Boom on Sailboat

By Matt Claiborne

A sailboat boom is a horizontal spar that holds the foot of a sail. 

They’re most common on the mainsail, although they are also sometimes used on staysails.

On a two-masted sailboat, called a ketch, the mizzensail will have a boom. The boom provides support and helps shape the sail.

As with the mast, usually the sail attaches to the boom with slides.

Most booms are made of aluminum, but wood is traditional, and carbon fiber composites are the state-of-the-art option in the cruising world.

Another advantage of the boom is that it allows you to attach more control lines.

By connecting several different lines in different areas, sailors can shape the sail to meet the conditions better than a sail with no boom, which can only be controlled with a single line.

Booms also offer options for sail storage. For example, many sailboats store their mainsails in bags built on top of the boom.

Some advanced systems include lines that flake the sail into the bag for easy deployment and retrieval.