Re: What to do if a shroud or stay breaks
We've had two rigging failures over the last 30+ years... one where a spreader root failed, effectively negating the support of an upper shroud (single spreader rig) in about 15-18 knots of breeze. That time the mast folded over neat as you please at the spreader point before we knew what had happened. Fortunately the mast wasn't tall enough to do damage to the deck and we were able to sail home downwind from there.
The second was a lower diagonal rod on a 2 spreader rig, it snapped with bang and the mast had an immediate S in it. Luckily we were able to crash tack (essentially hove to) to get the strain off. We dropped the main, sent someone up to tie a line around the mast at the lower spreader and winched it up to relieve the S and motored home.. in both cases we were on a daysail not far from home.
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"