Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Boom Gallows - How To Use?"
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Thread: "Boom Gallows - How To Use?"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012

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Boom Gallows - How To Use?


Joe Hanley and Jayne Sagar

Hi Rod
The gallows are there mainly for the following reasons.

To support the boom in port or at anchor (Prevents slapping.)

To Lock the boom in a fixed position when using a trysail (a loose footed storm sail where the boom isnt used) and when the main is furled away in a blow (even if the trysail is not used - it will locate and lock the boom.

During normal sailing - ie with mainsail used, then the boom should clear the gallows at all times. Take a small lift on the topper, then tension the halyard (ie - make sure the sail is fully hoisted, then release the topper (topping lift) slightly to allow a slight sag in the lift. The sail should easilly clear the gallows. The kicker, even when hauled, should not allow the boom to catch the gallows. If you find the boom sitting on the gallows with the sail hoisted, then the sail is probably not hoisted fully, or maybe jamming at the top.

You can also use it to assist in reefing (the side positions are sometimes helpful) but you may well have to slacken the topping lift to drop the boom into the gallows as the main halyard is released (easier than it sounds !)

(ps - other uses are - a great hand hold, supporting a bimini, attaching mob poles etc, attaching cockpit screens, hanging washing, hoisting a shower head, and drying fish :-) ..) - Hanging diapers (nappies in the UK) there will usually give you a clear berth or anchorage - toying a small toy boat also works lol :-) )

Hope that helps and nice to meet up Sir.

Joe n Jayne





Rod Lawson

I have been sailing my W32 with the boom sitting and locked into the boom gallows. I've now realised (I think) that this is not the way to sail. Can anyone assist me in an explanation of the purpose of a boom gallows? I don't understand the sail dynamics. For instance if I am supposed to raise the boom off the gallows when sailing, wouldn't this make the sail a fuller shape? When the sails are made, would they need a longer luff, to allow the sail to sit on the gallows when not sailing? Would appreciate any assistance and please excuse my ignorance.


Rod Lawson

thanks for the explanation. I think it is all clear now and I feel pretty stupid now having sailed about 600nm with the boom locked into the gallows. Never mind though, I got where I was going and I've learnt yet another thing about the Westsail 32.


Norm Rhines

Rod I applaude you on you humble admission. You have given some insight though (if I ever break the boom I could sail with a partial boom outhauled on the gallows)

Rod a suggestion, If you have beer can races in your area (losely arranged races) try to get on someone elses boat as crew (Raceing is the best place to learn sail trim).

Also you may find some frends who are into some of the things you may enjoy.

Fair winds:


Rod Lawson

thanks for the helpful advice Norm. Regarding my humble admission, I always say "I don't know", when I don't. I have encountered many "sailors" who have given advice, only to find out, they have no clue what they are talking about. These people are dangerous and I wish more people would stop being so insecure about not knowing something and be willing to say "I don't know". My apologies about my rantings here, but it is something I have found incredibly frustrating and incredibly common.

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