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Old 01-09-2016, 09:21   #1
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Meathook Paranoia?

Yesterday, while servicing my steering quadrant and cable, I noticed a small(perhaps two micro-strands) meathook(s) on the steering cable. The cable is 3/16" diameter and either 7X7 or 7X19. How critical is this flaw to the structural integrity of the cable? Should this be a concern? All comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks, Rognvald
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:29   #2
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Re: Meathook Paranoia?

Textbook advise is to replace that cable. The reasoning is along the lines of "if one strand is beyond the metal fatigue limit, the rest of them are probably right behind it".
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:31   #3
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Re: Meathook Paranoia?

Time to replace. Meathooks are a sign the metal is getting fatigued. More strands are likely to break.


Preventive maintenance to avert Murphy's Law: "If something will fail it is most likely to happen at the worst possible time."
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Old 01-09-2016, 09:48   #4
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Re: Meathook Paranoia?

To me it's a sign of a failing cable. Replace it.
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Old 01-09-2016, 10:03   #5
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Re: Meathook Paranoia?

In light use it won't go for a while, but who's to say when you'll get caught in a storm/squall? So swap it when you can, & either save the old one, or make up a 2nd spare when you replace the current one. And note the change in the ship's maint. log, including date, reason, cost, spec's, etc.
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Old 01-09-2016, 10:18   #6
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Re: Meathook Paranoia?

Upon close inspection you should replace if even one wire is 50% worn.
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Old 01-09-2016, 10:57   #7
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Re: Meathook Paranoia?

If one strand is broken it requires immediate repladement, if multiple strands are broken you are well into dangerous territory. Not only do these failures indicate the wire is worn out, broken strands can cause cascade failures because the wire now gets loaded unevenly. Instead of each strand carrying an equal amount of load, those closest to the broken wire now also carry a disproportionate share of the broken strands load. As more and more strands break this speeds up the next one breaking.
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Old 01-09-2016, 11:02   #8
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Re: Meathook Paranoia?

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If one strand is broken it requires immediate repladement, if multiple strands are broken you are well into dangerous territory. Not only do these failures indicate the wire is worn out, broken strands can cause cascade failures because the wire now gets loaded unevenly. Instead of each strand carrying an equal amount of load, those closest to the broken wire now also carry a disproportionate share of the broken strands load. As more and more strands break this speeds up the next one breaking.
I think you mean wire not "strand"?
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Old 01-09-2016, 16:47   #9
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Re: Meathook Paranoia?

how soon you replace the cable depends on how you use the boat. As most of the previous posters pointed out, once one strand goes the rest will eventually follow. However, i have to admit that i cut my hand on a loose strand in my mansail halyard 3 years ago and i havent got around to replacing it yet. I keep an eye on it but, well, I'm just a bit...lazy. As you get older you realise you have to adapt to stuff not working perfectly all the time, I guess my boat is becoming more like the captain, a bit clapped out...
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Old 01-09-2016, 18:03   #10
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Re: Meathook Paranoia?

Wishful thinking and boat maintenance are poor bedfellows. I will finish our short sailing season in the Midwest(haulout mid-October) and replace the cable in Spring before departing on our 4,000 mile cruise to latitudes North, then South. If you have done this job, you know it is not a walk in the park--especially since access to the quadrant through my lazarette requires a shorter, more slender person than myself. However, for those who have done this maintenance, would the 7x7 or the 7x19 wire be the best choice? And, why? Thanks to everyone, so far, for the great responses. Best, Rognvald
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Old 01-09-2016, 19:13   #11
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Re: Meathook Paranoia?

As you study up on this , get it straight what the words ,wire, strand and cable mean so you won't sound stupid.
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Old 01-09-2016, 19:42   #12
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Re: Meathook Paranoia?

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...would the 7x7 or the 7x19 wire be the best choice? And, why?
You'll want 7x19. It has smaller minimum bend radius.
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Old 01-09-2016, 20:01   #13
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Re: Meathook Paranoia?

7X19. I'm curious, though. Does anyone have any experience using any of the newer synthetic 'super-fiber' ropes in this application? Any reasons not to? Cost comparisons?
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Old 01-09-2016, 21:41   #14
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Re: Meathook Paranoia?

I recall reading about a singlehanding sailor who was attempting a nonstop circumnavigation. He made it about half way around the world, then stopped. Because of a meat hook.

His reason was that he found a single wire ( a meat hook) on a shroud that had broken, and he did not want to risk losing his rig in the next part of his voyage (across the Indian Ocean). One wire out of 19 on that shroud strand stopped his long planned voyage, for which he had spent years prepping his boat and himself.

In that case, a single broken wire caused a broken dream.
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Old 01-09-2016, 23:02   #15
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Re: Meathook Paranoia?

a non stop circumnavigation aint a dream, it's a nightmare.
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