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The Boom Lost Its Goose

It has been a pleasant sail during our first 24 hour period from Tonga on our way to Fiji. The winds have been all over the place between 4-14 knots from the south southeast. It wasn’t until this morning that the winds began to have a consistent velocity. So what do you do? That’s right sparky….Dig out the asymmetrical spinnaker and rig it up for the downwind.
A side note here….I learned a little trick from Michael Danielson of PV Sailing in La Cruz. If you are going to fly an asymmetrical sail almost directly down wind in light air, drop your mainsail to the first or even the second reef point then let her fly. You see the main tends to block the lighter winds from getting to your spinnaker and thus causing it to falter and have a difficult time staying filled. But, with the main mostly out of the way…Bammm! You have a good combination that works well dead down wind. Thanks Mike.
Okay back to sailing. We flew the spinnaker with the reefed main from 0900-1700 hours. After dropping the sock and bagging the spinnaker, Jilly noticed something didn’t look right with the bracket that attaches the boom to the mast. Also know as the gooseneck. When I started to investigate the bracket and mast, I observed that the starboard side of the bracket had lifted away from the mast leaving an approximate 1/4” gap where there shouldn’t be a gap. Okay, I thought this would be an easy fix. I remember reading somewhere that all boat projects are a broken bolt away from a three day project. Well, we found the head of the snake and had to deal with it. As I popped the first 1/4” rivet into place on the bracket, all looked good. Ha ha ha! That’s when it happened. The other side pulled completely out of the mast and we were looking at the gooseneck completely detached from the mast. Holy smokes Batman. That’s when all the fun started. We had to remove the old rivets as well as the new ones we had just put in.
What caused all this? Well earlier in the day I kept hearing a funny sound like something popping on the boom. No it wasn’t rivets being installed rather they were probably working themselves lose to a point of failure. I didn’t see anything obvious, but I kept hearing that noise. This day Jilly was under the weather and not feeling good so I had a long watch during the day. Needless to say I should have investigated the sound more thoroughly. The gooseneck is articulated to allow the boom to move up and down and side to side. It moved up and down very well but as it turned out, the side to side thing … not so much. In fact it was stuck and didn’t move at all. This put excessive loads on the mast/boom connection and caused the rivets to work a larger hole in the mast and eventually pull out. We don’t have a welder onboard, but we do have a drill. We ended up having to raise the bracket up about two inches and drill new holes. Fortunately, Dazzler is equipped with 1/4” stainless steel rivets and a handy 1/4” rivet tool for installation.
Tip number one: Don’t forget to use Tefgel or some other type of metal insulation for dissimilar metals like aluminum and stainless steel. The gooseneck on Dazzler is aluminum and the pivit pin is stainless steel. I did give the outside of the stainless steel rivets a good coating of Tefgel before popping them into place.
The issue was with the large stainless steel pin that wasn’t moving from side to side. You know what they say about the bigger hammer. I sprayed penetrating oil along the opening and even tried a small torch to heat it up a bit. After about thirty minutes of beating the bracket into submission from side to side, I got it loose enough to operate. I did try to disassemble it, but the small bolt protruding out of the bottom of the bracket couldn’t take much more of the hammer abuse I was giving it. Sometimes you just need to know when to quit. If I broke it out here, 300 miles from Fiji, it would be a long motor trip and then lots of trying to get parts mailed into Fiji or couriered via friend express. If I continued pounding I am sure the small bolt would have broken off. Then what? I decided to leave it together until I can get a new part from the states in August or possibly sooner.
Now that it was back together we had to see if it was going to move side to side. We unlocked the boom and bingo it was back into the realm of the living and working somewhat properly. Until I get the replacement parts I’ll have to keep a lubrication schedule and constant observations. All in it was about two hours before we completed this task. There is always something to keep you hopping if you own a boat.
If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen out there. Thanks Captain Ron! So, be prepared. I’m not sure when you have enough specialty tools. I guess it comes down to how independent you want to be. Parts are in the same category. When is enough, enough? Perhaps when you have one pair of shorts, a raggedy Hawaiian shirt with two buttons and two flip flops that don’t match anymore. LOL!
Until next time, fair winds!
Captain Dan & Jilly

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2 thoughts on “The Boom Lost Its Goose

  1. Well…capm Dan..here we go again with spares!..lesson learned here my friend..bring extra fasteners!
    not a big fan of pop rivets myself, broken on my ship many times…replaced all with new 1/4 x 20 drill & tap, but those are problematic just the same. you have motivated me to remove my goose, inspect and re attach since it was custom fabricated and I was not around when they installed it and the new boom and rod kicker…thanks for the in depth review of the fix while at sea…well done! now…what to do with those damned holes?!??….sure enjoy your blog, keep em coming!!!
    LB.

    1. Good morning LB,

      Thanks for the comments. Good luck with the investigative check on your boom. I don’t care for the rivets myself, but that is the way Isomat spars were designed and put together. So I stayed with it. I found a supply of good heavy duty ¼” SS rivets from a supplier in Los Angeles area and bought a bag of 100 for spare as it takes 8 to fasten the boom bracket back onto the mast. It also came in handy for a friend of mine on another boat when his boom detached while rounding Cabo Corrientes near Puerto Vallarta a few years ago. By now you should know that Jilly calls me Captain Save a Hoe because I am always there helping the unprepared with some of my extras. She says there’s a place for me in heaven. I tell her that sailors that drink and swear aren’t welcomed there. LOL

      The problem initially was the SS pin that holds the mast and boom bracket together. It seemed to have developed dissimilar corrosion between it and the Aluminum brackets. The stiffened movement caused the boom to overload the rivet attachment and make the holes oval out and eventually pulled out. I would say that a good thing to do is always incorporate a good daily working rig inspection while making long passages. Just to find the obvious issues before they become bigger issues. I’m not sure how I’ll fill in the holes yet. The correct way would be to remove the mast and the wiring inside so that a welder can do the aluminum repair. Can’t do any welding unless the wires are removed first. I suppose I could use some kind of metal epoxy usually called dog poop. It comes in a tube and is worked together first and then applied to the hole. But, that kind of thing looks a bit tacky.

      I think I mentioned before with the spare fasteners that a couple of different threaded stocks of different sized threads like ¼”, #10, 5/16” and maybe even ⅜” would be good to have on hand. That way you can make a repair of any length bolt to help get you to a place where you can get the proper sized bolt

      We Made it to Savusavu, Fiji yesterday morning. Wow! It’s beautiful here and we haven’t even seen anywhere else. Check in procedures went well.

      Thanks again. Cheers!

      Dan

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