Members' Online Book: Sail Handling Made Easy, Chapter 22 of 31

Rigging a Proper Preventer, Part 1

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I don’t have any solid data to back this up, but I’m going to guess that one of the most common ways that people get killed or maimed on a sailboat is by being hit by the boom. So, what can we do about that? Pretty obvious answer: Rig a preventer.

Such a nice simple solution, right? Well, unfortunately, no, it’s not. Rigging a proper preventer can be a pain in the neck. But there are things we can do to make rigging a proper preventer easy and quick.

But before we get into that, have you noticed that I seem to be overusing the word “proper”? That’s no accident. You see, a lot of the gear I see out there being used to restrict the swing of the boom does not constitute a proper preventer.

These set-ups might be boom brakes, like the one that Colin writes about here. Or boom tackles, where a line is taken to the boom, then down to a block at the rail, and then to a winch or tackle. A lot of people call these preventers, but they are not.

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Meet the Author

John

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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