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post #1 of 16 Old 05-26-2012 Thread Starter
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Dismasted: Broken forestay

Today my wife, kids, and a friend put our new to us 1974 O'Day 20 in the water at the Oakland Beach boat ramp in Warwick, RI. This was our 3rd sail in our first boat. We motored out of the harbor and raised the sails after the last can. There were a few puffs of wind at first, but then we sat becalmed for about 45 minutes.

Our whistling must have worked, because all of a sudden 10 knots came on and we were off to the races. We were heading northeast, close-hauled between the Warwick Light House and the R8 nun off the northwest corner of Patience Island when I heard a loud bang and saw the genoa flying away from us. A few seconds later the mast landed in the cockpit. It all seemed to happen in slow motion. Luckily, the mast stayed pinned in the step and everyone was out of the way -- no injuries.

There were a lot of boats out, so I put out a SECURITE call to warn them that we needed to collect our sails from under the boat before starting the motor. Another sailboat came by to make sure that we could motor, and a tow boat was on scene within minutes also, looking to help.

We got the kids and the guest below, and then my wife and I set about removing the main and the boom and then furling the jib from in the water (at one point I could see part of the jib under the opposite side of the boat). It was actually easier than we expected to furl the jib back on board. In retrospect, we stayed pretty calm and cool, and it helped that there was essentially no current, so we didn't really drift much at all in the 20 minutes or so it took to pick up the pieces.

Once everything, including the stray stays and shrouds were out of the water, I got the motor started and we motored back to the boat ramp, about 2nm in total. We got the boat out of the water and I had my first chance to inspect the damage. The forestay broke at the masthead, just where the wire goes into the crimped (?) eye.

I have no idea what the age of the standing rigging is, but I suspect it would be prudent to replace it all at this time. The boat has a relatively new CDI furling.

Now I need a recommendation for somewhere between Boston and Newport that can replace my running rigging and get us back on the water. Suggestions?
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-26-2012
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Re: Dismasted: Broken forestay

Can't help you from this far away, but glad you overcame the challenges of the day! You've added a new adventure to your family sailing -
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post #3 of 16 Old 05-26-2012
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Re: Dismasted: Broken forestay

Check out RiggingOnly

508 992 0434

They're awesome and in your area. They did our lifelines. Fast and fairly priced.

Sabre 38 "Victoria"

Last edited by Sabreman; 05-26-2012 at 10:04 PM.
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post #4 of 16 Old 05-26-2012
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Re: Dismasted: Broken forestay

Sounds like the forestay and the halyard must have BOTH parted to have the mast come down with the jib hoisted. For that to have happened in 10 knots of breeze, there may have been another problem. Perhaps the halyard was twisted somehow around the forestay, and as the forces increased with the breeze... bing (!). Have the rigger check to make sure that the halyard is led properly through the sheaves in the mast (it isn't always tobally obvious) and then that there is no chafe/override or twisting as it attaches to the head of the sail.
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post #5 of 16 Old 05-26-2012
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Re: Dismasted: Broken forestay

paulk makes a good point. Both the forestay and jib halyard/genny were holding up the mast and both had to fail. Since the boat was launched from a ramp, you raised the mast and I suspect there was something wrong at that point. You need to have that checked out to insure this doesn't happen again.
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post #6 of 16 Old 05-26-2012
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Re: Dismasted: Broken forestay

Possible reason for this kind of failure is the furler. Make sure the halyard has at least 7 degrees with the forestay. You might need to add block on your mast to increase the angle.
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post #7 of 16 Old 05-27-2012
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Re: Dismasted: Broken forestay

Do CDI furlers even have a model that uses a traditional halyard? I thought they were all built with the halyard on the foil.

Sounds like an original wire swage gave out after 30 plus years. Glad noone got hurt.
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post #8 of 16 Old 05-27-2012
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Re: Dismasted: Broken forestay

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabreman View Post
Check out RiggingOnly

508 992 0434

They're awesome and in your area. They did our lifelines. Fast and fairly priced.
First off, happy to hear you and your family did not get hurt and you remained calm. good job capt!


I will second this recommendation very highly! They helped me completely rerig my Alberg....Great guys, tons of knowledge, great prices and superior service!


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post #9 of 16 Old 05-27-2012
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Re: Dismasted: Broken forestay

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Do CDI furlers even have a model that uses a traditional halyard? I thought they were all built with the halyard on the foil.

Sounds like an original wire swage gave out after 30 plus years. Glad noone got hurt.
You are right - looked CDI up here CDI - Flexible Furlers
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post #10 of 16 Old 05-27-2012
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Re: Dismasted: Broken forestay

+1 on Rigging Only in Fairhaven. 1st rate materials, knowledge, helpful and prompt. They just made up a new 9/32" forestay for me and it is obviously of better quality than the old one. Have ordered all my rigging from them.

Alberg 35: With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.

Last edited by smurphny; 05-27-2012 at 06:15 AM.
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