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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 02-08-2011
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Spreader question

I was wondering if anyone else has replaced their spreaders on their boat? I'm not looking to buy replacements for my 1986 MacGreger swing keel, but looking to make a better set up. The current spreaders have been tweeked a little where it bolts to the mast and now sits ****-eyed with the other spreader. I'm just wondering if anyone has built their own and out of what and whats a good strong set up for this?

ANY ideas are welcome.

Steve
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Old 02-08-2011
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I made spreaders for my old O'Day Daysailer. I made them out of solid white oak, either 1/2" thick, probably 2" wide at the mast, tapered out to 3/4" at the tip. Holes for shrouds in the ends, and holes at the mast for the clevis pin, and a liberal application of 3 or 4 coats of spar varnish. I don't remember if I did anything to reinforce the ends from splitting. If I did, it would have been to drill a hole for a small bolt laterally behind the hole for the shroud to keep it from splitting along the grain against the inward pull of the shroud towards the mast.

I don't know how appropriate oak stock is as a spreader material for a larger boat, but since the spreaders they replaced were simply 1/2" aluminum tubing that I could bend by hand, it couldn't have been any worse that what was on there to begin with.

As for the longevity of the oak and the spar varnish, I couldn't say, because I then sold that boat shortly after making the spreaders. And yes, I did make sure to point it out to the buyer; told him I thought they were fine, but if he's not so sure, to be sure to replace them.

For what it's worth.
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Old 02-08-2011
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The aluminum tube spreaders are the same as a mast as far as engineering goes. They are designed to be in compression and a bend becomes worse with their loading. They should bisect the angle the upper makes as it passes over the spreader. Usually they are fixed in place where the wire passes over to keep the angle correct. If wood usually the indent for the wire is lined with metal to stop the wood splitting.
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Old 02-08-2011
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I made a set for my Catalina 30 out of white oak. They've been up there two years and are doing a fine job. Sitka spruce would have been lighter, but considerably more $$. - r
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Old 02-08-2011
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I thought about wood but then it seemed more like a temporary fix. I'm wondering if I cab find a boat junk yard and get some stronger spreaders off of another boat an make them work for mine.

Sound logical?
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Old 02-08-2011
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Once upon a time all spreaders were wood and it worked very well. If they were kept varnished they lasted a long time. But then all the masts were wood then too.
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Old 02-08-2011
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Blue Water Yachts - bwyachts.com - sells replacement spreaders for your Mac. They also sell an improved metal version of the tips that hold the spreaders to the shrouds.

Your spreader brackets allow them to swing aft, which gets them out of the way for trailering. BWY also sells a kit that converts them from swinging spreaders to rigid spreaders. Not sure what the advantage is? Cost is $90.

BWY Parts List
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Old 02-09-2011
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The old ones have been up there since 1986 - nearly 25 years - how much stronger do they need to be?
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