The problem is that there are probably microscopic faults throughout most of the rigging. If you can see rust, and you wipe it off, and it isn't just a light layer of surface corrosion...you're due for a nasty surprise should you go sailing in heavy winds... You're actually pretty lucky... if you had been standing the the way of the shroud when it let go—it could have seriously hurt you or killed you. Why do you think it sounded like a gunshot...do you have any idea how much energy is stored in the standing rigging on your boat when it is under sail? Do you really feel like playing Russian Rigging Roulette with your life?
Just my $0.02 worth. BTW, did you check with the website I posted in an earilier link, or were you too lazy to bother. It is the website for Columbia Yatch owners...and the site has lots of links to other resources for Columbia Yatch owners. You should also try the Columbia forum on this site...as I also suggested earlier.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.