Boom bang

14 July 2019

We started the trip from Camarinas in Ria de Camarinas under a cloudy sky with light wind from NNE (8-10 knots). We got a pleasant sail out of the ria and then we should change course to SW to round Punta de Sualba before going south to pass Finisterre. Out in the open sea there was a 2 m swell rolling in from NW causing a lot of rolling motion resulting in flapping sails since the wind was to light to keep the pressure while going downwind.

We decided to motor until we got more wind and started the engine, furled the genoa and sheeted in the main to stabilize the rolling while motoring. To reduce the flapping of the main I tightened the outhaul a bit more. We motored on for maybe 5 minutes or so and continue with a second mug of coffee, then suddenly there was a loud bang from above.

First reactions

The main sail was wrapped around the rigging and the swell made the heavy clew swinging around in front of the mast.

Both me and Carina stood up to see what just happened. Since Carina was sitting under the sprayhood she didn’t see the main so I told her the outhaul just went off and that it was possible to reach the rope and that we could fix it while at sea, but first we must get the main under control.

Recover from broken outhaul

The best option was to try to furl the sail as fast as possible, before it get entangled in the rigging or the heavy clew destroys something when swinging around. Since the wind was light there was not much pressure on the sail so I started to furl it in while Carina prepared my tether line.

After 15-20 seconds and a couple of bangs when the clew hit the boom, the whole sail was safely in the mast. After that it was easy to make a temporary fix tying the broken rope the outhaul while we motored around Punta de Sualba.

After Punta de Sualba the wind picked up and we got 15-20 knots northerly and a nice sail down to Finisterre.

Why did the rope to the outhaul break?

The loop on the rope is fasten to the outhaul in the boom with an ordinary shackle and the shackle was mounted with the pin through the loop on the rope, see photo below.


The loop on the rope was spliced with the core only, no cover was used, see photo below.

Permanent fix

Use another type of shackle that won’t scratch the boom when furling the main. This one is not fixed, I have mounted the shackle so that it won’t shred the rope. Maybe it’s possible to use a shackle without that part sticking out on one side, don’t know the English name for it.

Splice a loop that includes the cover of the rope.

It was a tricky rope to splice, it contain two cover layers over the core and I’m not sure I got it it right, the loop does only contain the core, not the inner cover.


It was lucky that the rope to the outhaul broke off in good weather when both of us was awake.

The spliced loop on the rope should include the cover to withstand shredding better.

Never mount a shackle so that it can shred the rope.

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