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Old 17-05-2009, 15:40   #1
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Nearly Lost Rig! Damage to Forestay from Furler?

Hi Folks,

My Schaffer roller furler worked great last year, after rivetting it back together, around a brand new Forestay, which I replaced due to age.

However, I couldn't tighten the backstay quite enough last year (ran out of turns). This year, while the mast was off, I decided to tighten the forestay an inch or so, to then allow me to have more adjustment in the backstay, and get the whole rig tighter.

Must have made a mistake, when tightening the Forestay turnbuckle (had 1st removed / slid up the bottom drum of furler, to get at turnbuckle).

Thought all went well, sailed a couple of times, then noticed the furler was quite hard to roll out, when pulling on the sheets. Had to go up front and twist / unroll sail a few turns by hand, which was difficult.

I thought the drum was a bit too full / line twisted in drum ,as the furling line is a bit larger diameter that it should be.

Well, the trouble wasn't the line. I decide to drop the sail, and the furler was hard to turn even when I had unwound the line from the drum.

What happened was that I had removed the set screw, that holds the foil up off of the turnbuckle, and allows it to move freely, as one unit, with the drum). With the foil resting on the top of the trurnbuckle, the protective rubber bottom of the foil began to slide over (and catch) the turnbuckle. Of course, then as I unfurled / furled the small jib a couple of times, I was actually TWISTING THE FORESTAY, to the point that it had bent the cotter pins enough to allow the turnbuckel to unturn / loosen a few turns. Luckily it had not completely unturned, but was getting close.
COULD HAVE LOST THE MAST!!

Now that I have rasied the foil back up, it spins freely, and does not affect the trurnbuckle.

Question: How much damage do you think it could have done to the new forestay, by twisting it 5 - 10 times?

Of course, I can't see more than a few inches of forestay wire, due to the foil, but the part I can see (into the bottom swaged end) looks fine.

I know the wire is twisted / wound anyway, but question if I have damaged anything. I can not take the foil off to check it, without:
- removing the mast
- drilling out all of the stainless rivets (again)
- removing each section of the foil, then reinstalling with new rivets.
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Old 17-05-2009, 16:02   #2
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Correction: The foil was resting / catching on, and therefore twisting the bottom swaged end of the headstay, not the turnbuckle, as mentioned. This twisting of the swaged end (and attached wire) caused it to unwind a few turns in the turnbuckle, and after the cotter pin got more mangled, and caught, the turnbuckle also bean unturnin, on the bottom threaded end.
The headstay was new last year, and it 9/16" wire, on a 30' boat.
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Old 17-05-2009, 16:22   #3
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If it really was 9/16 wire you wouldnt have to worry.
I dont understand why you refer to removing the mast.Must be a damn funny rig if you cant secure the mast with halyards and drop the forestay/furler onto the dock for proper inspection
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Old 17-05-2009, 16:50   #4
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Nonam - Thanks for the reply! Sorry, typo!! It is a 5/16" headstay. The rest of the shrouds are 1/4".

Yes, I could leave the rig up, with a couple of halyards, but I would have to ascend the mast a couple of times, with this temporary setup.

Then after I drop the forestay / furler, I could not inspect anything, without at least drilling out the rivets on the bottom section or two of the foil. If it looked OK, I could rerivet, and reinstall. I would of course, have to be very careful not to drill into the stay.

If it looked damaged, I woulf have to leave the mast held with halyards for a few days, as I have a new one made, drill out all of the rivets (50 or so), then reassemble with new rivets, etc.
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Old 17-05-2009, 17:27   #5
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My guess is your forestay is probably ok,but a guess is no good in this case.When the forestay breaks the mast can end up in the cockpit and that is where the people are.
Ascending the mast a couple of times to lower/raise the forestay is still a lot quicker/easier than pulling the mast.
I think you have to do it all again.Take it all to pieces and eyeball everything.
While you think about it,take the bottom parts off the furler so only the foil and swivel remain.Does the foil turn freely?Can you move it up and down between the swages while rotating it?Any tight spots?
Only you know how much you stressed the wire.
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Old 17-05-2009, 17:45   #6
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Reading you first post again.Twisting the wire is not good and if you twisted it maybe you also untwisted/unlayed the wire which is worse.But then you talk about twisting the turnbuckle past the cotter pin.So your furler fouled the turnbuckle and forced it past the cotter pin ?In that case your forestay is probably fine.
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Old 17-05-2009, 18:18   #7
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Nonam - thanks for taking the time to reply again. I only sailed the boat 3 times, rolling out / in the small jib about 3 times, after putting the boat in. Since I forgot to set the foil (with the setcrews) high enough not to touch the swaged end of the stay, it then started to grab it - it was basically resting / spinning on it.

I think the swaged end (and attached wire) started to turn with the futling / unfurling foil. However, it met the resistance of the (somewhat undersized, perhaps) cotter pins, which prevented it from turning (and the foil likely slipped somewhat on the swaged end. Then, as it grabbed more, it overpowered the top cotterpins, (likely one before the other), until it did unturn the swaged end, and turnbuckle, a few times.

I only unfurled , then partially furled it once, with this resistance, before letting it back out, and dropping the sail to have a look.

I realize I am trying to hope / justify that it is OK, but in the end, will have to decide if it requires taking down, and apart, for a better look.

I would equate the pressure I put on it, to the same as going to adjust one of your shrouds, but instead of holding a wrench / screwdriver to prevent the wire / shroud from turning per normal, I would have just tightened it, therefore putting about 5 turns in it.

I would have to look at the direction of tightening, as I am not sure right now, if I 1st unwound it a bit, then reowund it, or if it went tighter to start, then unwound it.
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Old 17-05-2009, 19:28   #8
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I have never worked on a schaffer but I have replaced wires in Harken furlers without disassembling the foil.Take off one terminal and attach a tag line.Even though the internal foil bearings are a close fit on the wire and you cant just tape the tag line on,with a bit of skill it can be done.(small tag line stuffed into the 1 by 19).Pull a stronger tag through.Have the new forestay a foot longer so you can clip/taper it to make a strong attachment to the bigger tag line.Pull the forestay through,cut it to length and instal mechanical terminal.
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Old 18-05-2009, 05:06   #9
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Nonam - yes, the same method could be applied to cut off one end, and pull the old wire out, and a new one in. That woudl definitely mean buying a new stay. Alternatively, I could drill the rivets, iremove the foil in pieces for inspection, and it all looks perfect, reinstall new rivets.

To answer your previous question, now that I have set the foilan ich or so above the swaged end, with the set screws - the foil spins very freely as it is supposed to. It will alos move freely up and down, if I loosen the set scews, but if course only within a range of about 4", as it then hits either end.

I think that winding / unwinding five turns on a five ft piece of wire would likely cause much more stress than doing the same thing to a 40 ft wire. I would think that the winding / unwinding would be passed on up the line, so that the total tension placed at one spot would be much less.

Thoughts?
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Old 18-05-2009, 14:59   #10
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My thought is that the danger point is just above that bottom terminal.If the wire looks perfect there then it is probably ok.
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Old 18-05-2009, 15:34   #11
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I would also think that point would have had the most stress. It does look perfect still.

I have my old stay at the father-in-laws house, so I had him test out the old one a bit today. He put one end in a vise, laid it out on the floor, and turned the other end with a screwdriver. He said it got hard to turn after about 5 turns. He then unwound it and turned the other way about the same. He is a mechanical guy, and was with me when we found the problem. He doesn't think that the amount of pressure that I exterted on it, by twisting the furled sail / foil by hand, would be enough to damage it.
It would not be the same type of force as a person could generate with a foot long cresent wrench, for example.

His test was different than what happened on the boat, however, in that he tested with it lying on the floor, with no pressure pulling lengthways on it. On the boat it was attached to the bow, and masthead, and was tightened about average for a headstay.
I think that when I was turning the foil by hand, it may have been twiting the wire, up to five times of so, after initially slipping / grabbing intermittently.

Still, I will call the rigger who made it / swaged it last year, and ask his opinion, in the morning.
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Old 19-05-2009, 07:46   #12
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Spoke to my rigger today. He doubted whether I would have caused any damage to the wire. He agreed that the most stress woudl have been placed on the wire, near the swaged end. Since this looks perfect, I will likely be trying it as is, keep a close eye on the ease of furling, rig tension, etc.

I was expecting the rigger to be very cautious, and recommend taking off the foil to inspect and/or replacement. He doubted any damage would have been done by turning it by hand a few times.
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Old 19-05-2009, 07:51   #13
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FYI - the rigger mentioned that the cotter pins really aren't meant to stop the turnbuckle from turning, under a stong load. He suggested I could use seizing wire figure 8ed through the hole, and around the turnbuckle body, to be more secure.

This episode has enightened me, as to the danger of the headstay turnbuclke being (fairly) easily undone by the furler movement (if soemthing is wrong). And unlike side shrouds, or backstays, you can't see what is going on, as the furler drum covers / hides it from view. Obviously, any unexplained rig loosening / slack should be investigated ASAP, by removing (or sliding up) the furling drum, and inspecting the turnbuckle).
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Old 19-05-2009, 14:52   #14
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Best safeguard is to be alert to any change in the operation of the furler.
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Old 25-05-2009, 09:48   #15
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Well. now that the furler works fine, took the boat out in a nice 20 + kt day, and the mast is still upright.

Will keep an eye on any changes in backstay tension and/or difficulty rollingg the jib in/out.
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