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Thread: Boom height

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    High or low?

    I was advised (by the editor, no less) that high boom height will aid early planing; and I've got comfortable with my boom set around shoulder height (I have it an inch or two off the tail of the board). However, a sailor whose ability I respect enormously had a go on my kit yesterday, and suggested that my boom was too high.

    Which is the best advice? And do the conditions make a difference - lower for powered up or wave sailing, higher for light wind, early planing? Or is it just what you're comfortable with?


  2. #2

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    The height you set the boom will depend on where you fit it within the sail cutaway, but also on how far back you set your mast foot. Bringing the mast foot back, makes the mast more upright, which in turn raises the boom. If you move your footstraps forwards this brings the mast more upright too, again effectively raising the boom.
    How high you like your boom will depend on your preferred sailing stance. Changing boom height is a good way of forcing change to this stance.
    The rule of thumb is that taller people need higher booms.
    Once planing in the straps, with the boom in front of you, at high-chest or shoulder height, it's easier to pump and to gain a locked-in stance. You've also got more control over the rig if you are overpowered.
    With the boom set higher, at say chin height, you tend to hang off the rig more this in turn takes weight off your feet and off the board, allowing you to plane earlier and accelerate better. A higher boom is good for jumps and other airborne tricks too.
    Once you've chosen your preferred boom height you have then to get harness lines the right length to match your harness hook height. A higher boom, usually means longer lines.
    Now back in the UK.

  3. #3
    Member Nick's Avatar
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    I'm 6' 1" and usually set the boom two or three fingers width off the tail of the board, with the mastfoot set within a cm or two of the 135 cms from tail point.

    I used to set my boom a few inches lower, but this higher position works well for me. Still can't get to grips with long harness lines - mine are 26" - but I think I have a stance issue (hips too much towards the fornt of the board) that I need to work on.

    Experiment and see what works best for you.


  4. #4

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    Nick,
    That boom off the tail thing is a red herring and will vary from board to board. At best it's a distraction from you getting your boom height right when standing in the straps, and planing.
    Now back in the UK.

  5. #5
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    Hey graeme. Have just looked at a picture of you sailing in CV. You do have quite a high boom in it and could definitely get away with it being a bit lower. If you find it comfortable with a high boom though, I wouldn't worry. Some people sail with very high booms. It is better that your boom is too high than too low.

    Conventional wisdom states that boom height should drop as wind strength increases. However, I barely move mine around at all and it seems to work fine.

    The boom off the tail thing does vary a bit from board to board, but can be a good guide to get you started. Also, it will help you get your kit set up the same everytime (which helps you learn a lot faster).

    How are those gybes coming along?

  6. #6
    Senior Member lostboy's Avatar
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    The boom off the tail thing only works if you can be sure that your footstraps and mastbase are in exactly the same place, with the same spread, relevant to the tail of the board on each board you sail.



    Got an opinion? Great. Guess what, so's everyone else!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by basher
    Nick,
    That boom off the tail thing is a red herring and will vary from board to board. At best it's a distraction from you getting your boom height right when standing in the straps, and planing.
    Basher I am afraid I beg to differ and it is not often that I disagree with you! I think measuring the boom height off the tail is an accurate way for me to determine the boom height. I usually set the mast at at 135cm point from the tail and therefore measuring the boom height from the tail means that is correct regardless of the sail I am using and the board I am on. The 135 cm point is on many boards marked (but not always in the middle of the mast track) or I just mark it up with a tape measure before I leave for the beach. I then place my index finger on the back of the board with my thumb pointing at the mast foot, and use my span (which is related to my body size). My outstretched little finger on my right hand is the highest I have my boom and the lowest I have it is touching the back of the board - i.e. around 135 cms. Of course when it gets hairy I move the mast forward a cm or two and adjust the harness lines back a touch, all which means the boom also feels lower when you are in straps. So I might also move the boom up the mast a tad if it feels too low, especially if it is now on the back of the board.

    Measuring how high the boom is to your shoulder on the beach when you are static means diddly as when you are smoking along the boom is raked back. An experienced sailor like yourself really will know when it feels right and feel when it is right to raise it regardless of the shoulder measurement on the beach, but this is no good to a newbie who is getting used to be in the harness and straps. My experience is that measuring off the back of the board is a more accurate way of acheiving consistent results regardless of the kit you are on (as this changes rapidly as a newbie or could be hired kit) provided you always set the mastfoot to start at the 135 cm point. It does not matter if it the board is a 70 cm wide barge or a 56cm wave board... The method is the same and the boom height is consistent.

    Discuss!

    Steve


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