Wooden Booms

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by davejump, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. davejump

    davejump New Member

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    I am in the process of rebuilding a Sunfish for a Boy Scout Troop in Northern California. The boat cam with a mast but no booms. I was looking into aluminum booms but the cost is just too much to fit in our troop's budget. So I was thinking of using 1 3/8" wooden closet rods covered with a layer of fiberglass. Any one have any ideas.
    Thanks
    Dave
     
  2. Webfoot

    Webfoot New Member

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    Since it's a Scout project, I'd use it as a group wood working project. If I remember correctly, a small sail boat boom was often constructed of two or more laminations for strength and to keep it from warping. Then you dog the boom/gaff in a woodworking bench and use a block plane to give to boom and gaff a bit of a taper towards then end. Sanding sealer and 3 coats of spar varnish and presto! You have a boom and gaff that is as strong as the original but better yet, it's lighter and it floats.
     
  3. prossmann

    prossmann New Member

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    I concur... not to mention I would rather have a bunch of Boy Scouts with sandpaper than with cloth and resin. Save that for the Eagles.
     
  4. Webfoot

    Webfoot New Member

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    I think fiberglassing the boom and gaff would add a lot of weight high up and hurt performance. Anyone ever sail an all wood Sunfish next to a fiberglass Sunfish and compare performance? Kind of wonder how much performance was lost in the translastion to modern materials.
     
  5. DanB

    DanB Crabber

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    Lost ?? I think you may have that backwards. Notice the wood Fish outweighed today's boats by a good 20 pounds. :eek: Add to that the better hull shape and it's a good bet the fiberglass boats blow the doors off the wood boats. :)
     
  6. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    I think a good spar varnishing is all you'll need.

    Here's for the Scouts:
     

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  7. Webfoot

    Webfoot New Member

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    I'm counting on the bouyancy of wood to make up the difference. Maybe not so much with a scow design, possibly more with a dingy. Would be a fun test.
     
  8. DanB

    DanB Crabber

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    Archimedes' principle -- Any object, wholly or partly immersed in a fluid, is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the volume of the object.

    Seems to me the 20 lb heavier wood shell is less buoyant than an equivalent fiberglass shell. Probably why in a sport measured by performance fiberglass and other advanced materials replaced wood half a century ago. :rolleyes:

    Back to the problem at hand, wood spars will likely be a little heavier than aluminum tubing. Glassed wood somewhat heavier still, but in the grand scheme of things the material has worked satisfactorily in the past and the difference isn't significant if it gets the scouts out sailing. ;) They could even tie on the halyard a couple of inches higher up the gaff to compensate. :cool:
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