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BOOM GALLOWS


When we added the trysail, I also added a boom gallows, using the same design as Mike Thoyts. Mike, who took his Rustler round the World, commented “A gallows transforms a boom from a weapon thrashing around trying to knock you overboard into a handrail!”


It is 1¼” stainless tube, and requires accurate fitting. I got Bob Hatcher at Shamrock to finish the job. He is an excellent shipwright (now retired, sadly). It is secured through the coachroof sides with teak pads inside and out (the inside ones are hidden by the curtains). The height has to be very accurate because the hood must fold down under the gallows, the boom should pull easily onto it, but there must be enough clearance in case the boom sags a bit when a reef is pulled in (e.g. If it has been done hurriedly). There is very little tolerance. Indeed I had forgotten to tell Hood that I was adding a gallows, and they had to re-cut the foot - which they did willingly.


For us geriatrics, the gallows is a real boon. It provides a secure handhold when going forward past the hood or boarding from a dinghy; it steadies the boom once the mainsail is lowered; and it is a good frame on which to rig a sunshade. We have been surprised how unobtrusive it is.


One complication is that I have permanently rigged foreguys. This is a single length of rope secured in the middle at the outer end of the boom with eyes spliced at the ends. When not in use they are held up to the boom by shock cords. But if they sag at all they could snag on the gallows, so a bit if care is needed. These foreguys can be rigged and unrigged by joining on a lazy part at the gooseneck end where it is always accessible - no need to reach out to the boom end. I am surprised more people do not use this simple arrangement.

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