Ever since I was old enough to hold a screwdriver I loved to take things apart. It was the next step of putting it all back together that I sometimes failed at. I was successful in taking our CS34 boom apart. Now I needed to figure out how to put it back together.

We had all the parts we needed to put the boom back together

  • two lines for first reef
  • two lines for second reef
  • two shuttle cars (one brand new from Holland Marine)
  • five stainless steel bolts and nuts

Now I had to go back to this diagram to try and figure out how the lines were fed through the boom.

A few other notes from other documentation found:

To adjust the length of the aft reefing lines, raise mainsail to highest position, leave forward reefing line free and pull the aft line at the stopper knot aft. This will move the shuttle block inside the boom aft. When the shuttle block is about an inch or so from the outboard end of the boom, tie the stopper knot and cut off any extra line.

Also take note #1, the line going up to the lowest reefing point on sail needs to through the fairlead on mast. I didn’t realize this, not sure how it makes a difference yet.

If you are going to do this, I suggest you go out right now and buy yourself a 50′ electricians fish tape. This simple little tool saved us a lot of time and I think we’ll find a lot more uses for it on our boat. The wire has just enough strength that you can push it through the boom to feed the lines through. Before we pulled this out we were trying to use a pole and were failing miserably.

Getting the lines through the AutoReef shuttle blocks were easy, I did struggle a bit trying to figure out how to get the lines around the pulleys. But eventually, almost, figured it out.

We decided to use nuts and bolts instead of rivets, I think it is the wiser plan and will allow us easier access in the future. But trying to get a wrench through the end to hold onto the nut inside the boom was very tricky. We found the best tool for this wasn’t an open ended wrench but a small ratchet wrench.

Finally after at least 30 minutes struggling to get the five bolts on we were successful. We sat back and proudly looked upon our finished project.

Lessons learned

At this point I hear the dreaded words that nobody wants to hear after finishing a project. Lori looks at me and says, “what is this piece for?”. She’s holding in her hand the attachment point for our reefing line.

This little piece can slide back and forth and when I had the boom taken apart I took it outside to clean. And I decided to be “smart” and slid these off so that I wouldn’t lose them while cleaning. I have no idea how I managed to re-attach only one of them. The second was sitting on the table next to us, watching and I’m sure chuckling to itself, while we struggled putting the end cap on the boom.

We removed the end cap, slid this piece back into its proper place and then re-attached the end cap, again. We were much faster the second time, I think it only took us 20 mins.

Direction of reefing lines

The second issue with my work was discovered later. On one side of the boom the lines are stopped with a figure eight at the bottom. On the other side all of the lines run out through pulleys. I had run reefing lines to cockpit down and reefing lines to sail up. I completely forgot that there are two blocks on the deck to put the reefing lines closer to the mast. All of the reefing lines needed to run down. We were, fortunately, able to wiggle the lines through the end of the boom without having to take it apart again.