A few days ago Grant, a local sailor broke his Aeron VGrip boom a few hundred meters from the beach. He was on his way in. This incident raises two important issues:
- Grant was on his Severne Reflex 7.0, a sail which he has tuned to perfection over the months and on which he smokes. The problem with high performance sailing is that it generates huge forces on mast, boom and fin. Each of these elements needs to be strong enough for this class of sailing. In my opinion, no aluminium boom is man enough to withstand racing levels of stress. The VGrip is a fantastic aluminium boom but should be confined to easier sailing.
- Grant was able to unclip the broken boom, swim it off the top of the sail, rotate it, swim it back down, re-attach it and limp back with a one sided boom. It is crucial to be able to do this self rescue procedure if you sail long distances. You ensure that it is possible by attaching the uphaul rope to the mast - not the boom. The rope goes from the mast above the boom, inside the boom to be secured at the bottom of the sail. When you do this you are able to get the boom off in the water as described above. If you attach the rope to the boom you cannot do the self rescue Grant was able to do. Please give this some thought if you still secure your uphaul rope to your boom head.
Andy purchased an Aeron Carbon race boom some time ago and he recons that it has transformed his sailing. It is a narrow grip boom which allows one to avoid hand/arm exhaustion when sailing for extended periods. It's stiffness resists flexing which allows the sail to perform optimally, keeping you fast on all points of sail. The narrow grip feels so much crisper than with thicker boom arms, that Andy has taken to avoiding his 6.5m sail which still has an old (thick) boom on it. This is all real world feedback from a real world kick-ass sailor. We all need to pay more respect to our booms. We tend to give the limelight to sail and board but the backbone components of the rig (mast, fin and boom) we think we can skimp on. Not true! If you want to take your sailing and your enjoyment of the sport to new heights, please don't skimp on these components.
Speaking of Aeron, I note that they have introduced a great looking boom called the Aeron Carbon Slim 2014. Very, very nice.
Talk to you soon.