Windsurfing & Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Michigan
I would like to take a moment of your time to discuss boom longevity and Aluminum vs Carbon. I guess the reason is because we have recently experienced so much problem with booms letting go.
As one can see in Brians video on Aluminum boom flex, it becomes apparent that fatigue of the metal will sooner or later become an issue. From personal experience I have broken many aluminum as well as one fibrespar carbon boom, my wife Ann broke an older (three years+) aluminum boom in Avon Hatteras this spring and almost took out the guy sailing downwind of her. A fellow sailor Ryan also just recentley broke a boom at Rondeau Bay and had to jury rig and half swim to get back.
All three of us are becomming slowly better and better sailers and able to handle bigger sails for more power in stronger winds and are also sailing much more aggresivly in the last few years. Ryan is a big guy, at well over 6 foot, I am around that 6 foot mark as well and 180lbs, so not really a light weight. Ann is about 5.7 foot and 145. I plane through most of my jibes now, but as they say, no matter how fast you enter, it seems most of the time I pump the sail for a bit more speed going into the jibe. After some research it seems that most aluminum booms are good for about 70 to 90 sessions. Most guys will say if you sail a lot ( I did 70 sessions last year ) get rid of it and spend $200.00 and buy a new one every year. Some say buy carbon and you will get three to five years out of it.
We have gone to all RDM (masts) now as we had a lot of issues with regular diameter mast breakage a few years ago. It seems the RDM's have solved that problem. And most are not made in the Asian basin.
Carbon booms on the other hand are almost if not more than three times the price of Aluminum (albeit lighter). The problem is, if you land a jump on them or have a bad crash somehow (Ann's fin hit a deadhead undewater a few years ago resulting in a rather spactacular crash), the shock may really weaken the boom resulting in catastrophic failure and loss of warranty. You may now have to face the issue of scrapping a $ 600.00 boom. Ouch!!
I bought a Chinook Course Aluminum boom 182 to 244, with the wide clew end, and have been using it for all my sails 6.0 to 7.5 and it feels very stiff as there is very little extension. The problem was however the cleat in the tailstock was made from plastic ( Rather than the typical metal ones)
and stripped out on a 7.5 M sail about the 4th time I used it. Chinook did honour their warrantyand replaced it with a regular slalom tailstock with the pinned metal cleat which I am still using. Although I had to pay shipping USD$20.00 one way to ship it to Oregon. The new Aeron V-grips look substancial but a bit on the heavy side.
Last time we were in El Yaque Margarita Vela patrons were snapping Neil Pryde booms left and right. I actually snapped one on the first day out on my second run.
In closing I would like to hear any feed back anyone has, and just as a closing thought I now use a small piece of downhaul line to tie my uphaul to the univesal joint rather than slipping it through the loop. In this way if I break my boom I can untie it and flip the boom easily and use the uphaul to hold the broken side togther while I sail back to shore (hopefully) on the good side, rather than try to disconnct the mast to flip the boom, as this is very difficult to do in waves. Don
Good work. That's not easy to break the boom head like that! The good thing is that, if you didn't tweak the tailpiece too badly, you can just replace the head and live to sail another day.
I'd say leave it out tonight and see if the shoe fairies fix it.