Join Date: May 2011
Location: South Eastern Massachusetts
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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?