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Old 06-06-2010, 11:13   #1
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Loosening Stay Tension . . . Why ?

On my Ericson 27 I had the sidestay tension "decent". "Reasonably tight", balanced etc. I overwintered it in the water, for the first time ever. Now, when I grab the stay it is LOOSE. Not "just a little", but SLOPPY. I can, of course, re-tighten to reasonable tension, but the thing that bothers me is WHY???. Unless the mast-support bulkhead is slowly collapsing or the outside of the boat is folding in, the tension should be approximately where I left it. Anyone have any ideas?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-06-2010, 12:39   #2
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first thing I'd check would be the chainplates.

My brother-in-law used to have an Ericson 27, but it's been years since the last time I was on one. I seem to recall that the head bulkhead ended in a compression post. It should be fairly easy to determine whether the compression post still has its integrity.
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Old 06-06-2010, 13:07   #3
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The shrouds becoming loose over winter is not a good thing. It could be one or more of several things. AND, I would NOT take the boat out until you find it!!!

Here's a list of items to check:
Chain plates and their mountings.
Swaged ends of the shroud wires.
Thru holes on the mast where shroud plates attach.
Deck where the mast sets (could be soft).
Underside of deck where compression post sets. (could be soft)
Keel where compression post sets, and the post itself.
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Old 06-06-2010, 18:52   #4
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If you are lucky, you forgot to lock the turnbuckles.
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Old 06-06-2010, 19:19   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tager View Post
If you are lucky, you forgot to lock the turnbuckles.
???

Mine are not (?) locked and they do not come undone SAILING.

b.
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Old 06-06-2010, 19:35   #6
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A neighbor of mine had to replace his keel stepped mast support for the same reason, besides his cabin sole was sinking!
After he hired a crane, I helped him pull the mast.
A month later, he was restepped the mast.
A few days later, I asked how he tackled the problem.
He said he used a block of 4x4 fir he had lying around.
It's sitting in a damp bilge, and he didn't even use any preservative on the wood...
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Old 06-06-2010, 19:45   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
???

Mine are not (?) locked and they do not come undone SAILING.

b.
He's referring to "locking" the turnbuckles with a cotter pin.
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Old 06-06-2010, 20:00   #8
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I am saying you would be lucky if your shrouds loosened due to unsecured turnbuckles. If they loosened due to a shifting tang, shifting chainplate, stretching wire, slipping swage, sinking mast step, flexing hull, or other problem, you are in trouble!
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Old 06-06-2010, 22:33   #9
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The smoking gun?

If ALL your shrouds and stays are suddenly loose, I would think the the mast components (step, compression post etc.) would have to suspect as all chainplates or turn buckles going bad at once is a pretty remote possability.
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Old 07-06-2010, 01:23   #10
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Query:
Were the stays (fore and back) loose as well??

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Old 07-06-2010, 01:47   #11
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One more thing to add to your list.

My boats deck crowns about 1/4' when the shroud's are tensioned, basically letting the hull squeeze in and narrow just a tad...although once there its stays and does not get any looser...but this could have happened to your boat if some tabing let go...first tip was cabin doors missalining..which lead me to inspect closer...I found a gap of nearly a 1/4 of an inch where the forward bulkhead was being pulled off the sole...I knew then what was happening, hence the reason Im installing deck to keel tie rods.
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:45   #12
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Thanks very much for all the replies. The boat is a 1977 Ericson which I've kept in very good shape except......the ceiling opening for the VHF and radar, right near the mast-supporting bulkhead, which was a source of chronic leaking for previous owners. Stupidly, I had left it totally unsealed over the winter with the mast up and the boat in the water in New England.

The bottom of that bulkhead (just the bottom) shows signs of extensive deterioration on the surface of the plywood. At the bottom, it's "black mush". No obvious buckling or head door misalignment. I've since sealed the ceiling leak. Considering that the summer sailing season is here and the leak is fixed, it seems that just letting that bulkhead base dry out and injecting a ton of Git-Rot would be the most prudent short-term fix (to me). After the Git-Rot sets for a day, re-tighten the stays and hope.

I suspect that a "proper" fix..... jacking the ceiling to de-stress the bulkhead, sawing out the deteriorated material and gluing in teak, then making the repair cosmetically attractive, would take me trough to early July.

The most important question, I guess, is whether that deteriorated plywood is just an indicator of the problem or the problem itself. If the plywood is primarily decorative and the mast support comes exclusively from the area directly under the mast, then that's where I should look. The biggest problem with that approach is that the base under the mast at the floor area is a fiberglass-molded "pocket". Opening up that area and fixing the issue becomes quite complicated.

Anyone have this experience with an Ericson?

Thanks again for all the input.
Tanksalot
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:54   #13
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I just re-read Bash's reply, and I think that sort-of answers part of my question. If the plywood that's deteriorating is just decorative and there is a water-leak issue, then the sag must be due to the compression post rotting within that "pocket" on the floor. If that's the case, then how big a risk is there in the "epoxy-wood/re-tighten stays" approach? I'll take an awl to the base of the post in the next day or two, but from the surface it looks fine. I would have thought that if the interior of the post was rotting the surface would be buckling or showing something happening.

Thanks again
Tanksalot
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:57   #14
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Put a long straight edge, on the deck from side to side, at the mast base. You might find that the mast step has sunk. Which is a serious problem!!!
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:53   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksalot View Post
I just re-read Bash's reply, and I think that sort-of answers part of my question. If the plywood that's deteriorating is just decorative and there is a water-leak issue, then the sag must be due to the compression post rotting within that "pocket" on the floor. If that's the case, then how big a risk is there in the "epoxy-wood/re-tighten stays" approach? I'll take an awl to the base of the post in the next day or two, but from the surface it looks fine. I would have thought that if the interior of the post was rotting the surface would be buckling or showing something happening.

Thanks again
Tanksalot
If this is what happened, and if it were my boat, I'd want to replace that compression post, and I'd want to use something solid. Do this before you re-tension the rig, or you could aggravate the problem.
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