Solid boom vang install

As part of the ‘Sail Better, Idiot’ intuitive that was kicked off after being helplessly swept backward in Swiftsure I decided to install a boom vang. Basically, this is a block and tackle at the base of the mast that can pull the boom downwards – so if you are running before the wind, the sail pressure pulls the boom up meaning you lose power. The boom vang counteracts that.

I decided to get the solid version as in addition to the above, it also holds the boom up via a spring when the mainsail is down. This is important for not concussing myself by smacking my head off the boom and also in light winds when you need to actually raise the boom a little. This meant I could ditch the topping lift, which in addition to getting tangled up in stuff constantly also rubbed on the leech of the sail unless I was constantly adjusting it. AND it frees up an internal boom slot for a reef line!

Literally no losers, except my wallet.

I went with a Garhauer solid vang, they custom make hardware for surprisingly little money compared to everyone else, and it’s really good stuff. I sent off a trace of both the mast base and the boom underside and six weeks later got a heavy parcel in the post.

Installing was surprisingly easy. I installed the mast bracket first, drilling and tapping 8 holes (this is a pain in the putt). The back stuff is liquid rubber after I discovered a wire in the mast that lost its sheathing so sprayed it in there to cover the bare wire. The nozzle kinda fell off, leading to liquid rubber spraying everywhere. Yeah.

Then, I raised the mainsail as tight as I could and then sheeting in and down as tight as I could. I then compressed the Vang and rachet-strapped the bracket to the boom

Then, just more drilling and tapping. As per the instructions, I did the centre two holes first so I could adjust the bracket afterward but as it turned out there was no need and the whole thing worked brilliantly!




  1. I did the same project last year – Garhauer vangs are the best! It looks like you don’t have lock washers on your bolts. If you used Lanocote or Tefgel, like I did since I hate SS fasteners corrosion-locking into the aluminum, I recommend adding lock washers. I’ve found most of my bolts (on mast and boom plates) are loosening up from vibration while sailing. Ie, the Lanocote is working too well.

    Lock washers should fix this issue, or maybe a bit of Loctite Blue.

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