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  #1  
Old 03-06-2008
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POLL: Mast and Rig Failure

Tell me about any mast and rig faliures you have actually had.

What portion failed?
What is the age of the failed component?
What were the conditions like at the time of failure?
What do you think could have been done to avoid the failure?
Any other details which may be worth sharing?

I have been redoing my standing rig while the mast was down for other work and as usual I find my anal retentive self replacing nearly everything. The mast and rig were nearly 30 years old. Have I over done it? Probally better than under doing it.
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Old 03-06-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mentalfee View Post
I have been redoing my standing rig while the mast was down for other work and as usual I find my anal retentive self replacing nearly everything. The mast and rig were nearly 30 years old. Have I over done it? Probally better than under doing it.
No; at 30YO you should probably replace everything (except the mast, and spreaders if good) IMHO. Tangs, forks, turnbuckles, bolts, pins all should be retired because it only takes one of these parts to fail and the whole rig might come down. Also carefully inspect or replace your chainplates; they are often overlooked.
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Old 03-06-2008
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I'd second the recommendation to replace everything, especially if you're planning on going cruising any extended distances. If you're just daysailing, it might not be a problem, since you can choose to avoid bad weather fairly easily. I'd also recommend changing the chainplates, especially if the boat is on salt water, since crevice corrosion that isn't necessarily visible without removing the chainplates has probably occurred.
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Old 03-06-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mentalfee View Post
Tell me about any mast and rig faliures you have actually had.

What portion failed?
What is the age of the failed component?
What were the conditions like at the time of failure?
What do you think could have been done to avoid the failure?
Any other details which may be worth sharing?
I have had two backstays fail on the same boat. We didn't lose the rig but it made us jump to action. The shackle connecting the tackle for tensioning the backstay lost its pin the first time, the second time the swivel pulled out of a swivelling shackle. Everything was old. The boat is an old one we race cheaply. We expect failures.

I have had a mizzen gooseneck fitting fail on a very large yacht. It was old and not a true universal so it eventually just twisted off the spider bands on the mizzen mast. When it happened it was very windy (30knots). the failure could have been avoided by upgrading to a true universal jointed gooseneck (which it is now)

Both of these failures happened while daysailing.
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Old 03-06-2008
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BTW, do not tape stainless steel turnbuckles and such... the turnbuckles will suffer from crevice corrosion and then can fail prematurely.
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Old 03-06-2008
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OK, two incidents to relate:

20+ years ago.. Viking 28 beating in 20 knots in a local regatta. Heard a BANG and saw the headsail sag away out of sight. Looked up and saw the stick folded over at the spreaders.
What had happened was the weld on the cup that held the inboard spreader end (welded to the tang for the lowers) failed, dropping the spreader on the windward side, which of course collapsed the upper part of the mast immediately.

We were fortunate to have an insurance adjustor that put it down to a "faulty weld", otherwise they may have deemed it normal wear and tear and not covered.

10 years on: Second failure we had was on our Choate 40, rod rigging, had a lower diagonal fail at the upper end terminal. Another BANG, and the mast went onto a lazy S, but quick reaction of the helmsman unloaded the rig and we saved it. Doused sail and motored home again, no harm done, and replaced the shroud in short order.

This failure was due to the fact that the terminal had siezed onto the rod at the cold formed end, and the torsional stresses on the rod caused a failure (repeated twisting because the formed end couldn't rotate inside the terminal) We went over the entire rig at that time , freed up all the end fittings and applied lanacote... the boat is still going strong (but we've sold her)

Both these failures could have been avoided by a more aggressive maintenance/inspection program and we pay more attention to these things now.
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Old 03-06-2008
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I raced for Villanova (a million years ago) and we were scheduled to race Temple U on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. The race was cancelled on account of too much wind. It was gusting to something like 25kts, but they told us that we could take boats out if we wanted.

I took out a 420 with another guy and were flying downwind, hiked out, with the boat too full of water. I can't remember if we had a bailer or were just too lazy to bail but a really big gust hit us, the entire boat flexed from all the weight, and the mast blew right off the boat. Since we were hiked out so far to windward, the boat flipped over backward and went turtle (with what was left of the mast). Laughter from the beach drifted toward us (a recurring theme in my life) and a committee boat towed us back to shore.

Temple wasn't very happy with what we'd done to their boat. But who cares? It's a state school (and my wife's alma mater).
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Story 1)

In my boat's twin sister, racing the Around Portugal Regatta, sailing downwind, at 21kts when at 21:20 in the night the lower shroud's turn buckle failed due to admited manufacturing defect.

The middle part of the mast ( custom Sparcraft) disapeared, as well as the spinnaker, spi pole and a few blocks. Main sail was torn also. The mast is keel stepped on both boats.

The violence when the mast broke was such that the windvane, VHF antenna and ST60 rotor were clean off!!. The center section of the mast, between the 2 sreaders also disappeared, complete with lights wires and all.

Jury rigged what was possible and managed to sail back home (note the engine is a small 20HP NANI just to get in and out of marina, so can't get more than 5kts at full power), with 2nd spinnaker pole and small storm stay. (you can see the makeshift rig in the photo). Return home took 15 hours, more or less.

It was a litle scary, because no one could see a thing in the dark.

New mast in place, after 1 month.




Story 2) Broke the boom in a gybe in 30 knots.

Went sailing with Fred, we were doing pretty well in the 10 to 12 kts.
We're using the cruising sails, and I was experimenting the mods I made to the genoa.

Flat seas, 22 gusting 35 knot winds..all good, we were racing and playing with a friend in a Star (they're training here for the World ISAF). A friend of mine, the Skipper of the TP52 was sailing his star, we were almost downwind 135ş Deg wind from port.

Suddenly, a freak gybe, one of those you never see, the main gybes so fast, I did'n even had time to turn stabd, the boom broke 8 feet from its end. Never touched the shrouds...... BANG..

Put Fred back at the wheel, he kept his cool all the time....rolled the genoa. jury rig the boom so we don't tear the main, we actually sailed almost 10 minutes with boom like that, so I could reinforce it and suspend the boom. Well Fred did...I was making a jury...

Lowered the main and went home...pretty pissed off..




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Old 03-06-2008
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Good stuff everyone. At this point everything has been replaced with exception to the chainplates. Those will come off when we shoot the hull, can't see pulling them twice. I am few years out from taking off and making the big left turn from Seattle.

What got me thinking about this was a recent post in SA where a guy lost his rig midway, similar to Alex's friend "sailing in approximately 10-15 knots of wind under spinnaker". Not exactly extreme conditions.

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Old 03-06-2008
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I already mentioned mine A brand new turnbuckle on the forestay failed catastrophically during a fairly regular day on a boat with brand new standing rigging. The day quickly became not too regular. I have Chesapeake Rigging and a manufacturer from California to thank for that one.

I was motoring and the day was slightly windy but not really bad by any measure.
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