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How can we minimize head injuries due to boom / jibe impacts?


Super Anarchist

If I was forced to wear a helmet
Honestly this is one of those instances where OD rules are worse than useless. A few soft fairleads along the boom to keep the main snug to the boom with a mylar or dacron sleeve along the boom where I'm usually sitting in medium to strong breeze to make it impossible for me to become caught in the sheet, makes sense and makes the boat no faster, it's just safety.
I love my Viper

8.7 (iv) A fabric sleeve, line or tape may be added to the boom to prevent the mainsheet drooping between blocks.
Mostly we all use fabric sleeves.

I am in the market for a helmet. What do folks recommend? I like what Grace wears because it looks strong,light, compact and does not block the ears.
Last I looked I thought the Gath helmets were the best option that provided protection but minimized the risk of the helmet being so big it catches the boom when your bare head would not have done so, the sides taper a bit to reduce catching a mainsheet, and the straps are better thought out with clips and adjustments at the sides, not direclty under your chin like many brands. It is also one of the lightest.

But they are popular and thus can be difficult to find the size you want. And I just checked their online store and for the first time since I started looking in 2020, they appear to have a supply of everything. I'm putting in an order, nice to have one around for when I'm out in ill-advised conditions.

Edit: Haha, the Gath SFC, the one I have wanted, except for matte black (hot and sunny where I live) is out of stock until later 2023. This is normal...
Im liking the Gath Gedi with the peak. , provided I can lose the ear pieces.
I dont feel I need the suction cup feel of the SFC, and might not like it at all.


How can we minimize head injuries due to boom / jibe impacts?

Helmets? – or padding on the boom?

not saying either are necessary - just looking at alternatives to helmets

The recent skull fracture in the cabo race got me to thinking – in that thread there was a call for helmets for offshore jibes – this has loads of problems, including cost , actually getting people to wear helmets, keeping the helmets handy, and not lost – then fitting them for various head sizes – and probably even more reasons

But I got to thinking – why not just pad the boom – the boom is the only real head injury issue – and 2 inches of foam inside a cover could work – it could be Velcroed on for installation & removal – only needs to cover the sides of the boom, and only from the companionway back to the aft end.

Maybe 10 -15 lbs tops – and if the mainsheet runs under the boom could be made as a mainsheet tunnel

Yes if you get hit by a padded flying boom you may still get a concussion, get launched overboard, or break your neck – but that would be the same with helmets.

The best part is it would be totally passive for the crew – they don’t need to do anything extra.

A concussion is way better than a skull fracture and a TBI
Have a “safe” zone, where nothing can hit you:


All proas have one. Some bigger than others.
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If you can lead an international event in an Olympic class, helmets can’t be too bad.
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Having said that, the helm’s chin straps straps need tightening.

Yep, which is a classic example of why many "safety improvements" aren't.

One study of sailing injuries indicates that about 20-30% of head injuries are to the eyes. Given the small proportion of the face they take up, that may underline how much of the head is left unprotected by a conventional helmet. On the other hand, from experience with a Gath if you wear one with a visor you lose a tremendous amount of vital sensory information and a lot of vision, and if you try a cricket helmet you end up with a lot of weight and a potentially dangerous bit of ironmongery that could catch on things.


Super Duper Anarchist
quivira regnum
my first boat had a boom that was designed as shown - it actually looked ridiculous as the main was just a tiny little thing - way up there. but all the time - like every jibe and especially every tack - I thought good thoughts about this boom. You could comfortably stand fully forward in the cockpit and manage the sheets with the tiller between your legs. and anybody could stand up anywhere in the cockpit on any maneuver and be completely safe. I was often giving rides to all sorts of non-sailors and this just made life on the boat much much easier. iow. I'd say Yves got it right:
Raise the boom.

since then I've owned a boat with no boom at all. even better. but I always give consideration to the boom - almost first thing - when evaluating any boat at all.

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