How to Avoid a Boom Loss

By Steve Seal of Seal's Spars & Rigging

Secondly only to mast losses on Santana 22ís are boom losses. In the twenty-plus years that I have been building masts and booms and rigging Santana 22ís, I have built many new Santana booms and strengthened or reinforced many more.

The key here is boom reinforcement. All the new booms I build are reinforced. This is an absolute must because the stock boom section that W. D. Schock Co. used when they built the boats is marginal at best.

Another thing that ends up weakening the boom is the vang strap. Most Santana booms were rigged with an external stainless steel boom vang strap. This external strap encourages salt water corrosion between the stainless strap and the aluminum boom. What happens is that over time the boom is severely weakened by corrosion underneath the vang strap, in the exact area where it is subjected to the highest loads by the boom vang.

So, what is the answer to keeping your boom from breaking?

  1. If your boom has an external stainless steel boom vang strap, remove it and replace it with an internal pad eye type of vang attachment.
  2. Reinforce the boom with 4 feet of internal aluminum tubing, tied into the internal vang pad eye. This fix adds only about 1 1/2 lbs. to the weight of the boom while adding considerable strength in the area where the boom is most highly stressed. It is relatively inexpensive to do. The cost of the parts is under $40. It can be done by anyone who is good with hand tools and has a rivet gun capable of riveting larger stainless steel rivets. Or I can do it in approximately 1 1/2 hours time. Give me a call if you have and questions.

View of internal boom vang pad eye. The length of reinforcement aluminum tubing is visible inside the slot. Heavy-duty stainless steel rivets hold everything in place.