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  #1  
Old 07-23-2010
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Stupid Rigging Question

Before anyone falls off their chair laughing at my stupid question (you know who you are!), let me explain that it's an honest question.

Why do we put cotter pins in turnbuckle studs? Is it to keep the turnbuckle body from turning or to keep the whole assembly from separating and preventing the rig from falling over the side? If it's the former, then it's not very effective because a large open body turnbuckle would need a really long cotter pin to keep it from turning. If the reason is the latter, that is, to keep the whole assembly from separating, then it makes sense.

By way of background, the question came to me while I was replacing a cotter pin after making an adjustment. I've used cotter pins for decades but never really thought about why. I plan to switch to cotter rings to eliminate the cotter pin meat hooks and thought about getting really big ones to prohibit the body from turning.
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Originally Posted by Sabreman View Post
Why do we put cotter pins in turnbuckle studs? Is it to keep the turnbuckle body from turning ...
Yes. People also use ring dings, tie-wraps (those didn't work for me), small stuff, wire, and any number of other solutions.

Jim
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Cotter pins/rings are in place to keep the turnbuckle from turning. I also prefer rings, though there is a good way and a bad way to place them. If placed properly, they aren't terribly difficult to remove (though still much more difficult than a traditional pin). If placed poorly, they are a real pain to remove. Also, they are best placed so they capture the body of the turnbuckle inside themselves, rather than just being run through the hole in the pin and left hanging. The easiest way to do that is to first feed them around one side of the turnbuckle body, then rotate/thread them through the hole at the end of the stud. By doing so, you virtually eliminate the opportunity for the turnbuckle to spin.

A little experimentation goes a long way. Bring your needlenose pliers and a sharp fid, and you'll save a lot of finger work trying to open the rings. Especially on small boats. (on bigger boats the rings are large enough to actually grab a bit)
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Old 07-23-2010
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Nice to know that in the US you still use the word cotter pin-my dad whose job it was during the war to keep fighters and bombers up in the air always called them cotter pins-over here in UK these days refered to as split pins.The rings are far better as they cannot slice you to the bone or rip your genoa to bits!
Historically of course used to stop nuts from coming adrift.In a sense their function on rigging screws does not really make sense as in my opinion you should really have at least a washer over the end of the pin before adding the cotter or ring.
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Old 07-23-2010
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Another good reason if not the best reason to use rings is less chance they snag and tear your sail....
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Quote:
they are best placed so they capture the body of the turnbuckle inside themselves
This is what I do for my lifelines. I'm usually lazy and use my fingernails, the result of which is painful, bloody fingers. I'll use pliers from now on.

The consensus seems to be that split rings (or cotter rings... whatever...) are the best choice. After I posted the thread, I went to the local marina and purchased 12 split rings to replace my
Quote:
split pins
.

I put finish on my toe rail last week and nearly shredded my shorts...I don't like to take my turnbuckles, but a bloody butt is no fun either.
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Old 07-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CapTim View Post
Cotter pins/rings are in place to keep the turnbuckle from turning. I also prefer rings, though there is a good way and a bad way to place them. If placed properly, they aren't terribly difficult to remove (though still much more difficult than a traditional pin). If placed poorly, they are a real pain to remove. Also, they are best placed so they capture the body of the turnbuckle inside themselves, rather than just being run through the hole in the pin and left hanging. The easiest way to do that is to first feed them around one side of the turnbuckle body, then rotate/thread them through the hole at the end of the stud. By doing so, you virtually eliminate the opportunity for the turnbuckle to spin.

A little experimentation goes a long way. Bring your needlenose pliers and a sharp fid, and you'll save a lot of finger work trying to open the rings. Especially on small boats. (on bigger boats the rings are large enough to actually grab a bit)
I'm stupid. I need pictures.

Dave
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Even ring dings can snag stuff and foul up the works. I tape my turnbuckles where the cotter pins are and I tape nearly all my ring dings.

Had a really experienced sailor, with much experience racing (and winning) give me holy hell for not having taped my ring dings. I was so mortified I actually set to taping them during the dinner cruise part of the race we were in.

Jim
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We use seizing wire.
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No.. I just can't explain myself very well. Someday, I hope to be good at that sort of thing.

I know the picture isn't great.. turns out, it's not as easy to find a cldar picture of a turnbuckle with rings in it as I thought it would be. who knew?

If you look real close, you'll see that on each stud in this turnbuckle, there is a single ring run through. Notice how the ring is run around the leg of the turnbuckle. The other, and easier, option would be to just run the ring through the hole in the stud, but not bother to lace it around the turnbuckle body first. The second method would result in both rings just hanging loose inside the body of the turnbuckle. Not nearly as effective. Some might argue that it's not really affective at all, since it won't take all that much effort to squish the rings enough to fit through the turnbuckle body walls, thus defeating their purpose entirely.

Maybe that picture was worth more than my thousand words?
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