Tech Wiki

Water in the Boom

How did it get there & how do I get rid of it?

Q: We've had some heavy rains here recently. When down at the boat installing my new Beckson portlight gaskets the other day, I noticed water dripping out of the rear end of the boom. I thought it was coming from inside the mainsail, so I took the cover off. The sail was dry. I wiggled the boom, and water sloshed out. I picked it up and there seems to be a good bit of water inside. Obviously, it's getting in from the top. Any ideas on how to get it out or to set up the boom so that it drains out regularly without sitting around?

Stu Jackson, Aquavite #224, San Francisco

Back before Christmas, we sailed through a heavy rainstorm. For the next hour or so, every time we tacked, gybed, or anything to make the boom swing, water cascaded out of the boom directly at the helmsman (me) of those weird weather days we have around here, had the foulie jacket on during the rain, after the storm the sun came out and was quickly down to a T-shirt which is when the drenching began....which is a bit irritating in December as it wasn’t that warm. Since then I have wondered the same, perhaps need to drill some drain holes in the bottom of the boom ??

Jack, C34 #1169, Port Arthur, TX

Look at the gooseneck and you'll see the sheave for the outhaul. If the boom is stored lower than horizontal guess where the water is going to go? Even with the mainsail cover on I think it will run down the main sail track over the slides and into the boom. Maybe a drain hole in the aft of the boom isn't a bad idea.

Ron Hill, APACHE #788

You’re in luck! My boom is 15 feet away in my basement. A quick look at it shows that there is only two ways for water to get in and ONE way for it to get out.

Water "In": The sail outhaul is on the top rear of the boom and any water running done the topping lift will settle at the end of the boom and run inside. The other way for water to get in is the sail track itself. With the boom lower on the aft ANY water that does get into the track will follow it back and the only way to go is into the boom.

Water "Out": There is ONE WAY out for the water!…..and it is your solution. Don't drill holes when not needed! The one way out is the outhaul pulley on the bottom of the boom on the mast end. Here is what you do...When you are covering the boat, you MUST raise the topping lift so that the boom is angled just slightly FORWARD. Use a level if you must to find this position. You will have a dry boom every time you sail. Now if you sail in the rain, water will slide down the sail and into the track and you know where that will go, but you would be wearing rain gear anyway. Hope this helps. I have only had water in the boom once and have since then raised the boom end and never had it again. Raising the boom end also keeps the sail cover from resting on my bimini.

Capt Al Watson, Kindred Spirit #55