Features July 2017 Issue

Controlling Jibes With Boom Brakes

Sea trials with the economy Heinson, new Dutchman, and the long-standing French-made Walder.

Ten years ago, you may recall having seen the Walder boom brake demonstrated at sailboat shows. There wasn't anything quite like it. The device caught on for a time with single-handed racers, who liked the way it slowly eased the boom across during jibes. (Philippe Jeantot had one on Credit Agricole when he won the first BOC Challenge.) When your hands are full with jib sheets and the wheel or tiller, there's too often the tendency not to pull in the mainsheet to minimize the shock load on the gooseneck when the boom slams across to the new tack.

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