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post #1 of 57 Old 11-03-2011 Thread Starter
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Standing Rigging Failure

The thing that concerns me most while sailing is a failure of the standing rigging that could cause the mast to come down. I do regular inspections, but what everyone seems to say is stainless fittings/cable can fail without warning- kinda scary. I should also add with all the stainless fittings/wire coming in from China (and anyones guess as to what kind of quality control they have), things just get scarier (I am thinking my old standing rigging is probably safer than the new stuff).

So my question, have you ever had a rigging failure at sea or a demasting? If so, how did you repair at sea? Also, what shrouds and stays can fail and the mast still stay up? Say and upper shroud fails, is it safe to climb a mast at sea with the foreward and aft stay and one upper shroud still intact? If you lose a stay or shroud, what do you do- drop all sails immediately?

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post #2 of 57 Old 11-03-2011
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I have nothing to contribute except that I understand at the disastrous 78 fastnet it was determined that the dismasted monohulls lost much of their stability, even leading to capsizes.
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post #3 of 57 Old 11-03-2011
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casey and peter, there are books written on safety at sea, jury rigging, etc... Reasonable concern and due diligence is one thing, irrational fear is another. All rod, stainless fittings, etc... aren't exclusively from China. If you're concerned about the condition of your rig, hire a rigger and/or consult a well regarded chandlery. Replace as necessary. Masts falling out of boats in NOT a common occurrence. Regarding the 79 Fastnet, please read the book, ' Fastnet, Force 10: The Deadliest Storm in the History of Modern Sailing ' This will explain in detail the causes of dismastings and capsizes in that particular race which you will see was largely an extreme sea state combined with issues of design form stability. Masts were lost as a result of complete capsize and rollovers, not the other way around. Modern weather forecasting, safety requirements, and changes in how the Fastnet is run makes a repeat highly unlikely. Again, due diligence vs. fear. One is good, the other simply crippling. If the latter rules your thoughts, maybe sailing isn't a reasonable pursuit for the level of perceived risk you're comfortable with, but hopefully that's not the case.
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post #4 of 57 Old 11-03-2011 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by puddinlegs View Post
casey and peter, there are books written on safety at sea, jury rigging, etc... Reasonable concern and due diligence is one thing, irrational fear is another. All rod, stainless fittings, etc... aren't exclusively from China. If you're concerned about the condition of your rig, hire a rigger and/or consult a well regarded chandlery. Replace as necessary. Masts falling out of boats in NOT a common occurrence. Regarding the 79 Fastnet, please read the book, ' Fastnet, Force 10: The Deadliest Storm in the History of Modern Sailing ' This will explain in detail the causes of dismastings and capsizes in that particular race which you will see was largely an extreme sea state combined with issues of design form stability. Masts were lost as a result of complete capsize and rollovers, not the other way around. Modern weather forecasting, safety requirements, and changes in how the Fastnet is run makes a repeat highly unlikely. Again, due diligence vs. fear. One is good, the other simply crippling. If the latter rules your thoughts, maybe sailing isn't a reasonable pursuit for the level of perceived risk you're comfortable with, but hopefully that's not the case.
I am obtaining the tools and the skills to do my own rig inspection and rigging. I do not want to depend on someone else nor to trust someone else when I can learn the skill myself- and may need this skill while alone in the middle of the ocean. I do not have irrational fear, but much of my sailing is done off shore Hawaii when you need to depend on yourself for rescue and or for saving your boat. This is not irrational fear- but preperation for when things go wrong- which they will if you sail long enough.

As far as the China thing- A lot of fittings are coming from china, and it should be a concern.

If you do not have some fear, maybe you should not be sailing. Fear is actually good, it is our natural response to prepare ourselves so we stay out of danger.

http://www.soundingsonline.com/news/...mpts-new-alert

See above.

Last edited by casey1999; 11-03-2011 at 02:43 PM.
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post #5 of 57 Old 11-03-2011
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I buy my rigging for a name brand place that has something to lose if they sell me defective stuff and if it fails the mast is gonna fall down

Its one of those Airplanes fall out of the sky everyday things and most people still get onboard cause the odds are pretty low

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post #6 of 57 Old 11-03-2011
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Hiring a rigger and going through you rig is a great exercise for LEARNING. There's absolutely nothing odd about trusting a great rigger. It won't make you any weaker and in most cases will help boost you up the learning curve much more quickly. Sure, you can do it all yourself via books and the internet. Think of the rigger as a 'supplement' to your self-education. When we first had our boat, we took the rig down and pulled it apart. A local rigger helped. Cost us about $160 all told. The lesson and learning the particulars of the rig were priceless. In your case, a rigger can guide you quickly to the best manufactures and suppliers. They do this stuff daily and know from long experience what works and what doesn't. They can also help you with a realistic list of spares and emergency equipment that could save you hundreds of dollars AND make you highly and safely independent at sea.
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post #7 of 57 Old 11-03-2011 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by puddinlegs View Post
Hiring a rigger and going through you rig is a great exercise for LEARNING. Think of it as hiring a tutor for a few hours. When we first had our boat, we took the rig down and pulled it apart. A local rigger helped. Cost us about $160 all told. The lesson and learning the particulars of the rig were priceless. In your case, a rigger can help steepen the learning curve regarding manufactures and suppliers. They do this stuff daily and know from long experience what works and what doesn't. They can also help you with a realistic list of spares and emergency equipment that could save you hundreds of dollars AND make you highly and safely independent at sea.
What I am asking in this post is have you ever had a standing rigging failure and if so, how did you repair at sea.

Even the best sailors with new boats (Around Alone sailors among others) have had rigging failures and have had to deal with them at sea- that is what I was asking about.
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I buy my rigging for a name brand place that has something to lose if they sell me defective stuff and if it fails the mast is gonna fall down

Its one of those Airplanes fall out of the sky everyday things and most people still get onboard cause the odds are pretty low
Yea but those planes have strict FAA inspection requirements and a few years ago some chinese parts found there way into planes and caused all kinds of problems.
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post #9 of 57 Old 11-03-2011
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In answer to the question at hand, no. The only case I know of locally was a guy who cut the channel marker too close and caught the sign. It dismasted him in an instant. Give leeway.
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post #10 of 57 Old 11-03-2011
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casey, there's an old phrase among sailors: "sh|t happens".

Which is the short way to say that no matter how well you are prepared, no matter how much skill and luck you have, things will go wrong beyond your control, and you can't waste your time worrying about them. You know, like what if the sun goes supernova tomorrow? Not much you can do about it, so put it out of your mind.

So you inspect your rigging from time to time. You replace it every 10-20 years as preventive maintenance. You carry a rig cutter, distress equipment, file float plans, whatever the mythological "prudent mariner" does to be ready for everything. And avoid buying anything that says "Made in China", yes, I fully agree on that. Except maybe bobble-head dolls, those should be safe as long as no one chews or sucks on them. (Lead paint, PVCs.)

And you don't worry about the rig failing. Sure, plan for it, remember to tack or whatever to shift the strain off a lost shroud until you can accomodate the problem. But don't lose sleep over it.

In theory, you could swing your feet out of bed in the morning, and fall straight through the floor, because we really don't know why "mainly empty space between atoms" doesn't just entangle us is whatever is around us. Or there could be a bug in your shoes, ugh. In the desert, you learn to shake them out in case of scorpions, you never assume you can just put on your shoes.

The rig? Yeah, you could get attacked and sunk by giant narwhals, just like Jules Verne wrote. There are just some things that you take on faith, like a well-maintained rig not falling down. Or you stay on land, and worry about the kitchen appliances causing a fire in the middle of the night. Now THAT actually happens, way more often than rigging failures. Like the t-shirt says, don't worry, be happy. You do the best you can, and leave it at that.
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