We have a new, large roach mainsail, which significantly overlaps the topping lift and little bit the backstay too. After few trials, playing around with topping lift and pondering our options, we decided that we will make ourselves a boom-gallows. We wanted it for a long time anyway.

We were about to make a dodger, but the gallows idea got in the way and the dodger project was postponed. It didn’t take too long to convince ourselves that we are a tough bunch and that like the many other cruisers before us, also we will cross the oceans without the unsightly roof above the companionway.


While at Xingda fishing harbour we tied together both halves of our dinghy mast to the coach roof and put the dinghy boom between them to get some idea about the dimensions our boom-gallows must fit into. Trouble is that there are no right angles and the boat is far from being symmetrical. After an hour or so of jumping around with a tape measure and a protractor, we came up with a simple design, that we passed onto our SS man (as in stainless-steel), with whom we discussed couple of details.

When we got the supports and the teak timber, we were just in the middle of making a new non-skid on our deck.

When the day came, I was nervous. Drawing up the design was one thing, but now we actually needed to drill the boat and mount that thing so that it looks straight.

First of all, I have realized that the angle of the cockpit wall on starboard and port are about two degrees off. I did measure twice, what twice, I measure five times, but only on one side… Well, it won’t be as straight as intended.

In the end it turned out quite well. Only the forks that hold the teak timber are visually slightly off – yes they were supposed to be horizontal, but life ain’t always fair either, right?

Now it’s all done and I have even passed the initiation by thumping my head to the gallows couple of times when entering the companionway. Jana’s shorter so instead of the gallows themselves, she bumps her head into the boom on the side of the cockpit. But she has learned her ways now as well and we are both happy.

The handholds that the gallows provide are just marvelous. Boom sits calmly even in the constant waves that passing ferries, fishermen, harbour police and pilot boats create. We have also took our topping lift to the stern, where it goes through a block on the pull-pit and is tied to a cleat on the starboard. It can be easily worked with a sheeting winch and we will use it to hoist the dinghy.

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