Cautionary Tale - Ally booms and SS fittings


New member
5 Aug 2001
West Country
On Saturday, a particularly violent gust tore out my kicker fitting on the boom. It is a D ring mounted on an SS shoe clamped in the track under the boom. On examination, it appeared that the SS had reacted and weakened the part of the track in which it was sited. It had probably been in the same place for 30 years! If anyone else has a similar fitting, suggest that they move it occasionally and then they will not have to go to the expense of having a new saddle made and rivited on!

Happy sailing!


Also, watch rivets.

Last year, sailing a Jaguar 27 on charter in the Ionian Islands, force 4-5 close hauled to windward, the forward end of the alloy boom parted from the gooseneck fitting.

When I examined it later, I discovered that, although the heads of the 4 rivets fastening them together looked perfect, the shanks of the rivets had badly corroded internally - I found a head and a shank in two parts in the cabin where I had stowed the boom and fitting.

Moral, cut off or file off, don't drill out, the head of one rivet after a few years, (I don't know how many) inspect the shank and replace them all if there are any signs of corrosion. The rivet holes were also slightly elongated allowing movement. It was necessary to cut off about 1 inch of the forward end of the boom and drill new holes.


The other day my kicker fitting tore out of the track on the under side of the boom. It too had been in the same place for a long time(the boom is 28 years old, can't complain!) My solution has been as follows: I've made a strop out of spectra cloth and webbing, begged from my sailmaker's off-cut bin.

The strop has two s/s rings to take the kicker purchase and a line lead along the top of the boom to the end fitting to resist the forward pull. The mainsail has been altered with a slit just above the bolt rope to accomodate the strop. Sounds Heath Robinson, but works like a dream. The loading is spread over a much wider area and it cost pennies. If you must go down the route of a new s/s fitting then for god's sake smear some Duralac on the fitting to prevent future corrosion.