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Streamlined's Strap On Boom Head

Windsurfing Magazine

Streamlined's, Dave Dominy is hardly a stranger to ground breaking innovations. In the 70's, he revolutionized skateboarding with the first wide trucks, Tracker Trucks - a popular undercarriage that attaches wheels to a board. By the early 80's, he'd made his mark in windsurfing with the first urethane tendon universal still used (and widely copied) today. So perhaps it's no surprise that Dominy appears poised to make yet another revolutionary impact. The invention? Introducing the 'strap on' boom head, which is quickly circulating in high places and could be the boom head of the future.

Rumor has it you spent three years making this boom head. Why so long?
For the first year, I started with a concept of making an aluminum frame design. My design went through a few major changes. About two years ago, I settled on this design and have been testing and refining it, with Micah Buzianis, ever since.

What sparked your idea to improve upon existing boom heads?
I think boom heads break a little too often and they flex. I think a more positive connection from the boom to the mast equals higher performance.

How much of a boom's overall stiffness is gained or lost on how well a boom head mounts against a mast?
That's a good question, with a rather subjective answer. I can only answer that the connection this part offers, feels a lot better. It's more positive. And what often gets overlooked while people discuss its added performance, is its strength.

If the connection between the boom and mast is that much stiffer, does your boom head run any additional risk of breaking or weakening the mast?
I've done everything I can to design a part that's friendly to the mast. Nevertheless, when you design a part like this that's so inherently strong and potentially unbreakable, in cases of extreme force it's likely that the mast or the boom would break first. The weakest link in the rig is no longer the head of the boom. That's actually the inspiration for this part. The masts are made so well these days, it's been obvious to me for a while that the boom head has been a weak point. This part changes that.

We've heard several reports that this boom head adds 5 knots of sail power. Care to explain?
I have no comment on that, but it's a good selling point. Everybody could use five knots, right?

Do feel this boom head is more advantageous to big sails, or are its benefits equal through all sail sizes?
It's better for big sails because everything is exaggerated with long, wide booms and tall masts. But at the same time it works well for wave sailing and I would assume freestyle because of its positive feel and strength.

How compatible with existing booms is this boom head and how easy is it for someone to install to their own boom?
It's a matter of four screws -- similar to putting handlebars on a bike or a motorcycle. It fits as if it were made for a Hawaiian Proline boom, and it will fit the next most popular boom, and the next popular after that and so on.

When you're rigging, does it take longer to rig with the strap-on than a normal boom?
Its quick and easy to attach onto your mast. The first time, or when you switch to a different diameter mast, it is a little more tedious to get your adjustment right. It's often one of the trade-offs we face at Streamlined convenience versus performance. In this case, some initial convenience is sacrificed, but we feel the performance more than compensates.

What's next for Dave Dominy?
Well, nothing quite this big, but you'll have to wait and see.

Strap On Boom Head Notes

  • The aluminum fitting weighs in at 14 ounces, and is compatible with all major brands. (the present Hawaiian Proline-12 ounces, Fiberspar-13 ounces).
  • The Strap On adjusts for proper boom height as quickly as traditional clamp on booms.
  • The Strap-on is very easy to attach to the mast Micah Buzianis has been using prototypes of this boom head for 2 years on the PWA tour.
  • Sail designer Bruce Peterson claims the Strap On boom head enhances sail performance to such an extent that objective side-by-side sail testing is made impossible when only one person is using this head piece.