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OOPS! Could have lost the mast today

2762 Views 19 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  JonEisberg
We set out for an epic eight mile journey from Prickly Bay to Grand Mal, Grenada and only made it about half way. We felt a serious impact like we had hit a big log or something. Turned out that a fitting at the top of the forestay had broken. The mast was being supported by the halyard and I very quickly hooked a spinnaker halyard to the foredeck cleat and tightened it. We were able to motor with no drama into the Port Louis Marina in St. George's which is very spiffy with a couple of mega-yachts and a few sailboats in the 90-foot range. Typing this by the pool next to the bar, but this place isn't really our style.

The rigger is coming at 9 in the morning. We really can't see what the problem is - does not appear to be stay itself, perhaps a toggle or shackle. Will see in the morning. Hope it is easy and quick to repair. I tried calling the marina on 16 and 68 (the local channel for pleasure boats) and got no reply from the marina. On further inspection, as they say in some sport, the bang at the mast top broke off the antenna. Have a spare antenna if it is only broken.

The joys of sailing ...
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Ouch to that Bruce. What was the fitting that let go ?

Minne ..... I was under the impression that in fact the forestay is the most stressed of them all. Not that I have any technical knowledge to back that up but when I was discussing our rig with our rigger he certainly implied that was the case. He wanted to replace all our standing rigging and I wanted to put it off. He (or his bank account) wasn't happy but did push for at least forestay replacement.
I do an inspection of the rigging myself before any long passage - I did not think this 8 mile effort counted in that, but did check a couple of months ago and did not see any obvious problem. When the rigger is here tomorrow I will get him to have a look at everything.

Andrew, won't know until tomorrow what broke. I can't see from the deck or dock.

As to loads, I wonder if it varies with the kind of rig you have. We have a very large, single spreader rig (I notice that Ted Hood switched to a double spreader rig for the Little Harbor 44 and 46 that are very similar boats. On this rig, the highest loads are on the forestay and after lowers apparently. Just what I have been told, but told by professionals. I imagine I will learn more tomorrow. I guess we will need to unfurl the jib so the rigger can use the jib halyard. Could use the main halyard I guess. Hope it is not windy.
Sorry ... didn't realise your OP was today, so I thought you would know by now.

Realise now of course that it is still up there as the halyard is holding up the stay and the furling gear.

Or am I still confused.
"Going aloft with a broken forestay just aint for me!!"
Tale all spare halyards forward and down to a strong cleat, and really what's the big deal?

How old was the standing rigging in question? And, with forestay now conveniently collapsed on deck, if you run a white rag on it, are they any meathooks apparent? Any sign that something on the masthead itself, rather than the rigging, let go? (Like a bolt holding up whatever the antenna was mounted to?)
See my previous post HS but as the forestay runs up the centre of the furling gear and the halyard for the headsail is intact then I'm presuming the forestay did not collapse onto the deck.

That's where I got confused earlier on.
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