Bluenose Canadian Schooner

Main Boom Rigging

November 24, 2017

Day 602.

With the masts rigged, attention shifts to rigging the booms and gaffs.  Booms are like horizontal masts located low on the ship near the deck.  Gaffs are higher up.

The Bluenose has three booms.  The jumbo jib boom is located near the bow, forward of the fore mast.  The fore boom is located between the fore and main masts, and the main boom is located aft of the main mast.

The booms were built earlier, and have been sitting on the shelf for a while.  Like the masts, I’ll do as much of the rigging as I can before I install them on the ship.  When they’re installed, I’ll avoid gluing anything so that they can be easily removed – I’ll need to take them back off when I do the sails.

I started with the main boom since it is the largest.




The first bit of rigging on the main boom was the footropes.  These run on the outboard end of the boom and gave sailors a place to stand when they needed to get out to the end of the boom.

These were made from 0.008″ black rigging line, and secured with eye splices.


The footropes on the end of the boom.

Boom Tackle



The boom tackle consists of two blocks (pulleys) with some rigging line run between them.  Both ends of the tackle are hooked to the bottom of the boom, and the free end is belayed to a pin on the boom.

The boom tackle was made from 0.018″ tan line.

boom tackle 1

One end of the boom tackle, hooked to an eyebolt on the boom.

new boom tackle

The other end of the boom tackle, attached to a ring on the boom using a link.

Boom Crutch Tackles



There are two identical boom crutch tackles – one on each side of the boom.  These keep the boom from moving side-to-side.  Each tackle consists of two blocks.  One is secured to the boom, the other is hooked to an eyebolt on the rail.  The free end is tied off to a belaying pin.  These were made with 0.018″ tan line.

crutch tackle and sheet

The boom crutch tackle attaches to the boom with a ring, and is hooked to an eyebolt on the deck.

crutch tackle

The boom crutch tackles run diagonally from the boom down to the rail.

Main Boom Sheet



The boom sheet is right below the boom, and holds it down towards the deck.  It consists of three blocks.  A large triple block is secured to the boom.  Some 0.018″ tan rigging line runs from the triple block to a double block that is secured to the main boom sheet buffer.  The free end of the line then runs through a block that was attached to the deck just forward of the boom sheet buffer, then tied off on one of the bitts.

crutch tackle and sheet rear

The boom sheet runs straight down from the bottom of the boom.

Main Boom Topping Lift



The main boom topping lift looks a little complicated, but it isn’t as bad it looks.  The topping lift pulls the boom up, and runs from the main mast cap to the outboard end of the main boom.  It has a set of sheaves and blocks at the end to allow it to be tightened or loosened.

The sheaves in the boom were done when the boom was built.  They were simulated by drilling holes through the boom and filing the space between them.

The pendant (the top part of the lift) was made from 0.025″ black rigging line.  An eye splice and a shackle was used to secure it to the main mast cap.

topping lift top

The topping lift is attached to the main mast cap with a shackle.

The other end of the pendant has an eye splice with a hook that attaches to a single block.

topping lift middle

The pendant hooks to a block.

This block has some 0.018″ tan rigging line running through it.  The line is secured to the end of the main boom, then it runs up through the block and back down.  The other end is spliced to a double block.

topping lift boom

Tan line runs from the boom, up through the pendant’s block, and down to a second block closer to the boom.

The double block has some more 0.018″ tan line running through it.  This line also starts with an eye splice to the boom.  It runs up through the block, down through a sheave in the boom, back to the block, through the second sheave, and out the bottom of the boom.

topping lift boom close

The second block has line laced between it and the sheaves in the boom.

The free end then runs all the way down the boom (passing through a fairlead), and is tied off to a belaying pin.

tie offs at jaw

The free end of the topping lift is secured to a belaying pin near the jaws.

Quarter Lifts



There are two quarter lifts – one on each side of the main sail.  They are identical.  These run from some metal pieces on the bottom of the trestle trees down to the boom.

A double block is hooked onto the trestle trees.

quarter lift tops

The two quarter lifts (port and starboard) are hooked to the U-shaped metal pieces on the bottom of the trestle tree.

0.018″ tan rigging line is secured to a single block, then run up through the double block on the trestle tree, back down through the single block, up through the double block again, and back down.  It is tied off to itself.

This single block is also secured to some 0.025″ black rigging line.  These lines run down to the boom.

quarter lift middle

The upper and lower blocks are laced together with tan line, and a black pendant runs from the lower blocks down to the boom.

At the boom, hooks are used to secure the quarter lifts.  They can be hooked in different places depending on the position of the boom.  I chose to secure them near the stern.

crutch tackle 2

At the boom, the quarter lifts are hooked to rings on the boom.

Parrel Beads

The final step is to secure the jaws around the main mast.  This is done by running a line through the holes in the jaws.  Between the jaws are parrel beads, which are round ‘balls’ with holes through them.  These allow the boom to remain movable.

The kit doesn’t include parrel beads.  Some modelers make their own, while others buy small beads from a craft store.  I found it hard to purchase them in small enough scale, so I ended up ordering some from Modeler’s Central.  I believe it was about $4 for a bag of 100 beads.  If you plan to build multiple model ships, it is worth picking up a bag, since you’ll need a few on every build and one bag will likely last a lifetime.


Small beads are placed on a rope that is tied between the jaws of the boom.

And that finishes up the main boom.  As mentioned earlier, the boom will need to be removed later when I make the sails, so everything was tied off – not glued – so that it can be easily removed.