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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-22-2013 08:35 PM
Re: What to do if a shroud or stay breaks

These stories of stay's breaking really lend credence to the idea that an extra halyard of sufficient strength (say Dyneema or Amsteel) is a very very good idea, especially for cruisers.
I'd planned on it loosely, that's firming up to a requirement now.
04-22-2013 09:34 AM
Re: What to do if a shroud or stay breaks

Just after we left Durban harbour last year we had a failure of the double tangs that attach our starboard lowers to the mast. This meant that both lowers clattered to the deck. Winds were 20-25 knots. Seas were not high, maybe 4-5 feet but quite confused. We immediately tacked which meant we were (sort of) hove-to). I have running backstays (Dyneema) that go only a few feet higher than the lowers. I ran one of these through a honking big snatch block through the top of the chain plate which is a loop and then took the line back to one of the cockpit winches and proceeded back to the harbour which was only a few miles. I asked port control for immediate entry to the harbour but she did not seem to understand what had happened and wanted me to wait for a large container ship to enter which would have meant killing about 20 minutes in conditions that were getting nastier in the shallow water near the harbour entrance. Talked to the pilot on the ship who had been listening to the radio and he instructed me to cut directly across the channel (we weren't close) and stay to the side of the channel on the way in. He caught up at the end of the channel and we all lived happily ever after.

- Guys who bring massive ships into busy harbours are pros
- It is great to have a massive mast section and we do especially with the internal main furling. With two shrouds down in bumpy conditions before we tacked, the mast was remarkably stable. Don't have the dimensions but when I was thinking to use Spartite, by my calculation two large kits might have been enough. I look at the mast sections of more modern boats and I am sure they are engineered to be strong enough when all the supports are there but if something breaks you wonder. This seems especially true for complex, rigs with multiple spreaders. Hood went with a single spreader system on the Bristol 45.5. The rig is just over 60' above the water. Seems sort of old fashioned, but strong.
- Think through contingencies before they happen. When you are cruising you have lots of time to say to yourself, what would I do if ... happened right now. I had thought about losing a shroud, even though the rigging was new in 2010, so there was not much hesitation in getting into action.

I don't want to give the impression that this sort of thing is routine and ho-hum. It is one of those where is the spare underwear moments, but they happen and you deal with them. BTW, I had done a full visual inspection of the rig after crossing the Indian Ocean and this happened only a month or so and 100 miles later. Maybe I need better eyes. Probably should have sent June up as she is more detail-focussed than I am.
04-22-2013 06:57 AM
Re: What to do if a shroud or stay breaks

Omatako, what kind of blocks failed? Was it a vang ? It would be interesting to hear what NOT to use in this situation. I keep a regular come-along on board which I'd probably try to use to quickly tension a broken stay. Another option is to keep some cheap 1/2" galvanized turnbuckles aboard just for emergencies like this. Another option: some locust deadeyes which could quickly be rigged into a 4:1 purchase. I've been looking for some pieces of locust to make a few deadeyes, an old but effective means of applying tension to rigging.

04-21-2013 10:53 PM
Re: What to do if a shroud or stay breaks

I had a forestay part right at the top of the deck turnbuckle. This occurred just a few seconds after the jib was furled on my 27 Catalina. The wind was woofing at about 20 at the time, and we were in a running mode with fairly heavy, following seas. The entire roller furling system fell into Chesapeake Bay, almost in slow motion and the only thing that saved it from sinking to the murky depths were the jib sheets, which had just been cleated off. The mast was saved from damage by quickly attaching the old jib halyard to a bow cleat, then winching the halyard tight with the jib winch. The main had already been lowered prior to the forestay failure.

The boat was motored 20 miles back to Perryville, MD at the head of the bay, and the following day it was motored across the bay to Tidewater Yacht Basin at Havre de Grace where repairs were quickly made. Despite some nasty bends in the aluminum sheaves of the Alado Roller Furling System, I was able to straighten them using a rubber mallet and a couple blocks of wood. Only a single sheave was damaged beyond repair, which I found amazing.

Good topic,

04-21-2013 10:10 PM
Re: What to do if a shroud or stay breaks

amazing story. ?what kind of boat where you on? ?What was the shroud design? Never experienced anything close- good on you for getting through it. I would not have thought the mast would work to that degree. What sail did you have up and on what point of sail to have the mast pumping like that? Thanks you just gave me something else to worry about tonight
04-21-2013 08:56 PM
Re: What to do if a shroud or stay breaks

I had a lower inner stay snap on a 36 foot boat during an Indian Ocean passage.

I used quite a heavy duty 4-1 block system (14mm line) and with a loop in the remains of the stay, I tensioned it up with a winch and I thought "Well done, that'll get me to the next port" (which incidentally was at least four days away). The sea state was quite boisterous and the SE trades were doing their normal 15 to 20 knots

During the night I started shipping large volumes of water into the boat past the mast partners and when I went up on deck I discovered that the one pulley in the block system had been totally destroyed by the tension and the mast was gyrating in the deck aperture.

Long story short, everything else I tried failed. Eventually the rubber packing in the mast partners came completely out and I had to winch the mast forward 3 inches until it was wedged firm in the front of the hole in the deck (used the anchor winch to do this). I cut up some old weather gear and made a sock around the mast and deck partners that stopped the boat from sinking.

This worked better than anything else and I eventually made a safe haven where I got the problem fixed.

But following this experience I have a profound respect for people who say that they use bits of rope, halyards and stuff to support their mast and carried on sailing. My problem was an inner stay, not even a main shroud. They obviously have talents/skills that waaaayyy exceed mine.
04-21-2013 11:49 AM
Re: What to do if a shroud or stay breaks

Originally Posted by jppp View Post
Should I assume deck stepped vs keel stepped would make a difference as to when a mast would fail?
Some difference, but probably not much. The moment arm is just too long for the mast to be supported by the deck. More than likely it would just snap at the partners, and possibly making a big hole in the deck as it does.
04-18-2013 01:57 PM
Re: What to do if a shroud or stay breaks

Only so far as the lower end of the mast is more secure and less bending moment as being held at the base and the deck.Above the spreaders would see no difference. In a rollover type dismasting you are more likely to be left with a stub with keel step.A forestay or backstay failure under load I doubt there will be much difference to the damage except again u might see more of a stub.
04-18-2013 09:56 AM
Re: What to do if a shroud or stay breaks

Should I assume deck stepped vs keel stepped would make a difference as to when a mast would fail?
04-18-2013 09:48 AM
Re: What to do if a shroud or stay breaks

You might consider building in some redundancy. I just installed an inner forestay with running backstays that serve as a lower, independent triangular structure. Aside from that, PCP's reply about using spare halyards is the usual first response to a broken shroud or stay. After that, you can always make a quick repair by making an eye with a small compression tool. Having some spare Dyneema onboard is a good idea in order to use lashing to secure stuff. If a mast comes down, it may want to put a hole in the boat but I would think hard before just cutting it free. If you can get it secured, you can use it to jury-rig something to get you home. Carrying spare wire, turnbuckles, swageless ends, a come-along, copper compression sleeves, and sail mending materials may get you home avoiding the need to call for help.
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