Forestay failure

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Tempus
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Forestay failure

Post by Tempus » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:42 pm

OK, some of this is a tad embarrassing as it shows I lost situational awareness at a critical time, but it's also a message worth sharing....unfortunately.

We were parked near the ramp getting the :macm: rigged ready for launch. I always look for power lines and trees before-hand. No lines. Big old trees, but so long as I drive in a straight line from the rigging area to the ramp, its all good.

After I put the mast up, unbolted the rudders etc and was ready to roll, there was a bus parked directly in front of me (where it shouldn't be I might add), so I swung around it and crawled towards the ramp. Without any other indication, there was an almighty 'BANG' and the wife yelling that the mast just fell. By swinging around the bus, I'd forgotten about the proximity to trees and was relying on my earlier assessment that it was all good. But no, having swung around the bus, it wasn't.

Message # One to myself: Always, always, always look. After that, have someone actually watch as I manouvre the trailered boat onto the ramp.

The forestay broke at the upper swaging point. Right at it. Given the way all the strands broke at exactly the same point AND that it was an impact with a tree branch at less that walking pace, I can't help but wonder if the swaging was done incorrectly and actually weakened the wire rope forestay.

Damage: Broken forestay, obviously. Roller furler housing damaged. VHF mast-top aerial broken. Solar panel frame slightly bent and glass shattered. It could have been alot worse all things considered.

Message # Two to myself: Beef up the forestay when replacing it. If the swaging was actually faulty and failed when under sail, the result would have been considerably more....if not catastrophic.

Message # Three to myself: Stop admiring posts about people fitting a secondary forestay. Bloody well fit one!!

So, after that happened, we re-stowed the mast, and drove back home very annoyed, angry & embarrassed.

After removing the mast and furled genoa back at home, we decided that we shouldn't let that destroy a few days out on the boat, so we dragged her back (to another ramp!!) and spent a few days motoring around.

I post this story in the hope that it reinforces the need to look, Look, LOOK at all times, that people might want to have a close look at their forestay swages for possible damage, and also to consider the notion of a secondary forestay. Hopefully you're all smarter and more situationally aware than I was that day, and my story simply leaves you bemusedly shaking your head.

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yukonbob
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Re: Forestay failure

Post by yukonbob » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:54 pm

After removing the mast and furled genoa back at home, we decided that we shouldn't let that destroy a few days out on the boat, so we dragged her back (to another ramp!!) and spent a few days motoring around.
Good on ya! Most would have gone home and pouted for the weekend :D

Kittiwake
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Re: Forestay failure

Post by Kittiwake » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:04 am

Good post Tempus. Thanks for taking the time. I've still got a nice ding in the cabin sliding roof from dropping the mast when hand lowering.
Kittiwake

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Highlander
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Re: Forestay failure

Post by Highlander » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:10 am

It only takes about 5mins to inpsect all rigging with the mast down & always inspect the forestay or in mycase both for damage when lowering the mast better to find out that it requires attention as soon as u get home when u have time to fix it not on the ramp on ur next sailing adventure ! :o :? :P

J 8) 8)

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Hamin' X
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Re: Forestay failure

Post by Hamin' X » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:26 am

The forestay acted like a fuse. By breaking, it probably prevented more serious damage to the mast, or hull. You might want to rethink replacement with a larger stay.

~Rich

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kmclemore
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Re: Forestay failure

Post by kmclemore » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:44 am

Hamin' X wrote:The forestay acted like a fuse. By breaking, it probably prevented more serious damage to the mast, or hull. You might want to rethink replacement with a larger stay.

~Rich
Huh? Rich, all due respect, but that doesn't seem to make much sense. Yes, the forestay broke, saving damage to the mast (which is a whole lot more expensive)... but by replacing it with a heftier stay, the next time it will be stronger and therefore likely break the mast before the forestay... not the best outcome. It's a bit like saying 'oh, I blew a fuse... I guess I'll install a higher amperage fuse'... and then you melt the entire circuit the next time a short happens!

Retcoastie
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Re: Forestay failure

Post by Retcoastie » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:55 am

Kevin wrote,
Huh? Rich, all due respect, but that doesn't seem to make much sense. Yes, the forestay broke, saving damage to the mast (which is a whole lot more expensive)... but by replacing it with a heftier stay, the next time it will be stronger and therefore likely break the mast before the forestay... not the best outcome. It's a bit like saying 'oh, I blew a fuse... I guess I'll install a higher amperage fuse'... and then you melt the entire circuit the next time a short happens!
Huh? Kevin, all due respect, but it seems you got the whole jist of what Rich was saying backwards. I read Rich to be saying he was warning against the beefier forestay. His suggestion was exactly what you seemed to be seconding in a rather sarcastic way.

Ken

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Spector
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Re: Forestay failure

Post by Spector » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:57 am

The way I read it, that is what he (Hamin X) is saying

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kmclemore
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Re: Forestay failure

Post by kmclemore » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:00 am

Ahh... right you are, I got it bass-ackwards. Apologies!

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Catigale
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Re: Forestay failure

Post by Catigale » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:08 pm

IT guys....can't backup without them.....

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Newell
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Re: Forestay failure

Post by Newell » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:09 pm

I've been lucky, no mast or forestay failures though I have caught branches several times.

Since I use the jib halyard to hold the mast during the raising process I leave it tight until I hank on the jib which is usually on the water, hence it's akin to 2 forestays. If I ever hit the big tree I'm afraid the mast is a gonner. :|

Tempus
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Re: Forestay failure

Post by Tempus » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:05 pm

G'day all.

Good point HaminX regarding the forestay acting "fuse-like". My thoughts on beefing it up on replacement was to never again be in a position where the forestay/mast come up against (excuse the pun) some resistance (using the fuse analogy, I now plan to never draw too much current from the circuit). But I do take your point.

I also take Highlander's point about conducting a post-recovery inspection. I have done that in the past, but must admit it didn't include the upper swage on the forestay....I now can't help but wonder if I might have found some damage/broken wires if I had done this.......ah, perfect 20/20 hindsight!! :(

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BOAT
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Re: Forestay failure

Post by BOAT » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:41 pm

What is a secondary forestay?

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kadet
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Re: Forestay failure

Post by kadet » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:28 pm

What is a secondary forestay?
Exactly that a second stay running parallel to the current forestay. It could take several different forms.

Solent rig
Cutter rig
Temporary storm stay or as someone mention earlier the jib halyard or in my case the spinnaker halyard whilst not in use holding up the sail.

Some distance cruisers even rig a spectra line solely for this purpose so it could take almost any form only limited by one's imagination.

It adds redundancy in case the main forestay fails hopefully preventing the mast from falling until repairs can be made. :)

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BOAT
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Re: Forestay failure

Post by BOAT » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:03 pm

Where does it connect on the mast to prefent interference with the jib furler? Where can I see a picture of one?

This sounds like a great peice of storm hardware. I would like to add it to my storm hardware collection.

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