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Reinforced Boom

wjejr

Active Member
Hi everyone. I have a 1995 Laser which has been hanging from the ceiling joists in my garage for the better part of 20 years. I'm thinking of going sailing again and maybe do a little racing. I would like to upgrade to one of the newer vang systems, but am worried about the boom. Is there some way that I can tell if the boom is reinforced? It's possible that the person that had the boat before may have done that. It still has the old vang, but has the spectra line trucker hitch thing that adds additional purchases.

Thanks if advance for your help!
 

cskudder

Active Member
The only way that I know of, to know for sure, is to remove the plastic cap from the boom at the gooseneck end, + look in. You'll have to drill out a couple rivets to do that.

Maybe others here know what year they started building boats with the reinforcing tube.

I agree with you that you want+need the reinforcing sleeve inside that boom when you upgrade to the new vang. I sail an older boat + upgraded the vang. I sailed ONCE, and ONLY once, with the new vang without the reinforcing sleeve. Seeing how easy it was to put a huge load on the boom, and watching visually how much the boom was bending ... I eased off the vang, had a nice day sailing, and ordered the reinforcing kit as soon as I got home.
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
Method 1:
Use a wire coat hanger. Straighten out the coat hanger, with the end you stick down inside the boom put a 90 degree bend in the last 6mm. Slide the coat hanger in and using the hook at the end you should be able to locate both ends of the stiffening tube and from that determine the length of the tube.

Method 2:
Drill the a rivet (either one) from the front mainsheet hanger. The long sleeves extended beyond this hanger and will be visible through the hole.

The longer sleeves were introduced sometime between 1996 & 1998
 

wjejr

Active Member
Ok. I just measured with a coat hanger. There seems to be a sleeve about extending from 7.5" from the end cap out to 33". So if my measurements are correct the sleeve is 25.5". From that I'm guessing I need the longer sleeve, as I just looked up on another thread that they can be up to 900 MM long? Can anyone confirm that?

The next thing will be how to get the old one out and the new one in. I imagine I need to drill out the rivets, slide out the old tube, slide in the new tube and put in new rivets? Is that right? Do I need to coat the new section with any corrosion inhibitors? The rivets I usually slather a bit with 3m 4200.

Thanks again for your help.
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
Wrt the sleeve length. Never believe anything you read on a forum, it doesn't matter how much of an expert they seem to be, always go back to the official source. The class rules are linked in my signature.

You're correct about how to install, no need to worry about corrosion inhibitor between the sleeve and boom section as they are like metals. However, you will need corrosion inhibitor between these sections and the rivets.
 

wjejr

Active Member
Thanks!

So I checked the rules and the sleeve can be 900mm. It can 1220mm back in the boom measuring from the end of the boom including the cap.

18. BOOM
(a) A metal sleeve supplied by the builder of maximum length 900 mm may be fixed inside the boom. The sleeve shall not extend aft of the point 1220 mm from the front end of the boom (including plug).

Since there is no mention of a forward limit and there are 320mms left over, where is the best place to have the sleeve? Is it better to have it maxed at 1220mm or closer to the gooseneck?
 

wjejr

Active Member
Found another thread on this forum. Seems I need to locate the sleeve so that it straddles the vang strap and forward block eye-strap. Is that right?
 

CaptainAhab

Active Member
I think they started sleeving all of the booms in the early 1980's when the guys started super vanging. The had already approved adding multiple turning points(knots with metal timbles before 1985). Do not take these dates as facts. All I know is a boat that was built after 1985 will have a sleeved boom.

AlanD might have the dates of actual rule changes.

Once they allowed multiple turning points they must have already had the stiffener. I remember some guys pulling on the mainsheet so hard that the boom looked like a banana then they would set the old school vang.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
wjejr, I think you're worrying about a nonexistent problem.

My boat is from 1990, the (original) boom has an inner sleeve (probably the same length as yours), and never had any bending/breaking issues, no matter what the vang looked like in different times. I don't think lengthening the sleeve from 650 mm to 900 will make a big difference (at least breaking-wise), and if it was allowed in 1997 or so it definitely had nothing to do with the later change in vang systems.

It's a common misunderstanding of mechanics that a 15:1 vang by itself loads up the boom any more than an 8:1. It's still the same spars, the same sails, and you want the same twist and mast bend in the same conditions. With more purchase, it's just easier to pull (and even easier to ease out). I'm kind of suspicious about all the overvanging stories, as I think it's still pretty hard to do.

I wouldn't worry about updating the vang, either. The "new" systems were legalized in 2001, and two Olympic medals in 2004 and one in 2008 were still won with "old-style" vangs. Just add a small block where you have a rope loop, go sailing and see how it works. A more important decision is whether you want the outhaul cleat on the deck - that's something everybody changed when it was allowed.
 

wjejr

Active Member
LaLi. Thanks. I got to thinking last night that the current boom sleeve would be fine. The person that owned the boat before me was literally an Olympic sailor, and it seemed to work for him just fine. So, I think I will just keep the boom as is.

The outhaul is a good point. It's been so long since I sailed the thing that I sort of forgot the way it works. Seems to me there are some hitches that add purchases to the original configuration. It worked well enough, but was really time consuming to rig and certainly wasn't as easy to adjust as if it had been on the deck.
 

andyatos

Well-Known Member
The outhaul is a good point. It's been so long since I sailed the thing that I sort of forgot the way it works. Seems to me there are some hitches that add purchases to the original configuration. It worked well enough, but was really time consuming to rig and certainly wasn't as easy to adjust as if it had been on the deck.
When I upgraded my Laser, I got my adjustable outhaul as part of this package. I also learned a few things about the finer points of rigging the outhaul, cunningham and other components here, here and here.

In fact, I modified a few parts of the original Intensity Holt Outhaul and Cunningham and my Holt Allen vang set up from what I learned in the 3 above videos. Mainly just further reducing friction and cleaning things up with splicing, etc. I also went with smaller diameter lines in a lot of the rigging.

- Andy
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
If your boom does not have the long sleeve it will eventually break at the forward mainsheet block. Changing the sleeve is a simple and inexpensive operation.
E
I've broken several booms with the longer sleeves, albeit less frequently and in a different location. I do still prefer the longer sleeves.

LaLi makes a very good point, the loads are no different from 20 years ago, the systems are now just more efficient.
 

torrid

Just sailing
wjejr, I think you're worrying about a nonexistent problem.It's a common misunderstanding of mechanics that a 15:1 vang by itself loads up the boom any more than an 8:1. It's still the same spars, the same sails, and you want the same twist and mast bend in the same conditions. With more purchase, it's just easier to pull (and even easier to ease out). I'm kind of suspicious about all the overvanging stories, as I think it's still pretty hard to do.
At the time, everyone said more purchase in the vang would lead to more broken spars. I've always felt that the extra purchase makes it easier to let off the vang when bearing away, which should lead to fewer broken spars.

I wouldn't worry about updating the vang, either. The "new" systems were legalized in 2001, and two Olympic medals in 2004 and one in 2008 were still won with "old-style" vangs. Just add a small block where you have a rope loop, go sailing and see how it works. A more important decision is whether you want the outhaul cleat on the deck - that's something everybody changed when it was allowed.
I think the key is neither vang makes the boat faster. However it terms of the upgrades, I think the vang is the best part and the first thing I would change. Again, having more purchase it is just easier to let off. For an Olympic champion who has his stuff together, probably makes no difference. For a clumsy noob, or a clumsy master who doesn't sail his boat as much as he should, it probably does make you faster in that you are wasting time fiddling with the vang at the windward mark.
 

wjejr

Active Member
Thanks everyone. I just bought the Harken vang kit, Harken deck plate and Harken base with cleats. I will think about the boom reinforcement, but for now will go with the shorter insert. I appreciate those comments that suggest I am putting my boom in jeopardy by not having the longer extension, but I sail on the North Shore of Boston, and it doesn't blow that hard in the summer. I'm fairly new to Lasers, totally new to racing them, and If it does happen to blow 20, I probably won't be going out anyway.

I've got a few Harken micro blocks around here, so I will figure out how to rig the outhaul and cunningham with what I have.
 
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