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Old 18-09-2014, 15:43   #1
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Load Bearing Spreaders/Mast Ladder

Hello all!

I have a Glander Cay with somewhat of a custom rig. It's very sturdy, and has a little wooden mast ladder going up to the FIRST set of spreaders. Yes there are two sets of spreaders on a 26' boat. I like to climb the ladder and hang out near the mast. Upon inspection of the spreaders I found that they were built of a very heavy gauge aluminum, definitely able to support my weight. The issue with this (if I were to stand on them, or use them as a climbing point to get to the second set of spreaders) is that they are only supported on the mast side, allowing the shrouds to run freely through the outer edge.
This may be a dumb question, but hey why not. What would be the negatives (if any) of popping a little nico press fitting right underneath the spreader so I can stand out a little further from the mast. Does the standing rigging need to be able to "slide" through the end of the spreader? If it's bad to "lock them" in place, would it be as bad to just support from the bottom, but leave the top open?
This isn't my next plan with it, more just curious what I would jack up if I did this in the future, or on other boats.
Thanks!
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Old 19-09-2014, 12:33   #2
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Re: load bearing spreaders/mast ladder

If this picture works it should explain better what I'm saying.
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Old 19-09-2014, 13:12   #3
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Re: load bearing spreaders/mast ladder

Not sure how you would get the nico on there with the ends already on the wire...? Up that high I imagine corrosion inside the nico wouldn't be a problem. Maybe a SS cable clamp would do it...?
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Old 19-09-2014, 15:03   #4
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Re: Load Bearing Spreaders/Mast Ladder

A clamp might work. That would stop the tip of the spreader from sagging down and snapping off the mast, but is it advisable? Do people do this? Should it NEVER be done? Am I the first person to ask this question?
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Old 20-09-2014, 05:19   #5
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Re: Load Bearing Spreaders/Mast Ladder

Yes you can do that. I did it on my Hughes 35 for the same reasons. It's not a problem, and won't adversely affect the rig.

Cheers.
Paul.
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Old 20-09-2014, 06:49   #6
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Re: Load Bearing Spreaders/Mast Ladder

I have read opinions from a number of experienced sailors that say you should prevent the spreader from sliding down (or up).

The reason given, the spreader should maintain the proper angle to the mast and wire to best take the compression load of the upper shroud and to prevent the spreader from damaging the base where it attaches to the mast. This angle is not perpendicular to the mast but ideally should give equal angles from the spreader to the shroud above and below the spreader.

From the little I recall from long ago classes in static and dynamic loading I would agree.
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Old 20-09-2014, 08:32   #7
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Re: Load Bearing Spreaders/Mast Ladder

I would use a hose clamp with 1 or more layers of sheet rubber under it. Then tape over that to make a nice tight fitting that doesn't snag sails.

A nico-press fitting would involved redoing the swaging or terminals at the bottom end in order to get the sleeve on.

A bull dog would point load the wire which I am not very comfortable with for something as important as the rig. Also the ends would be snagging sails regardless of which direction they are pointing.
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Old 20-09-2014, 08:44   #8
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Re: Load Bearing Spreaders/Mast Ladder

Why not rig up a bosun's chair, or maybe a harness on a halyard? There would no question about your safety, or damage to your boat.
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Old 20-09-2014, 08:57   #9
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Re: Load Bearing Spreaders/Mast Ladder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
I would use a hose clamp with 1 or more layers of sheet rubber under it. Then tape over that to make a nice tight fitting that doesn't snag sails.

A nico-press fitting would involved redoing the swaging or terminals at the bottom end in order to get the sleeve on.

A bull dog would point load the wire which I am not very comfortable with for something as important as the rig. Also the ends would be snagging sails regardless of which direction they are pointing.
Not familiar with a bull dog, at least by that name. What I have seen used is a U-clamp.

For me, I would prefer not to tape and seal a section of SS rigging wire which can promote crevice corrosion.
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Old 20-09-2014, 09:08   #10
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Re: Load Bearing Spreaders/Mast Ladder

Bull dog clamp is another name for U-bolt clamp.

I see and agree with your point about tape.

As far as the bosun's chair goes I'd rather use the ladder:
A) it has more redundancy, when climbing you will have hold of or be stepping on at least 2 rungs, 3 if you are using proper technique.
B) speed if you need to go up quick to look for coral heads ahead or whatever


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Old 20-09-2014, 09:16   #11
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Re: Load Bearing Spreaders/Mast Ladder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
Bull dog clamp is another name for U-bolt clamp.

I see and agree with your point about tape.

As far as the bosun's chair goes I'd rather use the ladder:
A) it has more redundancy, when climbing you will have hold of or be stepping on at least 2 rungs, 3 if you are using proper technique.
B) speed if you need to go up quick to look for coral heads ahead or whatever


Adelie
I share the concern about a hard spot created by a bull dog. I would think attach it with just the minimum pressure to hold the spreader tip up would be safe. I think I would not encourage the OP's idea to stand on the spreaders too far out from the mast.

Also like having some form of ratlines or permanently attached steps to give quick access to a higher lookout point.
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Old 20-09-2014, 11:55   #12
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Re: Load Bearing Spreaders/Mast Ladder

Perhaps this may prohibit future tensioning-not positive.
If some kind of stay wire conical over lap plug from bottom up would enable both(tensioning and firming spreader).


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Old 20-09-2014, 12:09   #13
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Re: Load Bearing Spreaders/Mast Ladder

my ratlines are affixed to shrouds using whipping twine treated with a tar substitute coating. works well. no strain on spreaders when done right, and no messing with hose clamps or D rings or clamps or other stuff. simple.
they can be made of line or of wood.
i will have some of each by the time i am done with my refits.
i already have the arbutis wood ones on main mast, stbd side.
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Old 20-09-2014, 15:34   #14
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Re: Load Bearing Spreaders/Mast Ladder

Many spreader tips incorporate clamps that grip the wire(s) tightly and secure the spreader tip in position. I don't see much difference in stress on the wire between this design and some sort of external clamp. If one uses a bulldog type clamp, putting some sort of shim between the u-bolt and the wire to spread the load might mitigate the point loading concern.

Meanwhile, I wouldn't stand on the spreaders except directly alongside the mast until you incorporate some sort of support for the tips.

And, having spent a lot of hours at our spreaders conning the way in and out of reef areas, I support the practice. A bosun's chair and halyard is not a useful means of doing this task... mast steps are!

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Old 23-09-2014, 10:01   #15
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Re: Load Bearing Spreaders/Mast Ladder

Thanks for all the responses. This helps a lot. Yes part of the reasoning is to keep an eye out for shoals, not just to run up the mast and rig things.
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