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Boom Vang


New Member
Dumb question on new (to me) Morgan 384. The Boom Vange doesnt seem to have a place to attach to the boom other than the forward-most Bale intended for the mainsheet block. Any thoughts?


Mark Pearson
Staff member
There really are no dumb questions here, Swifty31. Just dumb answers! Proof of that: I can’t remember the bale setup on Zia (our 384), and although I have over 1,000 photos of her, there is not a one that shows (clearly) the boom configuration by the vang. However, we are headed out on her today and if I can remember, I’ll get a shot & post here.
Sonata has a rigid vang, here are a few photos. I am on her now. So if you want any others let me know.

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I am not sure if a vang was standard, thus you will see many varying configurations, and you might need to add an attachment if there isn't one. If planning to do that, the vang is something that really needs to be overbuilt.


Richard Kilroy
Never had a vang on “Vixen” 38-2 #74. Used a down Haul on the main to tighten the luff. Also a preventer type rig hooked to the track on the main sail and lead out to a series of blocks, lead out to the outside track. We are not serious Wednesday night sailors and this rig has always worked satisfactory for us. When rigged in a Broad reach also functions as a preventative for the boom, and can aid in main sail shape. You do have to be active for its use regarding the lifeline position.
Ripple (382 #195 had no vang at all when we bought her. We added a soft one (along with a dedicated bail near the base of the mast) because I never liked the sail shape going downwind without it. Dick's system also sounds like a good one, especially for long downhill cruises where a preventer is called for.
I should add that our main sheet was moved to the cabin top by a previous owner. The boom had a tendency to fly up when sheeted out. Not sure if this would be less of a problem with the original cockpit traveler on the 382? Anyway the vang solved the problem nicely.


Terence Thatcher
I recommend against using the genoa track as a boom preventer. Our preventer runs from boom end to bow and then back to the cockpit along the deck. (see Attainable Advenure Cruising for rigging description.) A large and expensive boat was lost a couple of years ago north of New Zealand when a jibe ripped out such a preventer from the toe rail, the boom ripped out the main traveller, and all hell then broke loose.

I recommend against using the genoa track as a boom preventer. Our preventer runs from boom end to bow and then back to the cockpit along the deck. (see Attainable Advenure Cruising for rigging description.) A large and expensive boat was lost a couple of years ago north of New Zealand when a jibe ripped out such a preventer from the toe rail, the boom ripped out the main traveller, and all hell then broke loose.
I wholeheartedly agree, with some personal experience. When I first got Eliana I was using a preventer to the rail like that. On a moderate wind day we happened to have a jibe go bad and back wind the sail. The boom flexed and bent like a piece of spaghetti. Nothing broke, but it sure came close, and could have been disastrous if it did. A preventer should ONLY be attached to the end of the boom.

I use a low friction ring tied to the bow with a short ( 1 ft ) piece of spectra line, and recycled spinnaker sheets. No need for expensive hardware.

And a vang needs to be as overbuilt as you can make it. The reason I was taking a soft vang to the rail to begin with is because previously during an accidental jibe on the delivery to SF the vang ripped the bracket off the mast. That bracket is probably the highest loaded part on the boat. Not only do you have the whole force of the sail, but the length of the boom multiplies the force that the vang needs to hold.


Terence Thatcher
That sounds scary as hell. The New Zealand boat Iost two crew members when its vang, then traveller, broke loose. I use a soft rope vang, because I am cheap and old fashioned. It attaches to a hefty padeye just aft of the mast. That is thru-bolted to a matching fitting below deck. Then I have a turnbuckle between that upside down padeye and another padeye (fabricated by my machinist to fit the curve of the mast) machine screwed to the mast.


Richard Kilroy
Sorry guys I said to the outside track for my boom preventer. That is not correct. I’ll lead it to the through hull mid ship cleat. On a return trip from Bermuda in Tropical storm Anne we had an uncontrolled jibe, the jawed fitting on the boom failed. We were all OK. But when removing the main that fall, I found the boom bent where the jaws fitted. Granted the jaw idea was not wonderful. Took the boom into a mast maker in Connecticut, he told me he would try to straighten and if he failed I needed a new boom. He didn’t fail but my boom now has a drilled whole where of the jaws used to go.


Richard Kilroy
Also using Warren and Terry’s preferred method, as that method is the preferred way by many other offshore sailors, I would be concerned about the gooseneck fitting on the Morgan.


Terence Thatcher
Jim, what "jaw fitting" are you talking about? The gooseneck around the mast? Something else? Jeanne Socrates, from British
Columbia, has sailed non-stop around the world several times. She has a very nice Naiad 37, I think. Twice she broke a gooseneck and had to go to port for repairs. I have often thought that must be a weak point on her craft and assume it is on ours. Mine is aluminum, bolted to the mast and sleeved into and bolted to the boom. I wonder how one would make it stronger. Probably have a thicker boom and mast section where it bolts in.
It is fairly common to have custom "offshore" goosenecks built, as they are a very common failure on most or all production boats.
They look more or less like the vang fitting that Mitchell posted in post #3. Welded stainless and massive in size compared to stock.

My vang fitting is nearly identical to Mitchell's, a custom piece from Garhauer. When I got it I was advised that I should get an upgraded gooseneck as well, but it wasn't in the budget at the time. I did install some plastic washers to remove any play in the gooseneck, and keep my preventers tight, so movement is not possible.

A gooseneck or vang fitting can be made from dyneema by taking a number of wraps around the mast and boom. When my original vang fitting broke, and while waiting for the custom one, my rigger made a beautiful temporary fitting. He felt it was stronger that the stainless one and would have lasted a long time.


Terence Thatcher
I am no engineer, but just putting a heavier gooseneck bolted to the aluminum mast (with the mast tapped--can't through bolt) doesn't seem to address the problem, which is the attachment to a fairly thin-walled mast. But perhaps one could make a taller fitting, so there are more bolts, although then you have to worry about more holes in the mast. Solution still seems to be a beefier mast at the attachment point--which we cannot easily accomplish. For instance, at least Morgan made sure we have 3 very thick winch pads welded to the mast. Perhaps one could strengthen the mast at the gooseneck, altho is it true that welding aluminum weakens it?
There are multiple ways a gooseneck can fail. One is that it gets torn off the mast. The larger size wraps around the side of the mast, so the angle it is pulling on the screws changes, making it stronger. The stock gooseneck is so small the screws are pulled almost straight out. The larger is pulling sideways on the screws. The other failure, is that the bracket itself breaks, and larger welds make it stronger.


James M. Cleary
When we first brought Dana she has a soft vang attached to the base of the mast with a through bolt and a SS bail to hold the shackle. That didn't last long before the bail snapped. I then found a fitting that I bolted on the mast just above the boot, (see the patched holes in the mast). That idea didn't last too long either before it pulled out of the mast. Then, while having the rig inspected for a trip South, the rigger suggested a Dyneema strap around the mast being held down with the through bolt that was already there. He made me the strap with two eyes and I added a bushing to each side of the bolt to extend the bolt length and to hold the strap. It is as strong as the mast and has been working fine for years now.