Skerry sprit sail problem


We recently purchased a five year old skerry (rarely used).

We are novice sailors... Today we took her out for the third time and noticed that the mast got gouged a bit and the boom gooseneck looks mangled?

Do we need a new gooseneck? Why did this happen?

Thanks so much, Keiren

See attached photo!

skerry mast gouge

5 replies:

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RE: Skerry sprit sail problem

If it were my boat, I'd probably remove the fittings, plug the hole in the mast, and mount a set of wooden jaws with a parrel and a downhaul on the end of the boom.  But it seems to me other owners have also reported trouble, so I would advise you to contact CLC customer service about a possibly easier alternative.  Good luck Keiren, and I hope you are otherwise enjoying your "new" boat!


RE: Skerry sprit sail problem

As I 'm a lazy, lazy person, and a cheapskate, I'd be inclined to just bend the boom fitting to its original shape (probably best done after removing it temporarily from the boom). Straight-enough is probably good enough - it's an admirably low-tech joint.

Re the gouge in the mast, I'd just fill it with a little epoxy (if I could be bothered), or some putty, and a couple of coats of varnish. Check that the eye-screw is stil solidly-screwed into the mast. If not, unscrew it, fill the hole with an epoxy (or tightbond etc) soaked dowel plug, and re-drill a hole for the eye-screw, when its all dry.

As to what happened, my guess is that at some point in the trip, someone let go the sheet, and the boom was pushed by the wind too far around forward of the mast, putting enough leverage pressure in the joint fittings to mangle them.

Probably worth considering easing your sheet out (easiest and safest done while still on land), until the joint starts to protest (probably somewhere around the point where the boom is perpendicular to the boat's keeline, and then put a knot in the sheet behind the last pully/block so that, even if the sheet is let go again, the knot will stop the boom from swinging so far around forward again.

But, be careful if you do knot the sheet. Sometimes being able to completely let-fly a sheet, even at the expense of a bent goosneck, could save you from a capsize. Wit a little experience, it will be second-nature to always tend the sheet in sympathy with the limits of the rig.

With all that said, I agree that Old Yeller's suggestion of jaws and a parrel would, although possibly a little more work, would allow 180 degree rotation of the boom with no damage.

Though, to work smoothly, you'd also need to somehow incorporate a round section into the mast where it meets the jaws, as the current square section could bind (or be too sloppy).

 Also, one of the big advantages of the sprit rig is that, once the sheet and snotter (love that word!) are let go,  the whole kit can be simply folded on the mast with all the spars and sail in place for the next outing. 

For that to happen, the boom needs to be able to fold vertically up against the mast.  While the jaw/parrel arrangement certainly can be made to do that, it will need some fairly careful crafting of the jaw in three-dimensions, or the purchase of a fairly expensive part from a chandlery.

But, as advertised, I'm a lazy, lazy cheapskate! 

RE: Skerry sprit sail problem

The current boom bail arrangement looks susceptible to binding against the eyebolt, with the possibility of splitting the mast at the eyebolt hole.  So if you do want to just restore things to approximately how they were, I would suggest applying a fiberglass wrap around the mast in that area before reinstalling the eyebolt.  That would help a lot to beef up that area.


RE: Skerry sprit sail problem

Wow! Thanks so much for your detailed responses!

It certainly was windy when we took her out on Friday, and I let go the sheet when we ended up on someones' mushroom when trying to maneuver out to deeper water! It is like bumper boats on weekends this time of year... We should never have gone out on such a windy day... not until we have a bit more practice under our belts.

Question. Is the eyebolt on the mast supposed to be loose enough to turn 360 and back again or should that be tightly fixed in place?

The boat we purchased was built by the Long Island Maritime Museum and then won at raffle...we bought it from the winners. Neither one of us have ever sailed a boat as adults, and we have been adults for quite some time now. We thought it would be a fun thing to learn. Now realizing we need to learn a lot about boat building and maintenance as well!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Best, Keiren

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