Boom Modification

Mark Doyle of Newburyport, Massachusetts asks:

I have a 1968 Bristol, and the mainsheet block is fastened to the boom with a swivel on a threaded bolt that fits into the boom end-fitting, which also serves as the attachment point for the outhaul. I cannot find a replacement for the fitting anywhere, and it is showing its age. Any ideas on where to look? If not, I may drill through the aluminum boom and attach a bail. Can you see any problems with doing this?

Win Fowler replies:

It is unlikely that you will be able to find a replacement for that particular casting. Those castings were once popular because they allowed the boom to rotate for roller reefing, but they went out of fashion long ago. Hopefully, you are not still reefing your sail this way, since it was never a great idea. It is hard on the mainsail and creates a poor sail shape when the sail is reefed.

Instead, I would pursue your idea of drilling through the boom (horizontally) and attaching a bail for the mainsheet block. Just be careful not to damage anything inside the boom.

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