinghy.

The point of dinghies is to learn from making inexpensive and low risk mistakes. It avoids breading  leadminers, you may risk losing that benefit even if it is a barge.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree with Eu. Bloke. Also, if it's the boom brake I'm thinking of (that occupies a similar position as the vang, which on dinghies is highly adjustable) wouldn't they interfere with each other, one rendering the other useless?

Link to post
Share on other sites

The boom brakes I'm aware of are for larger keelboats and usually have a block type fixture on the boom, with a line to either gunwale that travels through the boom block.  The block has some resistance mechanism, to slow the travel of line through it, and thus slow rate of the boom's swing.   I've never used one personally, I've simply seen the devices advertised.

I've never seen one fitted to a dinghy.   As others have said, if you restrict the movement of the boom, the wind will simply capsize the boat, since most dinghies rely on the crew weight opposing the force of the wind to keep them upright.  If the crew is surprised by a backed mainsail, I'll assume that they won't already be moving to the other side of the boat.

It is not a foolish concern however, I've seen a concussion and a dislocated shoulder due to unexpected gybes in FJ's and Lasers.   So keeping the kids heads below the boom is important, and a good lesson not to learn the hard way.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, martin 'hoff said:

Kayak or bike helmets might help...

I've always had doubts about the wisdom of helmets in small boats where major head injuries (as opposed to bumps) are in my experience uncommon.

By significantly raising the height of the head, they make actual contacts far more likely  And while they might reduce head injuries, them seem more likely to cause significant neck injuries.

There's a new class called 'bump helmets' which are basically a hard baseball caps with a bit of padding. Seem like a much better compromise, even if not certified for anything.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends what the worry is:

1) Speed of boom is a handling issue.

2) contact with heads can be mitigated by raising the boom. Either cut 12" of the bottom or use a shorter luff sail. I've done this on a Wayfarer and. Laser.(I shortened the leach by 12"

3) Impact? Add a carbon boom to reduce the weight of the boom.

I'm not keen on helmets on slow boats, I'd rather adapt the sailplan.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that they aren't ideal. OTOH, the helmets (or bump caps) are very temporary. Once the learning about the boom is absorbed, they can stay on shore.

The other options discussed all involve hardware changes and complication. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Make a game out of it by smacking them lightly so they practice ducking. Then flick em overboard to practice MOB. Finally, when you get to the dock, have them stick their cute little fingers between the boat and dock

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I doubt you could get it to work on a dinghy. The massive stability of a big boat can take the physics of the boom brake. Your dinghy/daysailer would capsize if you tried to stop it from gybing. Once it decides to auto gybe you need to deal with it by ducking.
 

You need to learn how to gybe properly. Also where the wind is so you don’t auto gybe in the first place. 
 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Kenny Dumas said:

Make a game out of it by smacking them lightly so they practice ducking. Then flick em overboard to practice MOB. Finally, when you get to the dock, have them stick their cute little fingers between the boat and dock

 

 

I get the impression you are joking, but there is a kernel of truth here.

Sailing is dangerous, period. No equipment can eliminate risk. You cannot put "safety" on your Mastercard.

Safety lies in skill, and alertness. That's a big part of what makes sailing fun!

I teach sailing to high school kids, and often they will get freaked out by the chance of getting hit in the head by the boom. I tell them, "It's OK, you'll learn faster." We practice awareness of how high you can safely hold your head when tacking or gybing, because I demand of them to always look where they are going and fetal position in the bottom of the cockpit is poor way to do that. We practice always knowing the wind direction, and we practice steering skillz... everything from where you can sit and where you can't, to how the hiking stick should be held (and you should ALWAYS be steering with the hiking stick).

Once in while, a student will get bopped. After checking them out for injury (never had one yet), I ask them "Did a giant green hand reach down from the sky, and swing the boom against the wind?"

No

"What made the boom swing across and hit you?"

The wind

"Were you paying attention to your steering and your point of sail?" Obviously not or you would have known the boom was about to swing across.

This may sound terrible, but by starting with the very basics and adding knowledge/skills in regular progression, with some pressure to get it right at some stages along the way, the kids get up to being able to handle their boats quite capably and have a blast doing it.

And yeah, I occasionally catch them with some body part between boat and dock... push into it, then when they try to pull back, push just a bit harder.... then make eye contact and say "What are you doing wrong, here?"

The graduate sailors help teach the class and a big part of my job is to make sure they are not too tough on the beginners

;)

FB- Doug

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies. I have no intention of not learning/teaching the essential skills. And I have no intention of preventing the boom from gybing. I just thought that with the boombrake I could add a little friction to slow down the swing so in case of an accidental gybe wouldn't be too violent. As opposed to a preventer which would if I have understood correctly will prevent the boom from gybing. 

I would probably compare it to driving. When you're learning you drive a bit slower, so that if you make a mistake then the consequence won't be as bad. Once you know what you are doing, then you can drive faster. 

But based on this discussion I will probably not install any boom brake. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

It's sort of been said already but if you're accidentally gybing in conditions that will bring the boom across with enough force to cause injury, something that slows the boom down will probably capsize you instead.  Better choice would be helmets (dad too, to set the example) and of course a careful eye to conditions before heading out.  Though I don't wear a helmet myself I'm certainly supportive of the movement.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

The other option is to pad the boom. Still get hit, but there is less blood and it protects more than the top of the head.

I wear a bump cap in some boats with low booms (e.g. europe) My elbows sometimes wish that the boom was padded instead. (Yes I need more practice)

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/8/2021 at 2:31 PM, Rambler said:

I've always had doubts about the wisdom of helmets in small boats where major head injuries (as opposed to bumps) are in my experience uncommon.

I guess it all depends on what you call "small boats". I call my foiling A a small boat and I think you would be mad to sail one without a helmet. Even with helmets, I know of concussions, and without those helmets, I suspect we would have seen very different outcomes. However, I do agree that in the type of boat the OP is talking about, a helmet isn't needed unless for protection for an existing condition (Back in the late 1970's, while recovering from a fractured skull, I wore a helmet.)

Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, SimonN said:

I guess it all depends on what you call "small boats". I call my foiling A a small boat and I think you would be mad to sail one without a helmet. Even with helmets, I know of concussions, and without those helmets, I suspect we would have seen very different outcomes. However, I do agree that in the type of boat the OP is talking about, a helmet isn't needed unless for protection for an existing condition (Back in the late 1970's, while recovering from a fractured skull, I wore a helmet.)

Can't argue with foilers being an exception, but as you acknowledge, that was not what I had in mind.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...