Ask SAIL: Boom Pocket Configuration

I’m planning on replacing the mainsail on our 1994 Catalina 320 with a loose-footed cruising sail, using a two-line Dutchman rig. One loft is recommending that the Dutchman boom pockets be fitted with a bolt rope
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Boom Pocket Configuration

Q: I’m planning on replacing the mainsail on our 1994 Catalina 320 with a loose-footed cruising sail, using a two-line Dutchman rig. One loft is recommending that the Dutchman boom pockets be fitted with a bolt rope and left attached to the boom rather than attached to the foot of the sail. What do you think of this approach?

Warren, via sailmail@sailmagazine.com

Win Fowler has built sails for America’s Cup boats, coastal cruisers and one-design racers

Win Fowler has built sails for America’s Cup boats, coastal cruisers and one-design racers

WIN FOWLER REPLIES

There is at least one pro and one con to attaching the Dutchman pockets to the boom rather than the foot of the sail.

Pro: Having the pockets not attached to the sail makes it easy to reverse the direction the sail flakes on the boom. One problem with the Dutchman system is that the exact same parts of the leech are always sitting on top of the boom and tend to get more sun damage than the rest of the sail almost no matter how careful you are to cover the flaked sail. Reversing the flaking direction reduces this problem somewhat.

Con: Having the pockets attached to the boom means they can interfere a little bit with the shape of the foot of the sail when the outhaul is eased, especially if you have some skirt on your loose foot.

That said, the Dutchman will work as intended either way. But if you go with the sail attachment, have your sailmaker switch the pockets to the other side of the sail every two or three years.

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