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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 08-16-2012
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Broken Spreader

Yesterday I was sailing in 10 knots, close hauled on port tack when I started to hear a strange creaking sound. I turned into the wind quickly and then heard a snap. looked up and saw the starboard spreader separated from the mast, dangling from the shroud.

First question: Could I have continued sailing on just the Jib, on say, a port close reach, beam reach, or any other point of sail, without risking a dismasting?

Second question: Now what? How do I fix it?
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Old 08-16-2012
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Re: Broken Spreader

I am no expert in this, but here goes....
I would not continue sailing unless there was no other option. Clearly with the spreader broken, to upper part of the mast is not fully supported, and you would risk putting a lot of stress on - and potentially damage - the rest of the rig. Logic tells me you could get away with it in light winds, but why take the risk?

As for next steps, I guess the big question is why this happened. Was the spreader simply rotten, or is there a problem with the rig? I'd get an expert in to look at the rig before I went up to examine the spreader. Chances are it will be sound enough for somebody to go up and have a look, but you may have to pull the mast. Get/make a replacement spreader (they are normally fairly simple things), and then re-tune the rig. Obviously inspect the "sound" spreader while you are at it!

Good luck.....
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Old 08-16-2012
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Re: Broken Spreader

You could have kept sailing, but if you tacked, you would have had a major problem. We lost the leward spreader in a race, sailing on my brother's boat many years ago. We rigged the spinnaker halyard to a cleat amidships to keep the mast up and then doused all sail immediately. Since I weighed the least among the crew, I had to go up the mast to fix it. The problem was that he didn't have a bosuns chair. My brother lashed the main halyard to a hatch board as a make-shift chair. I do not recommend this as this was really a white-knuckle trip up! It was not the fall that I was worried about, it was the sudden stop that was bothersome. Be careful and get some help when you fix your spreader!
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Old 08-16-2012
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Re: Broken Spreader

you could sail the boat on port tack without the starboard spreader. but you would be a more risk of breaking something.
how do you fix ? Replace both speaders. and if that one is rotted then the other is going to be in the same condition.
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Re: Broken Spreader

Looks like wood rotted. It's probably original to the boat. (1967)

p.s. I motored the rest of the way home.
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Old 08-16-2012
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Re: Broken Spreader

Would this have likely been teak?

I plan on making replacements myself.
I have family coming in on Monday and they are expecting to sail.
What would be a suitable replacement wood if I can not find teak today?
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Old 10-15-2012
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Re: Broken Spreader

This is probably a bit late for you, but I split my spreaders in winds of about 85 kt+ while at anchor. To get home, I "splinted" them with pieces of plywood.

I made the new ones of clear spruce. I have had another set made, and I plan to cover them with fiberglass and epoxy. Hopefully that will keep this set from splitting in the fairly likely event that I encounter winds like that again.
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Re: Broken Spreader

I did end up replacing both, myself (very scary up there).
I went to a fence company and had them cut out a couple of pieces from oak. They were much heavier than what was up there, that concerned me.
They have been on the boat for two month now, all is well though.

I do sail almost daily, so, I think, so far, what I did is a good fix. Time will tell.

So, going up the mast, not so fun with only one line attached to me. When I decided to double the line, I felt like a monkey up there. Good times!
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