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Boombrakes > Sailing Instructions

BoomBrake Sailing Instructions

Please read all instruction carefully before you begin sailing with your HUTTON BoomBrake.

The basic principle used by the BoomBrake is one of friction. The Control Line is wrapped around the helical drum. As the line is tensioned, so the friction increases, making it more difficult for the BoomBrake to move along the rope. This slows, or stops, the movement of the boom depending on the tension. When the tension is released, the friction is reduced and the BoomBrake will flow smoothly along the tensioning rope, allowing the boom to move freely.

  1. Check that your BoomBrake is correctly fitted and that all attachments are secure. Test the operation of the Control Line, see that it is easy to release and that the Control Line will return to the previously loose position.
  2. When sailing to windward with the mainsail close sheeted, the BoomBrake Control Line should be loose.
  3. As you ease the mainsheet to a position where the yacht is reaching, the tendency of the boom wanting to lift naturally increases the tension on the BoomBrake Control Line.
    In this situation, the BoomBrake Control Line can be used to adjust sail shape in the same way that you would use a conventional vang system.
  4. When running before the wind, an accidental jibe can be a dangerous occurence. It is here that BoomBrake acts as a 'preventer', this is simply achieved by tensioning the Control Line to steady the boom.


When jibing with the correct Control Line tension, the boom will usually only travel under load to just past the center of the vessel. At this stage, the bulk of your sail is over and there is very little load on the lower section of your mainsail. To allow the boom to travel out to the required position, you can allow the movement of the vessel, in conjunction with the wind, to work the boom out to the required position. Or ease the BoomBrake Control Line, allow the boom to travel to the required position, then re-tension the BoomBrake Control Line.

Given the BoomBrake Control Line is too tight, this will prevent the boom from travelling across the deck. In this situation pull on your mainsheet. By pulling on your mainsheet, it will do two things:

  1. Pull your boom downward and release some tension on your BoomBrake.
  2. Pull your boom toward toward the centre line of your vessel.

Given you pull down on the mainsheet too much and the boom begins to travel too fast, simply dump your mainsheet, this will allow your boom to lift and re-tension the BoomBrake Control Line. Once you find the ideal tension for your BoomBrake Control Line, it only requires a very small adjustment to ease or tension the Control Line of the BoomBrake for the desired result.

With either model HUTTON BoomBrake, the diameter of the line is quite important. If you are experiencing too much friction and the boom will not move easily enough, try a smaller diameter Control Line.
An alternative is to take one loop off the helical drum by un-threading the Control Line back to the drum, taking a turn off and re-threading the Control Line back to the cockpit.

Happy sailing!


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