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Thread: "At Least The Mast Didn't Fold "

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


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At Least The Mast Didn't Fold

Jay Bietz

Sailing is so exciting.... Yesterday while on a reach across the slot and just as we reached the east side of Alcatraz island in the SF bay, a Toggle Bolt (I think this is the right word) end popped off and in rapid order the boomkin's shattered and I scrambled to douse the sails.

The remaining end of the T/B shows rust on the exposed end indicating that the break has been there for some time.


All photo's at


I'm thinking that Bud will have more business soon.

Jay Bietz

Admins -- sorry about the image size -- I though 640 X 480 would be fine... Delete if needed and I'll repost a small sized image.

Michael Dougan

I think you uploaded the original and not the smaller version. This one was 2549 X 1944. No worries, I was able to resize it to 640X480.

Wow, so, it was the toggle bolt that supported the boomkin from the bottom that broke? Not the toggle for the backstay, right?

In the pictures of the wood in your picasa album, is that rot I'm seeing?

Glad to see you made it home safely!

Andrea and Brad Dollins

Well... I know what I'm going to go out and look at as soon as I'm done with my coffee!

Glad everyone is safe!


Jay Bietz

Good I'm glad you are all checking - not worth the mast and possible injury. I'm sure the boaters in the area wondered why we were circling in the lee of Alcatraz island...

I think that checking the wood by removing the paint for inspection as well as probing the under sides and in the bolt holes would tell you the condition of the wood. I'll bet any orginal wood is not in good condition -- after all it's at least 30 years old.

The screw on toggles just need to be replaced with forged browse toggles -- not SS and of course a scotch pad to polish and check the swagged fittings.

It issue started as the end of the toggle bolt breaking then the wood just splintered as the BK are usually under compression and are not strong enough at any age to hold the rigging pressure.

The black area is some sort of rot/fungus.

Yes, I posted the larger version by accident thanks for correcting.

And the owner has conceded that we need new BK's... yes, I asked several years ago ....


Jay Bietz

I'm not sure on the above forged bronze toggles -- I'm seeing only SS toggle ends... I'll clear up my confusion...

Gary and Charlotte Burton

What kind of wood is that? Phew - glad everything worked out ok!

Jay Bietz

Looking at the wood this AM, it is a clear fir - I believe...

I'd focus first on your T-bolts -- mine were screw on and the crackes were hidden up in the threadded part. I'm replacing all threaded T-bolts on Pygmalion.

Don Montgomery and Lana Nelson

This is a great example of why the split back stays are a good modification from the original build of the Westsail 32.

So glad you escaped serious injury.

All the best!

Jay Bietz

I have ordered the SS boomkin's and Stern pulpit with ladder from Bud..

The owner guessed that the wood may be spruce.. maybe Bud actually knows!!

Bud Taplin

The wooden boomkins made by Westsail were usually straight grain fir with no knots.

Dave King

Just by coincidence, I am refinishing an original wood boomkin on a W-32, hull #84 at this time. It is oak and in very good condition. It has never been painted but always kept varnished - until this past year. It has never been epoxied. I have stripped it, bleached out a few stains, and am now recoating with 5 fresh coats of varnish. I think hull #84 is from 1973. The boat is on it's 4th owner and was cruised extensively during a 20 year period.

Gary and Charlotte Burton

I guess if the boomkins and bowsprit are kept varnished problems that start to develope will be easily seen - not so with regular paint.

Jay Bietz

Just to keep the story clear -- first the stb toggle bolt failed THEN the clear fir painted boomkins failed. The port side boomkin broke in a large sliver shape and would have speared anyone sitting on the port cockpit (down wind side) but no one was there at that time.

Here is a photo of the inside of the boomkin - Note that discoloration ocures in the area of the holes but the wood is about as hard as the other areas -- the center section is in excellent shape and I'm saving the center sections.
The fir (by the smell of the wood) is very close grained and I haven't seen a knot yet - in other words real nice wood...

photo of the wood

Hope this helps -

Jay Bietz

I've started replacing the threaded style TB's and found one that was cracked.

\image {Close up of the TB}

Jay Bietz


One more try.


Rod Lawson

I had a fitting go on the boomkin due to rust a year or so ago whilst sailing in 35knots. Fortunately the boomkin supported the rig without it as I didn't even notice it until I got back into port. I changed the wire whiskers to stainless chain. I better go check my turnbuckles though. I generally engage my running back stays now whenever the weather is really bad, that way if the boomkin goes the running stays might hold the mast up.


Hey Rod- Where ya been?

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